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3.2 – What are the rehabilitation interventions that can address the activity limitations and participation restrictions common among people living with HIV?

The impairments described in Section 3.1 may result in a variety of activity limitations and restrictions to an individual’s participation in education, vocational, family and social pursuits.

A broader and more holistic rehabilitation approach should take into account the activity limitations and participation restrictions faced by people living with HIV. Rehabilitation providers have important roles to play in addressing these challenges at multiple levels. For example:

  • Clinical interventions
  • Education to family and community
  • Advocacy efforts to address the circumstances that create these challenges

It is vital that rehabilitation providers see that they have a role across the spectrum of the disease process from acute hospital care to long-term follow-up in the community. When rehabilitation providers are working with people living with HIV, they should consider both the individual’s personal characteristics (e.g., age, gender, economic status), as well as the environment in which they live, socialise and work.

Rehabilitation providers should also, where possible, be involved in advocacy efforts to ensure the efficient and effective provision of rehabilitation services to people living with HIV, particularly those from marginalized groups (e.g., unemployed, people with disabilities). Advocacy efforts can be strengthened by active involvement in community-based research initiatives focusing on rehabilitation for people living with HIV. 

This section is organized according to the categories of activity and participation in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (see Section 1.3). Potential causes of these impairments and rehabilitation interventions are shown in the table below.

Table 3.2: Rehabilitation Interventions for Activity Limitations and Participation Restrictions

Activity Limitations and Participation Restrictions Rehabilitation interventions9
(for details, see Section 3.3)

Learning and applying knowledge

General tasks and demands




Domestic life

Interpersonal interactions and relationships

  • Couple counseling
  • Family support groups and parenting programmes
  • Involvement and education of family and friends
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation

Major life areas including work and employment

Community, social and civic life