Objective: Swallowing difficulties can exert a profound effect on quality of life, may result in reduced nutritional intake and place individuals at risk of aspiration. However, there is little data available on the swallowing difficulties occurring within the HIV/AIDS population in South Africa. A descriptive study was therefore conducted to document the presence of reported swallowing difficulties in a sample of adults with HIV. Patients and Methods: One-to-one semi-structured interview schedules were administered to 120 adults with HIV attending a clinic in Gauteng, and medical records were evaluated to document the presence of reported swallowing difficulties. Results: Participants described a range of swallowing difficulties and the number of swallowing difficulties reported by participants was negatively correlated with CD4 count. Swallowing difficulties were significantly associated with various opportunistic diseases and related medical pathologies. Prescribed medications were associated with reported swallowing difficulties. Treatment of swallowing difficulties was mainly medical in nature. Swallowing difficulties had affected quality of life. Conclusions: From the results it was concluded that speech therapists have a role to play in the assessment and treatment of swallowing difficulties in individuals with HIV/AIDS.

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