Objective: This study systematically reviews the literature on self-management interventions provided by health care teams, community partners, patients and families and discusses the potential relevance of these interventions for people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: We searched major databases for literature published between 1995 and 2012. 52 studies were included in this review. Results: The review found very few studies covering people living with HIV and generally inconclusive evidence to inform the development of chronic care policy and practice in sub-Saharan Africa. Conclusion: Chronic care models and self-management interventions for sub-Saharan Africa has not been a research priority. Furthermore, the results question the applicability of these models and interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. There is a need for studies to fill this gap in view of the rapidly increasing number of people needing chronic care services in Africa. Practice implications: The established practices for long-term support for HIV patients are still the most valid basis for promoting self-management. This will be the case until there are more studies which assess those practices and their effect on self-management outcomes and other studies which assess the utility and feasibility of applying chronic care models that have been developed in high-income countries. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.