Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is now considered as a manageable chronic illness. There has been a dramatic reduction in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) related morbidity and mortality due to antiretroviral therapy. A high level of adherence (>95%) is required for antiretroviral therapy to be effective. There are many barriers to adherence in both developed and developing countries.
The aim of our study was to determine adherence levels and factors influencing adherence to antiretroviral therapy among people living with HIV.
Materials and Methods:
Using a cross-sectional study design, 116 HIV positive patients receiving antiretroviral therapy for at least 1 year were interviewed using a semi structured questionnaire. The collected data was analyzed using Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) version 11.5. Chi-square test was done. A P value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Of 116 participants, 63.7% reported adherence ≥ 95%. Mean adherence index was 91.25%. Financial constraints, forgetting to take medication, lack of family care, depression, alcohol use, social stigma and side effects to antiretroviral therapy were barriers for adherence in our study.
Adherence to antiretroviral therapy in south India is suboptimal. Intensive adherence counseling should be provided to all patients before initiation ofantiretroviral therapy. Health care providers must identify possible barriers to adherence at the earliest and provide appropriate solutions.
Keywords: Adherence, Adherence index, Antiretroviral therapy, Depression, Human immunodeficiency virus, Stigma