Background: HIV/AIDS pandemic seriously ravaged the world for the past three decades. It left the world with full of complicated social, economic and political problems. The problem has continued as major health problems for most developing countries, including Ethiopia. Socio-cultural practices which are predominantly determining the life of most of these peoples have structured the spread of HIV/AIDS. The aim of this study was to investigate how socio-cultural factors are affecting patients' adherence at ART clinics in Hawassa and Yirgalem Referral Hospitals.
Methods: Qualitative and quantitative designs were used to collect the data.
Results: The findings have shown that for fear of stigma and discrimination at family and community levels forced patients' affected adherence at ART clinics. People living with HIV were forced to travel long distance to get rid of social exclusion and isolation that resulting in drug interruptions and drop outs. The findings have also shown that most of the followers of protestant religion make believe that HIV could be cured and boycotted them from taking ART drugs. Moreover, confidentiality of information about HIV positive children living with care givers and newly tested patients found to be resistant to start or continue their drugs. Sense of wellbeing elicited form long term ART drugs effects made patients to imagine complete healing thereby dropping their treatment.
Conclusions: The findings made clear that multidimensional socio-cultural factors structure and restructure adherence problems at the ART clinics in the study hospitals. Interventions targeting to change socio-cultural factors play crucial roles to prevent and control new infections, occurrence of drug resistant strains, and social and economic repercussions in the society.