BACKGROUND: Socioeconomic, demographic and clinical factors can affect adherence to treatment among people living with HIV (PLH) and potentially have an impact on their prognosis and survival. The main objective of this study was to assess these factors as potential barriers to adherence among patients receiving care in central Haiti.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among PLH receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the TB/HIV clinic at St. Therese Hospital in Hinche, Haiti. A total of 426 potential participants were approached during their follow-up visits from June to August 2019, of whom 411 participated in the study. After giving informed consent, study participants completed a structured interview that included the Self-Report Item Scale (SRIS), a standard measure, to assess adherence. Socio-demographic, economic and clinical factors were assessed for their association with adherence.
RESULTS: The 411 participating patients represented 39% of the patient population at the TB/HIV clinic during the timeframe of the study. The mean age was 43.7 years (range: 19-80), 65.5% were female and 78.1% had only achieved a primary level of schooling. Nearly 78% had received ART for less than 10 years, 3.41% reported having poor adherence and 28% less than excellent adherence. Factors related to poor adherence in bivariate analysis were age less than 40 years (OR: 6.32, 95% CI: 2.04-10.58, p<0.01) and inability to meet basic needs (OR: 2.70, 95% CI: 1.04-7.0, p=0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: To improve medication adherence, the hospital should strengthen patient counselling of younger recipients of ART and provide financial assistance and other social service interventions. Studies should be implemented in other HIV management centers in Haiti and similar contexts to examine barriers to ART adherence with the goal of improving prognosis and survival in the long-term among PLH in resource-limited setting.