Factors affecting adherence to antiretroviral therapy among children and adolescents living with HIV in the Mbita Sub County Hospital, Homa Bay- Kenya
Background: Adequate adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is key to the successful treatment of children and adoles- cents living with HIV. Continuous ART Adherence is the key factor for virologic suppression and stability of the immune system and prevents the occurrence of opportunistic infections. Children and adolescents struggle with adherence to ART for various reasons, including a poor psychosocial support system and clinic attendance.
Objectives: To describe the uptake of HIV treatment services among children and adolescents in the Mbita Sub-County Hospital, Homa Bay and determine how schooling, clinic attendance, and type of pill/regimen affect adherence to ART and viral suppression.
Methods: This retrospective study was conducted at the Mbita Sub-County Hospital. Medical chart data was abstracted from the hospital files of children and adolescents between the ages of 0-19 years on antiretroviral therapy, between the periods of October 2016 and September, 2017. Data was analyzed using measures of central tendency, and cross-tabulations were done to compare schooling, clinic attendance, type of pill/regimen and viral suppression. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine associations between groups.
Results: According to patient files reviewed, majority of patients, 244(91.4%) were enrolled into care within 2 weeks of HIV diagnosis according to guidelines, and 193(73.1 %) remained enrolled in care at end of study period. An overall viral suppression of 74.2 %( 132) was recorded. Of all the files reviewed, 121(74.7%) of patients attending school suppressed against 11(68.8 %) out of school, p=0.280. Suppression among Day and boarding reported at 78.6 %( 11) and 74.8 %( 113) of those out of school, respectively, p=0.533. Participants in primary school, 17(85.0%) suppressed better than those in secondary school, 102(73.4%), p=0.263. Keeping clinic appointments among eligible patient files reviewed decreased from 83.1% at 3 months, p=0.016, to 76.6%, p=0.526 at 6 months and to 52.9% at 12 months, p=0.278. Only 3- month clinic appointment return rates and Enhanced Adherence Counseling (EAC) were significant predictors of viral supression χ2 (2) = 0.280, p = 0.869 (> 0.05).
Conclusion: The clinic attendance rate within the first 3 months, and Enhanced Adherence Counseling (EAC) were signif- icant predictors of viral suppression, and therefore adherence to antiretroviral therapy.
Keywords: Adherence; clinic attendance; antiretroviral therapy; HIV; virologic suppression.
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