Barriers to use of antiretroviral drugs in Rakai district of Uganda
Background: About 75% of people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) who need antiretroviral therapy have no access to these drugs in low-income countries. Objective: To investigate the barriers to use of ART in Rakai district of Uganda Methods: We interviewed 38 key informants and 384 PHAs. Data was collected on: education/mobilization for ART, sources of information for ART, beliefs regarding ART, social support, use of alternative medicine, stigma/discrimination towards PHAs, distance to ART centres, transport costs to ART centres, waiting time, and on suggestions as how to improve the use of ART. Results: The major barriers mentioned regarding use of ART included: inadequate mobilization, long waiting time at ART treatment centres, high cost of transport to reach ART centres, stigma/discrimination towards PHAs and inadequate number of health workers to attend to PHAs. Conclusions: Access to antiretroviral therapy could be ameliorated by: improving community education using innovative approaches such as through music, dance and videos, increasing the number of providers who are able to provide ART as through engagement of non health professionals in ART care, bringing ART nearer to where people live and instituting measures aimed at reducing stigma/discrimination such as through involvement of PHAs in demystisfying HIV/AIDS.
Key words: HIV/AIDS, Uganda, Stigma/discrimination, task-shifting, ART access
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