The success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) depends on a high level of adherence to a life-long regimen of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Since the scale-up of access to ARVs in Nigeria, few studies have determined the level of adherence of ART among children. This study was undertaken to determine the level of ART adherence among paediatric patients at an outpatient clinic, the reasons for non-adherence, and the factors associated with adherence, according to caregivers’ reports. Out of a total of 212 children, 183 (86%) were adherent in the three days preceding the interview, while 29 (14%) were not adherent. Drug exhaustion at home (16 children), followed by ‘child slept through’ (7 children) and ‘caregiver away’ were the most common reasons for a child having missed one or more ARV doses. Independent factors for adherence were male gender (odds ratio [OR] = 2.85; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.17–6.92) and attendance at last scheduled clinic appointment (OR = 4.76; 95% CI: 1.73–13.04). The caregiver’s highest educational attainment, distance travelled to the clinic, use of medication reminders, formulation of ARVs, duration of HAART usage, age of the child and orphan status were not significantly associated with adherence to drug treatment. The overall level of adherence was high and similar to the rate reported prior to free access to ART services in Nigeria. Among child patients on HAART, there is a need to identify factors affecting clinic attendance and drug exhaustion at home.
Keywords: caregivers; compliance; drug treatment; HAART; HIV/AIDS; paediatrics; questionnaires; sub-Saharan Africa
African Journal of AIDS Research 2010, 9(1): 25–30