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Correlates of highly active antiretroviral therapy adherence among urban Ethiopian clients

Hibret Alemu
Damen Haile Mariam
Amy O Tsui
Aster Shewamare


There has been a massive expansion of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) services in Ethiopia since 2005. To assess clients’ self-reported adherence to HAART medication, a descriptive, comparative cross-sectional study was carried out among adults receiving HAART medication at the Zewditu  Memorial Hospital ART clinic in Addis Ababa. Of 1 808 clients eligible for the study, 1 722 agreed to participate. The data were collected over six weeks in  February and March 2010. Ordered and binary logistic regression models were  applied to analyse the data. The majority of participants were over age 30 years, most were females, and 90% had some formal education. More than half  reported being ‘extremely sure’ about their ability to take most or all of their medication. Self-reported adherence to the medication was generally good, as 62% said they had never missed a dose. The most commonly cited reason for missing medication was being busy (57.5%). The odds of ever missing a dose of HAART were lower for males (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 1.44; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.15–1.79), older persons (AOR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.97–0.99), and those who did not drink alcohol regularly. Similarly, the odds of being self-confident about taking the medication properly were higher for males and for those who did not drink alcohol regularly (AOR: 0.48; 95% CI: 0.35–0.64). The odds of self-confidence in taking the medication were lower among those in lower income group. Those who reported an expenditure income of Birr 501–999 (AOR: 0.35; 95% CI: 0.24–0.49) or Birr 1 000–1 999 (AOR: 0.41; 95% CI: 0.29–0.60) had less self-confidence in taking their medication properly as compared to those who had an expenditure income of Birr 2 000 or more. There is a need to design and implement targeted adherence interventions that could lead to better treatment outcomes.

Keywords: Africa, compliance, HAART, health knowledge, HIV/AIDS, quantitative research, self-efficacy, self-reporting

African Journal of AIDS Research 2011, 10(3): 263–270

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eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445