Perceived stigma and highly active antiretroviral treatment adherence among persons living with HIV/AIDS in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital
Background: HIV/AIDS-related stigma is an important obstacle in the utilization of HIV/AIDS related services, including HIV testing and counselling, and antiretroviral therapy. It is, therefore, necessary to examine the association between perceived stigma and adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment (HAART) among Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in our local setting.
Objective: To determine the relationship between perceived stigma and Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) adherence among PLWHA attending HAART clinic at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Methodology: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study involving 302 participants attending the HAART Clinic at UPTH. Systematic random sampling technique was employed. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, stigma and adherence to drug regimen were collected using a validated self-administered questionnaire. Data were presented as tables and charts. Chi-square and Pearson’s correlation statistical tests were performed with p-value set at 0.05.
Results: This study comprised of 200 (66.2%) females and 102 (33.8%) males. The mean age of study subjects were 38.9±9.8years. The prevalence of perceived stigma was 59.9% (n=181). A total of 215 (71.2%) of the subjects had good HAART adherence. A lower proportion of good adherence was reported among those with perceived stigma (68%) in comparison to those without perceived stigma (76%). There was no significant correlation between HAART adherence scores and perceived stigma scores (r=0.027; p=0.639).
Conclusion: Perceived stigma is not related to adherence to HAART among patients in this facility. Nonetheless, the high prevalence of stigma among PLWHA necessitates measures targeted at reducing stigma among this group of patients.
Keywords: Drug adherence, High prevalence, Nigeria, Prognosis, Quality of