Delayed entry to care by men with HIV infection in Kumasi, Ghana
Introduction: In resource-limited settings, men may face considerable barriers to accessing HIV care as early interventions tend to focus on antenatal care settings.
Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of all adult patients referred to Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital HIV clinic in Kumasi, Ghana in 2011 to identify the differences in clinical and demographic variables by gender at presentation to care using two-sample t tests with adjusted variance and Wilcox rank sum tests for continuous variables and Pearson chi-squared tests for categorical variables. We also compared differences in clinical and demographic variables among men stratified by CD4 count at initiation of care in order to identify variables associated with later entry to care.
Results: Demographically, men were more likely to be older (men age 42 vs. 37, p<0.01), have a greater number of dependent children (1.8 v. 1.5, p=0.04), to be living with or married to their partner (65.4% vs. 49.0%, p<0.01), and to have a higher level of education (tertiary education, 45.8% vs. 25.4%, p<0.01) than women. Clinically, men were more likely to have a lower CD4 count at entry to care (260 v. 311 cells/μL, p<0.01), to report clinical symptoms to the nurse during intake (p<0.01), and to have any history of alcohol use (p<0.01).
Conclusion: Men in Ghana are accessing treatment at a later stage of their disease than women. Efforts to test and link men to care early should be intensified.
Key words: Gender disparities, men, HIV, Ghana, access to care, entry to care