Perspectives about adherence to HIV/AIDS treatment among patients at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital
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Objectives: This study aimed at exploring the perspectives of people living with HIV at Masaka regional referral hospital considering the factors that facilitate adherence, hindrances to adherence and the coping strategies adopted to improve adherence to ART among HIV patients. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study design utilizing in-depth personal interviews as well as focus group discussions and key informant interviews were used to collect data. Respondents were selected purposively and sample size determined following the principle of data saturation. Individual face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with twenty-three people living with HIV, key informant interviews with two health workers, and two focus group discussions with people living with HIV/AIDS. Data were analyzed and presented into themes. Separation from spouse, inability to accept the results, side effects and disconnection from family members were the experiences of people living with HIV six months after initiation on ART. Findings: Factors such as education level, the kind of job they did, support from the social networks, the amount of money they received monthly and their interaction with the healthy workers enabled them to adhere on ART. However, lack of food, access to transport, drug related side effects, stigma and discrimination had a negative impact on their adherence. Encouraging clients to engage in income generating activities, social support system empowerment, engagement in adherence counseling and improvement in the working relationship with the clients were some of the coping mechanisms adopted to promote and improve adherence among patients at the hospital. Conclusion: More emphasis should be put on deriving ways to promote sustained adherence on ART among people living with HIV with social support prioritized.