The lived experiences of antiretroviral therapy among women: a case study of Apac General Hospital-Apac Municipality
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Introduction: This study examined the lived experiences of women on ART; A case study of Apac general hospital and it had four specific objectives; 1) To determine the socio-demographic determinants of ART uptake among women in Apac general hospital; 2) To identify the barriers to the antiretroviral therapy (ART) uptake among women in Apac general hospital; 3) To identify the support systems in existence for women on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Apac general hospital; 4) To determine how the support systems shape new experiences of women living on ART in Apac hospital. Methodology: The study adopted a cross sectional design using qualitative methods which included in depth interviews, key informant interviews and document reviews. Data was analyzed thematically guided by the study objectives. Findings: The study revealed that women at APAC general hospital on ART have some level of good adherence and are on drugs for two and three months. Most of the women have no means of transport so they walk or use bicycles to the facility. Age marital status and education level all influence adherence among women with other barriers such as financial constraints, patient related factors, gender-based violence and unprofessionalism of the hospital staff. Support systems such as family and social network and health facility provide psychological, psychosocial, material support and other supports. These enable these women to cope with issues such as stigma and discrimination and also loss of self-esteem. Recommendations: Provision of food supplements and nutritional support to vulnerable groups such as women for instance widows, single mothers and women with disabilities as they may not be in position to acquire such. Interventions aimed at addressing stigma by raising awareness and acceptance of the women living positively to reduce anxiety and worry towards accessing ART services at the hospital would also be of help.