Factors affecting adherence to HIV antiretroviral therapy among adolescents in Buhimba Sub-County, Hoima District
Lamunu, Maureen Sheila
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This research was majorly carried out in order to assess the different factors that limit adherence to ART among adolescents in Buhimba SubCounty, Hoima district. The findings from the study were acquired with the help of 70 participants that resided in the study area. They included; adolescent ART users, some of their care givers, health workers, counselors and community members. Data was collected from them through focus group discussions and key informant interviews not forgetting observations and consultations. The data that was collected was qualitatively analyzed where the views and information provided was organized in themes and quotes made. With the results acquired, it was found that stigma and discrimination, poverty and low income, culture and religion, side effects, fear of drug dependency and limited social support are the major factors that limit adherence to ART among adolescents in Buhimba SubCounty, Hoima district. Many adolescents were discriminated at school and at home which made them feel bad about the fact that they were HIV positive thus not taking their medicines consistently. Others reported about how they had been abandoned by their parents because of their status and for those who weren't, limited care and attention was given to them. Also, others resorted to believing in God for healing instead of medicine or traditional healers. All these factors together with low incomes available to incur extra costs in acquiring ART, fear of depending on the drugs all their lives were noted and the structural challenges experienced while acquiring drugs at the health facilities. From the findings that were acquired, recommendations were made which include; initiating follow up visits to patients, training more professional health workers and recruiting more, empowering caregivers and adolescents to start income generating projects, sensitizing masses to reduce stigma and also strengthening home based care. Areas for further study were also identified ix such as conducting comparative studies in other parts of the country, studies on other factors that limit adherence like alcohol and drug abuse plus approaches of other institutions available to encourage adolescents adhere to their medicine.