Author(s): Lifson AR, Demissie W, Tadesse A, Ketema K, May R,
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Abstract Inability to retain HIV-infected patients in care undermines the benefits of starting millions in low-income countries on antiretroviral therapy (ART). In a hospital HIV clinic in rural southern Ethiopia, we conducted focus groups of HIV-infected men and women to learn more about experiences with and barriers to attending clinic appointments. Respondents reported multiple barriers, including those that were patient related (eg, misunderstandings about ART, mistaken belief in AIDS cures, and drug/alcohol use), clinic related (eg, negative provider interactions, lack of familiarity with patients' medical situation, and overcrowding), medication related (eg, side effects), social (eg, stigma and discrimination and lack of support), and situational/resource related (eg, distance to clinic, lack of funds, competing domestic/work priorities, and lack of food). Based on the lessons learned from these focus groups, we implemented a community intervention to improve retention, using trained community support workers who provide patient education, counseling, social support, problem-solving assistance, needed referrals, and improved communication/linkage to the patients' HIV clinic.
This article was published in J Int Assoc Provid AIDS Care
and referenced in Journal of Pharmacological Reports