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BMC Pediatr. 2008 Dec 6;8:53. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-8-53.

Adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy and its correlates among HIV infected pediatric patients in Ethiopia.

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  • 1Fayyaa Integrated Development Association-NCMI, PEPFAR-New Partners Initiative, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. sibhatu2005@yahoo.com



The introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has resulted in striking reductions in HIV-related mortality. Despite increased availability of ART, children remain a neglected population. This may be due to concerns that failure to adhere appears to be related to continued viral replication, treatment failure and the emergence of drug-resistant strains of HIV. This study determines the rates and factors associated with adherence to Antiretroviral (ARV) Drug therapy in HIV-infected children who were receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2008.


A cross-sectional study was conducted in five hospitals in Addis Ababa from February 18 - April 28, 2008. The study population entailed parents/caretaker and index children who were following ART in the health facilities. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection.


A total of 390 children respondents were included in the study with a response rate of 91%. The majority, equaling 205 (52.6%) of the children, were greater than 9 years of age. Fifty five percent of the children were girls. A total of 339 children (86.9%) as reported by caregivers were adherent to antiretroviral drugs for the past 7 days before the interview. Numerous variables were found to be significantly associated with adherence: children whose parents did not pay a fee for treatment [OR = 0.39 (95%CI: 0.16, 0.92)], children who had ever received any nutritional support from the clinic [OR = 0.34 (95%CI: 0.14, 0.79)] were less likely to adhere. Whereas children who took co-trimoxazole medication/syrup besides ARVs [OR = 3.65 (95%CI: 1.24, 10.74)], children who did not know their sero-status [OR = 2.53 (95%CI: 1.24, 5.19)] and children who were not aware of their caregiver's health problem [OR = 2.45 (95%CI: 1.25, 4.81)] were more likely to adhere than their counterparts.


Adherence to HAART in children in Addis Ababa was higher than other similar set-ups. However, there are still significant numbers of children who are non-adherent to HAART.

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