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BMC Infect Dis. 2013 Aug 30;13:401. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-401.

Prevalence and determinants of adherence to HAART amongst PLHIV in a tertiary health facility in south-south Nigeria.

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Department of Community Medicine, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Cross river state, Nigeria.



Adherence to Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is a major predictor of the success of HIV/AIDS treatment. Good adherence to HAART is necessary to achieve the best virologic response, lower the risk of drug resistance and reduce morbidity and mortality. This study therefore aimed to determine the prevalence and determinants of adherence to HAART amongst PLHIV accessing treatment in a tertiary location in Cross River State, Nigeria.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among patients on HAART attending the Presidential Emergency plan for AIDS relief (PEPFAR) clinic of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital between October-December 2011. A total of 411 PLHIV visiting the study site during the study period were interviewed. PLHIV who met the inclusion criteria were consecutively recruited into the study till the desired sample size was attained. Information was obtained from participants using a semi-structured, pretested, interviewer administered questionnaire. Adherence was measured via patients self report and were termed adherent if they took at least 95% of prescribed medication in the previous week prior to the study. Data were summarized using proportions, and χ2 test was used to explore associations between categorical variables. Predictors of adherence to HAART were determined by binary logistic regression. Level of significance was set at p < 0.05.


The mean age of PLHIV who accessed treatment was 35.7 ± 9.32 years. Females constituted 68.6% of all participants. The self reported adherence rate based on a one week recall prior to the study was 59.9%. The major reasons cited by respondents for skipping doses were operating a busy schedule, simply forgot medications, felt depressed, and travelling out of town. On logistic regression analysis, perceived improved health status [OR 3.11; CI: 1.58-6.11], reduced pill load [OR 1.25; 95% CI: 0.46-2.72] and non-use of herbal remedies [OR 1.83; 95% CI: 1.22-2.72] were the major predictors for adherence to HAART. However, payment for ART services significantly decreased the likelihood of adherence to HAART. [OR 0.46; 95% CI: 0.25-0.87.].


The adherence rate reported in this study was quite low. Appropriate adherence enhancing intervention strategies targeted at reducing pill load and ensuring an uninterrupted access to free services regimen is strongly recommended.

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