ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Barriers to Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence

Strict adherence to treatment is critical for the effective management of HIV. Research suggests that adherence to treatment should be greater than 95% for maximum benefit from antiretroviral therapy. However, observation at one of India’s 355 ART centres identified several barriers to adherence, including shortage of drugs and CD4 test kits.

The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) initiated free anti­retroviral therapy (ART) services in India in 2004 under the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP). According to NACO (2015), 355 ART centres functioned across the country. ART centres are assigned four major functions—medical, psychological, social and programmatic (NACO 2012). This article discusses the functions of ART centres and barriers to adherence to treatment, presenting observations made in the course of a research study for which the first author made regular visits to an ART centre1 over almost a year.

Adherence is the ability of a patient to follow a treatment regimen and the practitioner’s instructions carefully. Adherence to medication means that a person has to take the prescribed pills and follow a consistent schedule and dietary advice (WHO 2003). People living with HIV (PLWH) need sustainable adherence in order to suppress the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and maintain immunity of the body. Strict adherence to treatment can help PLWH manage their illness effectively. Adherence to medication is recommended for management of chronic illness (Dunbar-Jacob and Mortimer-Stephens 2001), and adherence to ART has considerably decreased the mortality and morbidity rate worldwide (Turner 2012).

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Updated On : 25th Jun, 2020

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