Medication Adherence for HIV Patients in Sub Saharan Africa
Medication Adherence for HIV Patients in Sub-Saharan Africa
HIV is common among all continents in the world and Africa is not an exception. With antiretroviral drugs, it has become relatively easy to manage this viral infection in the paper. Another picture is painted when research is done as it reveals that adherence to the medication is a big issue in sub-Saharan Africa. Various researches have been carried out to figure out why patients don’t take medication as required. Research conducted in the past three years indicates that medication adherence of HIV patients in sub-Saharan Africa is below average. The prominent issue in all the studies has been the fact that patients feel stigmatized and fear their condition is known to other people and they neglect routine checkups and medication those would make them suspicious. Education and training by participatory approaches in the community is a great way of reducing stigma and achieving quality care improvement. Therefore, the focus of this study will be to ascertain the level of HIV medication adherence among patients in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Keywords: HIV, Sub-Saharan Africa, antiretroviral drugs, adherence, medication, stigma
Medication Adherence of HIV Patients in Sub-Saharan Africa
The medication adherence of HIV patients in sub-Saharan Africa is below average according to research done in Lesotho, Kenya, and Uganda in the last three years. Fifty-five percent of the population living with HIV is the only under antiretroviral care consistently (Akenroye, 2013). Various studies have been carried out to identify why others don’t take antiretroviral drugs whereas they are free and quite acceptable. Some reasons were concluded with shame and stigma is the first reason in all the studies. Education and community participation would be appropriate to ensure that the level of adherence increases. Communities still believe that HIV is a deadly disease and those who contract it are viewed as prostitutes (Tadele & Amde, 2013). This is not the case as research shows that sexual interaction is just one of the ways of contracting the virus. Education is thus very important in convincing the society to accept those with the virus not as outcasts who should be ashamed of themselves but like equal human beings with the right to life and needs to be loved and cared for.
Many patients reported that they lost a lot of friends and family after disclosing their HIV status while seeking consolation. Many of them ended up with suicidal thoughts as they felt like lesser people who could contribute nothing to society. Community participation in helping those who are affected can only be achieved if the necessary knowledge lies in the community. Training methods in these countries include seminars, informative talks with area leaders, volunteering in hospitals, health education for children from a young age, monitoring and evaluation templates, updated health booklets, assurance of private information safety and a positive life outlook. Participation and awareness programs have proven to be effective in community mobilization, but although they are very effective, they are very time-consuming. Facilitators may have a hard time cracking the staunch beliefs and fear that most people have about the virus. Good project management skills are needed to ensure that facilitators take their time to connect with the locals to bring the desired changes. Normally, African communities are very cohesive and believe in hospitality and communalism. Participatory training is, therefore, a good method of increasing reception of antiretroviral drugs. With this approach the expected outcomes include;
1. Increased awareness of HIV in the region, consistency in the administration of antiretroviral diseases, more testing among the population and reduced transmission of HIV. By use of seminars and health booklets, the society with learning about the structure, transmission, and preventive measures they may not have known. The assumption is that there would not be a language barrier.
2. Adherence to ARVs would also be more likely since people will have known the importance of consistency. Monitoring and evaluation would, therefore, be up to date helping in the overall care of patients. The assumption is that all those who attend training would actualize their newly acquired knowledge.
3. There would be increased testing and acceptance of those living with HIV when children are taught at a young age (Mgomezulu & Kruger, 2011).
Education and training programs would ensure quality care improvement which is at the core of every medical profession (Vachirasudlekha, Cha, Berkowitz, & Shah, 2014). Quality care requires full knowledge of a patient, and there is no better way than allowing patients to interact personally with their medical providers. Eradication of fear and stigma is the biggest step towards holistic care at all levels of life and now specifically to sub –Sahara Africa.
Akenroye, A. (2013). The ECOWAS regional framework on HIV/AIDS and the military in West Africa. HIV/AIDS and the Security Sector in Africa, 45-61. doi:10.18356/a72b920d-en
Tadele, G., & Amde, W. (2013). Contextualizing HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. Vulnerabilities, Impacts, and Responses to HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. doi:10.1057/9781137009951.0008
Mgomezulu, V., & Kruger, A. (2011). Enhancing school HIV and AIDS strategic plan through expanded stakeholder involvement. Africa Education Review, 8(2), 247-266. doi:10.1080/18146627.2011.602835
Vachirasudlekha, B., Cha, A., Berkowitz, L., & Shah, B. (2014). Interdisciplinary HIV care – patient perceptions. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 27(5), 405-413. doi:10.1108/ijhcqa-01-2013-0007
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