Objective The rapid scale up of antiretroviral treatment (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has resulted in an increased focus on patient adherence. Non-adherence can lead to drug-resistant HIV caused by failure to achieve maximal viral suppression. Optimal treatment requires the identification of patients at high risk of suboptimal adherence and targeted interventions. The aim of this review was to identify and summarise determinants of adherence to ART among HIV-positive adults.
Design Systematic review of adherence to ART in SSA from January 2002 to October 2014.
Methods A systematic search was performed in 6 databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Web of Science, Popline, Global Health Library) for qualitative and quantitative articles. Risk of bias was assessed. A meta-analysis was conducted for pooled estimates of effect size on adherence determinants.
Results Of the 4052 articles screened, 146 were included for final analysis, reporting on determinants of 161 922 HIV patients with an average adherence score of 72.9%. Main determinants of non-adherence were use of alcohol, male gender, use of traditional/herbal medicine, dissatisfaction with healthcare facility and healthcare workers, depression, discrimination and stigmatisation, and poor social support. Promoters of adherence included counselling and education interventions, memory aids, and active disclosure among people living with HIV. Determinants of health status had conflicting influence on adherence.
Conclusions The sociodemographic, psychosocial, health status, treatment-related and intervention-related determinants are interlinked and contribute to optimal adherence. Clinics providing ART in SSA should therefore design targeted interventions addressing these determinants to optimise health outcomes.
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Handling editor Seye Abimbola
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement No additional data are available.
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