Antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in the north of Vietnam : a multi-method approach

Do, Hoa Mai (2011) Antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in the north of Vietnam : a multi-method approach. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The antiretroviral therapy (ART) program for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in Vietnam has been scaled up rapidly in recent years (from 50 clients in 2003 to almost 38,000 in 2009). ART success is highly dependent on the ability of the patients to fully adhere to the prescribed treatment regimen. Despite the remarkable extension of ART programs in Vietnam, HIV/AIDS program managers still have little reliable data on levels of ART adherence and factors that might promote or reduce adherence. Several previous studies in Vietnam estimated extremely high levels of ART adherence among their samples, although there are reasons to question the veracity of the conclusion that adherence is nearly perfect. Further, no study has quantitatively assessed the factors influencing ART adherence. In order to reduce these gaps, this study was designed to include several phases and used a multi-method approach to examine levels of ART non-adherence and its relationship to a range of demographic, clinical, social and psychological factors. The study began with an exploratory qualitative phase employing four focus group discussions and 30 in-depth interviews with PLHIV, peer educators, carers and health care providers (HCPs). Survey interviews were completed with 615 PLHIV in five rural and urban out-patient clinics in northern Vietnam using an Audio Computer Assisted Self-Interview (ACASI) and clinical records extraction. The survey instrument was carefully developed through a systematic procedure to ensure its reliability and validity. Cultural appropriateness was considered in the design and implementation of both the qualitative study and the cross sectional survey. The qualitative study uncovered several contrary perceptions between health care providers and HIV/AIDS patients regarding the true levels of ART adherence. Health care providers often stated that most of their patients closely adhered to their regimens, while PLHIV and their peers reported that “it is not easy” to do so. The quantitative survey findings supported the PLHIV and their peers’ point of view in the qualitative study, because non-adherence to ART was relatively common among the study sample. Using the ACASI technique, the estimated prevalence of onemonth non-adherence measured by the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) was 24.9% and the prevalence of four-day not-on-time-adherence using the modified Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group (AACTG) instrument was 29%. Observed agreement between the two measures was 84% and kappa coefficient was 0.60 (SE=0.04 and p<0.0001). The good agreement between the two measures in the current study is consistent with those found in previous research and provides evidence of cross-validation of the estimated adherence levels. The qualitative study was also valuable in suggesting important variables for the survey conceptual framework and instrument development. The survey confirmed significant correlations between two measures of ART adherence (i.e. dose adherence and time adherence) and many factors identified in the qualitative study, but failed to find evidence of significant correlations of some other factors and ART adherence. Non-adherence to ART was significantly associated with untreated depression, heavy alcohol use, illicit drug use, experiences with medication side-effects, chance health locus of control, low quality of information from HCPs, low satisfaction with received support and poor social connectedness. No multivariate association was observed between ART adherence and age, gender, education, duration of ART, the use of adherence aids, disclosure of ART, patients’ ability to initiate communication with HCPs or distance between clinic and patients’ residence. This is the largest study yet reported in Asia to examine non-adherence to ART and its possible determinants. The evidence strongly supports recent calls from other developing nations for HIV/AIDS services to provide screening, counseling and treatment for patients with depressive symptoms, heavy use of alcohol and substance use. Counseling should also address fatalistic beliefs about chance or luck determining health outcomes. The data suggest that adherence could be enhanced by regularly providing information on ART and assisting patients to maintain social connectedness with their family and the community. This study highlights the benefits of using a multi-method approach in examining complex barriers and facilitators of medication adherence. It also demonstrated the utility of the ACASI interview method to enhance open disclosure by people living with HIV/AIDS and thus, increase the veracity of self-reported data.

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ID Code: 45756
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Dunne, Michael & FitzGerald, Gerard
Keywords: HIV/AIDS, antiretroviral therapy, antiretroviral therapy adherence, antiretroviral, people living with HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS patient, multi-method/mixed method, audio computer-assisted self-interview, Viet Nam, level, prevalence, factors, correlates
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 07 Sep 2011 00:03
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:45

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