Objectives: HIV and AIDS remain highly stigmatized and it has been frequently cited as as one of the reasons for non-adherence in the industrialized world but little is known about the situation in resource limited settings like Ethiopia. The aim of this research was to explore the relationship between perceived HIV stigma and ART adherence in HIV positive individuals taking ART at university of Gondar referral hospital, northwest Ethiopia. Methods: A one year repeated measures cohort study was employed at university of Gondar referral hospital ART clinic, northwest Ethiopia. Participants completed a series of questionaires including Berger's HIV stigma scale and CASE adherance index. Data were collected from 1019 HIV-positive individuals at three times between May 2014 and July 2015. During the study period, only 548 were taking ARVs and are included in this analysis. Results: There was a significant relationship between perceived HIV stigma and ART adherance (t = 6.01, p <= 0.001). Individuals who were found to be non- adherent also reported higher levels of perceived HIV stigma. Those individuals who adhere to their ART medications demonstrate a decreased level of stigma over time (t = -4.14, p <= 0.001). While those who reported increased symptom intensity also reported increased stigma initially (t = 8.56, p <= 0.001) that remained high over time. Conclusions: We found that HIV-related stigma negatively affects partients' abilities to successfully adhere to ART. Interventions to reduce HIV realted stigma should target multiple influencing factors including familly and social support in order to have a better improvement in ART adherence.
Erku, dA, Mekuria, A., & Gebresillassie, bM. (2016). Perceived Hiv Stigma as a Barrier to Sustained Art Adherence in North West Ethiopia: A Cohort Study. Value in Health, 19(3), A219. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jval.2016.03.1179