Factors Influencing Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy among HIV Infected Patients in Nyamagana-Mwanza, Northern Tanzania: A Cross Sectional Study

Samuel Edward Kahema1,2, Maseke Richard Mgabo1,3, Basiliana Emidi1,4, Geofrey Nimrod Sigalla1,5 and Debora Charles Kajeguka1 1Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, Moshi, Tanzania 2Kampala International University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 3Institute of Rural Development Planning, Dodoma, Tanzania 4National Institute for Medical Research, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 5Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Arusha, Tanzania
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High level of Antiretroviral Therapy adherence among HIV infected patients contributes to better treatments outcome and has additional importance in preventing the development of drug resistance. It also improves the quality of life and makes the patient live longer and healthier. The objective of the study was to determine level of adherence as well as factors influencing adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV infected patients in Nyamagana district, Mwanza, Tanzania.


A cross sectional study was conducted in Nyamagana district, Mwanza among HIV infected patients aged 15 years and above who attended Care and treatment Clinics. Systematic sampling method was employed to obtain a total of 206 patients. Face to face interviews were conducted using structured questionnaire.


The overall adherence was 54.9% (113) while 98.1% (202) had good knowledge score on antiretroviral therapy adherence. Participants who had primary level of education had 66% lesser odds of reporting poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy when compared with those who had secondary education [Adj OR 0.44 (95% CI 0.22-0.91)]. Participants who reported to have experienced stigma or those who did not disclose their HIV status had a 2.16 times higher odds of adhering poorly to antiretroviral therapy than their counterparts; who did not report being stigmatized and those reporting to have disclosed their HIV status [Ad.j OR 2.16 (95% CI 1.17-4.01)].


Antiretroviral Therapy adherence was low among clients attending Care and Treatment despite participants having high knowledge on antiretroviral therapy. Adherence counseling and education should be provided to all patients before initiation of antiretroviral therapy in order to enhance adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy. Strategies to increase disclosure of HIV status to treatment supporters, who in turn supports clients to adhere to antiretroviral therapy are recommended. Interventions to reduce stigma to people living with HIV/AIDS are of importance in increasing adherence to antiretroviral therapy, both at community level and among people living with HIV/AIDS.