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Adherence to ART can be defined as the extent to which the behaviors of a client coincides with the systematic health care prescribed by an health officer as agreed after a conclusive decision-making between the health officer and the client, (KITSO Manual, 2004). Adherence can also be explained as the use of the prescribed medical procedure or measure at the right dosing and constant frequency. The frequency and right dosing can be monitored through, the number of pills taken, for instance, and a chart of sun and moon. This will help the healthcare provider to know whether the client is 100% adherence or is at suboptimal adherence.
Importance of Treatment Adherence in HIV
Treatment adherence in HIV helps the healthcare provider to monitor how the client is responding to the healthcare regimes prescribed in the hospital. The healthcare provider can be able to provide an alternative regime if in case the client does not respond as expected. With this type of treatment, the health officer can again ensure that the client is taking the right doses as advised and at required frequencies in a day. This is obtained through; checking the number of pills the client takes and using ‘sun and moon chart’. This measure provides clinical benefit to the treated clients as it gives them a control over their status. The individual can take care of himself by taking the right dosage of the ARVs and maintaining the required health conditions like taking the required meals and taking measures that can help improve his health. It again prevents the transmission of the disease from the infected persons to their uninfected partners, through sex or any other action that is vulnerable to the transmission of the virus.
Factors that Reduce Adherence
Most of the patients under ART therapy may not comply with the measures that the healthcare provider might prescribe to them. Some of these critical factors may include:
- Patient factors which may include, drug use, sex, age, or even ethnicity. These factors influence adherence from the patient perspective. For instance, when the patient use hard drugs, he might fail to comply with the medical regime prescribed by the doctor, this can be, missing to take the drugs or even failing to take them regularly. This might result to side effects being experienced.
- Medication regime, this comprises of the food requirements, dosing complexity and the number of pills to be taken. The regime should be clear and distinctive to ensure that the client maintains the required frequencies and right food.
- The relationship between the healthcare provider and the patient, this is very crucial, as it will be the determinant of the outcome after the therapy. The healthcare provider should maintain a good relationship with the patient to ensure that he take the prescriptions and advises positively to effect an effective outcome.
- Lastly, the laid strategies of care are another factor that might influence the adherence to treatment. The system used by the healthcare officers should not be complex and difficult to apply.
The term virally suppressed refers to the condition when a virus has been literally limited or taken under control so that its spread and effects are reduced. This can be done through prevention of the virus or boosting the immune of the victim to reduce its viral load to levels that it cannot be contagious.
On the other hand viral load suppression refers to the percentage of individuals on ART who have undergone the process of viral suppression and have been successful with the process.
Disparities have arisen in the event of achieving and sustaining viral suppression. It exists depending on race, age, conditions related to co-morbidity, and the risks associated with HIV transmission. For instance, the blacks are unlikely to have sustained viral suppression as compared to other races. This unlikely nature was also seen in the prenatally infected victims.
In conclusion, antiretroviral therapy is an important measure that have aided in sustaining and suppressing the HIV virus among the infected victims. This measure should be embraced in all contagious diseases to control their spread and therefore bringing them under control.
- MS Cohen, YQ Chen , & M. McCauley (2011). Prevention of HIV-1 Infection with Early Antiretroviral Therapy. N Engl J Med.
- H Bradley, HI Hall, & RJ Wolitski (2011). Vital signs: HIV Diagnosis, Care, and Treatment Among Persons Living with HIV-United States, MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014;63:1113-7.