Background Prompt linkage to care, retention in care and adherence to medication are important in achieving the WHO’s 90–90–90 treatment target. Achieving these targets is important for treatment and prevention of new infections. We sought to establish the time to linkage to care, retention in care and adherence to HIV medications in a cohort of people testing HIV positive in the fishing communities on Lake Victoria.
Methods We conducted a 2-year resurvey of 128 participants who had tested HIV positive in a previous study. These participants were asked to return to the study clinic to participate in a follow-up study. Returning participants were consented and invited for a face-to-face interview on enrolment into HIV care, time to enrolment, retention in care and adherence to HIV care instructions. We mainly used descriptive statistics to analyse the data.
Results Of 128 participants, 47.7% were female and half were aged 33.5 (IQR, 29–38.7) with a median monthly income of $66 (IQR, 33–99). Eighty three percent had enrolled in HIV care within a median of 20 days (IQR, 7–60) after testing HIV positive. Women were more likely to enrol in care compared to men (91.8% vs 74.6%; p = 0.011) but no significant difference in time taken to enrol in care. Over 38% of the participants had ever missed their clinic appointments since they first enrolled into care with half having missed 2 appointments (IQR, 1–3.5) in the preceding 12 months. Similarly, 26% had ever missed taking medications as prescribed with half having missed twice (IQR, 1–8.5) in the preceding 12 months. The most common reason cited for both missing clinic appointments and taking medications prescribed was travelling away from home.
Conclusion The numbers enrolled into care falls below the expected 90% to achieve 90–90–90 treatment target by WHO. More innovative ways need to be developed to achieve these targets.
Disclosure of interest statement This research was supported by a grant from the Consortium for National Health Research. No pharmaceutical grants were received in the development of this study.
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