Introduction The MoH of Mozambique pledged to eliminate vertical transmission, reduce sexual transmission by 50% and increase antiretroviral therapy coverage up to 80%. To achieve these goals, it is essential that PLHIV must access HIV care services in a timely manner. However, HIV-infected persons in Mozambique are continuously accessing care and treatment services at an advanced stage of the disease. The goal was to determine barriers and facilitators to timely enrollment in HIV care and treatment, regardless of the disease stage.
Methods In-depth interviews were conducted to 90 newly diagnosed HIV-positive patients in one health facility in Maputo City and two urban and rural health facilities in Zambézia province. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and translated prior to analysis.
Results Long distances to the health facility, long waiting time, lack of access to transport, lack of money, and side-effects were the most frequently barriers to timely enrollment in HIV care and treatment. One of the facilitators for the timely enrollment of patients in the care and treatment of HIV is related to the fact that enrollment’s process in HIV care happens the next day after the test completion. Family support associated with the basic knowledge related to HIV was mentioned as one of the main factors that led to an early onset of ART therapy. While some patients reported that the sensation of feeling good while doing the medication is one of the factors that most also contributes to ART therapy adherence, others showed to feel motivated for the treatment due to the encouragement given by their social networking.
Conclusion Adherence to treatment is influenced by the desire of feeling healthy. Our results suggest that one of the major facilitators for a timely enrollment of patients in care services and treatment of HIV is the flexibility process of enrollment in HIV care at health facilities. Side-effects are the most frequently barriers to timely enrollment in HIV care and treatment. Health providers should explain the side effects and how to handle these.