Introduction The Ministry of Health 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 HIV-infected persons must access HIV care services in a timely manner. The objective of this study was to explore reasons why patients with positive diagnosis do not adhere to services and care of HIV, regardless of the disease stage.
Methods Semi-structured qualitative 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 the province of Zambézia. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and translated prior to analysis.
Results According with patients, having knowledge about concepts of health, disease and HIV was seen both as a facilitator of ART therapy adherence by them, as it allows a better understanding of benefits of HIV treatment and consequences of non-compliance. Most of the interviewed showed basic knowledge about HIV (concept, ways of transmission, advantages and disadvantages of ART therapy). Patients who demonstrated basic knowledge about HIV underlined the importance of taking medication to stay healthy. Many of patients interviewed were not registered in HIV care program and were not enrolled into ART therapy 45 days after being diagnosed as HIV positive.
Conclusion HIV-related knowledge is a key facilitator that contributes strongly to access improvement. Our results show that both the knowledge on HIV concept, HIV status and the notions of ”sick” or ”healthy” are crucial for adherence to treatment.
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