Journal of
AIDS and HIV Research

  • Abbreviation: J. AIDS HIV Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2359
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAHR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 283

Full Length Research Paper

Patient retention on anti-retroviral therapy (ART): Experience of treatment centres (TCs) in Yaounde, Cameroon

Denis Mbako Jato
  • Denis Mbako Jato
  • Integrated Health for All Foundation (IHAF), Yaounde - Cameroon, P. O. Box 31717, Biyem-Assi, Yaounde, Cameroon.
  • Google Scholar
Ernest Shey Budi
  • Ernest Shey Budi
  • Integrated Health for All Foundation (IHAF), Yaounde - Cameroon, P. O. Box 31717, Biyem-Assi, Yaounde, Cameroon.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 14 August 2020
  •  Accepted: 20 January 2021
  •  Published: 28 February 2021

Abstract

Despite the achievements of Anti-retroviral Treatment (ART) scale-up programmes for HIV/AIDS, retention remains a challenge. Achievements of the “90-90-90” HIV targets for the sustainable development goals hinges on adherence. Despite the importance of indefinite retention of patients in care, 33% of HIV patients in Cameroon are still lost-to-follow-up, thereby compromising scale-up initiatives. This study analyses data of patients on ART in Treatment Centres (TCs) and the associated loss-to-follow-up factors and proposes measures to address them. This research was a retrospective analysis of data from selected HIV/AIDS TCs. After obtaining consent, questionnaires were filled by participating TCs. Collected data were analysed using SPSS and figures were expressed as bar charts, and histograms. Five out of seven TCs participated, giving a participation rate of 71.4%. Of the 12,165 patients, 11,852 (97.4%) were adults (28.0% males and 69.4% females) while 313 (2.6%) were children. A total of 232 (1.9%) were lost-to-follow-up and 38 died within six to twelve months. Possible causes of loss-to-follow-up included poor treatment and adherence counselling, ignorance, stigmatisation, financial hardship and traditional and religious beliefs. All TCs reported transfer into and out of their centre, caused by distance, nature of job, and overcrowding. Concerns of attrition rates throughout the continuum of care from diagnosis to long-term retention are corroborated by other studies. Such attrition compromises gains from ART scale-up, leading to poorer health outcomes and wastage of limited resources. Therefore, instituting sustained counselling and education services, addressing social determinants and building on social support factors provide measures to improve retention

Key words: Retention, anti-retroviral therapy, treatment, loss-to-follow-up.