Indian Journal of Dermatology
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 378-385

Barriers for Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence and Viral Suppression in Members of the Key Population in Mumbai, India: Implications for Interventions


1 Mumbai Districts AIDS Control Society, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 LINKAGES, FHI360, Delhi, India
3 Consultant Dermatologist and Epidemiologist, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Maninder Singh Setia
Dermatology and Epidemiology, Consultant Dermatologist and Epidemiologist, Mumbai
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijd.IJD_640_20

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Background: Poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is associated with poor virologic control and drug resistance in people living with HIV/AIDS. Some barriers to ART adherence are cost, lack of information, stigma, or dissatisfaction with health services. Aims and Objectives: To study the association between barriers for ART adherence and viral suppression, and explore the role of "missing ART dose" as a potential mediator in high-risk groups. Materials and Methods: Demographic, clinical, and behavioral data from 50 "virally suppressed" (viral load [VL] <1000 copies/ml) and 48 "not suppressed" (VL > 1000 copies/ml) individuals belonging to the key population in Mumbai were collected. Sociodemographic, behavioral, and other characteristics were compared, and mediation analysis was used to identify the mediator in the pathway to viral suppression. Results: Those who had missed their ART at least once in the past three months (37% versus 60%, P = 0.03) and stayed alone were less likely to be virally suppressed (31% versus 69%, P = 0.002). Individuals who had negative perception about ART (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 0.11, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.02, 0.47; P = 0.002), poor ART-related knowledge/behaviors (aOR: 0.14, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.60; P = 0.007), and poor pill taking practices (aOR: 0.10, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.61; P = 0.01) were significantly less likely to be virally suppressed. The mediation pathway "adherence theme > missed ART in the past three months > viral suppression" was significant in these themes. Conclusions: The factors associated with low viral suppression were knowledge/behaviors, perceptions about ART, and poor pill taking practices. Thus, it is important to provide correct information about ART, its effects, side effects, and potential limitations to marginalized population. Involving brothel keepers and Gurus (head of male-to-female transgendered people/Hijras clans), and technology enabled customized counseling sessions will be helpful.


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