Adherence to HIV/AIDS antiretroviral therapy among drug users: A qualitative study in Iran
Zahra Hosseini1, Hasan Eftkhar1, Saharnaz Nedjat2, Abbas Ebadi3, Ladan Abbasian4, Fereshte Zamani5, Teamur Aghamollaei6, Davood Shojaeizade1
1 Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4 Iranian Research Center of HIV/AIDS, Iranian Institute for Reduction of High-Risk Behaviors, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
5 Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
6 Department of Public Health, Social Determinants on Health Promotion Research center , Health School, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran
Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: The introduction of antiretroviral therapy has caused a remarkable decrease in the occurrence of diseases and mortality among HIV-positive patients, while this success has not been achieved among injection addicts due to a low adherence to antiretroviral medicine. This study aims at clarifying the important factors affecting adherence to treatment in addicts suffering from HIV.
Materials and Methods: In this qualitative research, data were gathered through in-depth interviews and field notes, and were interpreted through content analysis in the form of constant comparison. The participants were 16 drug addicts living with HIV/AIDS. Most of them had records of imprisonment and were receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) drug treatments in the AIDS center of Imam Khomeini Hospital complex, affiliated to Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Sampling was started in a purposive method and was continued until data were saturated.
Results: Four main categories including psychological reactions, contradictory beliefs, perceived support, and individual and environmental barriers were extracted from the data, each having some sub-categories.
Conclusions: The obtained results indicated that adherence to the treatment of HIV is not constant and mono-dimensional, but is a function of different factors. Hence, an individual having feeble adherence in a specific time and under specific circumstances may show desirable adherence under a different circumstance. Thus, treatment of addicts living with HIV/AIDS requires physical, psychological, and social attention along with drug treatments.