Barriers and facilitators of adherence to antiretroviral treatment at a public health facility in Ghana: a mixed method study

Israel Abebrese Sefah*, Frederick Mensah, Amanj Kurdi, Brian Godman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: HIV/AIDS is a disease of global public health concern with high morbidity and mortality rates. Poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) increases the risk of viral drug resistance and reduces treatment effectiveness toward viral suppression leading to disease progression, greater risk of death, and increased risk of viral transmission. The study sought to assess current adherence levels to ART among patients in Ghana, exploring barriers and enablers of adherence to it, to provide future guidance to all key stakeholder groups. Method: A mixed method approach was used comprising a cross-sectional survey of patients followed by a focused group discussion with patients and an in-depth interview of four key health professionals working in the ART clinic of Atua Government Hospital, a primary care health facility in the Eastern Region of Ghana. A structured questionnaire was used to assess current adherence levels and their determinants among 231 randomly selected patients attending the clinic between July to September, 2019. Quantitative data were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate methods while qualitative data were analyzed using thematic framework approach. Results: Adherence levels were found to be 42.9% among our study population. Lower adherence to ART was associated with patients’ belief in herbal medicine (aOR = 0.34 CI: 0.19–0.61). Other barriers identified from the qualitative analysis included low motivation arising from pill fatigue, forgetfulness, frequent stock out of medicines, long waiting times, and worrying side-effects; while enablers, on the other hand, included measures that ensure improved assessment of adherence and health facility-related activities that improve patient satisfaction with ART services. Conclusion: Adherence to ART among patients living with HIV was suboptimal in our study population. Understanding of the barriers and factors that enable adherence to ART is a key step to developing evidence-based adherence improvement strategies to enhance clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
JournalHospital Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • adherence
  • viral suppression
  • viral transmission


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