Archive \ Volume.10 2019 Issue 4

A qualitative evaluation of patients understanding, expectations and experiences with HIV/AIDS treatment

Syed Imran Ahmed , Syed Azhar Syed Sulaiman , Mohammad Azmi Hassali , Maryam Farooqui , Kaeshaelya Thiruchelvam , Christopher KC Lee

Background: Treatment understanding and experiences are vital to determine HIV patients’ adherence and retention to care. Methods: In-depth patient interviews were audio-recorded, with a prior verbal and written consent and subjected to a thematic content analysis framework for data analysis. Results: Though majority of participants believed in Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) as the most effective way of treatment, they were greatly worried about its toxicities. Disease understanding and peer influence were regarded as the main reasons for treatment initiation; whereas, perceived side effects and lack of support system were among the main reasons associated with treatment delay. Almost all the patients experienced toxicities due to ARTs and viewed it negatively impacting their quality of life. Conclusion: It is vital for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) to be retained in care; hence, the provision of optimal care with greater support to overcome treatment challenges must be focused in any HIV program.