MPhil study projects

The role of adherence clubs to enhance viral suppression and retention in HIV care in the management of stable patients on treatment in Bloemfontein, South Africa

Student: Calvin Kwashirayi

Country: Zimbabwe

South Africa bears the highest global burden of HIV/Aids, with approximately 8 million individuals affected at the time of study and a 66% coverage of antiretroviral treatment. A significant challenge faced by antiretroviral programmes is the inadequate retention of patients in healthcare facilities nationwide.

This study investigated the efficacy of adherence clubs (ACs) in improving viral suppression and retention among stable patients receiving antiretroviral treatment in Bloemfontein. Conducted retrospectively at Gateway clinic, a quantitative analysis of 104 patient records assessed attendance, viral load and retention indicators. Independent variables included enrolment in ACs or facility-based primary care, while attendance, loss to follow-up (LTFU) and viral load constituted dependent variables.

Patients achieving viral suppression and those lost to follow-up were monitored over a 24-month period. The results showed a lower percentage of patients with unsuppressed viral loads and reduced LTFU rates in ACs compared to facility-based care. AC enrolment correlated with better viral load suppression and decreased default rates, indicating their effectiveness in enhancing patient retention and reducing rebound viral loads.