Organizational network strengthening effects on antiretroviral therapy initiation and adherence.
The WHO recommends antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation immediately after HIV diagnosis. When HIV services are fragmented and poorly coordinated, initiation of ART can be delayed. MEASURE Evaluation conducted an organizational network intervention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which increased referral network density and client satisfaction in the intervention versus control networks. The objective of our study was to extend the parent study by assessing effects of network density on the speed of ART initiation and adherence to ART. Measures of client-time since HIV diagnosis, use of ART, satisfaction with HIV-related services, and adherence were obtained from cross-sectional interviews with female service recipients with HIV/AIDS at baseline (T1, 402) and at 18-month follow-up (T2, 524) and compared between network sites. We used weighted least squares estimation with probit regression techniques in a structural equation modeling framework for analyses. On average at follow-up, clients in the intervention network were more likely to have quicker ART initiation, and were initiated on ART 15 days faster than clients in the control network. Moreover, quicker ART initiation was associated with higher adherence. A unit increase in speed of ART initiation was associated with 0.5 points increase in latent adherence score in the intervention group (p < .05). Satisfaction with care positively predicted adherence to ART. Network density had no direct effect on ART adherence. This quasi-experiment demonstrated that increased referral network density, through improved HIV client referrals, can enhance speed of ART initiation, resulting in improved adherence.
Agala, CB; Thomas, JC; Fried, BJ; Lich, KH; Morrissey, J; Zimmer, C; Whetten, K; Reynolds, HW
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