A qualitative study on factors impacting HIV care adherence among postpartum HIV-infected women in the rural southeastern USA.

Boehme AK, Davies SL, Moneyham L, Shrestha S, Schumacher J, Kempf MC.

Abstract
Declines in HIV care and treatment adherence among HIV-infected women from pregnancy to the postpartum period have significant implications for the clinical outcomes and overall well-being of HIV-infected women, especially due to immunosuppression during the postpartum period. While the overall increased risk for mortality associated with HIV care discontinuation is well established, the reasons for HIV care nonadherence among HIV-infected postpartum women are largely unknown. Eighteen HIV-infected women were recruited from four clinics in Alabama to participate in focus groups or individual interviews to discuss barriers and facilitators impacting postpartum HIV care adherence. Sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded; content analysis was used to analyze the verbatim transcripts. Mixed methods analysis procedures were used to triangulate data from three sources (focus group transcripts, individual rankings of barriers and facilitators according to the Nominal Group Technique, and individual questionnaires of sociodemographic and adherence data). The majority of participants were African-American (83.3%), single (66.7%), with more than half of the participants living on less than $1000 a month (55.6%). Barriers to retention in HIV care included access to and cost of transportation and fitting HIV care into work and childcare schedules. Facilitators to HIV care adherence included wanting to stay healthy for their own well-being as well as for the care of their children, receiving family support, and appointment reminders. The current study highlights contextual factors contributing to poor HIV care adherence among HIV-infected postpartum women. Intervention studies need to be cognizant of the specific needs of HIV-infected postpartum women to improve long-term clinical outcomes among this population, who have children.

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