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Musiime S.,King Faisal Hospital | Muhairwe F.,Byumba District Hospital | Rutagengwa A.,National University of Rwanda | Mutimura E.,Womens Equity in Access to Care and Treatment WE ACTx | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: Scale-up of highly active antiretroviral treatment therapy (HAART) programs in Rwanda has been highly successful but data on adherence is limited. We examined HAART adherence in a large cohort of HIV+ Rwandan women. Methods: The Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study Assessment (RWISA) was a prospective cohort study that assessed effectiveness and toxicity of ART. We analyzed patient data 12±3 months after HAART initiation to determine adherence rates in HIV+ women who had initiated HAART. Results: Of the 710 HIV+ women at baseline, 490 (87.2%) initiated HAART. Of these, 6 (1.2%) died within 12 months, 15 others (3.0%) discontinued the study and 80 others (19.0%) remained in RWISA but did not have a post-HAART initiation visit that fell within the 12±3 month time points leaving 389 subjects for analysis. Of these 389, 15 women stopped their medications without being advised to do so by their doctors. Of the remaining 374 persons who reported current HAART use 354 completed the adherence assessment. All women, 354/354, reported 100% adherence to HAART at the post-HAART visit. The high self-reported level of adherence is supported by changes in laboratory measures that are influenced by HAART. The median (interquartile range) CD4 cell count measured within 6 months prior to HAART initiation was 185 (128, 253) compared to 264 (182, 380) cells/mm 3 at the post-HAART visit. Similarly, the median (interquartile range) MCV within 6 months prior to HAART initiation was 88 (83, 93) fL compared to 104 (98, 110) fL at the 12±3 month visit. Conclusion: Self-reported adherence to antiretroviral treatment 12±3 months after initiating therapy was 100% in this cohort of HIV-infected Rwandan women. Future studies should explore country-specific factors that may be contributing to high levels of adherence to HAART in this population. © 2011 Musiime et al.

Walstrom P.,Brown University | Operario D.,Brown University | Zlotnick C.,Behavioural Medicine Research at Women and Infants Hospital | Zlotnick C.,Brown Medical School Butler Hospital | And 3 more authors.
Global Public Health | Year: 2013

Urgent need exists for improved psychological services among HIV-infected women in post-genocide Rwanda. Psychological problems associated with trauma and sexual violence (i.e., depression, posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]) place women at increased risk for sexual risk behaviour, low health-seeking behaviour, delay of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and reduced ART adherence. We explored experiences of HIV-infected Rwandan women attending psychosocial support groups and their narratives about how participation affected their mental health and HIV treatment. Focus group discussions examined participants' reasons for support group attendance, perceived psychological benefit of support groups, influence on ART adherence, and other influences on health behaviors and attitudes. Rwandan women (aged 18-65) were randomly selected from 10 health clinic-facilitated support groups for HIV-infected trauma survivors in Kigali. Results identified positive psychological and physical changes as well as behaviour changes in relationships with men, which participants attributed to support group attendance. Data showed significant improvement in mental health, ART adherence and HIV serostatus disclosure resulting from group attendance. Participants acknowledged limitations of support groups with respect to addressing poverty and hunger. Implementing psychosocial support groups may leverage clinical outcomes and rejuvenate the well-being of HIV-infected women with interpersonal trauma and/or PTSD and depressive symptoms, particularly those from post-conflict countries. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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