Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy: Who are the Defaulters? A study in a Treatment Centre in Nigeria


  • Isabel Naomi Aika Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice,
  • Valentine Uche Odili Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice,
  • Stella Folajole Usifoh Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice,


Adherence, Antiretroviral therapy, Depression


Introduction: Non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy has remained a challenge in achieving desired goals of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment resulting in progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The objective of this study is to determine the level of adherence of HIV positive patients to antiretroviral therapy and factors associated with non-adherence.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 266 patients receiving antiretroviral therapy in Central Hospital using pretested validated questionnaires consisting of items from the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Adherence to Refill and Medications scale, and the Visual analog scale. Chi Square and Logistic regression using statistical soŌware SPSS 20 were used for data analysis.

Results: The mean age of those who participated in the study was 39.28±11.05 years. More females participated in the study (76.7%). Fifty-five (19.5%) patients were depressed. Half of the study participants were 100% adherent to antiretroviral therapy. The mean score on the visual analogue scale was 87.78±19.30. None of the socioeconomic factors were associated with adherence to ART, but alcohol (OR 0.477; (CI) 0.282-0.854], and depression (OR 0.416 (CI) 0.238-0.836] were statistically significant factors for non-adherence.

Conclusion: This study reveals poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy among half of the study participants. Only depressed patients and those who use alcohol were found to be defaulters in adhering to therapy. Improvement in the quality of education and counseling offered to patients on a regular basis and programs that help identify alcohol users and those at risk of depression can improve adherence in patients.

Author Biographies

Isabel Naomi Aika, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice,

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.

Valentine Uche Odili, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice,

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.

Stella Folajole Usifoh, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice,

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.


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How to Cite

Naomi Aika, I. ., Uche Odili, V. ., & Folajole Usifoh, S. . (2019). Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy: Who are the Defaulters? A study in a Treatment Centre in Nigeria. The Nigerian Journal of Pharmacy, 53(1). Retrieved from