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Impact of default rate of antiretroviral use on viral load among HIV/AIDS patients in Tamale and Sunyani


Background: Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) for people living with HIV/ AIDS (PLWHA) is the gold standard for the management of HIV patients. Purportedly patients who are not on HAART or defaulted from its use have adverse effects compared to those who adhere to the of intake of HAART. Compliant individuals have improved quality of life and show healthy hematological parameters and HIV load as compared to HAART naïve individuals and defaulters. Supplementary and supportive treatment is crucial in HIV/ AIDS patients on Arts.

Objective: This study was conducted to assess the consistency and default of HAART intake and other supportive treatments and its relationship with viral load on hematological parameters in two different geographical sites.

Methods: Ethical clearance was obtained from Navrongo Health Research Centre. Questionnaires were administered to participants for their consent, demographic data, consistency of taking antiretrovirals, and types of antiretrovirals used. Full blood count and HIV load tests were carried out using Urit 5250 and Cobas Taqman / Cobas ampliprep fully automated analysers respectively. Results: Defaulters had a significant (p value= 0.003) rise in the viral load (845334.38±409285.62) copies/mL in comparison to adherents in HAART intake (49571.69±30548.89) copies/mL. The hemoglobin level of defaulters was (10.51±0.60) g/ dL were significantly (p-value = 0.007) lower than that of adherent (12.04±0.17) g/dL. The default rates in the two study sites were close (Sunyani 9.8% and Tamale 9.4%).

Conclusion: Antiretroviral default leads to an increase in HIV load and adversely affects hemoglobin level, especially in those who are not supported with hematinics.


human immune deficiency, antiretroviral, morbidity, mortality, transmission