Adherence to HIV-Care among Ugandan Adolescents
Non-adherence to HIV care remains a major public health threat to the success of HIV treatment programs worldwide. Improved immune function requires more than 95% adherence to prescribed ART regimens, yet pediatric studies report rates of adherence routinely below 70%. Non-adherence has been attributed to a variety of factors, yet there is little data on the extent to which psychological distress, and aspirations for the future, impact adherence. This is the case despite growing evidence of high burdens of distress among perinatally-infected adolescents; recent findings in Uganda suggest more than 50% of HIV+ adolescents display psychological distress. The present study will: 1) validate a new screening instrument for mental wellbeing among HIV-affected youth (age 12-19 years) in Uganda; 2) explore their future aspirations for relationships, family formation and fertility; and 3) generate new knowledge on the impact of mental health and future aspirations on adherence to HIV care.