SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITIONS AND RETENTION OF CLIENTS IN HIV CARE AND TREATMENT AT KAGADI HOSPITAL, UGANDA
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of socio-economic factors on HIV patient retention under care and treatment in Kagadi Hospital. The study set out to examine the effect of transport to the hospital, the financial status of the patient and social support accorded to the patient on the retention of patients at the hospital. The study was both qualitative and quantitative in nature and it evaluated HIV-infected adults who were visiting the hospital since October 2011 as well as hospital management staff. The study identified a random sample of 221 patients under taking HIV care and 5 hospital management staff. The findings revealed that transport costs to the health facility were a burden to the patients seeking HIV care and that the distance they travelled to the health centre affected retention of patients (rho = 0.210, P = 0.02). Similarly, the financial status of the patients affected their retention at Kagadi hospital (rho = 0.243, P = 0.000). Social support offered to HIV patients also minimally improved the retention of HIV patients as compared to the absence there of. (rho = 0.214, P = 0.001). In conclusion, even in the case where drugs are supplied freely, transport to the hospital, lack of consistent incomes and the lack of social support were found to be barriers to retention at Kagadi hospital. Efforts to improve the above factors would increase HIV patient retention at the Hospital.