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Transportation Costs Impede Sustained Adherence and Access to HAART in a Clinic Population in Southwestern Uganda: A Qualitative Study


The cost of transportation for monthly clinic visits has been identified as a potential barrier to antiretroviral (ARV) adherence in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, although there is limited data on this issue. We conducted open-ended interviews with 41 individuals living with HIV/AIDS and attending a clinic in Mbarara, Uganda, to understand structural barriers to ARV adherence and clinical care. Almost all respondents cited the need to locate funds for the monthly clinic visit as a constant source of stress and anxiety, and lack of money for transportation was a key factor in cases of missed doses and missed medical appointments. Participants struggled with competing demands between transport costs and other necessities such as food, housing and school fees. Our findings suggest that transportation costs can compromise both ARV adherence and access to care. Interventions that address this barrier will be important to ensure the success of ARV programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

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