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Integrated care experiences and out-of-pocket expenditures: a cross-sectional survey of adults receiving treatment for HIV and hypertension in Malawi.

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As HIV-positive individuals' life expectancy extends, there is an urgent need to manage other chronic conditions during HIV care. We assessed the care-seeking experiences and costs of adults receiving treatment for both HIV and hypertension in Malawi.

Design, setting and participants

A cross-sectional survey was conducted with HIV-positive adults with hypertension at a health facility in Lilongwe that offers free HIV care and free hypertension screening, with antihypertensives available for purchase (n=199). Questions included locations and costs of all medication refills and preferences for these refill locations. Respondents were classified as using 'integrated care' if they refilled HIV and antihypertensive medications simultaneously. Data were collected between June and December 2017.


Only half of respondents reported using the integrated care offered at the study site. Among individuals using different locations for antihypertensive medication refills, the most frequent locations were drug stores and public sector health facilities which were commonly selected due to greater convenience and lower medication costs. Although the number of antihypertensive medications was equivalent between the integrated and non-integrated care groups, the annual total cost of care differed substantially (approximately US$21 in integrated care vs US$90 for non-integrated care)-mainly attributable to differences in other visit costs for non-integrated care (transportation, lost wages, childcare). One-third of those in the non-integrated care group reported no expenditure for antihypertensive medication, and six people in each group reported no annual hypertension care-seeking costs at all.


Individuals using integrated care saw efficiencies because, although they were more likely to pay for antihypertensive medications, they did not incur additional costs. These results suggest that preferences and experiences must be better understood to design effective policies and programmes for integrated care among adults on antiretroviral therapy.

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