Factors associated with HIV viral suppression among HIV-positive young people enrolled on antiretroviral therapy at Nsambya hospital home care HIV clinic
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Background: Viral suppression is the major indicator of HIV treatment success, which ensures decreasing AIDS-associated morbidity and mortality, and reducing the risk of both horizontal and vertical viral transmission. However, despite the growing number of people on ART in Uganda, there is limited information on factors associated with viral suppression among young people on ART. Materials and methods: This was a cross-sectional study among young people on ART for at least one year in Nsambya Hospital Home Care HIV clinic. The study used both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to assess the factors associated with viral suppression. Data was analyzed using STATA, with a statistical significance of p<0.05; confidence limit of 95%. Results: The study was composed of 283 young people, with 48.1% male (n=136) and 51.9% female (n=147). The overall viral load suppression rate was 85%, where the 15-17 age group had the lowest. There was no statistical significance between females and males. On multivariate analysis, viral suppression was associated with young people who took all their pills as prescribed (aPR = 1.12, 95%CI = 1.03-1.21), thus were compliant to ART. Inadequate caretaker support for ART adherence, stigma and discrimination were the major barriers to viral suppression among young people living with HIV. Conclusion: Compliance to ART is a very successful intervention for achieving virological suppression among young people. Therefore, MOH should design interventions like, counselling the caregiver which will enhance adherence efforts and improve viral suppression, especially among the young people aged 10-19 year olds (who mainly depend on the caretakers).