Livelihood Security and Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy in Low and Middle Income Settings: A Systematic Review
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INTRODUCTION: We sought to examine the association between livelihood security and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ARVs) in low- and middle-income countries (LIMC). METHODS: Performing a systematic review, we searched, independently and in duplicate, 7 electronic databases and 2 conference websites for quantitative surveys that examined the association between indicators of livelihood security and adherence to ARVs in LIMC between 2000-2010. Criteria for relevance were applied to complete papers (quantitative study with estimates of associations) and quality assessment was conducted on those deemed relevant. We performed three regressions to measure the association between each type of livelihood and adherence. RESULTS: Twenty original studies and 6 conference abstracts were included, the majority from Africa (n = 16). Seventeen studies and 3 conference abstracts were cross-sectional and 3 studies and 3 abstracts were prospective clinical cohort studies, with considerable variation in quality for studies of each design type. Among the diverse populations represented, we observed considerable variation in associations between measurements of livelihood indicators and increasingly accepted adherence measures, irrespective of study design or quality. A financial capital indicator, financial constraints/payment for ARV medication, was more commonly associated with non-adherence (3/5 studies). A human capital indicator, educational level, was most commonly associated with adherence (11/20 studies). DISCUSSION: Additional better quality research examining livelihood security is required to inform provision of optimal supports for adherence and mitigation of the impacts of HIV/AIDS.
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