Substance Abuse and Its Association with Adherence to ART Drugs Among HIV-positive Pregnant Women at Selected Hospitals of East Ethiopia


Background: Substance abuse among Human Immune Deficiency Virus-positive patients causes depression, carelessness, and anxiety, which in common results in a decrease in adherence to antiretroviral treatment. The purpose of the study is to assess the prevalence of substance abuse and its association with adherence to ART drugs.

Methods: The current study was conducted at three hospitals (Hiwot Fana Comprehensive University Hospital, Dillchora Hospital, and Jugal Hospital) located in East Ethiopia. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify the association of independent variables with the dependent variables.

Results: In this study, 119 HIV-positive pregnant patients were included. While 74.8% of the patients were adherent to their medication, the remaining 25.2% were nonadherent. The major reasons for nonadherence to ART medications prescribed were getting better (73.3%) and finishing medication (16.7%). Moreover, 96 (80.7%) respondents abused alcohol while 36 (30.3%) and 75 (35.6%) abused opioids and cigarette smoking, respectively. Mothers who abused alcohol were 38.1 times more likely to be nonadherent to ART medications for PMTCT [AOR = 38.1% CI: 21.47–56.54] compared to their counterparts. Additionally, mothers who abuse opioids were 19 times more likely to be nonadherent to ART treatment medication [AOR = 19, 95% CI: 2.46– 19.46] than their counterparts. Furthermore, mothers who smoked cigarettes were 43.1 more likely to be nonadherent [AOR = 43.19, 95% CI: 8.42–187.84] than nonsmokers. Unemployment was also found to be associated with nonadherence to ART medication to PMTCT of HIV [AOR = 5.4, 95% CI: 2.8–5.7]. Smoking of marijuana/cannabis/hashish was not significantly associated with nonadherence to ART [AOR = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.084–0.355].

Conclusion: Abuse of alcohol, cigarette smoking, abuse of opioids, and joblessness were found to be significantly associated with nonadherence to ART medications prescribed to PMCT of HIV. Wheareas, smoking of marijuana/cannabis/hashish was not significantly associated with nonadherence to ART medications.



antiretroviral treatment, mother-to-child transmission, substances, substance abuse

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