A study was conducted to investigate the success and challenges of antiretroviral therapy among patients attending Nyeri provincial hospital in Kenya. The success of treatment was monitored by viral load, CD4 cell count and weight. On the other hand, challenges of ART were investigated by administering a questionnaire. The results indicate that the quality of life of the patients improved markedly with increase in weight and reduction in number of opportunistic infections as well as decreased hospitalization and ability to return to work. There was 10 fold increase in weight of the patients, a 69% increase of CD4 cell count in the first 3 months and 86% in 9 months. There was also a 71.9% mean decrease of viral load in the first 3 months and 87% mean decrease of 9 months. There were side effects perceived by patients to be associated with ART, the most common being chest pains, coughing, headache, diarrhea and malaise. These in addition to cost and forgetfulness were cited as contributors to an adherence rate of 62%. It is evident that anti-retroviral therapy is useful in increasing the quality of patients infected with HIV. However, issues related to poor adherence associated with adverse side effects, toxicity and cost in a resource constrained environment may erode long-term benefits both to the individual and the community.
Key words: HIV, AIDS, ART, HAART, adherence, resistance.
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