Factors Associated With Viral Non-suppression Among Adolescents 10–19 Years Accessing Anti-retroviral Therapy in Nwoya District-Uganda

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Uganda Christian University
Introduction: In this study, adolescents accessing ART in the Nwoya District between the ages of 10 and 19 were examined for factors that may contribute to viral non-suppression. The study's specific objectives were to determine the prevalence of viral non-suppression among adolescents accessing ART in Nwoya district who are 10 to 19 years old, to identify health facility-related factors associated with this condition, to identify caregiver-related factors associated with viral non-suppression among adolescents accessing ART in Nwoya district, and to evaluate behavioral risk factors. Method: This study used both qualitative and quantitative methodologies in a descriptive cross-sectional design. The study involved 225 young people in the Nwoya district who were HIV-positive and were aged 10 to 19. Data was collected using a questionnaire and key informant interview guide. The data was then analyzed at univariate, bivariate, and multivariate levels using SPSS version 20. Results:The majority 122(54.2%) of the respondents were aged 14-19 years with the mean age being 15.2 years. At the bivariate level of analysis, it was found that age, duration on ART, and attitude of health care workers were correlated with viral con-suppression (X2=14.711, df =1, P-value=0.000). The distance from home to health facility (X2=19.045, df =4, P-value=0.001), ability to continuously receive counseling from counseling (X2=9.741, df =1, P-value=0.002), the relationship between the adolescent and guardian; (X2=2.610, df =2, P-value=0.000) also had a strong correlation with viral non-suppression among adolescents. Knowledge of the use of ARV drugs; (X2=7.321, df =4, P-value=0.007) and Engagement in sexual activity since being diagnosed with HIV; (X2=5.894, df =1, P-value=0.015) significantly influenced being non suppressed. P-value <0.05. At the multivariate level, the attitude of health workers; (AOR=5.11,95% CI:1.048-1.419, P=0.002), distance from home to health facility; (AOR=0.038, 95% CI:0.007-1.946,p=0.000), knowledge on the use of ARVs; (AOR=0.028,95%CI: 0.006-0.757, p=0.003) and the relationship between the adolescent and guardian; (AOR=7.401,95% CI: 0.328-1.673, P=0.012) were independently correlated with viral load non-suppression among adolescents in Nwoya district. Therefore, 61 (27.1%) teenagers accessing ART in Nwoya district had viral non-suppression. Also from the above findings, it can be deduced that there are many factors connected to viral non-suppression in adolescents accessing ART in Nwoya District who are 10 to 19 years old, including caregiver factors, behavioral factors, and healthcare facility factors like the attitude of healthcare workers. There is a need for a multi-sectoral approach to deal with barriers to viral suppression. there is a need for implementing partners (IPs) working in the district to support ART outreach to reduce the distance to the health facilities, health education, and counseling should be emphasized, and training of health workers on how to handle adolescents living with HIV to improve on their skills and attitude towards adolescents living with HIV.