Managing HIV therapy literacy in resource-limited settings
A program of antiretroviral therapy (ART) roll-out is currently undergoing expansion in India and it is critical to ensure policy makers’ support, sustained commitment to funding and existence of ART literacy even in dispensaries at sub-district levels. There are challenges in ensuring adequate treatment coverage and high levels of adherence. The effectiveness of ART would increase through periodic specialized ART-related training of practitioners of modern and indigenous medicine working in both private and public sectors in India. Treatment literacy among healthcare providers should aim at providing them with basic information regarding ART, how antiretroviral drugs act and why they fail. Investment should be made in the research and development sector towards studying indigenous treatments, drug resistance patterns and unconventional approaches to treatment. Demystification of HIV by clarifying the knowledge gaps and creating awareness through celebrities, iconic individuals and opinion leaders may significantly help in a better acceptance of AIDS patients by their families and the community. ART literacy at the family level is likely to ensure adequate treatment, nutrition, and psychological and physical support to ailing patients. Care providers should adopt strategies that are socioculturally acceptable and nonstigmatizing. Involvement of experienced patients, family members or significant others might greatly help in treatment planning and intensive management of patients newly introduced to therapy. Patients’ ART literacy, self-efficacy to manage their medications and adherence to ART will improve where the patient’s self-perception concerning the need for therapy and health literacy is high.
HIV Therapy (2009) 3 (4) 339-344 [doi: 10.2217/hiv.09.16]