Background: With the intensive scale-up of care and treatment for HIV/AIDS in developing countries, some fear that intensified attention to HIV programs may overwhelm health care systems and lead to declines in delivery of other primary health care. Few data exist that confirm negative or positive synergies on health care provision generally resulting from HIV-dedicated programs.
Methods: Using a retrospective observational design we compare aggregate service data in Rwandan health facilities before and after the introduction of HIV care on selected measures of primary health care. The study tests the hypothesis that non-HIV care does not decrease after the introduction of basic HIV care.
Findings: Overall, no declines were observed in reproductive health services, services for children, laboratory tests, and curative care. Statistically significant increases were found in utilization and provision of some preventive services. Multivariate regression, including introduction of HIV care and two important health care financing initiatives in Rwanda, revealed positive associations of all with observed increases. Introduction of HIV services was especially associated with increases in reproductive health. While hospitalization rates increased for the whole sample, declines were observed at health facilities that offered basic HIV care plus highly active antiretroviral therapy.
Interpretation: Our results partially counter fears that HIV programs are producing adverse effects in non-HIV service delivery. Rather than leading to declines in other primary health care delivery, our findings suggest that the integration of HIV clinical services may contribute to increases.