User fees and access to ARV treatment for persons living with HIV/AIDS: implementation and challenges in Burkina Faso, a limited-resource country

AIDS Care. 2010 Sep;22(9):1146-52. doi: 10.1080/09540121003605047.


Access to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment remains a crucial problem for patients living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in limited-resources countries. Some African countries have adopted the principle of providing ARV free of charge, but Burkina Faso opted for a direct out-of-pocket payment at the point of care delivery, with subsidized payments and mechanisms for the poorest populations to receive these services free of charge. Our objectives were to determine the proportion of PLWHA who pay for ARV and to identify the factors associated with ARV access in Burkina Faso. A cross-sectional study was performed in 13 public health facilities, 10 Nongovernmental Organizations and association health facilities, and three faith-based health facilities. In each facility, 20 outpatients receiving ARV were interviewed during a routine clinic visit. A multivariate analysis by logistic regression was performed. Among the expected 520 patients receiving ARV, 499 (96.0%) were surveyed. The majority of patients (79%) did not pay for their ARV treatment, thereby limiting cost recovery from patient payments. In a multivariate analysis, level of education and income were associated with free access to ARV. Patients with no education more frequently received free ARV than those who had received some level of education (OR 2.7, 95% CI [1.3-5.6]). Patients without any income or with less than US$10 per month were more likely to receive free ARV (OR 2.6 [95% CI 1.3-5.2]) than those who earned more than US$10 per month. However, 16% of patients without any income and 21% of those without employment paid for ARV, and the costs of drugs for opportunistic infections, food, and transport remained a burden for 85%, 91%, and 74%, respectively, of those who did not pay for ARV. Free access to a minimum care package for every PLWHA would enhance access to ARV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / economics*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / economics*
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Financing, Personal / economics
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / economics
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Poverty
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents