The relationship between service integration and client satisfaction: a mixed methods case study within HIV services in a high prevalence setting in Africa

AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2012 Nov;26(11):662-73. doi: 10.1089/apc.2012.0191. Epub 2012 Oct 18.


Integration of HIV with other primary health services, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care, is being widely promoted in sub-Saharan Africa. However, evidence on its benefits is equivocal, and some studies indicate client preferences for stand-alone HIV services. A comparative case study investigated the relationship between integration and client satisfaction across different models of care in Swaziland: two clinics integrated with SRH services, and two stand-alone HIV clinics. An exit survey (n=602) measured satisfaction across model using logistic regression. In-depth interviews (n=22), repeated three times, explored satisfaction and how it was influenced by integration or not. Satisfaction was highest at the fully stand-alone clinic; in multivariable models, clients there were more satisfied than partially integrated and partially stand-alone sites (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.25-0.81; and aOR 0.53, 95% CI 0.31-0.90, respectively); there was no difference between the fully integrated and fully stand-alone sites. Qualitative analysis suggested that satisfaction was constituted by eleven dimensions of care, including access to HIV medication, interpersonal care, efficiency, and confidentiality. Some dimensions were positively influenced by integration, while others were positively influenced by stand-alone care; some were not influenced by integration at all. Assumptions on the inherent value of integrated care were challenged in this high HIV prevalence setting, where stand-alone HIV care could be equally if not more satisfying to many clients. Those aiming to scale-up access to HIV care in this region may need to consider providing a variety of treatment models for clients with different health care needs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated*
  • Eswatini / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Organizational
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Reproductive Health Services*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires