AIDSImpact special issue: latent class analysis of ART barriers among adolescents and young adults living with HIV in South Africa

AIDS Care. 2024 Feb 29:1-9. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2024.2307389. Online ahead of print.


This study examined adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) among adolescents and young adults living with HIV in South Africa. Using survey data from 857 youth on ART, the study employed latent class analysis to identify subgroups based on self-reported reasons for missed ART doses. Three distinct classes emerged: the largest class (85%) occasionally forgot to take their medication or missed a dose because others were around, the second class (9%) missed doses only due to feeling sick, and the third class (6%) faced multiple barriers such as forgetting, feeling sick, worrying about side effects, or doubting the effectiveness of ART. Youth who reported multiple barriers to adherence had significantly lower adjusted odds (AOR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.16-0.78) of reporting 90% past month adherence compared to those who occasionally forgot their medication. Additionally, contextual factors such as food security, being treated well at the clinic, and being accompanied to the clinic were associated with higher odds of adherence. The findings highlight the importance of considering co-occurring barriers to adherence and tailoring interventions accordingly. Addressing contextual factors, such as ensuring food security and providing supportive clinic environments, is also crucial for promoting optimal adherence among adolescents and young adults living with HIV.

Keywords: HIV; South Africa; adolescents; antiretroviral therapy; latent class analysis; young adults.