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School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


Background: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence is fundamental in achieving viral load suppression and consequently attaining positive health outcomes among people living with HIV. However, ART adherence is sub-optimum among adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) thus the high AIDS-related mortality even after World Health Organization (WHO) revised HIV treatment eligibility guidelines in 2010, 2013 and 2016. Consolidated trends of barriers to ART adherence among ALHIV aged 10 to 19 years in sub-Saharan countries post each eligibility guidelines revision to date are unknown.

Methods and analysis: We will conduct comprehensive search of peer-reviewed and grey literature databases publishing observational studies reporting data adherence and barriers to ART among ALHIV on ART. We will further search the reference lists of included studies and other relevant reviews. We will also do a citation search for included studies in the review. We will search in the following databases PubMed, Cochrane Review, Scopus on Excerpta Medica Database (Embase) and Cumulated Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). Furthermore WHO, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) websites, conference proceedings and country reports will be searched to identify relevant literature. Data will be extracted from eligible studies and synthesis will be through categorizing studies by year of study, barriers, and outcomes. Meta-analysis and meta-synthesis will be conducted for quantitative and qualitative data, respectively. Where meta-synthesis is impossible, narrative synthesis will be conducted. We will only include studies conducted between 2010 and 2022 within sub-Saharan Africa countries.

Discussion: Adherence to ART at a high level is required to achieve adequate viral suppression and improve quality of life in ALHIV. The knowledge of barriers to ART among ALHV may aid in the design of interventions aimed at improving ART adherence.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.