Viral Load, Adherence, and Adherence-Related Barriers Among Women Living With hiv in Constanta, Romania
1University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR, the Netherlands
2Baylor Black Sea Foundation at the Centrul Clinic de Excelenta - Spitalul Clinic de Boli Infectioase Constanta, Romania
3Infectious Diseases Hospital of Constanta, Romania
4Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Departamento de Psicología Biológica y de la Salud, Madrid, Spain
5Romanian Institute of Virology, Stefan S Nicolau, Romania
Background: The number of young women living with HIV is significant worldwide. Developing effective adherence support interventions requires an understanding of gender-specific challenges. Among these, the transition to motherhood may change adherence patterns as women adjust to new life routines. We conducted a cross-sectional adherence (ADH) survey among Romanian women with HIV with and without children. Methods: Self-reports of ADH behaviors and barriers were obtained from 139 women aged 18 to 40 (61 mothers). Viral load (VL) and socio-demographic data were collected from medical files. We examined differences between the two groups on VL, ADH, and ADH-related barriers. Findings: More mothers had detectable VL than childless women (? 2(1)=7.2; p<.01), although self-reported ADH levels did not differ. Perceived side effects and satisfaction with treatment were related only to mothers’ adherence (? =.59 and .34; p<.01), while perceived treatment effectiveness was relevant only for childless women (? =.36; p<.01). ADH scores correlated significantly with VL (? =-.25 to -.30; p<.01). Mothers had shorter treatment duration, less education, and more lived in rural areas and independent families. Discussion: Mothers in this group may be at higher risk of disease progression , despite similar levels of reported ADH. More research is needed into modifiable predictors of health status in this setting.