Client and provider preferences for HIV care: Implications for implementing differentiated service delivery in Thailand.

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Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 5,666 words
Lexile Measure: 1510L

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Abstract :

Introduction: Differentiated service delivery (DSD) for antiretroviral therapy (ART) maintenance embodies the client-centred approach to tailor services to support people living with HIV in adhering to treatment and achieving viral suppression. We aimed to assess the preferences for HIV care and attitudes towards DSD for ART maintenance among ART clients and providers at healthcare facilities in Thailand. Methods: A cross-sectional study using self-administered questionnaires was conducted in September-November 2018 at five healthcare facilities in four high HIV burden provinces in Thailand. Eligible participants who were ART clients aged 18 years and ART providers were recruited by consecutive sampling. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize demographic characteristics, preferences for HIV services and expectations and concerns towards DSD for ART maintenance. Results: Five hundred clients and 52 providers completed the questionnaires. Their median ages (interquartile range; IQR) were 38.6 (29.8 to 45.5) and 37.3 (27.3 to 45.1); 48.5% and 78.9% were females, 16.8% and 1.9% were men who have sex with men, and 2.4% and 7.7% were transgender women, respectively. Most clients and providers agreed that ART maintenance tasks, including ART refill, viral load testing, HIV/sexually transmitted infection monitoring, and psychosocial support should be provided at ART clinics (85.2% to 90.8% vs. 76.9% to 84.6%), by physicians (77.0% to 94.6% vs. 71.2% to 100.0%), every three months (26.7% to 40.8% vs. 17.3% to 55.8%) or six months (33.0% to 56.7% vs. 28.9% to 80.8%). Clients agreed that DSD would encourage their autonomy (84.9%) and empower responsibility for their health (87.7%). Some clients and providers disagreed that DSD would lead to poor ART retention (54.0% vs. 40.4%), increased loss to follow-up (52.5% vs. 42.3%), and delayed detection of treatment failure (48.3% vs. 44.2%), whereas 31.4% to 50.0% of providers were unsure about these expectations and concerns. Conclusions: Physician-led, facility-based clinical consultation visit spacing in combination with multi-month ART refill was identified as one promising DSD model in Thailand. However, low preference for decentralization and task shifting may prove chalenging to implement other models, especially since many providers were unsure about DSD benefits. This calls for oca implementation studies to prove feasibility and governmental and social support to legitimize and normalize DSD in order to gain acceptance among clients and providers. Keywords: differentiated service delivery; multi-month dispensing; antiretroviral therapy; people living with HIV; Thailand

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A660000740