Association between water insecurity and antiretroviral therapy adherence among pregnant and postpartum women in Greater Accra region of Ghana

Jerry John NUTOR*, Jaffer OKIRING, Isaac YEBOAH, Rachel G. A. THOMPSON, Pascal AGBADI, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW, Monica GETAHUN, Wisdom AGBADI, Thomas J. HOFFMANN, Sheri D. WEISER

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

Background
Adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) can substantially reduce morbidity and mortality among women living with HIV (WLWH) and prevent vertical transmission of HIV. However, in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), more than 50% of new mothers discontinue ART and HIV care after childbirth. The role of water insecurity (WI) in ART adherence is not well-explored. We examined the relationship between WI and ART adherence among pregnant and postpartum WLWH in Greater Accra region of Ghana.

Methods
Using a cross-sectional survey, we recruited 176 pregnant and postpartum WLWH on ART across 11 health facilities. We examined the association between WI (measured using the Household Water Insecurity Experience Scale, and categorized as moderate and severe WI compard to low WI) and poor ART adherence (defined as scoring a below average observed CASE index score). Bivariate analysis was performed using chi-square test followed by multivariate logistic regression models. We included all variables with p-values less than 0.20 in the multivariate analysis.

Results
Most (79.5%) of the pregnant and postpartum WLWH enrolled on ART, were urban residents. Over 2/3 were aged 30 years and older. Overall, 33.5% of respondents had poor ART adherence. Proportion of poor ART adherence was 19.4% among those with low WI, 44.4% in those with moderate WI, and 40.0% among those with high WI. Respondents with moderate household water insecurity had a greater odds of reporting poor ART adherence, as compared to those with low water insecurity (adjusted Odds ratio (aOR) = 2.76, 95%CI: 1.14–6.66, p = 0.024), even after adjusting for food insecurity. Similarly, respondents with high WI had a greater odds of reporting poor ART adherence, as compared to those with low water insecurity (aOR = 1.49, 95%CI: 0.50–4.48, p = 0.479), even after adjusting for food insecurity.

Conclusion
Water insecurity is prevalent among pregnant and postpartum WLWH and is a significant risk factor for poor ART adherence. Governments and other stakeholders working in HIV care provision should prioritize water security programming for WLWH along the HIV care continuum.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0002747
JournalPLOS Global Public Health
Volume4
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2024

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