, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 260-265
Date: 13 Jan 2012

No Association Found Between Traditional Healer Use and Delayed Antiretroviral Initiation in Rural Uganda

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Abstract

Traditional healer and/or spiritual counselor (TH/SC) use has been associated with delays in HIV testing. We examined HIV-infected individuals in southwestern Uganda to test the hypothesis that TH/SC use was also associated with lower CD4 counts at antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation. Approximately 450 individuals initiating ART through an HIV/AIDS clinic at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) were recruited to participate. Patients were predominantly female, ranged in age from 18 to 75, and had a median CD4 count of 130. TH/SC use was not associated with lower CD4 cell count, but age and quality-of-life physical health summary score were associated with CD4 cell count at initiation while asset index was negatively associated with CD4 count at ART initiation. These findings suggest that TH/SC use does not delay initiation of ART.

Resumen

La consulta con un curandero tradicional y/o consejero espiritual (TH/SC) ha sido asociada a retrasos para someterse a la prueba de VIH. Evaluamos personas con VIH en el sudoeste de Uganda para poner a prueba la hipótesis de que consultar con un TH/SC también está asociado a un conteo bajo de células CD4 al inicio de una terapia antirretroviral (ART). Se reclutó aproximadamente 450 personas iniciando ART en una clínica de VIH/SIDA en la Universidad de Mbarara de Ciencia y Tecnología (MUST). Los pacientes fueron predominantemente mujeres, entre las edades de 18 y 75, cuyo recuento mediano de CD4 estaba en 130. Se encontró que la consulta con un TH/SC no está asociada a un recuento menor de células CD4. Sin embargo, la edad y la calidad de vida física sí se encontraron asociados al recuento de células CD4 al inicio. En contraste, el índice-de-recurso se encontró asociado negativamente con el recuento de CD4 al inicio del ART. Estos hallazgos sugieren que la consulta con un TH/SC no resulta en un atraso para iniciar la ART.