The need for ART adherence to reduce risk in South African women
HIV persists as a public health emergency in South Africa, especially among women of childbearing age who use substances because of misinformation like the quote above. Additionally, alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and exposure to gender-based violence (GBV) are syndemic issues with increased risk of HIV infection and reduced adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Mounting evidence indicates that large-scale provision of ART is key to arresting the HIV epidemic, but ART adherence is essential. Since September 2016, when the government of South Africa rolled out the provision of Universal Test and Treat (UTT) policy where ART is provided to all people living with HIV, irrespective of CD4 cell count. To date, limited research has been conducted that estimates ART adherence rates for women who use substances in South Africa.