While antiretroviral therapy (ART) has attenuated mortality and led to longer life expectancy in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it has also increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among this population. A study aimed to review patient perspectives on integration of healthcare for HIV, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. The findings were published in BMJ Open.
Researchers queried PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane library using broad search terms for HIV, NCDs (specifically type 2 diabetes and hypertension) and healthcare integration. All titles and abstracts were screened and read by independent reviewers. Of 5,502 studies initially identified, 13 articles were included in this review, 11 of which had a geographical origin in sub-Saharan Africa. Nine of those articles were primarily focused on HIV/diabetes healthcare integration while four were focused on HIV/hypertension integration.
Patient’s experiences with integrated care were observed to be reduced HIV-related stigma, reduced travel and treatment costs, and a more holistic person-centered care. More prominent concerns were long waiting times at clinics, as well as a lack of continuity of care in some clinics due to a lack of healthcare workers. Patients perceived non-integrated care as time-consuming and costly.
“Patient perspectives and experiences on integrated care for HIV, diabetes, and hypertension were mostly positive. Integrated services can save resources and allow for a more personalized approach to healthcare. There is a paucity of evidence and further longitudinal and interventional evidence from a more diverse range of healthcare systems are needed,” the researchers concluded.
Keywords: HIV & AIDS, diabetes & endocrinology, hypertension, qualitative research, quality in health care