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|Title:||Financial burden for HIV/AIDS patients to access antiretroviral therapy in Asian developing countries|
|Authors:||Wong, Mei-wan, Farah|
|Publisher:||The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)|
|Description:||Background: Since the beginning of 21st century, several Asian countries started implementing their national free antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs to tackle one of the most striking public health issues in Asia – HIV/AIDS. Despite the efforts being made, the treatment coverage remains as low as 44% in 2010. Previous studies have identified financial constraint is a major barrier in accessing ART and an important reason of poor ART adherence in Asia. The purpose of this literature review is to explore the extent of financial burden experienced by people living with HIV (PLHIV) where free ART policy is implemented, and to provide valuable information for policy-making in reducing financial barriers and improve uptake of ART. Methods: Literature search was performed by entering keywords in PubMed and Medline. Articles were screened and selected for in-depth review according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. A process on data synthesis was performed on the final eligible papers. Results: Five studies from four Asian countries describing the out-of-pocket health expenditure incurred by PLHIV during the delivery of ART were included in this review. Findings: Out of all direct medical costs, the cost of drug was most important in contributing to the total costs for patients without health insurance, while the cost of transportation was more important for patients covered by health insurance. Direct medical costs increased with advancing stage of disease. Rural patients would have spent up to 1,173% of their monthly income per capita, or more than 100% of their total household expenditure even when ART was provided free-of-charge. Patients have also highlighted free ARV drugs were sometimes not available in the health facility and they had to turn to the private market. Hence, the extent of financial burden in this review might be underestimated. Conclusion: Based on the data available, we concluded that increased accessibility of free ART should be accompanied with sustained ARV drugs supply and increased financial support for PLHIV.|
|Appears in Collections:||Faculty of medicine|
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