Sianturi, E. I., Perwitasari, D. A., Islam, M. A., & Taxis, K. (2019). The association between ethnicity, stigma, beliefs about medicines and adherence in people living with HIV in a rural area in Indonesia. BMC Public Health, 19(1). doi:10.1186/s12889-019-6392-2
Background: Indonesia is one of Asia’s countries with the fastest growing rate of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The prevalence of HIV infections in the province of Papua is 2.4% which is 24 times higher than the national rate in Indonesia. This study aimed to investigate the association between stigma, beliefs about medicines, sociodemographic characteristics including ethnicity and adherence in People living with HIV (PLHIV) in Papua, Indonesia. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using questionnaires. We included participants from two hospital-outpatient clinics who were on antiretroviral treatment (ART) for more than 6 months, were at least 18 years old, and signed informed consent. Participants completed the Medication Adherence Rating Scale (MARS), Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ), an HIV stigma scale and questions on demographic information. Data on antiretroviral medications were collected from medical records. The outcome was self-reported adherence as measured by the MARS using an 80% cut-off score. Multivariate logistic regression was used to analyse the data. Results: Overall, 331 out of 363 eligible participants were included with a mean age of 33.3 (± 9.4) years, 61.6% were female, 67.1% were Papuan. A total of 65.9% of participants were adherent. Being Papuan decreased the likelihood of adherence (odds ratio (OR) = 0.53; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.32–0.89). Feeling more distant, a stigma type, also decreased the likelihood of adherence (OR = 0.93; 95% CI = 0.88–0.99). Conclusion: The ethnicity of being Papuan and taking a distance to others were associated with non–adherence. Targeted interventions should be developed to improve adherence in this group.