Publication Date

April 2008


College of Arts and Sciences


Nursing (B.S.N.)

Primary Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nursing


AIDS, HIV, antiretroviral therapy, ART, Africa


HIV has become one of the most feared diseases in the world. It has claimed millions of lives, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although it is impossible to cure, studies have shown that using antiretroviral therapy (ART) can greatly improve quality of life and decrease viral load. There are four main classes of ART—NRTIs, NNRTIs, protease inhibitors, and fusion inhibitors. Although access to ART is improving, it is vital that its use is increased in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the prevalence can be as high as 33%. This thesis explores the current need of ART in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the existing coverage. In addition, it addresses the obstacles preventing ART distribution and use—both provider and patient-related. Provider-related obstacles include limited availability of drugs, total cost, lack of healthcare staff and facilities, lack of organization, and government regulations. Patient-related obstacles include cost, transportation, geographic proximity to healthcare facilities, side effects and hunger, pill burden, hospital-related factors, cultural beliefs, social stigma, lack of adequate counseling, and drug resistance. It is important to be proactive, assess ART delivery, consider suggestions for improvement, and tackle the HIV epidemic.