Social position, gender role, and treatment adherence among Colombian women living with HIV/AIDS: Social determinants of health approach

Marcela Arrivillaga, Michael Ross, Bernardo Useche, Martha Lucia Alzate, Diego Correa

Research output: Articles / NotesScientific Articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective. To assess and analyze the associations between adherence to treatment and social position in women living with HIV/AIDS. Method. A cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational study among 269 Colombian women was conducted. Participants completed three questionnaires: a socio-demographic and clinical characteristics survey, a treatment adherence scale, and a social position survey. Results. Women of low social position had a significantly higher probability of low treatment adherence (OR = 5.651, P < 0.0001), and the majority of social position variables measured had a significant effect on adherence. A general model considering the variables "type of national health care plan" ("contributive, " "subsidized, " or, in the case of vinculadas or the uninsured, "none"); "having HIV-positive children"; and "level of viral load" was statistically reliable in predicting study participants' treatment adherence. Membership in the subsidized plan or being uninsured had a greater effect on the probability of low adherence than membership in the contributive plan (OR = 3.478, P < 0.0001). Univariate regression analyses confirmed that women with HIV-positive children and a viral load ≥ 400 copies/ml were more likely to have low adherence than women without those characteristics (OR = 2.395, P = 0.0274 and OR = 2.178, P = 0.0050, respectively). Conclusions. Improving women's adherence to HIV/AIDS treatment in Colombia would require eliminating barriers to national health care system and comprehensive health care services and implementing programs that take into account women's role as maternal caregivers The findings underscore the need to integrate variables related to gender inequality and social position in treatment adherence analysis, as advocated in the social determinants of health approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-510
Number of pages9
JournalRevista Panamericana de Salud Publica/Pan American Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Colombia
  • Gender identity
  • HIV
  • Patient compliance


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