Linking HIV Defaulting Clients Back to Care

Back to Care/Lost to Follow-Up is one of the key strategies used under the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project to reach out to clients who have missed appointments or interrupted treatment to come back and continue their treatment irrespective of any reason behind their interrupted medication. This is done through personal contacts, home visits, phone calls and enhanced counselling.

In the Asutifi North district of the Ahafo region in Ghana, HFFG as a sub grantee under the project, in quarter 2 of the project period identified and brought back to care, 22 clients who defaulted on their anti-retroviral treatment. This was achieved with the support of models of hope and other project partners, including the Ghana Health Service.

One of such defaulting clients was Suzy. Suzy had interrupted treatment for 13 months.  According to her, she decided to stop attending hospital due to fear of stigma, rejection, and the belief that HIV is a spiritual disease.  

 Suzy’s health condition deteriorated, but with help of the project team, she was linked back to treatment. Suzy was also able to disclose her condition to her mother.

Now I’m feeling better, Suzy said: I was given medication which I adhered to with the support of my mum. Now, I can move my hand, leg, and the best of it all is, I can now speak out. I am enjoying my life again. My advice to fellow clients is that no one should interrupt treatment. If you interrupt treatment due to circumstances beyond your control, go back for your medication to avoid what I went through because you may not be fortunate to get a saviour as I had.

The goal of the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project being implemented in partnership with JSI is to further strengthen the capacity of Ghanaian Local Partners to implement and provide leadership for HIV prevention, care, and support services to Key Populations (KPs) and PLHIV in Ghana.

From October 2021 to May (week 3) 2022, the HFFG project team have been able to link 271 clients who interrupted treatment back to care for viral suppression.