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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Knowledge, perception about antiretroviral therapy (ART) and prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) and adherence to ART among HIV positive women in the Ashanti Region, Ghana: a cross-sectional study

Daniel Boateng1*, Golda Dokuaa Kwapong2 and Peter Agyei-Baffour1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of community Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

2 The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/ Focus Region Health Projects, Accra, Ghana

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BMC Women's Health 2013, 13:2  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-13-2

Published: 22 January 2013



Mother-to-Child Transmission (MTCT) has been identified as the greatest means of HIV infection among children. Adherence to antiretroviral drugs is necessary to prevent drug resistance and MTCT of HIV among HIV positive women. However, there is a gap in clients’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) which influence their decision to adhere to ART.


The study was a descriptive cross-sectional employing both qualitative and quantitative methods. The study involved 229 HIV positive women in reproductive age (18 – 49 years) and had been on ART for at least six months. Fourteen health workers were also included in the qualitative study. Respondents were selected from three ART centers in the Kumasi Metropolis through systematic random sampling from August to November 2011. HIV positive women who had consistently missed two or more ART appointments within the previous two months were classified as defaulters. Data was analyzed with SPSS 19 and STATA 11. Logistic regression was run to assess the odds ratios at 95% confidence level.


The ART defaulter rate was 27% and clients had good knowledge about ART and PMTCT. More than 90% of the HIV positive women had inadequate knowledge about ART and PMTCT and these women were more likely to default ART (OR = 3.5; 95% CI = 1.89, 6.21). The educational background of HIV positive women did not have significant influence on their knowledge of ART and PMTCT.


Mothers, knowledge and understanding of ART and PMTCT could influence their adherence to ART. Educational interventions which target the understanding of both the literate and illiterate women in society are necessary to develop positive behaviors and enhance adherence to ART.

ART; PMTCT; HIV; Women; Ghana