Background: HIV/AIDS is a major public health concern in Uganda. There is widespread consensus that weak health systems hamper the effective provision of HIV/AIDS services. In recent years, the ways in which HIV/AIDS-focused programs interact with the delivery of other health services is often discussed, but the evidence as to whether HIV/AIDS programs strengthen or distort overall health services is limited. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a PEPFAR-funded HIV/AIDS program on six government-run general clinics in Kampala. Methods. Longitudinal information on the delivery of health services was collected at each clinic. Monthly changes in the volume of HIV and non-HIV services were analyzed by using multilevel models to examine the effect of an HIV/AIDS program on health service delivery. We also conducted a cross-sectional survey utilizing patient exit interviews to compare perceptions of the experiences of patients receiving HIV care and those receiving non-HIV care. Results: All HIV service indicators showed a positive change after the HIV program began. In particular, the number of HIV lab tests (10.58, 95% Confidence Interval (C.I.): 5.92, 15.23) and the number of pregnant women diagnosed with HIV tests (0.52, 95%C.I.: 0.15, 0.90) increased significantly after the introduction of the project. For non-HIV/AIDS health services, TB lab tests (1.19, 95%C.I.: 0.25, 2.14) and diagnoses (0.34, 95%C.I.: 0.05, 0.64) increased significantly. Noticeable increases in trends were identified in pediatric care, including immunization (52.43, 95%C.I.: 32.42, 74.43), malaria lab tests (1.21, 95%C.I.: 0.67, 1.75), malaria diagnoses (7.10, 95%C.I.: 0.73, 13.46), and skin disease diagnoses (4.92, 95%C.I.: 2.19, 7.65). Patients overall impressions were positive in both the HIV and non-HIV groups, with more than 90% responding favorably about their experiences. Conclusions: This study shows that when a collaboration is established to strengthen existing health systems, in addition to providing HIV/AIDS services in a setting in which other primary health care is being delivered, there are positive effects not only on HIV/AIDS services, but also on many other essential services. There was no evidence that the HIV program had any deleterious effects on health services offered at the clinics studied.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health