Availability and experiences of differentiated antiretroviral therapy delivery at HIV care facilities in rural Zimbabwe: a mixed-method study.

Christ, Benedikt; van Dijk, Janneke H; Nyandoro, Talent Y; Reichmuth, Martina L; Kunzekwenyika, Cordelia; Chammartin, Frédérique; Egger, Matthias; Wringe, Alison; Ballif, Marie (2022). Availability and experiences of differentiated antiretroviral therapy delivery at HIV care facilities in rural Zimbabwe: a mixed-method study. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 25(8), e25944. Wiley 10.1002/jia2.25944

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Zimbabwe adopted differentiated HIV care policies in 2015 to promote client-centred care and relieve strain on health facilities. We examined the availability, experiences and perceptions of differentiated antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery in rural Zimbabwe following the policy adoption.


We undertook a cross-sectional mixed methods study in all the 26 facilities providing HIV care in a rural district in Zimbabwe. We collected quantitative data about ART delivery and visit durations from 31 healthcare providers and a purposive stratified sample of 378 clients obtaining ART either through routine care or differentiated ART delivery models. We performed 26 semi-structured interviews among healthcare providers and seven focus group discussions (FGDs) among clients to elicit their perceptions and experiences of ART delivery. Data were collected in 2019, with one follow-up FGD in 2021. We analysed the transcripts thematically, with inductive coding, to identify emerging themes.


Twenty facilities (77%) offered at least one differentiated ART delivery models, including community ART refill groups (CARGs; 13 facilities, 50%), fast-track refill (8, 31%), family refill (6, 23%) or club refill (1, 4%). Thirteen facilities (50%) offered only one model. The median visit duration was 28 minutes (interquartile range [IQR]: 16-62). Participants in fast-track had the shortest visit durations (18 minutes, IQR: 11-24). Confidentiality and disclosure of HIV status, travelling long distances, travel costs and waiting times were the main issues influencing clients' views on differentiated ART delivery. Fast-track refill was perceived as the preferred model of clients for its limited involuntary disclosure and efficiency. In contrast, group- and community-based refill models reduced travel costs but were felt to be associated with involuntary disclosure of HIV status, which could discourage clients. Healthcare providers also experienced an additional workload when offering facility-based group models, such as CARGs.


Differentiated ART delivery models were widely available in this rural setting, but most facilities did not offer a choice of models to address clients' diverse preferences. A minority offered fast-track refills, although this model was often mentioned as desirable. Confidentiality, travel expenses and client waiting times are key elements to consider when planning and rolling out differentiated HIV care.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Christ, Martin Benedikt, Reichmuth, Martina Larissa, Chammartin, Frédérique Sophie, Egger, Matthias, Ballif, Marie


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services






[4] Swiss National Science Foundation




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

30 Aug 2022 09:45

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:23

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

ART Africa HIV Zimbabwe differentiated ART delivery differentiated care





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