Factors associated with HIV drug resistance in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Analysis of a complex adaptive system

Anneleen Kiekens, Idda H. Mosha, Lara Zlatić, George M. Bwire, Ally Mangara, Bernadette Dierckx de Casterlé, Catherine Decouttere, Nico Vandaele, Raphael Z. Sangeda, Omary Swalehe, Paolo Cottone, Alessio Surian, Japhet Killewo, Anne Mieke Vandamme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) is a complex problem with multiple interconnected and context dependent causes. Although the factors influencing HIVDR are known and well-studied, HIVDR remains a threat to the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy. To understand the complexity of HIVDR, a comprehensive, systems approach is needed. Therefore, a local systems map was developed integrating all reported factors influencing HIVDR in the Dar es Salaam Urban Cohort Study area in Tanzania. The map was designed based on semi-structured interviews and workshops with people living with HIV and local actors who encounter people living with HIV during their daily activities. We visualized the feedback loops driving HIVDR, compared the local map with a systems map for Sub-Saharan Africa, previously constructed from interviews with international HIVDR experts, and suggest potential interventions to prevent HIVDR. We found several interconnected balancing and reinforcing feedback loops related to poverty, stigmatization, status disclosure, self-esteem, knowledge about HIVDR and healthcare system workload, among others, and identified three potential leverage points. Insights from this local systems map were complementary to the insights from the Sub-Saharan systems map showing that both viewpoints are needed to fully understand the system. This study provides a strong baseline for quantitative modelling, and for the identification of context-dependent, complexity-informed leverage points.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1535
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2021


  • Case study
  • Complex adaptive system
  • Dar es Salaam
  • HIV drug resistance
  • Leverage points
  • Systems mapping
  • Tanzania


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