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Evidence-based, multifactorial approach to addressing non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy and improving standards of care

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Abstract Background: 

Near-perfect adherence to antiretroviral therapy over time is critical to achieve viral suppression and recovery of functional immunity in individuals infected with HIV. The concept of adherence as a dynamic behaviour influenced by multiple biopsychosocial factors motivated us to implement an integrated, multifactorial programme in our hospital-based setting. The aims of this study were to survey the scope and determinants of non-adherence in patients attending the Ambulatory HIV Service at Royal Perth Hospital, to develop a method for longitudinal monitoring and to implement measures tailored to support individuals. Methods: 

The US Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group self-report baseline adherence, follow-up and side-effect questionnaires were used to survey 247 patients at two time-points between September 2002 and February 2003. A longitudinal monitoring method was developed and the WA HIV Cohort Study database used to collate results with clinical markers up to December 2005. Results: 

Adherence was associated with viral suppression and CD4 T-cell recovery and improved over the 3-year period under observation (all P < 0.001). Diminishing adherence was associated with younger age (P = 0.002), substance use (P < 0.01), perceived stress (P = 0.04) and indicators of depression (P = 0.03). The analyses showed relationships between personal experience of side-effects and the depression indicator scale in patients on antiretroviral therapy. Conclusion: 

The programme resulted in an improvement in adherence in our cohort even after adjusting for pill burden, dosing frequency and highly active antiretroviral therapy regimen and has enhanced focus on patients vulnerable to non-adherence while supporting those not currently at risk.
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Keywords: HIV; Western Australian HIV Cohort Study; adherence; antiretroviral therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Clinical Immunology and Biomedical Statistics, Royal Perth Hospital and Murdoch University 2: Departments of Clinical Immunology and Immunogenetics 3: Social Work 4: Dietetics and Nutrition

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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