Patient adherence to HIV medication regimens: a review of published and abstract reports

Patient Educ Couns. 2002 Feb;46(2):93-108. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(01)00219-1.


A literature search was conducted to collect published articles reporting correlates of HIV medication adherence or interventions designed to increase HIV medication adherence. Proceedings from seven HIV/AIDS-related conferences were searched for relevant abstracts. We found 18 descriptive studies in published articles and 57 in conference proceedings producing over 200 separate variables falling into four broad areas: (1) factors related to treatment regimen; (2) social and psychological factors; (3) institutional resources; and (4) personal attributes. More complex regimens were related to decreased adherence, but were often successfully mitigated by regimen aids. Social and psychological factors reflecting emotional adjustment to HIV/AIDS and provider support were related to adherence. Access to institutional resources was associated with better adherence. Personal attributes showed a mixed relationship; gender was not consistently related to adherence, but younger age, minority status, and a history of substance abuse were often related to non-adherence. The intervention search yielded 16 interventions employing a wide range of behavioral, cognitive and affective strategies. Evidence of effectiveness was weak. We conclude the abstracts are a useful source of information as part of a systematic review, particularly when available published literature is limited, if results and study characteristics are reported in an adequate and standard manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / methods*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance*


  • Anti-HIV Agents