An examination of HIV/AIDS patients who have excellent adherence to HAART

AIDS Care. 2003 Apr;15(2):251-61. doi: 10.1080/0954012031000068399.


This paper examines the attitudes and beliefs of HIV/AIDS patients with excellent adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and how they differ from those with suboptimal adherence. Forty-four persons with HIV/AIDS, 28 men and 16 women, participated in a qualitative semi-structured interview which was based on the Health Belief Model. The main outcomes were themes consistent with several dimensions of this model, reflecting differences in the health-related attitudes and beliefs of the excellent adherers compared to the suboptimal adherers. Patients with excellent adherence voiced the following themes when compared to less adherent patients: (1) believed adherence rates needed to be 90-100% for medication efficacy; (2) trusted their primary providers greatly; (3) took medications even when actively using substances of abuse; (4) were open about their HIV status and received substantial social support; (5) cited staying healthy as their key motivator; (6) were not actively depressed; all had normal CESD scores. Our study suggests that patients with excellent adherence to HAART differ from their less adherent counterparts in terms of key health-related attitudes and beliefs. Identifying and studying excellent adherers provides new insights and strategies for enhancing adherence to HAART.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*