Optimal recall period and response task for self-reported HIV medication adherence

AIDS Behav. 2008 Jan;12(1):86-94. doi: 10.1007/s10461-007-9261-4. Epub 2007 Jun 19.


Self-reported measures of antiretroviral adherence vary greatly in recall time periods and response tasks. To determine which time frame is most accurate, we compared 3-, 7-day, and 1-month self-reports with data from medication event monitoring system (MEMS). To determine which response task is most accurate we compared three different 1-month self-report tasks (frequency, percent, and rating) to MEMS. We analyzed 643 study visits made by 156 participants. Over-reporting (self-report minus MEMS) was significantly less for the 1-month recall period (9%) than for the 3 (17%) or 7-day (14%) periods. Over-reporting was significantly less for the 1-month rating task (3%) than for the 1-month frequency and percent tasks (both 12%). We conclude that 1-month recall periods may be more accurate than 3- or 7-day periods, and that items that ask respondents to rate their adherence may be more accurate than those that ask about frequencies or percents.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Drug Monitoring / methods*
  • Electronics
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Self Administration
  • Self Disclosure
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-HIV Agents