Telephone support to improve antiretroviral medication adherence: a multisite, randomized controlled trial

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Jan 1;47(1):62-8. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181582d54.


Objective: To determine whether proactive telephone support improves adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and clinical outcomes when compared to standard care.

Methods: A multisite, randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted with 109 ART-naive subjects coenrolled in AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) 384. Subjects received standard clinic-based patient education (SC) or SC plus structured proactive telephone calls. The customized calls were conducted from a central site over 16 weeks by trained registered nurses. Outcome measures (collected over 64 weeks) included an ACTG adherence questionnaire and 384 study endpoints.

Results: For the primary endpoint, self-reported adherence, a significantly better overall treatment effect was observed in the telephone group (P = 0.023). In a post hoc analysis, composite adherence scores, taken as the first 2 factor scores from a principal components analysis, also found significant intervention benefit (P = 0.023 and 0.019 respectively). For the 384 primary study endpoint, time to regimen failure, the Kaplan-Meier survival curve for the telephone group remained above the SC group at weeks 20 to 64; a Cox proportional hazard model that controlled for baseline RNA stratification, CD4, gender, age, race/ethnicity, and randomized ART treatment arm suggested the telephone group tended to have a lower risk for failure (hazard ratio = 0.68; 95% confidence interval: 0.38 to 1.23).

Conclusions: Findings indicate that customized, proactive telephone calls have good potential to improve long-term adherence behavior and clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Telephone*


  • Anti-HIV Agents