A patient's understanding and use of healthcare information can affect their decisions regarding treatment. Better patient understanding about HIV resistance may improve adherence to therapy, decrease population viral load and extend the use of first-line HIV therapies. We examined knowledge of developing HIV resistance and explored treatment outcomes in a cohort of HIV+ persons on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The longitudinal investigations into supportive and ancillary health services (LISA) cohort is a prospective study of HIV+ persons on HAART. A comprehensive interviewer-administrated survey collected socio-demographic variables. Drug resistance knowledge was determined using a three-part definition. Clinical markers were collected through linkage with the Drug Treatment Program (DTP) at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Categorical variables were compared using Fisher's Exact Test and continuous variables using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test. Proportional odds logistic regression was performed for the adjusted multivariable analysis. Of 457 LISA participants, less than 4% completely defined HIV resistance and 20% reported that they had not discussed resistance with their physician. Overall, 61% of the cohort is >or=95% adherent based on prescription refills. Owing to small numbers pooling was preformed for analyses. The model showed that being younger (OR=0.97, 95% CI: 0.95-0.99), having greater than high school education (OR=1.64, 95% CI: 1.07-2.51), discussing medication with physicians (OR=3.67, 95% CI: 1.76-7.64), having high provider trust (OR=1.02, 95% CI: 1.01-1.03), and receiving one-to-one counseling by a pharmacist (OR=2.14, 95% CI: 1.41-3.24) are predictive of a complete or partial definition of HIV resistance. The probability of completely defining HIV resistance increased from 15.8 to 63.9% if respondents had discussed HIV medication with both a physician and a pharmacist. Although the understanding of HIV resistance showed no differences in treatment outcomes in this cohort, overall adherence and complete understanding of HIV resistance were low. If patient understanding could be improved through discussions with physicians and pharmacists, potential exists to enhance overall adherence and treatment outcomes.