Background: Effective and easy to implement interventions to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy are needed.
Objective: To compare site nurse-initiated adherence and symptom support telephone calls for HIV-positive individuals starting antiretroviral therapy to the study site's standard of care.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial of site nurse-initiated adherence and symptom support telephone calls for HIV-positive individuals starting antiretroviral therapy. Subjects were randomized to receive site nurse-initiated telephone calls (intervention) or no additional calls to the site's standard of care (control). Subjects received calls 1 to 3 days after initiating antiretrovirals, on weeks 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, and 26, and every 8 weeks thereafter. Self-reported adherence was captured during study visits.
Results: A total of 333 subjects starting antiretrovirals as part of ACTG 384 were co-enrolled into ACTG 5031. Subjects were followed for up to 160 weeks and were contacted for 74% of scheduled calls. There was no significant difference in proportion of patients with ≯95% mean total adherence (87.9% and 91.2%; P = .34) and mean self-reported total adherence (97.9% and 98.4%) in the intervention and control groups, respectively, or in symptom distress and clinical endpoints.
Conclusions: In the context of a clinical trial where self-reported adherence was exceptionally high, the site nurse-initiated telephone calls did not further improve self-reported adherence, symptom distress, or clinical outcomes.
Keywords: adherence intervention; antiretroviral therapy; human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); nursing telephone support; randomized controlled trial.