Refining a personalized mHealth intervention to promote medication adherence among HIV+ methamphetamine users

AIDS Care. 2014;26(12):1477-81. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2014.924213. Epub 2014 Jun 9.


Mobile health (mHealth) interventions to promote antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence have shown promise; however, among persons living with HIV who abuse methamphetamine (MA), effective tailoring of content to match the expressed needs of this patient population may be necessary. This study aimed (1) to understand patient perspectives of barriers and facilitators of ART adherence among people with HIV who use MA, and (2) to obtain feedback on the thematic content of an mHealth intervention in order to tailor the intervention to this subgroup. Two separate focus groups, each with 10 HIV+/MA+ individuals, were conducted. Transcribed audio recordings were qualitatively analyzed to identify emergent themes. Inter-rater reliability of themes was high (mean Kappa = .97). Adherence barriers included MA use, misguided beliefs about ART adherence, memory and planning difficulties, social barriers and perceived stigma, and mental heath issues. Facilitators of effective ART adherence were cognitive compensatory strategies, promotion of well-being, health-care supports, adherence education, and social support. Additionally, the focus groups generated content for reminder text messages to be used in the medication adherence intervention. This qualitative study demonstrates the feasibility of using focus groups to derive patient-centered intervention content to address the health challenge at hand in targeted populations.

Keywords: adherence; antiretroviral treatment; focus groups; mHealth; methamphetamine; short message service.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • California
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants*
  • Drug Users / psychology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Focus Groups*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Seropositivity / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence* / psychology
  • Methamphetamine*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Stigma
  • Telemedicine* / methods


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine