Importance of Self-Motivation and Social Support in Medication Adherence in HIV-Infected Adolescents in the United Kingdom and Ireland: A Multicentre HYPNet Study

AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2015 Jun;29(6):354-64. doi: 10.1089/apc.2014.0335. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


Adolescents are a vulnerable population, not only to the acquisition of HIV, but also to poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) associated with disease progression and a increased risk of onward viral transmission. The aim of the study was to examine the factors that aid or act as barriers to adherence in a UK population of adolescents and young adults receiving ART. A cross-sectional survey was completed of 138 adolescents (12-24 years) across 14 clinical and community sites in the UK and Ireland. Analysis of results was undertaken using Chi-square testing in SPSS. Of the 138 patients, 48% were female, and 52% were born outside of the UK. Fifty-two of the 138 (43%) reported being on ART for at least 8 years. More than a third of the patients have ever interrupted treatment since initiating ART. One hundred four of the 138 (75%) patients self-reported being >85% adherent to medication for 7 day recall. Self-motivation (e.g., having a routine, specific goal) was cited as being most helpful in medication compliance (33%), followed by reminders by friends and family (25%), with 20% identifing no specific factor. Only 15% chose interventions such as an adherence diary or mobile phone reminders as helpful factors, and 1% chose healthcare professional input such as home visits. This study highlights the importance of self-motivation and social support in medication adherence in an HIV-infected adolescent population, in preference to healthcare professional input. Education and motivational strategies may confer the biggest impact on sustained ART adherence amongst this vulnerable group.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Motivation*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Urban Population
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents