Estimating HIV Medication Adherence and Persistence: Two Instruments for Clinical and Research Use

AIDS Behav. 2018 Mar;22(3):948-960. doi: 10.1007/s10461-017-1772-z.


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) requires lifelong daily oral therapy. While patient characteristics associated with suboptimal ART adherence and persistence have been described in cohorts of HIV-infected persons, these factors are poor predictors of individual medication taking behaviors. We aimed to create and test instruments for the estimation of future ART adherence and persistence for clinical and research applications. Following formative work, a battery of 148 items broadly related to HIV infection and treatment was developed and administered to 181 HIV-infected patients. ART adherence and persistence were assessed using electronic monitoring for 3 months. Perceived confidence in medication taking and self-reported barriers to adherence were strongest in predicting non-adherence over time. Barriers to adherence (e.g., affordability, scheduling) were the strongest predictors of non-adherence, as well as 3- and 7-day non-persistence. A ten-item battery for prediction of these outcomes ( ) and a 30-item battery reflective of underlying psychological constructs can help identify and study individuals at risk for suboptimal ART adherence and persistence.

Keywords: Adherence; HIV; Item response theory; Measurement; Prediction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / methods*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence* / psychology
  • Medication Adherence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Report
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • United States / epidemiology