Interventions for Enhancing Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART): A Systematic Review of High Quality Studies

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We sought to review the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) from studies included in a recent Cochrane review that reported a clinical and an adherence outcome, with at least 80% follow-up for 6 months or more. Data were extracted independently and in duplicate, with an adjudicator for disagreements. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Of 182 relevant studies in the Cochrane review, 49 were related to ART. Statistical pooling was not warranted due to heterogeneity in interventions, participants, treatments, adherence measures and outcomes. Many studies had high risk of bias in elements of design and outcome ascertainment. Only 10 studies improved both adherence and clinical outcomes. These used the following interventions: adherence counselling (two studies); a once-daily regimen (compared to twice daily); text messaging; web-based cognitive behavioral intervention; face-to-face multi-session intensive behavioral interventions (two studies); contingency management; modified directly observed therapy; and nurse-delivered home visits combined with telephone calls. Patient-related adherence interventions were the most frequently tested. Uniform adherence measures and higher quality studies of younger populations are encouraged.

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