Efficacy of Interventions in Improving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence and HIV-1 RNA Viral Load: A Meta-Analytic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

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Summary:Adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is generally suboptimal, limiting the effectiveness of HAART. This meta-analytic review examined whether behavioral interventions addressing HAART adherence are successful in increasing the likelihood of a patient attaining 95% adherence or an undetectable HIV-1 RNA viral load (VL). We searched electronic databases from January 1996 to September 2005, consulted with experts in the field, and hand searched reference sections from relevant articles. Nineteen studies (with a total of 1839 participants) met the selection criteria of describing a randomized controlled trial among adults evaluating a behavioral intervention with HAART adherence or VL as an outcome. Random-effects models indicated that across studies, participants in the intervention arm were more likely than those in the control arm to achieve 95% adherence (odds ratio [OR] = 1.50, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.16 to 1.94); the effect was nearly significant for undetectable VL (OR = 1.25; 95% CI: 0.99 to 1.59). The intervention effect for 95% adherence was significantly stronger in studies that used recall periods of 2 weeks or 1 month (vs. ≤7 days). No other stratification variables (ie, study, sample, measurement, methodologic quality, intervention characteristics) moderated the intervention effect, but some potentially important factors were observed. In sum, various HAART adherence intervention strategies were shown to be successful, but more research is needed to identify the most efficacious intervention components and the best methods for implementing them in real-world settings with limited resources.

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