A Qualitative Study Investigating the Use of a Mobile Phone Short Message Service Designed to Improve HIV Adherence and Retention in Care in Canada (WelTel BC1)


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Abstract

Patient engagement in care and adherence to medication are critical to achieving the full benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people with HIV infection. A randomized controlled trial in Kenya, WelTelKenya1, showed that an interactive mobile phone text-messaging intervention can improve adherence and viral load suppression. We conducted a pilot study to adapt the WelTel intervention for HIV-infected clients (n = 25) at an HIV clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia. Between April and June 2012, we recruited five participants from five groups: youth (14–24 years), mature (≥50 years), English as a second language, remote (≥3 hours travel time to clinic), and nonsuppressed (CD4+ T cell count <200 cells/mm3 and viral load ≥250 copies/mL on two consecutive occasions). Participants described the intervention as a useful way to communicate with health care providers, thus increasing the ability to access services, report side effects, and attend appointments.

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