Utility of Mobile Communication Devices as a Tool to Improve Adherence to Antiretroviral Treatment in HIV-infected Children and Young Adults in Argentina

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Abstract

Background:

Optimal adherence is critical to achieve the benefits of antiretroviral treatment (ART). The aim of the study is to evaluate the use of mobile devices as a strategy to improve adherence to ART, measured by viral load (VL) in HIV+ patients less than 25 years of age.

Methods:

A prospective study was conducted in a cohort of HIV+ patients less than 25 years of age. HIV+ patients, on ART, VL >1000 copies/mL, using mobile devices and suboptimal adherence were included. The intervention was based on a mobile generic contact twice a month using text message and Facebook during 32 weeks. Extended communications were generated by the patient. VL was performed before and after the intervention.

Results:

Twenty-five patients were included. Three were excluded and 22 patients were enrolled. Mean age was 17.2 ± 6.1 years (range: 6–25); 15 (68%) were female; mean baseline VL was 25,100 copies/mL (range: 1020–500,000 copies/mL), mean log was 4.3 (range: 3–5.7 log). Each participant received a total of 16 contacts; 84% (296) were answered by the patient and 54% (189) of the contacts generated extended communications. After the strategy implementation, 20/22 VL results were available: 13/20 (65%) were undetectable, 14/20 (70%) had VL < 1000 copies/mL and 6/20 (30%) VLs had no changes.

Conclusions:

The use of mobile devices and social networks is a valid tool to improve ART adherence in HIV+ pediatric and young adults, evaluated through VL. The strategy is feasible. The reminder messages trigger additional communications between patients and health provider and better engagement with HIV care. Longer follow-up time is needed.

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