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