Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has changed HIV-related illness from terminal to chronic by suppressing viral load which results in immunologic and clinical improvement. Success with ART is dependent on optimal adherence, commonly categorized as > 95%. As medication type, class and frequency of use continue to evolve, we assessed adherence levels related to viral suppression. Using a cross-sectional analysis with secondary data (n = 381) from an ongoing multi-site study on impact of ART on the Central Nervous System (CNS), we compared self-reported adherence rates with biological outcomes of HIV-RNA copies/ml, and CD4 cell/mm3. Adherence to ART measures included taking all prescribed medication as directed on schedule and following dietary restrictions. While depression was a barrier to adherence, undetectable viral suppression was achieved at pill adherence percentages lower than 95%. Practice, research and policy implications are discussed in the context of patient-, provider-, and system-level factors influencing adherence to ART.
- HIV/AIDS transmission and/or risk
- depressive symptomatology
- immune markers
- treatment issues