Helping our patients take HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): a systematic review of adherence interventions
Adherence is critical for maximizing the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in preventing HIV infection. Strategies for promoting adherence to HIV treatment, and their potential application to PrEP adherence, have received considerable attention. However, adherence promotion strategies for prevention medications have not been well characterized and may be more applicable to PrEP. We aimed to identify adherence support interventions that have been effective in other prevention fields and could be applied in the HIV prevention context to support pill taking among PrEP users.
To identify adherence support interventions that could be evaluated and applied in the PrEP context, we conducted a systematic review across the following prevention fields: hypertension, latent tuberculosis infection, hyperlipidaemia, oral contraceptives, osteoporosis, malaria prophylaxis, and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection. We included randomized controlled trials that evaluated the efficacy of interventions to improve adherence to daily oral medications prescribed for primary prevention in healthy individuals or for secondary prevention in asymptomatic individuals.
Our searches identified 585 studies, of which 48 studies met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review; nine evaluated multiple strategies, yielding 64 separately tested interventions. Interventions with the strongest evidence for improving adherence included complex, resource-intensive interventions, which combined multiple adherence support approaches, and low-cost, low-intensity interventions that provided education or telephone calls for adherence support.
Our review identified adherence interventions with strong evidence of efficacy across prevention fields and provides recommendations for evaluating these interventions in upcoming PrEP studies.