Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy Among Women With HIV Infection


Address for correspondence: Judith A. Erlen, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, 440 Victoria Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. E-mail:


Objective: The overall objective of this secondary analysis was to examine self-reported adherence to antiretroviral therapy in a sample of women with HIV.

Design: The primary study used survey methodology.

Setting: The setting included a university-based HIV/AIDS clinic in southwestern Pennsylvania and a community-based HIV/AIDS clinic in eastern Pennsylvania.

Participants: Sixty-one women infected with HIV who were taking protease inhibitors.

Main Outcome Measure: Self-reported adherence was based on responses to two questions: whether the person had missed a dose of her medications within the past 24 hours, and how many pills the person had taken on time as scheduled (none, very few, a few, about half, most, nearly all, all of them).

Results: Adherence ranged from 60% to 75%. Two thirds (65.6%) of the sample thought that their medications were helping them; three fifths (57.4%) thought that it was dangerous to miss a dose of their medications.

Conclusions: Adherence in this sample was less than perfect, suggesting the need to develop, implement, and test interventions to promote better adherence to antiretroviral medication regimens among women with HIV.