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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 134  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 835-849

Optimizing adherence to antiretroviral therapy

National AIDS Research Institute, Pune, India

Correspondence Address:
Seema Sahay
Scientist E, Deputy Director, National AIDS Research Institute, 73 'G', MIDC, Bhosari, Pune 411 026
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.92629

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HIV has now become a manageable chronic disease. However, the treatment outcomes may get hampered by suboptimal adherence to ART. Adherence optimization is a concrete reality in the wake of 'universal access' and it is imperative to learn lessons from various studies and programmes. This review examines current literature on ART scale up, treatment outcomes of the large scale programmes and the role of adherence therein. Social, behavioural, biological and programme related factors arise in the context of ART adherence optimization. While emphasis is laid on adherence, retention of patients under the care umbrella emerges as a major challenge. An in-depth understanding of patients' health seeking behaviour and health care delivery system may be useful in improving adherence and retention of patients in care continuum and programme. A theoretical framework to address the barriers and facilitators has been articulated to identify problematic areas in order to intervene with specific strategies. Empirically tested objective adherence measurement tools and approaches to assess adherence in clinical/ programme settings are required. Strengthening of ART programmes would include appropriate policies for manpower and task sharing, integrating traditional health sector, innovations in counselling and community support. Implications for the use of theoretical model to guide research, clinical practice, community involvement and policy as part of a human rights approach to HIV disease is suggested.

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