Effects of telehealth-assisted interventions among people living with HIV/AIDS: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies


Introduction: Taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a daily necessity for people living with HIV but these individuals experience multiple barriers and challenges to medication adherence. Interventions to support medication adherence have yielded effects in the expected direction, but the extent to which telehealth or virtually delivered interventions to promote adherence are effective among people living with HIV/AIDS remains unknown. We aimed to address this knowledge gap and inform future research and practice that promotes the well-being of people living with HIV/AIDs through telehealth interventions addressing medication use.

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted using the following databases: Academic Search Complete, Cochrane library, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, OVID (UpToDate), and the Web of Science. Relevant full-text articles published through September 2021 were retrieved. The revised Cochrane risk of bias tool for randomized trials was used to assess the methodological quality of the included studies. A meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model to calculate the pooled effects of telehealth-assisted interventions for people living with HIV/AIDS. Stata 16.0 was used for statistical analysis.

Results: A total of 12 studies (N = 3557 participants) that used telehealth-assisted interventions for people living with HIV/AIDS were included. Telehealth interventions were found to increase the adherence to treatment (standardized mean difference [SMD]: 0.21; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.03 to 0.40), to reduce depressive symptoms (SMD: -2,74; 95% CI: -3.39 to -2.09), and to improve perceived quality of life (SMD: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.37 to 1.10).

Discussion: The meta-effects of telehealth-assisted interventions include significantly enhanced adherence to treatment, improved quality of life, and reduced depressive symptoms among people living with HIV/AIDS. These findings suggesting that delivering health management interventions remotely through telehealth-assisted modalities was both feasible and effective in yielding health benefits for people living with HIV/AIDS. Integrating telehealth-assisted interventions as a modality in HIV/AIDS care might support continuity of care and sustained well-being. Future research should evaluate telehealth intervention outcomes and examine mediating, moderating, or other tailorable variables affecting intervention effectiveness.


Saragih ID, Tonapa SI, Osingada CP, Porta CM, Lee BO




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Health services
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Prevention
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Prevention
    • Education/media campaigns
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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