Interventions to improve medication adherence in adolescents with HIV: A systematic review and meta-analysis


As of 2017, 1.8 million people living with HIV (PLWH) were adolescents between ages 10 and 19, accounting for 5% of all PLWH and 590,000 people between the ages 15 and 24 were newly infected with HIV. Between 2004 and 2011, AIDS-related deaths increased 50% among adolescents, and optimal adolescent adherence to antiretroviral treatment (ART) is estimated at only 62% of adolescents worldwide. While there have been great strides toward achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals, adolescents remain a group lacking appropriate resources and research to achieve these. This review analyzes current interventions aimed toward increasing adolescent ART adherence. Systematic searches of EMBASE, PubMed and PsycINFO were performed using the keywords ‘adolescent HIV medication adherence interventions’. The Gain Score effect size was calculated for studies reporting the Cohen’s d and variance to include both prestudy and poststudy values. A random-effects model analyzed intervention significance. Authors were contacted to obtain additional data values and study clarification. Twelve studies met inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. There were no significant differences seen between control and intervention groups in medication adherence (z=-1.4714, p<0.1412), viral load (z=-0.1946, p<0.8547) or CD4+ lymphocyte count (z=0.2650, p<0.7910). There was no significant difference between studies in increasing medication adherence. Results indicate that interventions did not improve medication adherence in adolescents with HIV. However, the paucity of quantitative research available speaks to a need for more quantitative intervention studies and standardization of measures of intervention efficacy


Alcon S, Ahmed B, Sloane D, Lim YS, Cervia JS




  • Population(s)
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Prevention
    • Biomedical interventions
    • Education/media campaigns


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