Meta-analysis on the effect of text message reminders for HIV-related compliance


For the treatment of HIV, compliance in regard to appointment attendance and medication usage is critical. Various methods have been attempted to increased HIV care compliance, and a method that has inspired many published studies is text message reminders. We conducted a meta-analysis of the literature from inception through May 2016 using the following databases: Pubmed, Embase, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Cochrane. Examples of terms used in the search included exploded versions of “HIV, “AIDS”, “cell phone”, “SMS”, “text message”, “reminder”. After abstract and manuscript review, articles were discussed with co-author and included based on consensus. We excluded qualitative analyses, observational studies without an intervention, and studies without a control or pre-intervention group. We used random-effects models to calculate odds ratios (OR) and standardized mean differences (SMDs) for the text message intervention. Thirty-four unique studies were found and included in the meta-analysis. For the seven articles relating to non-attendance, text message reminders significantly reduced the rates of non-attendance (OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.48-0.92; P = .01; I2 = 52%). For the 20 articles on drug adherence, text message reminders significantly increased adherence (SMD, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.06-1.68; P = .04; I2 = 99%). For the 11 articles with physiologic measures (CD4 count or viral load), text message reminders led to significant improvement (SMD, 1.53; 95% CI, 0.52-2.55; P = .003; I2 = 99%). This meta-analysis reveals that text message reminders are a promising intervention that can be used to increase HIV care compliance when logistically feasible. Further study should focus on which populations benefit the most from this intervention, and successful implementers could create an established technological infrastructure for other clinics to adopt when seeking to boost compliance.


Mayer JE, Fontelo P.




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Prevention
    • Education/media campaigns


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