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J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 1999 Jul-Aug;10(4):75-84.

Adherence to combination therapy in persons living with HIV: balancing the hardships and the blessings.

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  • 1Center for Research in Chronic Disorders, School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, USA.


Evidence from clinical trials demonstrates the benefits of combination therapy in persons living with HIV (PLWHIV); however, there is little information about the patient's experience when taking a complex regimen. Thus, the primary purpose of this preliminary study was to describe the everyday experience of PLWHIV who were prescribed combination therapy in order to identify a potential intervention to enhance adherence to this regimen. The secondary purpose was to examine the association between adherence to combination therapy and quality of life. The researchers purposively sampled six PLWHIV (two women and four men) to reflect the diverse demographic characteristics of the population of PLWHIV. The themes that evolved were decision making, difficulties, problem solving, and quality of life. Clinical indicators provide only one measure of the effectiveness of combination therapy. When the informants described the outcome of this therapy as "having their life back," they spoke of having quality in their lives that they viewed as more than their physical health.

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