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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2002 Jun;16(6):269-81.

Individual and system level factors associated with treatment nonadherence in human immunodeficiency virus-infected men and women.

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  • 1School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095-6917, USA. Gservell@sonnet.ucla.edu


Antiretroviral treatment nonadherence is complex, implicating more than a patient's ability and motivation to be compliant. The bulk of the research to date focuses on individual level barriers with less emphasis on the many system level factors that potentially impact patients' adherence behaviors. This study examined the effects of system enabling factors in addition to the frequently studied individual predisposing and enabling factors upon nonadherence to treatment. One hundred eighty-two patients from five community-based clinics were interviewed and their medical charts examined. Patients' self-reported nonadherence was correlated with clinicians' assessments of medication and appointment nonadherence. Seven individual predisposing factors (gender, ethnicity, birthplace, years of education, HIV Overview of Problems-Evaluation System [HOPES] psychosocial, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS] anxiety, and HADS depression scores) were found to be significantly associated with treatment adherence/nonadherence. Individual enabling factors (hopefulness and access to health care), as well as treatment by clinic staff, a system enabling factor, were significantly associated with adherence/nonadherence. In a multivariate analysis, six factors - age (younger), gender (female), birth outside the United States, level of hopefulness (lower), access to health care (lower), and treatment by clinic staff (poorer) - accounted for 19.3% of the variance in nonadherence. Results of this study indicated that several individual predisposing and enabling factors were potential predictors of treatment nonadherence; however, system enabling factors, e.g., treatment by clinic staff were also associated with treatment nonadherence. Further studies are needed to examine the complex relationships of individual and system related factors in predicting treatment nonadherence.

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