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AIDS Care. 2000 Aug;12(4):377-86.

Barriers to antiretroviral medication adherence in HIV-infected women.

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  • 1University of California, Los Angeles, USA.


Little is known about the barriers which women living with HIV/AIDS encounter that impede their adherence to antiretroviral medication regimens. Yet in order to design effective interventions to improve women's adherence, it is first imperative to identify the factors that contribute to their non-adherence. The purpose of this study was to explore, from HIV-infected women's own perspectives, the barriers they faced in adhering to combination antiretroviral therapies. Twenty HIV-infected women were asked to keep a personal journal for a period of one month. In the journals, women wrote about what their lives were like while taking antiretroviral medications. Line-by-line open coding was done to identify major ideas and themes within the journal entries. Results showed that women faced six main barriers to adherence, those related to: (1) medication regimens, (2) side effects, (3) social relationships, (4) medication beliefs, (5) daily schedules, and (6) body weight. The findings underscore the difficult nature of the antiretroviral regimens and illuminate the daily obstacles women face in adhering to therapy. Interventions that target women's unique barriers are needed to improve adherence to antiretroviral medication regimens.

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