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AIDS Care. 2007 Jul;19(6):764-6.

Adherence to antiretroviral therapy in children: a comparative evaluation of caregiver reports and physician judgement.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University Federico II, Naples, Italy.


Adherence to antiretroviral (ART) therapy, as reported by children caregivers, was investigated and compared with physicians' estimates of adherence. Two parallel structured questionnaires were administered to caregivers of 129 HIV-infected children and to their physicians in seven different Italian reference centers. Doses omitted in the last four days were recorded. Perfect adherence (>95% of prescribed doses taken in the last four days before interview) was reported by caregivers of 103 (79%) children. Five children (5%) omitted one dose of any ART drug in four days and were considered adherent. Low (<95 but >80% of doses) and poor (<80% of doses) adherence were reported by 15 (12%) and six (5%) caregivers, respectively. Forty-eight children (37%) were judged to be non-adherent by their physicians, including 35 children who were receiving all the prescribed doses according to caregivers. The physicians identified eight out of the 21 non-adherent children as adherent. Non-adherence estimates by physicians closely correlated with poor clinical conditions. These data indicate that adherence is a major problem but there is a clear discrepancy between caregiver reports and physician judgement. The results underline the need of close surveillance of adherence in HIV-positive children in order to evaluate the effectiveness of ART therapy.

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