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Trop Med Int Health. 2009 Oct;14(10):1226-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02359.x. Epub 2009 Sep 3.

Enhancing adherence to antiretroviral therapy at the HIV clinic in resource constrained countries; the Tanzanian experience.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.



To evaluate various strategies aimed at improving adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).


Patients initiated on ART at Muhimbili National Hospital HIV clinic were randomly assigned to either regular adherence counseling, regular counseling plus a calendar, or regular counseling and a treatment assistant. Patients were seen monthly; during these meetings self-reported adherence to treatment was recorded. Disease progression was monitored clinically and immunologically.


Of the 621 patients randomized, 312 received regular counseling only, 242 regular counseling and calendars, while 67 had treatment assistants in addition to regular counseling. The mean (SD) follow-up time was 14.5 (4.6) months. During follow-up 20 (3.2%) patients died, and 102 (16.4%) were lost to follow-up; this was similar in all groups. In 94.8% of all visits, patients reported to have adhered to treatment. In only 39 (0.7%) visits did patients report a < or = 95% adherence. There were no differences in adherence (P = 0.573) or differences in CD4 count and weight changes over time in the interventions.


Good adherence to ART is possible in resource constrained countries. Persistent adherence counseling in clinic settings by itself may be effective in improving adherence to ART.

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