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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2009 Dec;10(17):2773-8. doi: 10.1517/14656560903376178.

The changing pattern of adherence to antiretroviral therapy assessed at two time points, 12 months apart, in a cohort of HIV-infected children.

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  • 1University Federico II, Department of Pediatrics, Via S. Pansini, 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.



In a previous multicentre study including 129 HIV-infected children, non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy was detected in 16% of patients and was mainly related to psychosocial rather than clinical or demographic features. The aim of this study was to explore the evolving pattern of adherence and its determinants in the same population of children.


An observational, cross-sectional multicentre study was done through a structured interview to the caregivers of HIV-infected children. Adherence was quantitatively evaluated through a 4-day recall adherence instrument.


One hundred and twelve children were included. Nineteen (17%) omitted more than 5% of doses in the preceding 4 days and were considered non-adherent. Of these, 10 had been found non-adherent and nine adherent in the previous study. In parallel, nine of the originally non-adherent children had become adherent. Adherence rates were higher in children receiving therapy from foster parents than in children receiving therapy from biological parents. Dose number significantly correlated with adherence.


Adherence to antiretroviral therapy is a dynamic phenomenon that changes with time. The evolving pattern shows a fairly constant distribution of adherence because a similar number of patients gain and lose adherence. Psychosocial rather than clinical features are major determinants of adherence.

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