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AIDS Behav. 2010 Dec;14(6):1294-301. doi: 10.1007/s10461-010-9720-1.

Challenges in using mobile phones for collection of antiretroviral therapy adherence data in a resource-limited setting.

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Department of General Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.


Frequent antiretroviral therapy adherence monitoring could detect incomplete adherence before viral rebound develops and thus potentially prevent treatment failure. Mobile phone technologies make frequent, brief adherence interviews possible in resource-limited settings; however, feasibility and acceptability are unknown. Interactive voice response (IVR) and short message service (SMS) text messaging were used to collect adherence data from 19 caregivers of HIV-infected children in Uganda. IVR calls or SMS quantifying missed doses were sent in the local language once weekly for 3-4 weeks. Qualitative interviews were conducted to assess participant impressions of the technologies. Participant interest and participation rates were high; however, weekly completion rates for adherence queries were low (0-33%), most commonly due to misunderstanding of personal identification numbers. Despite near ubiquity of mobile phone technology in resource-limited settings, individual level collection of healthcare data presents challenges. Further research is needed for effective training and incentive methods.

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