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Patient Prefer Adherence. 2012;6:457-63. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S30797. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

Pharmacist counseling in a cohort of women with HIV and women at risk for HIV.

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University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy, San Francisco, CA.



Achieving high adherence to antiretroviral therapy for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is challenging due to various system-related, medication-related, and patient-related factors. Community pharmacists can help patients resolve many medication-related issues that lead to poor adherence. The purpose of this cross-sectional survey nested within the Women's Interagency HIV Study was to describe characteristics of women who had received pharmacist medication counseling within the previous 6 months. The secondary objective was to determine whether HIV-positive women who received pharmacist counseling had better treatment outcomes, including self-reported adherence, CD4(+) cell counts, and HIV-1 viral loads.


Of the 783 eligible participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study who completed the survey, only 30% of participants reported receiving pharmacist counseling within the last 6 months. Factors independently associated with counseling included increased age (odds ratio [OR] 1.28; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07-1.55), depression (OR 1.75; 95% CI 1.25-2.45), and use of multiple pharmacies (OR 1.65; 95% CI 1.15-2.37). Patients with higher educational attainment were less likely to report pharmacist counseling (OR 0.68; 95% CI 0.48-0.98), while HIV status did not play a statistically significant role. HIV-positive participants who received pharmacist counseling were more likely to have optimal adherence (OR 1.23; 95% CI 0.70-2.18) and increased CD4(+) cell counts (+43 cells/mm(3), 95% CI 17.7-104.3) compared with those who had not received counseling, though these estimates did not achieve statistical significance.


Pharmacist medication counseling rates are suboptimal in HIV-positive and at-risk women. Pharmacist counseling is an underutilized resource which may contribute to improved adherence and CD4(+) counts, though prospective studies should be conducted to explore this effect further.


acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; antiretroviral therapy; community pharmacy; human immunodeficiency virus; pharmacy practice; women’s health

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