The Importance of Adherence

Factors Influencing Adherence
- Dosing Schedule and Adherence

Measuring Adherence

HIV Therapy Adherence

Adherence Issues

Coping Strategies

Adherence Taskforce



Factors Influencing Adherence


The success of any treatment depends on an individual's adherence to the prescribed therapy. Non-adherence is more common in chronic illness and when the individual has no symptoms but is being given the treatment to prevent or delay the onset of symptoms or progression of the disease.

Experiences with chronic diseases such as diabetes, renal failure, tuberculosis and hypertension indicate that a person's adherence has a direct effect on clinical outcome. In these illnesses, adherence to treatment averages 40-60%. A number of factors are consistently associated with poor adherence2-4. These include:

  • lack of knowledge about disease and medication
  • anxiety about taking medication
  • concerns about side effects
  • health beliefs
  • complexity of regimens
  • poor clinician-individual relationships

People living with HIV / AIDS may also choose not to adhere to treatment as a way of retaining control or of coping with their illness5. Types of non-adherence include

  • reducing the frequency of doses or the number of medications taken
  • mis-timing doses
  • failing to follow administration guidelines
    (such as taking drugs on an empty stomach).

People living with HIV / AIDS may also experiment with doses and timing6-8. As poor adherence generally has no immediate or overtly negative consequences for an individual, and in some cases may result in lessening of drug related side-effects, they may feel reassured that missing doses is relatively harmless.

Dosing Schedule and Adherence