AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 86–93

Barriers to Medication Adherence in Behaviorally and Perinatally Infected Youth Living with HIV


    • Carman and Ann Adams Department of PediatricsWayne State University School of Medicine
  • Sylvie Naar-King
    • Carman and Ann Adams Department of PediatricsWayne State University School of Medicine
  • Heather Huszti
    • Department of Pediatric PsychologyChildren’s Hospital of Orange County
  • Marvin Belzer
    • Division of Adolescent MedicineUniversity of Southern California and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10461-012-0364-1

Cite this article as:
MacDonell, K., Naar-King, S., Huszti, H. et al. AIDS Behav (2013) 17: 86. doi:10.1007/s10461-012-0364-1


The study explored barriers to antiretroviral medication adherence in perinatally and behaviorally HIV infected adolescents and young adults in a cross-sectional, multisite sample. The study included a subset of a convenience sample from a cross-sectional analysis. Participants were youth with HIV ages 12–24 who were prescribed HIV medication and reported missing medication in the past 7 days (n = 484, 28.4 % of protocol sample). The top barriers were similar for perinatally and behaviorally infected youth, but perinatally infected youth reported significantly more barriers. Forgetting, not feeling like taking medication and not wanting to be reminded of HIV infection were the most common barriers reported. Number of barriers was significantly correlated with percent of doses missed, viral load, and psychological distress for perinatally infected youth and with doses missed, psychological distress, and substance use for behaviorally infected youth. Interventions to improve adherence to HIV medications should not only address forgetfulness and choosing not to take medications, but also consider route of infection.


Antiretroviral medication adherenceRoute of infectionBarriers to adherenceYouth living with HIVIntervention development

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012