Article

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 21-30

Measuring Adherence Among HIV-Infected Persons: Is MEMS Consummate Technology?

  • Jeffrey H. SametAffiliated withSection of General Internal Medicine and Clinical AIDS Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public HealthSection of General Internal Medicine and Clinical AIDS Program, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health
  • , Lisa M. SullivanAffiliated withBoston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health
  • , Elizabeth T. TraphagenAffiliated withSection of General Internal Medicine and Clinical AIDS Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health
  • , Jeannette R. IckovicsAffiliated withSection of General Internal Medicine and Clinical AIDS Program, Department of Medicine, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health

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Abstract

The measurement of adherence to antiretroviral medications has become a major focus of HIV research. Accurate means of assessing adherence is critical. The HIV epidemic has provided unique challenges in the quest to accurately determine adherence to medications. The strengths and weaknesses of the most common means for assessing adherence are briefly reviewed. Case studies from a research study assessing adherence in alcohol abusing patients with HIV are presented to illustrate the actual use of the Medication Events Monitoring System (MEMS) and patient self-report in a clinical research setting. Practical recommendations for optimizing measurement of adherence are provided. In research studies examining adherence to HIV medications, MEMS's potential to provide detailed accurate adherence information may be quite limited because of the complexity of the regimen, patient lifestyle factors, and the use of adherence aids such as pill boxes. Innovative measurement of medication adherence remains a critical research priority.

AIDS HIV adherence injection drug user MEMS