Changes in Attitudes Toward Antiviral Medication: A Comparison of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in the Pre-HAART and HAART Eras
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To examine potential changes in attitudes toward antiviral medication since the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), focused interviews were conducted with two samples of women living with HIV/AIDS; one in the pre-HAART era (1994–1996) and a second matched sample in the HAART era (2000–2003). Women in the pre-HAART era held highly negative attitudes toward antiviral medications, perceived them as ineffective with few benefits and viewed side effects as intolerable. In contrast, women in the HAART era were less likely to report negative attitudes, which were balanced by more frequent reports of perceived benefits and more likely to view side effects as temporary and manageable. African American women in both eras were more likely to hold negative attitudes and less likely to perceive benefits than White and Puerto Rican women. These findings suggest that views of antiviral medication have improved since the advent of HAART, but that negative attitudes and side-effect concerns remain which should be addressed in interventions to promote treatment acceptance and adherence.