AIDS and Behavior

, 11:161 | Cite as

Assessing Antiretroviral Adherence via Electronic Drug Monitoring and Self-Report: An Examination of Key Methodological Issues

  • Cynthia R. PearsonEmail author
  • Jane M. Simoni
  • Peter Hoff
  • Ann E. Kurth
  • Diane P. Martin
Original paper


We explored methodological issues related to antiretroviral adherence assessment, using 6 months of data collected in a completed intervention trial involving 136 low-income HIV-positive outpatients in the Bronx, NY. Findings suggest that operationalizing adherence as a continuous (versus dichotomous) variable and averaging adherence estimates over multiple assessment points (versus using only one) explains greater variance in HIV-1 RNA viral load (VL). Self-reported estimates provided during a phone interview accounted for similar variance in VL as EDM estimates (R 2 = .17 phone versus .18 EDM). Self-reported adherence was not associated with a standard social desirability measure, and no difference in the accuracy of self-report adherence was observed for assessment periods of 1–3 days. Self-reported poor adherence was more closely associated with EDM adherence estimates than self-reported moderate and high adherence. On average across assessment points, fewer than 4% of participants who reported taking a dose of an incorrect amount of medication.


HIV/AIDS HAART Antiretroviral adherence assessment Electronic drug monitoring MEMS Self-report 



This work was supported by Stroum Endowed Minority Dissertation Fellowship funding to Dr. Cynthia Pearson, University of Washington Center for AIDS Research Sociobehavioral and Prevention Research Core (P30 AI 27757) funding to Dr. Kurth, and 2 R01 MH58986 to Dr. Simoni.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia R. Pearson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jane M. Simoni
    • 2
  • Peter Hoff
    • 3
  • Ann E. Kurth
    • 4
    • 5
  • Diane P. Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Services, School of Public Health and Community MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of StatisticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.School of NursingUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.Center for AIDS ResearchUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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