Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy in Patients Participating in a Graduated Cost Recovery Program at an HIV Care Center in South India
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In resource-constrained settings, the most frequently cited barrier to optimal antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among HIV-infected patients has been the cost of medications. In recent years many subsidized medication programs have been developed to improve ART affordability. A Graduated Cost Recovery program at the largest care center in South India has enrolled 839 eligible patients into four tiers based on an evaluation of their financial information and willingness to pay, of these patients 635 consented to participate in this study. Patients in Tier 1 receive first-line ART at no cost, whereas patients in Tiers 2, 3, and 4 pay 50, 75, and 100%, respectively of the cost of first-line medications based on an assessment of their means. Adherence rates of 95% or greater on 3-day recall were achieved by 84.6% of Tier 1 (n = 156), 71.6% of Tier 2 (n = 141), 72.3% of Tier 3 (n = 242), and 79.2% of Tier 4 (n = 96). These findings suggest patients are highly motivated and that the provision of no-cost ART can promote higher rates of optimal adherence.