Crystal Clear with Active Visualization: Understanding Medication Adherence Among Youth Living with HIV

  • Joan ChristodoulouEmail author
  • Sue Ellen Abdalian
  • Annie S. K. Jones
  • Georgia Christodoulou
  • Stephen L. PentoneyJr.
  • Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus
Original Paper


Adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) among youth remains low. We piloted an adapted active visualization device that demonstrates how ART works in the body. Youth living with HIV were randomized to: (1) standard care (n = 14) or the (2) adapted active visualization intervention (n = 14) and 71% of the sample (n = 19) were re-assessed on viral load, adherence behaviors, and illness perceptions 2.5 months later. Intervention youth had lower viral loads, reported less difficulty in adhering to ART, and more motivation and control over their HIV than standard care at follow-up. Active visualization may be an acceptable tool to address ART adherence among youth.


Youth living with HIV Antiretroviral therapy Medication adherence Multisensory learning Viral load 



Funding was provided by UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services and National Institute of Mental Health (Grant No: T32MH109205).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral SciencesSemel Institute, University of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  4. 4.Keck School of MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Organovo, Inc.San DiegoUSA

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