Characterizing HIV Medication Adherence for Virologic Success Among Individuals Living With HIV/AIDS: Experience With the CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER) Cohort

Bipasha Biswas, Edward Spitznagel, Ann C. Collier, Benjamin Gelman, Justin C. McArthur, Susan Morgello, J. Allen McCutchan, David B. Clifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has changed HIV-related illness from terminal to chronic by suppressing viral load which results in immunologic and clinical improvement. Success with ART is dependent on optimal adherence, commonly categorized as > 95%. As medication type, class and frequency of use continue to evolve, we assessed adherence levels related to viral suppression. Using a cross-sectional analysis with secondary data (n = 381) from an ongoing multi-site study on impact of ART on the Central Nervous System (CNS), we compared self-reported adherence rates with biological outcomes of HIV-RNA copies/ml, and CD4 cell/mm3. Adherence to ART measures included taking all prescribed medication as directed on schedule and following dietary restrictions. While depression was a barrier to adherence, undetectable viral suppression was achieved at pill adherence percentages lower than 95%. Practice, research and policy implications are discussed in the context of patient-, provider-, and system-level factors influencing adherence to ART.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-25
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014



  • adherence
  • depressive symptomatology
  • HIV/AIDS transmission and/or risk
  • immune markers
  • treatment issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)

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