A Behavioral Adherence Intervention Improves Rates of Viral Suppression Among Adherence-Challenged People Living with HIV in South India

Authors : Ekstrand ML, Heylen E, Pereira M, D'Souza J, Nair S, Mazur A, Shamsundar R, Kumar BNR, Chandy S

Publication Year : 2020

Abstract :

The success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has led to both extended life expectancy and improved quality of life among people living with HIV (PLWH). To maximize the efficacy of first line ART regimens in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), we need culturally-relevant interventions that empower participants to reduce barriers to long-term uninterrupted adherence. The Chetana adherence intervention trial was designed in collaboration with local community groups as a comprehensive wellness program for adherence-challenged PLWH and included peer-led adherence support, yoga, nutrition, information about local resources, and individual counseling using motivational interviewing techniques. Intervention arm participants were almost twice as likely to be virally suppressed at their 12-month follow-up visit (AOR = 1.98; 95% CI [1.2, 3.23]) as were participants in the active control arm. They were also about twice as likely as control arm participants to self-report greater than or equal to 95% adherence (AOR = 1.86, 95% CI [1.09, 3.15]), and as having eliminated individual adherence barriers (AOR = 2.33, 95% CI [1.51, 3.62]) and clinic attendance barriers (AOR = 2.01, 95% CI [1.20, 3.38]) These low-cost strategies can be implemented by local NGOs, making it both scalable and sustainable in this and similar settings.