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Nurse-led intervention improves adherence to HIV treatment

A nurse-led self-management programme for people with HIV can significantly improve adherence to medication used to treat the condition, new study results suggest. 

A nurse-led self-management programme for people with HIV can significantly improve adherence to medication used to treat the condition, new study results suggest. 


Of those taking part in the nurse-led self-management programme, researchers found
an increase in treatment success of nearly 18%. Picture: iStock

Over 15 months, researchers from the universities of Aberdeen and Amsterdam studied 221 patients with HIV in seven hospitals across the Netherlands. A total of 112 received treatment as usual and 109 were assigned to an adherence improving self-management strategy (AIMS) which was delivered by nurses during routine clinic visits. 

Patients in the AIMS group received a combination of self-management strategies and counselling and tracked their own medication use with electronic pill bottles. 

Curbing the pandemic 

Viral load – the amount of virus present in the blood – was measured at the start of the study and then at five, ten and 15 months. If patients had a detectable viral load at two consecutive time points after the intervention, it was classed as a 'treatment failure'. 

The researchers found an increase in treatment success of almost 18% in the AIMS group, compared to patients who received regular care, with 'treatment failure' reduced by more than 60% in this group compared to those who received usual care. 

'Not only is this a significant improvement to individual patients' health, it is also important for public health because it may help to curb the pandemic by interrupting the transmission of the virus,' said lead study author Marjin de Bruin from the University of Aberdeen. 


De Bruin M et al (2017) Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a nurse-delivered intervention to improve adherence to treatment for HIV: a pragmatic, multicentre, open-label, randomised clinical trial. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(16)30534-5

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