Self-Reported Medication Adherence and Symptom Experience in Adults With HIV

Caryl Gay, Carmen J. Portillo, Ryan Kelly, Traci Coggins, Harvey Davis, Bradley E. Aouizerat, Clive R. Pullinger, Kathryn A. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Symptom burden has been identified as a predictor of medication adherence, but little is known about which symptoms are most strongly implicated. This study examines self-reported medical adherence in relation to demographic, clinical, and symptom characteristics among 302 adults living with HIV. Only 12% reported missing medication during the 3-day assessment, but 75% gave at least one reason for missing it in the previous month. Poor adherence was associated with higher viral load and greater symptom burden. Trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating were strongly associated with poor adherence. Given that " forgetting" was the most common reason for missing medication and nearly one third reported sleeping through dose time, future research should examine the influence of sleep disturbance on adherence. Effective management of common symptoms, such as sleep disturbance, fatigue, and gastrointestinal side-effects of medications may result in better adherence, as well as improved clinical outcomes and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-268
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Adherence
  • Fatigue
  • HIV
  • Sleep
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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