Conditional economic incentives to improve HIV treatment adherence: Literature review and theoretical considerations

Omar Galárraga, Becky L. Genberg, Rosemarie A. Martin, M. Barton Laws, Ira B. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We present selected theoretical issues regarding conditional economic incentives (CEI) for HIV treatment adherence. High HIV treatment adherence is essential not only to improve individual health for persons living with HIV, but also to reduce transmission. The incentives literature spans several decades and various disciplines, thus we selectively point out useful concepts from economics, psychology and HIV clinical practice to elucidate the complex interaction between socio-economic issues, psychological perspectives and optimal treatment adherence. Appropriately-implemented CEI can help patients improve their adherence to HIV treatment in the short-term, while the incentives are in place. However, more research is needed to uncover mechanisms that can increase habit formation or maintenance effects in the longer-term. We suggest some potentially fruitful avenues for future research in this area, including the use of concepts from self-determination theory. This general framework may have implications for related research among disadvantaged communities with high rates of HIV/AIDS infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2283-2292
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence to medication
  • Antiretroviral HIV treatment
  • Conditional cash transfers
  • Contingency management
  • Economic incentives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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