Impact of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome on antiretroviral therapy adherence

Jean B. Nachega, Chelsea Morroni, Richard E. Chaisson, Rene Goliath, Anne Efron, Malathi Ram, Gary Maartens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: We determined the impact of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence in a cohort of 274 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected South African adults initiating ART. Methods: We carried out a secondary analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial of partially supervised ART in Cape Town, South Africa. Monthly pill count adherence, viral suppression (HIV viral load < 50 c/mL), and IRIS events were documented. Poisson regression was used to identify variables associated with ART adherence below the median in the first 6 months of ART. Results: We enrolled 274 patients: 58% women, median age 34 years, median CD4 count 98 cells/μL, 46% World Health Organization clinical stage IV, and 40% on treatment for tuberculosis (TB). IRIS and TB-IRIS developed in 8.4% and 6.6% of patients, respectively. The median cumulative adherence at 6 months for those with an IRIS event vs no IRIS was 95.5% vs 98.2% (P = 0.04). Although not statistically significant, patients developing IRIS had a lower 6-month viral load suppression than those without IRIS (68% vs 80%, P = 0.32). ART adherence below the median of 98% was independently associated with alcohol abuse (relative risk [RR] 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-1.9; P = 0.003) and IRIS events (RR 1.7; 95% CI 1.2-2.2; P = 0.001). Conclusion: Although IRIS events were associated with slightly lower adherence rates, overall adherence to ART remained high in this study population. Concerns about IRIS should not deter clinicians from early ART initiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-891
Number of pages5
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
StatePublished - 2012


  • ART
  • Adherence
  • IRIS
  • TB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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