Menstrual cycle phase and single tablet antiretroviral medication adherence in women with HIV

Nancy A. Hessol, Susan Holman, Howard Minkoff, Mardge H. Cohen, Elizabeth T. Golub, Seble Kassaye, Roksana Karim, Oluwakemi Sosanya, Christopher Shaheen, Zaher Merhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Suboptimal adherence to antiretroviral (ARV) therapy among HIV-infected individuals is associated with increased risk of progression to AIDS and the development of HIV resistance to ARV medications. To examine whether the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle is independently associated with suboptimal adherence to single tablet regimen (STR) ARV medication, data were analyzed from a multicenter cohort study of HIV-infected women who reported regular menstrual cycles and were taking an STR. In a cross-sectional analysis, suboptimal adherence to an STR among women in their follicular phase was compared with suboptimal adherence among women in their luteal phase. In two-way crossover analyses, whereby the same woman was assessed for STR medication adherence in both her follicular and luteal phases, the estimated exact conditional odds of non-adherence to an STR was measured. In adjusted logistic regression analysis of the cross-sectional data (N=327), women with ≤12 years of education were more than three times more likely to have suboptimal adherence (OR=3.6, p=.04) compared to those with >12 years of education. Additionally, women with Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) scores ≥23 were 2.5-times more likely to have suboptimal adherence (OR=2.6, p=.02) compared to those with CES-D scores <23. In conditional logistic regression analyses of the crossover data (N=184), having childcare responsibilities was associated with greater odds of ≤95% adherence. Menstrual cycle phase was not associated with STR adherence in either the cross-sectional or crossover analyses. The lack of association between phase of the menstrual cycle and adherence to an STR in HIV-infected women means attention can be given to other more important risk factors for suboptimal adherence, such as depression, level of education, and childcare responsibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016


  • HIV
  • medication adherence
  • menstrual phase
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology


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