Stages of change for adherence to antiretroviral medications

Becky L. Genberg, Yoojin Lee, William H. Rogers, Cynthia Willey, Ira B. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Providers do not predict reliably which of their HIV-positive patients are having difficulty adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART). The transtheoretical, or stages of change model, may be a useful tool to help providers identify patients who are having difficulty with ART adherence. The objective of the current study was to determine the relationship between stages of change and ART adherence among patients who were actively taking ART. Data from a randomized trial of a provider-focused intervention were used to examine the relationship between the stages of change and adherence, measured using electronic monitoring devices in the 30 days following the stages of change assessment. Individuals were eligible for inclusion if they were taking ART and had detectable plasma viral load (HIV-RNA). Repeated measures analysis of covariance was used to determine the impact of stages of change on adherence after controlling for potential confounders. The sample of 137 participants was 22% female, 48% white, 28% African-American, with a mean age of 42 years. Fifty-eight percent reported sex with a man as an HIV risk factor, while 13% reported sex with a woman, 14% reported injecting drugs and 15% reported other risk factors. In adjusted models, those in earlier stages of change (i.e., contemplation and preparation) had significantly lower adherence (-9.8%, p=0.04) compared to those in the action and maintenance phases. No demographic characteristics predicted adherence. The stages of change model may function as a screening tool for clinicians to discover patients at-risk of lower adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-572
Number of pages6
JournalAIDS patient care and STDs
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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