ABSTRACT: Despite the clinical benefits of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), sustained treatment remains a great challenge for HIV-infected people. The rate, consequences, and correlates of self-elected treatment interruptions (TI) are not known. The objectives of the study were to assess the rate of patient-elected TI in a cohort of HIV-infected people taking HAART, to evaluate whether patient-elected TI is correlated with suboptimal nonadherence, and to identify the predictors of self-chosen HAART interruptions. Using a Web-based cross-sectional survey beginning in January 2006 primary outcomes were: (1) reports of having asked their physician to interrupt the current regimen (AskDisc) and (2) reports of at least one interruption of a minimum of 1 day of any of the drugs included in the regimen (INTERR). Three hundred fifty-nine people were enrolled; 296 were taking HAART. Twenty-three percent self-reported suboptimal adherence, 45% reported AskDisc, and 25% INTERR. Forty percent of people reporting INTERR self-reported suboptimal adherence. As expected, AskDisc and INTERR were correlated with suboptimal adherence. The AskDisc group had higher CD4 cell counts and HIV RNA, more symptoms, and took more convenient regimens. The INTERR group had higher HIV RNA, were more likely to smoke, seek more information on HIV/AIDS, and less likely to take non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). The rate of self-chosen TI was high and often related to suboptimal adherence. These findings may help clinicians to better monitor patients, and identify patients for targeted counseling.
AIDS patient care and STDs 02/2009; 23(1):35-9. · 2.68 Impact Factor