Poor Adherence to HIV/AIDS, Other Disease Treatment Regimens ‘Increasing, World-Wide Problem,’ WHO Report Says
Poor adherence to the long-term treatment regimens of chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS is an "increasing, world-wide problem," with adherence rates averaging only 50% in developed countries and lower percentages in developing countries, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Health Organization, Xinhua News Agency reports (Xinhua News Agency, 7/1). The report, titled "Adherence to Long-Term Therapies, Evidence for Action," found that in the Gambia, China and the United States, adherence to HIV/AIDS treatment regimens ranges from 37% to 83% (WHO release, 7/1). Nonadherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy can have important public health implications, including the development of drug-resistant HIV that can be transmitted to others and that can limit patients' therapeutic options. The main factors that affect adherence to such regimens include the complexity and potential side effects of the regimen, the beliefs and psychosocial status of the patient and the relationship between the patient and care providers. The report suggests that providers should try to improve their patients' adherence by actively involving them in treatment decisions; providing appropriate support, counseling and education; and tailoring treatment regimens to fit patients' lifestyles ("Adherence to Long-Term Therapies, Evidence for Action," 7/1). The report says that the adherence problem will grow as the burden of chronic diseases increases; noncommunicable diseases, mental health disorders, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined represented 54% of the global burden of illness in 2001 and are expected to account for more than 65% in 2020 (WHO release, 7/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.