Antiretroviral therapy in Zambia: Do partners on ART enhance adherence?

Deborah Jones, Ryan Cook, Andrew Spence, Stephen M. Weiss, Ndashi Chitalu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is essential to optimize HIV treatment outcomes. Among individuals onART, targeted peer support has been found to support adherence. This study of Zambian heterosexual couples living with HIVexamined whether partners would exert a positive influence on each others adherence, and compared adherence betweencouples in which either one or both members were on ART.

Methods: Couples (n = 446 participants), in which either orboth member were on ART were assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 months.

Results: Most participants (64%, n = 263) were onART; overall, uptake of ART increased to 74% at 12 months. At baseline, 76% reported near perfect adherence; at 6 and 12months, 66% and 70% were adherent, respectively. A regression analysis indicated that the decline in adherence did not differbetween those couples in which one or both partners were on ART [F (2, 624) = 0.37, p = .692]. Pairwise comparisonindicated that adherence primarily decreased between baseline and 6 months (t = 2.72, p = .007), and was stable 6 to 12months.

Conclusions: This study of couples in Zambia found adherence was not enhanced by having a partner on ART, andthat adherence declined over time. Partners on ART may not necessarily provide support for adherence to each other.Partners may represent an untapped resource for optimizing adherence; results highlight the need for provider guidance andstructured adherence interventions targeting partner adherence support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-500
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 24 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • ART
  • HIV
  • Zambia
  • adherence
  • couples

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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