A counseling-based intervention has succeeded in improving adherence to antiretrovirals (ARVs) among HIV-positive blacks and Latinos who are reluctant to start treatment. Publishing their findings in AIDS and Behavior, researchers recruited 95 HIV-positive, treatment-naive African-American and Latino adults whose CD4 counts were below 500 and randomized them into either an intervention or a control arm.

The intervention included three individual counseling sessions, up to five support groups with other study participants, and personalized patient navigation for 12 to 24 weeks, depending on their needs. This “pre-adherence” intervention was designed for people who have refused to start ARVs or who believe they are not ready to take them. The control group was assigned to receive HIV treatment under standard protocol.

Eight months into the study, 60 percent of the intervention participants were adhering to ARVs seven days a week, according to drug concentrations in hair samples, compared with just 26.7 percent of the control participants. Additionally, the intervention participants had, on average, a nearly 10-fold lower viral load than the controls.

The researchers concluded that future study of this intervention is warranted.

To read the press release, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.