ASPPH logo


Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Text Reminders Improve HIV Medication Adherence

Sending simple text messages to HIV-positive patients in China to remind them to take their medication when they miss a dose is a “promising approach” in the management of HIV and other chronic diseases, a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BU) researchers shows.

The study, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, found that “real-time reminders” significantly improved antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence in the study population.

BU researchers led by global health associate professor Dr. Lora Sabin, working with colleagues in China, provided patients in Nanning, China, who were receiving ART with a medication device that electronically recorded the date and time of each container opening. Patients in the intervention group received individualized reminders each time they failed to open the device by 30 minutes past the dose-taking time. To protect disclosure of HIV status, the text messages were personalized, with subjects selecting from a list of options such as, “carry on, carry on!” and “be healthy, have a happy family.”

When seen monthly in the clinic, intervention participants with adherence rates lower than 95 percent received a behavioral counseling session, informed by their adherence data from the previous month, to improve their medication adherence. Six months into the intervention, 87 percent of the intervention group had achieved optimal adherence to the medication regime, compared to 52 percent of the control group, the study found.

To read more about the study, go to: