Academic journal article International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Texting Enhances HIV Treatment Program

Academic journal article International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Texting Enhances HIV Treatment Program

Article excerpt

Text messaging can be effective in supporting participants' adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low-resource settings, according to an evaluation of an intervention conducted among HIV-infected adults at three Kenyan HIV clinics between May 2007 and October 2008. (1) Of the 538 participants who were beginning ART and reported having "near-daily" access to a mobile phone and being able to communicate by its short message service function, half were randomly assigned to the control group to receive counseling and drug treatment. The other half were assigned to the intervention group, whose members not only received counseling and ART, but were sent a weekly text message asking "How are you?" ("Mambo?"), to which they were instructed to respond that they were doing well ("Sawa") or that they had a problem ("Shida"). Over the one-year study period, health care workers sent 11,983 text messages, to which they received 7,812 "Sawa" responses; if participants responded "Shida" (391) or did not respond within the 48-hour time frame (3,780), health care workers followed up by phone. Overall 62% percent of participants in the intervention group reported ART adherence (i.e., reported at. …

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