Author(s): Falagas ME, Zarkadoulia EA, Pliatsika PA, Panos G
OBJECTIVES: It has been shown that socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with adherence to treatment of patients with several chronic diseases. However, there is a controversy regarding the impact of SES on adherence among patients with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Thus, we sought to perform a systematic review of the evidence regarding the association of SES with adherence to treatment of patients with HIV/AIDS.
METHODS: We searched the PubMed database to identify studies concerning SES and HIV/AIDS and collected data regarding the association between various determinants of SES (income, education, occupation) and adherence.
FINDINGS: We initially identified 116 potentially relevant articles and reviewed in detail 17 original studies, which contained data that were helpful in evaluating the association between SES and adherence to treatment of patients with HIV/AIDS. No original research study has specifically focused on the possible association between SES and adherence to treatment of patients with HIV/AIDS. Among the reviewed studies that examined the impact of income and education on adherence to antiretroviral treatment, only half and less than a third, respectively, found a statistically significant association between these main determinants of SES and adherence of patients infected with HIV/AIDS.
CONCLUSION: Our systematic review of the available evidence does not provide conclusive support for existence of a clear association between SES and adherence among patients infected with HIV/AIDS. There seemed to be a positive trend among components of SES (income, education, occupation) and adherence to antiretroviral treatment in many of the reviewed studies, however most of the studies did not establish a statistically significant association between determinants of SES and adherence.