Women for Positive Action Highlight Challenges Faced by Many Women Living with HIV in Maintaining Antiretroviral Adherence

Nov 29, 2013, 03:00 ET from Women for Positive Action

LONDON, November 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Maintaining antiretroviral adherence is an ongoing challenge and important aspect in achieving the World AIDS Day 2013 aim of 'Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths'

To mark World AIDS Day (December 1, 2013), Women for Positive Action - a global, multidisciplinary group of experts committed to addressing the specific concerns of women living with HIV - has released a commentary highlighting the challenges faced by women in maintaining adherence to their antiretroviral treatment. The commentary is available to read on the newly redesigned Women for Positive Action website (http://www.womenforpositiveaction.org) and highlights the importance of identifying, and overcoming, the barriers to adherence to slow the progression of HIV, and prevent onward transmission of the disease.

Adriana Ammassari, HIV Physician, Italy and faculty member of Women for Positive Action explains, 'Sub-optimal antiretroviral intake may lead to virological failure, drug resistance, increased morbidity and mortality, onward HIV transmission, and increased health care costs. Women living with HIV need to be supported by health care systems and are of utmost importance for achieving a change in public opinion regarding HIV, because of their key role in families and society.'

The commentary, developed by Fiona Mulcahy (St James's Hospital Dublin, Ireland), Adriana Ammassari (National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Italy), Annette Piecha (HIV Advocate, Germany), Mariana Mardarescu (Institutul Matei Balș, Romania) and Anne-Mette Lebech (Hvidovre University Hospital, Denmark) on behalf of Women for Positive Action, provides further expert opinion on the implications of poor adherence in women living with HIV.

Antiretrovirals have been shown to suppress HIV, contributing to substantial reductions in HIV-related morbidity and mortality among people receiving treatment.[1],[2] However, poor adherence detrimentally affects virological control and subsequently disease progression; as well as contributing to elevated rates of antiretroviral resistance.[3],[4] Women living with HIV face a number of challenges unique to their gender which may impact upon medication adherence, including: personal and mental health factors; social factors, such as communication; and resource factors, such as medication and transport costs.[5],[6] In addition, studies report a higher rate of discrimination among women living with HIV than in men[7] and this too contributes to poorer antiretroviral adherence.[8],[9]

Women for Positive Action is a coalition of healthcare professionals, community representatives and women living with HIV from across Europe, Canada, Latin America and South Africa established to explore and address the issues faced by women living with HIV and those involved in their care. For more information visit the website http://www.womenforpositiveaction.org.

Notes to Editors

Although women represent 50% of people living with HIV globally and are one of the fastest growing population groups at risk for HIV infection, relatively little research has looked at women-specific issues, and women only account for about 20% of participants in clinical trials of HIV to date. As part of its mission Women for Positive Action aims to raise awareness around recent and ongoing studies that focus on women. Visit the multilingual website http://womenforpositiveaction.org for further information about Women for Positive Action and ongoing projects; alternatively please also follow us on Twitter @WFPA_HIV.

Women for Positive Action is an educational program funded by AbbVie.


  1. Hogg et al. JAMA. 2001; 286(20), 2568-77
  2. Egger et al: Lancet. 2002; 360(9327), 119-29
  3. Paterson et al. Ann Intern Med. 2000; 133(1), 21-30
  4. Deeks SG. Lancet. 2003; 362(9400), 2002-11
  5. de Fatima Bonolo et al. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2013; 68, 612-20
  6. Holstad et al. AIDS Behav. 2011; 15, 885-96
  7. Zhang Y et al. Gender and Ethnicity Differences in HIV-related Stigma. Presented at the 1st International Workshop on HIV & Women, Washington DC, 2011. Abstract P_28
  8. Vanable et al. AIDS Behav. 2006; 10, 473-82
  9. Sayles et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2009; 24, 1101-8

For further information please contact the Women for Positive Action secretariat:
Email:      WFPA@litmus-mme.com
Twitter:    @WFPA_HIV
Tel:        +44(0)20-7632-1969
Address:    Women for Positive Action, Program Secretariat, Litmus MME, 151 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8AL, United Kingdom

SOURCE Women for Positive Action