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Adherence vs Compliance to ARV
Nov 10, 2007

what is the different between "adherence" and "compliance" in terminology??

Response from Dr. Sherer

They are used synonymously, but there is a subtle difference between the two.

"Compliance" literally means following (or complying with) doctor's recommendations for medication dosing. It implies a paternalistic role for the physician and a passive role for the patient.

On the other hand, "adherence" means that the patient himself or herself is adhering to the proper dosing schedule, and it implies that the patient is empowered to take matters into their own hands for their own health.

For this reason, many clinicians prefer the term adherence, but you will see them used interchangeably in the medical literature.

In truth, the best outcomes result from an informed partnership between the patient and the physician, and the active involvement of, and communication between, both parties is what most often leads to good outcomes. So there is a strong element of both needed, i.e. willing compliance with the doctor's recommendations, and self-motivated adherence by the person living with HIV to the regimen for his or her own health.


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