Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

Medical News
New Peer-Led Intervention Helps Individuals With HIV Adhere to Their Treatment Plans

July 25, 2013

HIV-infected persons who have peer educators are more likely to adhere to their medical treatment plans, according to researcher Maithe Enriquez, associate professor at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing. Adhering to medication regimens allows HIV-infected individuals to live long, healthy lives, but previous studies indicated that only half get medical care or follow their treatment plans.

"Being 'peered' is different from being doctored, nursed or counseled," Enriquez said. "The peer educators in the intervention also have HIV, which gives them insider perspectives. Perhaps, the belief that only those living with HIV can truly understand what it's like to live with the disease contributes to the meaningful connections between the educators and the patients struggling to adhere to treatment."

Enriquez evaluated 15 peer educators' insights into their roles in patients' treatment progress. She found that peer educators felt they provided patients with more than just education about medical adherence; they also acted as role models, motivators, and advocates. Peer educators worked with the patients to recognize and overcome barriers that prevent them from taking medicines and going to medical appointments. The peers and patients set goals and develop strategies to help the patients defeat their challenges.

Enriquez believes peer-led interventions potentially can enhance HIV care and HIV-related health outcomes. "The encouraging thing about HIV care is that patients can remain healthy if they are engaged in their care, and their viral loads decrease, which makes them less likely to spread the virus to others," Enriquez said. "Adherence to care and engagement in care go hand in hand. Having HIV is not a death sentence if patients follow their treatment plans."

Back to other news for July 2013

Excerpted from:

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

General Disclaimer: is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.