February #44 : Techno Truth - by Scott Hess

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Table of Contents

They Shoot Barebackers, Don't They?

A Ride on the Wild Side

Secrets & Lies

Brain Drain

All in the Family

Is Stoning Next?

Tee'd Off

Say What

Heart to HAART


To the Editor

POZarazzi: Stardust Memories

Tee'd Off

Say What

The Stiles Files

You've Got Mail!

Ad of the Month: Oh, Good Lords!

Cry Cannabis

An Affair to Remember

Techno Truth

POZ Planet: Vital Stats

Behind the Eight Ball

Voter Fraud

Show & Tell

POZ Picks

Northern Disclosure

The Wizard of Roz


Heart to HAART

Ever Laughter

A River Ran Through Him

One Toke Over the Line

Talk Therapy

New Drug Watch

The Party’s Still On

The “No Nukes” Movement

Vits Help the Rits Go Down

Female Trouble

Not My Type

Where to Find It

Big Daddy

Aunt Evelyn's Letters

Verse: Eulogy for Brad

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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February 1999

Techno Truth

by Scott Hess

Adherence is easier said than done

Words can be cheap—and inaccurate—when it comes to tracking anti-HIV drug-taking. In a recent three-month study, Dr. Kathleen Melbourne of the University of Rhode Island asked 44 HIVers to report how many drug doses they missed. Self-report of adherence was consistently higher than that measured electronically
by the Medication Event Monitoring Systems (MEMS) track cap. Participants’ pill bottles came equipped with MEMS, which has a computer chip that records the hour and date each time it is popped open.

The truth hurt: 24 percent of PWAs overestimated by 10 percent how many doses they took, and missed meds were documented in 98 percent of participants. Only one person took 100 percent of his meds in the three months. Use of the electro cap also revealed a wide degree of fluctuation in daily dosing times—another reason, Melbourne said, for drug failure.

“Self-reporting is the easiest way [to measure adherence], but it’s not reliable,” said Melbourne. “Patients won’t necessarily remember all the doses they missed.” However, with a $12,000 price tag to electronically monitor participants for 90 days, MEMS is a gold standard.  

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