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August 31, 2007

The Power of Pillboxes

Pillbox organizers are an inexpensive way to improve HIV medication adherence and improve viral suppression in low-income individuals, suggests a new study.

Researchers at the Berkeley School of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco studied the effect of providing low-income HIV-positive people with pillboxes to organize their medications. The participants in the study were recruited from homeless shelters and free food programs. People with low incomes are thought to be at higher risk for poor adherence to medications because of unstable housing and high rates of mental illness and substance abuse.

The study found that the pillboxes, which cost $5 each, led to a 4 percent improvement in adherence rates, a .12 log reduction in viral load and about an 11 percent reduced risk of progressing to AIDS.

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