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The lifetime use of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) highlights the need to understand patterns of and factors associated with adherence to cART. In this cohort study using a 10% random sample of dispensing claims data for eligible Australians, we identified 2042 people dispensed cART between January 2016 and December 2017 (mean age 48.0 ± 12.0 years old, 88.6% male, and 85.9% treatment experienced). We considered people to be adherent if the proportion of treatment coverage days was ≥80% in the 360 days after their first observed cART dispensing. We also used group-based trajectory modeling (GBTM) to examine different patterns of adherence for 360 days from first observed cART dispensing. Most commonly, people receiving cART were treated with two nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors with an integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTI - 46.6%). Overall, 1708 people [83.6% (95% confidential interval 82.0-85.3%)] remained adherent over 360 days. GBTM identified three distinct adherence patterns: nearly always adherent [67.8% (63.7-71.9%) of the cohort], moderate adherence [26.6% (23.0-30.1%)], and low adherence [5.6% (4.1-7.2%)]. People were more likely to belong to the "nearly always adherent" trajectory if they were older (per additional year of age), treated with an INSTI regimen, and on treatment for more than 6 months. Our study demonstrates that the 360-day adherence to cART is generally high, but approximately one-third maintain a moderate or low adherence pattern. The use of INSTI regimens and additional support of treatment adherence, especially among younger people and those initiating therapy, may further improve adherence.

Original publication




Journal article


AIDS Patient Care and STDs

Publication Date





81 - 91