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Effects of Depression on Antiretroviral Adherence in Emerging Adults with HIV

Grant Winners

  • Joshua Caballero, Pharm.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • Robin J. Jacobs, Ph.D. – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Mark S. Schweizer, D.D.S. – College of Dental Medicine
  • Jennifer Thomas, Pharm.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • Raymond L. Ownby, MD, Ph.D., MBA – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Gabrielle Vaz, BS – College of Pharmacy


  • Lisa Deziel, Ph.D., Pharm.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • Anthony Silvagni, D.O., Pharm.D. – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Linda Niessen, DMD, MPH, MPP – College of Dental Medicine


Award Winners

Emerging adults between the ages of 20 and 29 have the highest rates of new HIV diagnosis, and this rate continues to increase. High levels of antiretroviral medication adherence are necessary to prevent the progression of HIV; however, there are several factors which can adversely affect adherence rates in this population. Depression rates among HIV positive persons are approximately twice that of the general population, and could be a potential risk factor for poor adherence to antiretroviral medications. Emerging adults with HIV may also have poor health literacy and be affected with mild cognitive impairment. These factors could also impact antiretroviral medication adherence. While the effects of these factors on antiretroviral adherence have been previously studied in HIV positive populations, there are a lack of data pertaining to the effects on emerging adults. The aim of this study is to compare antiretroviral medication adherence rates between depressed and non-depressed HIV positive emerging adults. Additional factors that will be assessed for their impact on adherence include cognition and health literacy. Participants will complete depression scales (CES-D and PHQ-9), cognitive assessments (Grooved pegboard test, Trail Making tests A and B) and a health literacy questionnaire (FLIGHT). Differences in antiretroviral adherence rates between depressed and non-depressed groups will be assessed via two-tailed independent group t-tests. A multiple regression analysis will be performed to evaluate correlations between cognitive function and health literacy with adherence. Results from this study will be used to determine risk factors for poor adherence in emerging adults living with HIV, and to identify methods to improve antiretroviral adherence rates in this vulnerable population.

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