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Perceived Social Support Among Adults Struggling With Adherence to HIV Care and Treatment

Enriquez, Maithe, PhD, APRN, FAAN*; Mercier, Deborah A., PhD, RN, AOCNS; Cheng, An-Lin, PhD; Banderas, Julie W., PharmD, FCCP, BCPS

Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care: May-June 2019 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 362–371
doi: 10.1097/JNC.0000000000000059
Feature Article

Few studies have examined perceived social support among the subgroup of the HIV population that struggles with adherence to HIV care and treatment. A secondary analysis from 2 HIV medication adherence intervention studies was conducted using a mixed method design. Participants were not taking HIV medications as prescribed or had fallen out of HIV care. Two major themes emerged from the qualitative data analysis: extreme isolation and constant turmoil. Overall social support scores were low, as measured by the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey. Convergent qualitative data excerpt corresponded with low scores on every dimension of the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey. Findings from our study indicate that adults living with HIV who struggled with taking HIV medications lacked social support in many areas of their lives. Interventions that focus on perceptions of available social support may be helpful for individuals with ongoing HIV medication adherence challenges.

Maithe Enriquez, PhD, APRN, FAAN, is Associate Professor and Director, Participatory Health Research Graduate Certificate Program, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA. Deborah A. Mercier, PhD, RN, AOCNS, is Director of Medical Affairs, NewLink Genetics, Ames, Iowa, USA. An-Lin Cheng, PhD, is Associate Professor and Director of Research and Statistical Consult Service Department, Biomedical and Health Informatics, University of Missouri, Kansas City, School of Medicine, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Julie W. Banderas, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, is Assistant Dean, Graduate Health Professions; Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, USA, and is Professor, Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, School of Medicine, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Corresponding author: Maithe Enriquez, e-mail:

Sponsorships or competing interests that may be relevant to content are disclosed at the end of this article.

© 2019 Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
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