Supporting Adolescents to Adhere (SATA): Lessons learned from an intervention to achieve medication adherence targets among youth living with HIV in Uganda

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Youth in Uganda are disproportionately impacted by HIV and report significant barriers to ART adherence. We asked participants how fixed versus flexible adherence target setting for incentive interventions, in combination with other support systems, could help HIV-positive youth in Uganda reach medication adherence targets. Methods: Four focus groups conducted in Luganda were audiotaped, transcribed, and translated into English; the transcriptions were then coded using Dedoose software. Two members of the research team read the text and identified the basic topics covered. A codebook was developed that detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria for each topic area, as well as typical entries for each code. A directed content analysis was used to identify key themes. Results: Several themes were common across groups. Participants consistently maintained that they preferred to set their own adherence targets. But regardless of how adherence targets were assigned, participants noted that missing their target was disappointing. They commented positively on the use of MEMS caps, noting that knowing their adherence information was being tracked often encouraged them to take their medications. Participants reported that receiving text messages further motivated them to take their medications; however, on occasions when they reported not doing well, they wanted intensive follow-up by staff. Participants said that the prize drawing alone did not motivate their ART adherence and that receiving ‘zero’ in the drawing was disheartening. Conclusion: We found that participants preferred to set their own adherence targets and that doing so increased a sense of ownership in achieving them. All participants enjoyed using MEMS caps and expressed disappointment at needing to return the device at the study's completion. Participants noted that text message reminders may be a useful way to help patients stay motivated between clinic visits; however, ongoing engagement and support are needed from providers and counselors. Finally, our participants stressed the importance of including incentives with a small, positive value rather than 0 when designing the lowest prize.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • MacCarthy S; Mendoza-Graf A; Huang H; Mukasa B; Linnemayr S
  • Start Page

  • 56
  • End Page

  • 62
  • Volume

  • 102