Interventions to improve self-management of adults living with HIV on Antiretroviral Therapy: A systematic review

Habtamu Abera Areri, Amy Marshall, Gillian Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction Since its initial recognition, HIV has been responsible for around 35 million deaths globally. The introduction of Antiretroviral Therapy has helped to reduce mortality from HIV. However, the resulting increased longevity has influenced the experience of people living with HIV, which now manifests as a chronic condition requiring effective self-management. This review aimed to identify and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to improve self-management of adults living with HIV on Antiretroviral therapy. Methods The review included published experimental studies addressing interventions to improve self-management of adults living with HIV on Antiretroviral Therapy. Studies were included if they addressed two or more outcomes of self-management, as defined by the Theory of Individual and Family Self-Management. The search covered four databases and was limited to papers published in the English language from 2001 to March 30, 2019. The reference lists of included studies were further searched for additional studies. Two independent reviewers using the Joanna Briggs Institute Meta-Analysis of Statistics Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI SUMARI) assessed the methodological quality of the reviewed papers. Data extraction was undertaken using the JBI SUMARI standardized data extraction tool. As the included papers were not homogeneous, it was not possible to conduct a meta-analysis. A narrative synthesis was undertaken to synthesize the findings of the included studies. Results The search identified 337 articles from which 10 experimental and 2 quasi-experimental studies were included. The total participant sample in the included studies was 1661 adults living with HIV. The overall evidence quality of the findings was considered moderate. Many of the studies included in this review comprised multi-component interventions to improve self-management. Skills training, in conjunction with other forms of interventions, particularly phone counseling, was commonly employed and generally effective in improving self-management outcomes. Counseling with a symptom management manual was another employed and effective intervention, followed by technology-assisted self-management interventions. The most common outcomes measured were maintaining medication adherence and quality of life, followed by symptom management, self-efficacy, coping, and social support. Conclusions Interventions to improve self-management varied across studies. However, promising outcomes achieved in the majority of studies through interventions comprising a combination of skills training, phone counseling, counseling with symptom management manuals, and technology-assisted interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0232709
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Antiretroviral Therapy
  • systematic review


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