Assessment of Demographic and Socio-Behavioral Factors on Adherence to HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Using a Markov Modeling Approach

the Partners Demonstration Project Team

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Purpose: Adherence is important for the effectiveness of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The objective of the current work is to assess the impact of multiple demographic and socio-behavioral factors on the adherence to tenofovir-based PrEP among HIV serodiscordant couples in East Africa using Markov mixed-effects modeling approach. Methods: The Partners Demonstration Project was a prospective, open-label, implementation science-driven study of HIV PrEP among heterosexual HIV serodiscordant couples in Kenya and Uganda. The uninfected partner received oral PrEP according to the “bridge to antiretroviral therapy [ART]” strategy (i.e., until the infected partner had been on ART for ≥6 months). Adherence was monitored electronically; demographic and socio-behavioral data were collected during study visits. Analyzed data reflect 12 months of follow-up per participant. A two-state, first-order, discrete time Markov model was developed with longitudinal adherence data characterized by “dose taking (1)” and “dose missing (0).” Covariate effects were linearly added in the logit domain of transition probability parameters (P01 and P10) in the model. The full covariate model was initially developed, followed by backward elimination process to reduce the model. All significant covariates reported by a prior primary statistical analysis of the same data were included in the full covariate model. Results: The model included data from 920 participants, who were predominantly male (65%). Significant covariates associated with higher adherence were 25 years or older [odds ratio (OR) for P10, 0.61], female sex (OR for P10, 0.67), participant wanting the relationship with the partner to succeed (OR for P10, 0.79; OR for P01, 1.45), and sex with partner either with 100% or <100% condom use compared to those reported no sex (OR for P10, 0.84; OR for P01, 1.21). Significant covariates associated with lower adherence were partner on ART >6 months (OR for P01, 0.86; OR for P10, 1.34), subject in the study for >6 months (OR for P01, 0.8; OR for P10, 1.25), and problematic alcohol use (OR for P01, 0.63; OR for P10, 1.16). Conclusion: The developed Markov model provides a mechanistic understanding of relationship between demographic, socio-behavioral covariates, and PrEP adherence, by indicating the pattern of adherence influenced by each factor over time. Such data can be used for further intervention development to promote PrEP adherence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number785
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
StatePublished - 12 Jul 2019


  • HIV
  • Markov model
  • adherence
  • covariates
  • preexposure prophylaxis


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