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Press Releases

September 19, 2011

UCLA School of Nursing HIV Medication Adherence Program Recognized Among Top HIV Behavioral Interventions by CDC

(LOS ANGELES – September 16, 2011) — The Prevention Research Synthesis Project at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has identified the ATHENA HIV medication adherence program, developed through the UCLA School of Nursing research department, as one of the strongest HIV behavioral interventions available today. Medication adherence programs are critical to stopping the spread of HIV and reducing HIV-related healthcare costs.

The new program is one of only eight models recognized by the CDC as a “good-evidence-based” program. The intervention helps people living with HIV take lifesaving medications correctly and consistently. Non-adherence is widely viewed as a risk factor for the spread of the drug-resistant HIV virus.

“Our goal is to make sure HIV patients understand how to take their medications properly, and why that is important,” said lead researcher Ann Williams, associate dean of research and a professor at UCLA School of Nursing. “When HIV drugs are taken in sub-optimal doses, the virus is only partially suppressed and can grow stronger to the point where even optimal doses of antiretroviral medication no longer suppress the disease. ATHENA provides HIV-positive patients with home visits from a nurse and community worker who help identify adherence issues, and help patients overcome personal, educational and cultural factors that may be impeding the patient’s success in taking medications correctly.”

Williams currently is taking the program overseas to South Central China, where the national CDC is presently scaling up antiretroviral treatment in a resource-constrained community.

“We know the program improves adherence here in the U.S.,” said Williams. “The next step is to design and test the efficacy of a culturally sensitive antiretroviral therapy adherence intervention to understand how to overcome barriers to adherence in other countries.”

The intervention program research was originally conducted in Connecticut, with results published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes in 2006.

For more information about the program visit, http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/research/prs/resources/factsheets/athena.htm

The UCLA School of Nursing is redefining nursing through the pursuit of uncompromised excellence in research, education, practice, policy and patient advocacy. Ranked among the top nursing schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report, the school also is ranked No. 7 in nursing research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and No.1 in NIH stimulus funding. In 2009-2010, the school received $18 million in total research grant funding and was awarded 26 faculty research grants. The school offers programs for the undergraduate (BS), postgraduate (MSN and MECN) and doctoral (Ph.D.) student. For more information, please visit the website at nursing.ucla.edu. # # #

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