Study in China Aims To Help Patients Follow AIDS Medication Regimens

Improving HIV/AIDS medication adherence and preventing drug-resistant strains of the virus is the goal of a new grant awarded to Yale University School of Nursing (YSN) Professor Ann Williams.

Williams will co-direct a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a groundbreaking study to help patients take HIV/AIDS medications correctly. The new study will adapt a nursing intervention that successfully increased the ability of AIDS patients in New Haven to follow their medication regimen. The project builds on a long-term collaboration in HIV/AIDS treatment and care between YSN, the Yale-China Association and partners in Changsha, Hunan province.

The study will be co-led by Professor Honghong Wang of the Central South University School of Nursing in Changsha. Wang is an alumna of the Yale-China Association’s China Fellowship Program.

Since China first documented the presence of HIV in 1989, the AIDS epidemic has spread rapidly and widely throughout the country. Currently, an estimated 700,000 people in China are living with HIV.

In response to the growing number of new infections, the Chinese government launched the China CARES program, which provides free HIV/AIDS medications for those in need. However, if patients fail to take their medications correctly, the virus may develop resistance to the medications, making them ineffective in the future and for other patients subsequently infected by the drug-resistant virus.

Williams is the Martha Prosser Jayne Professor of Nursing at YSN, professor at the Yale School of Medicine and guest professor in the Department of Nursing at Xiangya Medical University, Central South University.

She designed and conducted some of the earliest studies of HIV/AIDS risk behaviors among injection drug users and their sexual partners. Her work tested interventions to reduce HIV transmission, improve the health status of women with the disease and increase patient adherence to antiretroviral medication. Her current research focuses on understanding the social and behavioral aspects of medication adherence among HIV-infected individuals and on designing and evaluating theory-based interventions to assist patients in improving their success with anti-retroviral medications.

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