Recent studies reveal that Youths living with HIV (YLHIV) enrolled in HIV treatment experience a higher rate of interruption in treatment, sub-optimal medication adherence, and greater HIV-related mortality compared with other age groups. Therefore, this study investigated the effect of text messaging on medication adherence and antiretroviral-therapy (ART) retention practices among YLHIV in Niger state, Nigeria. The study was a quasi-experimental design in two selected hospitals. One hospital was assigned to a once-weekly text message intervention (TMI) for six weeks, and the 2nd served as the control group (CG). Data were collected at baseline, immediate post-intervention, and at the sixth-week follow-up. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics at a 0.05 level of significance. Findings showed that between baseline and immediate post-intervention, there was a significant increase (p < 0.05) in the mean score of knowledge, perception, medication-adherence, and ART retention practices (from 9.62±12.28 to 22.98±4.57; 32.21±30.01 to 79.04±4.13; 13.50±8.41 to 26.65±13.15; 6.62±3.53 to 15.15±2.42) but there was no significant (p > 0.05) difference in the CG (from 10.29±11.08 to 10.58±10.74, 34.81±25.15 to 35.81±24.80, 17.13±9.23 to 17.23±9.16, 9.00±5.59 to 9.00±5.59) respectively. Between baseline and 6th week follow-up, there was a significant difference (p < 0.05) with a large effect size for knowledge (1.6), perception (2.2), medication-adherence (2.2) and ART retention practices (3.1) but no significant difference (p > 0.05) in the CG for all measures with an effect size of 0. The text messages intervention effectively influenced knowledge and perception of YLHIV, thereby improving treatment adherence practices. In addition, findings from this study can be used to design projects or interventions for scaling up the use of mobile phone text messaging to promote the adoption of health innovations and influence mHealth policy dialogue and review.
Key words: HIV, mHealth, text message, treatment adherence, youths.
YLHIV, Youths Living with HIV; HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus; AIDS: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; ART: Antiretroviral Therapy; TMI: Text Messaging Intervention;
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