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Pharmacist counseling in a cohort of women with HIV and women at risk for HIV

Authors Cocohoba J, Althoff, Cohen, Hu, Cunningham C, Sharma A, Greenblatt

Received 11 February 2012

Accepted for publication 23 February 2012

Published 18 June 2012 Volume 2012:6 Pages 457—463


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Jennifer M Cocohoba,1 Keri N Althoff,2 Mardge Cohen,3 Haihong Hu,4 Chinazo O Cunningham,5 Anjali Sharma,6 Ruth M Greenblatt1,7

University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy, San Francisco, CA; 2Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; 3Department of Medicine, Stroger Hospital and Rush Medical College, Chicago, IL; 4Department of Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; 5Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY; 6SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY; 7University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA

Background and methods: Achieving high adherence to antiretroviral therapy for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is challenging due to various system-related, medication-related, and patient-related factors. Community pharmacists can help patients resolve many medication-related issues that lead to poor adherence. The purpose of this cross-sectional survey nested within the Women’s Interagency HIV Study was to describe characteristics of women who had received pharmacist medication counseling within the previous 6 months. The secondary objective was to determine whether HIV-positive women who received pharmacist counseling had better treatment outcomes, including self-reported adherence, CD4+ cell counts, and HIV-1 viral loads.
Results: Of the 783 eligible participants in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study who completed the survey, only 30% of participants reported receiving pharmacist counseling within the last 6 months. Factors independently associated with counseling included increased age (odds ratio [OR] 1.28; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07–1.55), depression (OR 1.75; 95% CI 1.25–2.45), and use of multiple pharmacies (OR 1.65; 95% CI 1.15–2.37). Patients with higher educational attainment were less likely to report pharmacist counseling (OR 0.68; 95% CI 0.48–0.98), while HIV status did not play a statistically significant role. HIV-positive participants who received pharmacist counseling were more likely to have optimal adherence (OR 1.23; 95% CI 0.70–2.18) and increased CD4+ cell counts (+43 cells/mm3, 95% CI 17.7–104.3) compared with those who had not received counseling, though these estimates did not achieve statistical significance.
Conclusion: Pharmacist medication counseling rates are suboptimal in HIV-positive and at-risk women. Pharmacist counseling is an underutilized resource which may contribute to improved adherence and CD4+ counts, though prospective studies should be conducted to explore this effect further.

Keywords: human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, antiretroviral therapy, community pharmacy, pharmacy practice, women’s health

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