Researchers have come up with a smartphone application that is set to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART), improving the quality of life among people living with HIV.
HIV infection cannot currently be cured, but that does not mean it’s the end of the road for all who are infected. Advancement in pharmacotherapy has made it possible for people to be able to lead a full life even if they are infected by the virus, or even prevent infection within 72 hours after being exposed by using the HIV PEP treatment.
How is this so? By taking medicine to control the infection such as antiretroviral therapy (ART). Taking the medicine isn’t the only thing required from HIV-infected people, adherence in taking the medicine is most important for the therapy to be effective.
People can now live normal healthy lives with HIV but the trick is to always take medicine and on time. As easy as this may sound, a study shows that some people living with HIV do not take medicine on time because of the following reasons:
Change in daily routine
It might be a new job with odd hours or an event that makes an individual do more than they usually do, regardless of the event, a change in a person’s daily routine could led him/her not to take medicine on time.
This is yet another reason that makes people not to take their medicine. It may be alcohol or drugs or any other substances but researchers say that substance abuse is among the top predictors of poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy.
Others simply forget to take the medicines when required.
In Comes DRUM
No matter the reason for delaying medication, worry not. Daily Reports of Using Medications or DRUM comes to the rescue. This is a smartphone application that researchers have developed with the aim of aiding people living with the HIV infection to improve adherence to medications. The app comes in to help do away with the three reasons why people living with HIV have poor adherence to ART.
This is not to say that use of substance abuse while using the app will not affect an individual’s adherence to medicine. Rather, the app provides a series of follow-up questions such as why the person used the substance and where they were when they did it while offering a menu of answer choices. This helps the individual to monitor his substance intake and realize that it affects how and when he takes his medication.
Advantages of DRUM
The app can be accessed at any time anywhere so long as you have your smartphone. It’s a STD doctor in your pocket.
- Easy to use
A study done on individuals who used the app reported that they found it easy to use.
The fact that the app can be easily accessed so long as you have your smartphone which you can get at anytime and anywhere makes DRUM convenient to use.
- In-Built Report
This is a feature in the app that requires users to self-report on their adherence to ART as well as substance use every day.
- Acts as a Reminder
With a daily report, the app acts as a reminder to users to take their medicine on time.
With DRUM, we can only expect life expectancy to improve drastically as the more an individual living with HIV remembers to take medicine and do so on time, the more his quality of life improves.