The University of Virginia's Infectious Disease Clinic is starting a program to help HIV patients in rural parts of the state keep in contact with their doctors via text messaging.
The idea for the program came this summer when a social worker doing outreach found that patients in rural areas missed appointments and treatment more often than those in urban areas. Researchers say patients with HIV often can live happy, productive lives. But that requires strict compliance with anti-retroviral therapy. Keeping up with appointments and treatment is critical.
A pilot study of the U.V.A. program will see if the cell phones can help with that. Patients will get phones that receive text messages, and allow calls to health care providers and emergency contacts. Researchers want to see if the patients with the phones will follow treatments for longer than six months. Investigators will also look for reductions in HIV viral loads and how patients perceive their quality of life.
Rebecca Blatt reports...
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