A Qualitative Exploration of Perceived Medication Adherence Determinants Conducted Among Older Adults with HIV and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Allison P. Pack*, Reneaki Smith, Mary Clare Masters, Rachel O’conor, Kenya Alcantara, Sophia Svoboda, Fangyu Yeh, Guisselle Wismer, Amisha Wallia, Stacy C. Bailey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: People living with HIV (PLWH) are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Both chronic conditions require individuals to adhere to medication regimens, yet few studies have sought to explore medication-taking behaviors among individuals with comorbid HIV and T2DM (HIV+T2DM). Objective: This qualitative study sought to: 1) identify and compare perceived determinants of medication adherence for HIV and, separately, for T2DM, and 2) explore how participants prioritize conditions. Methods: Between October 2022 and January 2023, we conducted in-depth interviews with individuals aged 50 or older, living with comorbid HIV+T2DM. Participants were prescribed oral medications to treat their conditions and had recent clinical measures indicating probable challenges with medication adherence. Interviews with consented participants from a large academic health center in the Midwest were conducted remotely. Questions largely drew from the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), a widely used implementation science framework. Additional questions explored the prioritization of conditions. Analysis employed the Framework Method and a side-by-side comparison of key determinants of medication adherence by condition. Results: A total of 19 interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Participants were an average age of 61, mostly male (89.5%), and Non-Hispanic White (47.4%). Although results revealed many commonalities between perceived determinants of medication adherence for HIV and for T2DM, differences relating to two TDF domains were noted: nature of the behavior (taking medications as prescribed), and motivations and goals. Many participants viewed their conditions as equally important, though they suggested T2DM was more difficult to manage, largely due to lifestyle modifications. Conclusion: As individuals with HIV develop chronic conditions, such as T2DM, they may require additional medication adherence support. Attention should be paid to offering support early. Disease perceptions may differ by condition, and as such, one’s motivations to take medication as prescribed may also differ by condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2667-2678
Number of pages12
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
StatePublished - 2023


  • HIV
  • medication adherence
  • qualitative
  • type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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