A Randomized Controlled Trial of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adherence and Depression (CBT-AD) in HIV-Infected Individuals

Steven A. Safren, Conall O'Cleirigh, Judy Y. Tan, Sudha R. Raminani, Laura C. Reilly, Michael W. Otto, Kenneth H. Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate cognitive-behavioral therapy to enhance medication adherence and reduce depression (CBT-AD) in individuals with HIV. Design: A two arm, randomized, controlled, cross-over trial comparing CBT-AD to enhanced treatment as usual only (ETAU). ETAU, which both groups received, included a single-session intervention for adherence and a letter to the patient's provider documenting her or his continued depression. The intervention group also received 10 to 12 sessions of CBT-AD. Main Outcome Measures: Adherence to antiretroviral therapy as assessed by Medication Event Monitoring Systems (MEMs) and depression as assessed by blinded structured evaluation. Results: At the acute outcome assessment (3-months), those who received CBT-AD evidenced significantly greater improvements in medication adherence and depression relative to the comparison group. Those who were originally assigned to the comparison group who chose to cross over to CBT-AD showed similar improvements in both depression and adherence outcomes. Treatment gains for those in the intervention group were generally maintained at 6-and 12-month follow-up assessments. By the end of the follow-up period, those originally assigned CBT-AD demonstrated improvements in plasma HIV RNA concentrations, though these differences did not emerge before the cross-over, and hence there were not between-groups differences. Conclusions: CBT-AD is a potentially efficacious approach for individuals with HIV struggling with depression and adherence. Replication and extension in larger efficacy trials are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • adherence
  • cognitive behavioral therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'A Randomized Controlled Trial of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adherence and Depression (CBT-AD) in HIV-Infected Individuals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this