Background: Socioeconomic and demographic statuses are associated with adherence to
the treatment of patients with several chronic diseases. However, there is a controversy regarding
their impact on adherence among HIV/AIDS patients. Thus, we performed a systematic review of
the evidence regarding the association of socioeconomic and demographic statuses with adherence
to antiretroviral therapy (ART) among HIV/AIDS patients.
Methods: The PubMed database was used to search and identify studies concerning about socioeconomic
and demographic statuses and HIV/AIDS patients. Data were collected on the association
between adherence to ART and varies determinants factors of socioeconomic (income, education,
and employment/occupation) and socio-demographic (sex and age).
Findings: From 393 potentially-relevant articles initially identified, 35 original studies were reviewed
in detail, which contained data that were helpful in evaluating the association between socioeconomic/
demographic statuses and adherence to ART among HIV patients. Two original research
study has specifically focused on the possible association between socioeconomic status and
adherence to ART. Income, level of education, and employment/occupational status were significantly
and positively associated with the level of adherence in 7 studies (36.8%), 7 studies (28.0%),
and 4 studies (23.5%) respectively out of 19, 25, and 17 studies reviewed. Sex (being male), and age
(per year increasing) were significantly and positively associated with the level of adherence in 5
studies (14.3%), and 9 studies (25.7%) respectively out of 35 studies reviewed. However, the determinant
of socioeconomic and demographic statuses was not found to be significantly associated
with adherence in studies related to income 9(47.4%), education 17(68.0%), employment/
occupational 10(58.8%), sex 27(77.1%), and age 25(71.4%).
Conclusion: The majority of the reviewed studies reported that there is no association between socio-
demographic and economic variables and adherence to therapy. Whereas, some studies show
that age of HIV patients (per year increasing) and sex (being male) were positively associated with
adherence to ART. Among socio-economic factors, the available evidence does not provide conclusive
support for the existence of a clear association with adherence to ART among HIV patients.
There seems to be a positive trend between socioeconomic factors and adherence to ART in some of
the reviewed studies.