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Non-adherence and non-persistence with antiretroviral treatment in Belgium: A real-world evaluation using a pharmacy database, 2018-2021.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the real-world rates of non-adherence and non-persistence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) among treatment-naïve adult patients with HIV after a 12-month follow-up period in Belgium.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of longitudinal pharmacy claims was conducted using the Pharmanet database from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2021. Non-adherence was assessed over 12 months and reported as the proportion of days covered below the 80% threshold. Non-persistence was defined as the first 90-day gap in treatment between the two types of ART dispensed. Poisson regression with robust standard error and Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the factors associated with non-adherence and non-persistence, respectively.

RESULTS: Overall, 2999 patients were initiated on ART between 2018 and 2021. After a 12-month follow-up, the proportions of non-adherence and non-persistence were 35.6% and 15.9%, respectively in 2018, and decreased to 18.7% and 6.8%, respectively in 2021. Non-adherence was higher among women, Brussels residents, and those receiving multiple-tablet regimens (MTRs). Similarly, the prevalence of non-persistence was higher among women and MTR recipients.

CONCLUSION: Among treatment-naïve adults with HIV in Belgium, non-adherence, and non-persistence to ART showed improvement over the study period but remained at high levels. Disparities were observed by sex and between geographical regions. Prioritizing strategies targeting women in Brussels and facilitating the transition from MTRs to single-tablet regimens should be emphasized optimize adherence to ART in Belgium.

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