Doubts about DOT: Antiretroviral therapy for resource-poor countries

Cheryl A. Liechty, David R. Bangsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Introduction: Directly observed therapy programs developed for tuberculosis (TB) have been suggested as a model for the provision of HIV medications in resource-poor countries in order to ensure adherence and prevent drug resistance. Methods: Opinions were formed based on a review of scientific literature regarding the effectiveness of witnessed dosing in directly observed TB therapy programs, adherence to HIV antiretroviral therapy in resource-rich and resource-poor settings, relationship between adherence and HIV antiretroviral drug resistance, HIV viral load and risk of HIV transmission, and stigmatization concerns related to HIV and TB in resource-poor settings. Results/conclusions: We suggest that the enthusiasm for HIV directly observed therapy programs is premature based on: equivocal evidence that witnessed dosing is superior to self administered therapy; mistaken assumptions that resource-poor countries are a 'special case' with respect to adherence; possible paradoxical impact of good adherence on HIV drug resistance; unproven efficacy of antiretroviral therapy in preventing HIV transmission; and potential stigmatization of daily antiretroviral dosing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1383-1387
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 13 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence
  • Africa
  • Directly observed therapy
  • HIV antiretroviral therapy
  • Resistance
  • Resource-poor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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