Project Duration: May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2013

Patient engagement in care and adherence to medication are critical to achieving the full benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people with HIV infection. A randomized control trial in Kenya, WelTelKenya1, showed that an interactive mobile phone text messaging intervention can improve adherence and viral load suppression. A small scale pilot study, WelTel BC1, was conducted with individuals taking HAART to assess the acceptability and feasibility of the WelTel model in a Canadian setting. Patients and healthcare providers at the Oak Tree Clinic were enthusiastic about the intervention, found it feasible, and believed it can improve care. The results of this research support the use of the WelTel SMS support intervention as a simple and useful approach to facilitating patient and health care provider communication and engagement. Using low cost interactive text messaging has the potential to serve as an affordable and easy to use conduit to link individuals to health care providers (outreach workers, nurses, case managers) who are equipped in assisting them in navigating the health care system.

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