People living with HIV (PLWH) are often culturally and linguistically diverse populations; these differences are associated with differing barriers to antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence. Cultural competence measures the extent to which trial design recognises this diversity. This systematic review aimed to determine whether adherence trial participants represent the diversity of PLWH. Randomised Controlled Trials in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries to improve ART adherence were eligible. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. For all included trials, we searched for their development, testing and evaluation studies. We compared trial participant characteristics with nationally reported PLWH data. We appraised trial cultural competence against ten criteria; scoring each criterion as 0, 1 or 2 indicating cultural blindness, pre-competence or competence respectively. For 80 included trials, a further 13 studies presenting development/testing/evaluation data for the included trials were identified. Only one of the 80 included studies reported trial participants representative of the country's population of PLWH. The median (IQ) cultural competence score was 2.5 (1.0, 4.0) out of 20. HIV adherence trial participants are not reflective of the population with HIV, which may be due to limited adoption of culturally competent research methods.
- Trial methodology
- trial reporting guidelines