Uptake and adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected people with alcohol and other substance use problems: the impact of substance abuse treatment
Article first published online: 18 FEB 2004
Volume 99, Issue 3, pages 361–368, March 2004
How to Cite
Palepu, A., Horton, N. J., Tibbetts, N., Meli, S. and Samet, J. H. (2004), Uptake and adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected people with alcohol and other substance use problems: the impact of substance abuse treatment. Addiction, 99: 361–368. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2003.00670.x
- Issue published online: 18 FEB 2004
- Article first published online: 18 FEB 2004
- Submitted 12 February 2003; initial review completed 7 May 2003; final version accepted 23 October 2003.
- antiretroviral therapy;
- substance abuse treatment;
- substance use
Aim We examined the association of substance abuse treatment with uptake, adherence and virological response to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among HIV-infected people with a history of alcohol problems.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Methods A standardized questionnaire was administered to 349 HIV-infected participants with a history of alcohol problems regarding demographics, substance use, use of substance abuse treatment and uptake of and adherence to HAART. These subjects were followed every 6 months for up to seven occasions. We defined substance abuse treatment services as any of the following in the past 6 months: 12 weeks in a half-way house or residential facility; 12 visits to a substance abuse counselor or mental health professional; or participation in any methadone maintenance program. Our outcome variables were uptake of antiretroviral therapy, 30-day self-reported adherence and HIV viral load suppression.
Findings At baseline, 59% (205/349) of subjects were receiving HAART. Engagement in substance abuse treatment was independently associated with receiving antiretroviral therapy (adjusted OR; 95% CI: 1.70; 1.03–2.83). Substance abuse treatment was not associated with 30-day adherence or HIV viral load suppression. More depressive symptoms (0.48; 0.32–0.78) and use of drugs or alcohol in the previous 30 days (0.17; 0.11–0.28) were associated with worse 30-day adherence. HIV viral load suppression was positively associated with higher doses of antiretroviral medication (1.29; 1.15–1.45) and older age (1.04; 1.00–1.07) and negatively associated with use of drugs or alcohol in the previous 30 days (0.51; 0.33–0.78).
Conclusion Substance abuse treatment was associated with receipt of HAART; however, it was not associated with adherence or HIV viral load suppression. Substance abuse treatment programs may provide an opportunity for HIV-infected people with alcohol or drug problems to openly address issues of HIV care including enhancing adherence to HAART.