Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy Increased From 2001 to 2010

HealthDay News — More Americans with HIV are adhering to antiretroviral therapy regimens, according to a study published in AIDS.

Bora Youn, of the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues analyzed data for 43,598 Medicaid patients in 14 states from 2001 to 2010.

In 2001 to 2003, half of patients stopped taking HIV medications 23.9 months after starting them, but that rose to 35.4 months by 2004 to 2006. More than half of the patients were still taking the medications by 2007 to 2010, the end of the study period, the researchers reported. However, women, blacks, and individuals living in certain states (e.g., Louisiana and Texas) remained more likely to discontinue therapy sooner than men, whites, and people living in other states (e.g., Maryland and New Jersey).

While there have been significant increases in how long HIV patients take their medications, many still stop taking the drugs after a few years, the researchers cautioned. “Although it is improving, it is still not optimal,” Youn said in a university news release. “Many people discontinue therapy in a short period of time.” Reasons why HIV patients stop taking their medications include cost, side effects, and stigma, according to the researchers.

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Youn B, Shireman TI, Lee Y, et al. Ten-year trends in anti-retroviral therapy persistence among US medicaid beneficiaries, 2001-2010 [published online May 16, 2017].  AIDS. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000001541