About 40% of HIV-Positive Drug Users Do Not Seek Antiretroviral Treatment, Study Says
Roughly 40% of HIV-positive intravenous drug users do not access antiretroviral treatment, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University researchers appearing in the September issue of the journal AIDS. Reuters Health reports that, according to the study's findings, many IDUs are beginning to access HIV treatment, a "major change" over the last few years as IDUs have traditionally "lagged" behind other HIV-positive groups in getting treatment. However, in interviews with 528 HIV-positive IDUs, about 40% said that they have not sought treatment for HIV. Lead author Dr. David Celentano said that IDUs may not be accessing treatment because they and/or their physicians think they are not capable of adhering to the "complex" treatment regimens, adding that physician doubt is probably the "major barrier" to treatment. "However, our data suggest that regardless of their current drug use, [HIV-positive IDUs] appear willing and able to take their medications as directed," he said (Reuters Health, 9/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.