More HIV Medication Doses Missed After Sept. 11 Among HIV-Positive New York Men
The average number of medication doses missed by HIV-positive men in New York doubled in the two weeks following Sept. 11, 2001, according to preliminary study results published last week on GayHealth.com, Reuters Health reports. Researchers with the Protease Inhibitor Longitudinal Life Study, also known as Project PILLS, monitored the treatment adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy of 68 gay and bisexual New York men who were part of a larger three-year study being conducted by New York University's Center for HIV Educational Research and Training. Participants were interviewed in person and by computer about their pill intake. In addition, the caps of their medication bottles were outfitted with a microchip to record each time the bottles were opened. Researchers also measured the men's viral loads. In the two weeks prior to Sept. 11, the men missed an average of two to three doses each week. However, in the two weeks following the attacks, the men missed an average of five doses per week. The researchers concluded that "critical" psychological factors necessary for treatment adherence such as confidence levels and coping skills were "heavily compromised" by the events of Sept. 11(Mozes, Reuters Health, 9/5). Susan Ball, co-founder of GayHealth.com and assistant director of the Birnbaum Unit HIV Care Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said that the "addition of anxiety, uncertainty about the future and the general grief that everyone felt at that time could clearly have an influence on someone's capacity for steady, consistent medication adherence" (GayHealth.com release, 9/5). The researchers hope to conduct further research into how long the events of Sept. 11 impacted treatment adherence and will investigate whether the attacks had an impact on safe-sex practices (Reuters Health, 9/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.