Association of social stress, illicit drug use, and health beliefs with nonadherence to antiretroviral therapy

Gebo, Kelly A.; Keruly, Jeanne; Moore, Richard D.
February 2003
JGIM: Journal of General Internal Medicine;Feb2003, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p104
Academic Journal
journal article
Objective: To assess the roles of socioeconomic status, social stability, social stress, health beliefs, and illicit drug use with nonadherence to antiretroviral therapy.Design: Cross-sectional study.Setting: Urban hospital clinic.Participants: One hundred ninety-six consecutive HIV-infected patients taking at least 1 antiretroviral medication, awaiting a visit with their primary care provider.Methods: Patients were interviewed while waiting for a clinic appointment and were asked to fill out a 4-part survey with questions regarding antiretroviral adherence, illicit drug use, health beliefs, and social situation. Adherence was defined as the percentage of doses taken, i.e., the number of doses taken divided by the number of doses prescribed over a 2-week interval. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify factors associated with nonadherence in different patient subgroups.Main Results: Nonadherence to antiretroviral therapy was associated with active illicit drug use (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.31; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.17 to 4.58), eating fewer than 2 meals per day (AOR, 3.31; 95% CI, 1.11 to 9.92), and feeling as though pressures outside of the clinic affected patient's ability to take antiretroviral medications as prescribed (AOR, 2.22; 95% CI, 0.99 to 4.97). In patients with a history of injection drug use, nonadherence to antiretroviral therapy was independently associated with eating fewer than 2 meals per day (AOR, 17.54; 95% CI, 1.92 to 160.4) and active illicit drug use (AOR, 4.18; 95% CI, 1.68 to 10.75). In patients without any injection drug use, nonadherence was only associated with feeling as though pressures outside of clinic affected patient's ability to take antiretroviral medications as prescribed (AOR, 3.55; 95% CI, 1.07 to 11.76). Male-to-male sexual contact was associated with lower nonadherence in patients with an HIV risk factor other than injection drug use (AOR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.95). A history of drug use but no illicit drug use within 6 months of the interview was not associated with an increased rate of nonadherence.Conclusions: Although our sample size was limited and variables that are not significant in subgroup analysis may still be associated with adherence, our results suggest that correlates of nonadherence are HIV risk factor specific. Strategies to increase antiretroviral adherence in HIV-infected patients should include social support interventions targeted at different risk factors for different patient groups.


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