UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Drug use patterns associated with risk of non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV-positive illicit drug users in a Canadian setting: a longitudinal analysis Azar, Pouya; Wood, Evan; Nguyen, Paul; Luma, Maxo; Montaner, Julio; Kerr, Thomas; Milloy, M-J


Background. Among people living with HIV/AIDS, illicit drug use is a risk for sub-optimal treatment outcomes. However, few studies have examined the relative contributions of different patterns of drug use on adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). We sought to estimate the effect of different types of illicit drug use on adherence in a setting of universal free HIV/AIDS treatment and care. Methods Using data from ongoing prospective cohorts of HIV-positive illicit drug users linked to comprehensive pharmacy dispensation records in Vancouver, Canada, we examined factors associated with ≥95% prescription refill adherence using generalized estimating equations (GEE) logistic regression. Results Between 1996 and 2013, 692 ART-exposed individuals were followed for a median of 42.7 months (Interquartile Range: 29.1–71.7). In multivariable GEE analyses, heroin injection (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] = 0.75, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 0.66–0.85) as well as cocaine injection (AOR = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.72–0.90) were associated with lower likelihoods of optimal adherence. Methadone maintenance therapy (AOR = 1.88, 95% CI: 1.68–2.11) was associated with a greater likelihood of adherence. Conclusions Periods of heroin and cocaine injection appeared to have the most deleterious impact upon antiretroviral adherence. The findings point to the need for improved access to treatment for heroin use disorder, particularly methadone, and highlight the need to identify strategies to support ART adherence among cocaine injectors.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Usage Statistics