Highly active antiretroviral therapy of similar benefit for HIV-infected injection drug users

Aug 03, 2008

Contrary to the belief that HIV-infected injection drug users (IDUs) receive less benefit from highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), new research finds little difference in the survival rate between IDUs and non-IDUs after 4-5 years of receiving HAART, according to a study in the August 6 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on HIV/AIDS.

Julio S. G. Montaner, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., of the University of British Columbia and St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada, and President-Elect, International AIDS Society, presented the findings of the study at a JAMA media briefing on HIV/AIDS.

Since the mid-1990s, substantial reductions in illness and death related to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have been documented among HIV-infected persons receiving HAART. "However, a large number of prior reports have demonstrated that because of issues of social instability related to illicit drug addiction, HIV-infected IDUs may not be deriving the full benefits of HAART," the authors write. They add that other reports have shown that IDUs are less likely to be prescribed HAART and that a history of injection drug use was a predictor of worse outcome with HAART. However, long-term evaluations of HIV-treatment outcomes among IDUs in comparison with other risk groups have not been available.

Dr. Montaner and colleagues compared the rate of death between 3,116 patients with and without a history of injection drug use initiating HAART in a HIV/AIDS treatment program in British Columbia, Canada. Of the 3,116 patients, 915 were IDUs (29.4 percent). Treatment with HAART was initiated between August 1996 and June 2006. The median (midpoint) duration of follow-up was 5.3 years for IDUs and 4.3 years for non-IDUs. Patients were followed up until June 30, 2007.

During the study period 622 individuals died (20.0 percent; 232 IDUs and 390 non-IDUs). Through seven years after the initiation of HAART, the researchers found that the cumulative all-cause mortality rate was not statistically different between the 915 IDUs (26.5 percent) and 2,201 non-IDUs (21.6 percent). Further analysis also indicated similar rates of death for both groups, after adjustment for age, sex, baseline AIDS diagnosis, baseline CD4 cell count, adherence and physician experience.

"Although our findings cannot be generalized outside of [this] cohort, as efforts to improve use of HAART among IDUs expand, the fact that survival patterns were not significantly different between IDUs and non-IDUs should help to challenge the increasingly prevalent belief that IDUs may be markedly less likely to benefit from HAART. Based on these results, we conclude that HAART regimens may have effectiveness at a populational level that is not significantly different regarding the survival of individuals with and without a history of injection drug use," the authors conclude.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

Related Stories

Cheap content, growing reach make Snapchat a fast-rising star

3 hours ago

Thousands of revelers descended on the Coachella music festival this month to rock out to their favorite bands and party day and night. But a far bigger audience from around the world - at least 40 million - joined in remotely ...

Google prepares for long battle in EU antitrust case

4 hours ago

Google Inc. probably faces a lengthy process in challenging antitrust charges by the European Union, but the Internet search giant might be able to avoid paying hefty fines or making big changes to its business.

Comcast expands 2-gigabit Internet service

4 hours ago

–In the race for speed, Comcast soon will offer the fastest residential Internet speed in the country to its 1.3 million residential customers in South Florida.

Recommended for you

Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

Apr 24, 2015

Federal health officials helping to contain an HIV outbreak in Indiana state issued an alert to health departments across the U.S. on Friday, urging them to take steps to identify and track HIV and hepatitis C cases in an ...

Why are HIV survival rates lower in the Deep South than the rest of the US?

Apr 22, 2015

The Deep South region has become the epicenter of the US HIV epidemic. Despite having only 28% of the total US population, nine states in the Deep South account for nearly 40% of national HIV diagnoses. This region has the highest HIV diagnosis rates and the highest number of people living with HIV of any ...

A bad buzz: Men with HIV need fewer drinks to feel effects

Apr 20, 2015

Researchers at Yale and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System compared the number of drinks that men with HIV infection, versus those without it, needed to get a buzz. They found that HIV-infected men were more sensitive to ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.