Objectives: The benefit of improved health outcomes for blacks receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) lags behind that of whites. This project therefore sought to determine whether the reason for this discrepancy in health outcomes could be attributed to disparities in use of antiretroviral therapy between black and white patients with HIV.
Materials and Methods: The 1996–2006 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys were used to identify hospital outpatient visits that documented antiretrovirals. Patients younger than 18 years, of nonblack or nonwhite race, and lacking documentation of antiretrovirals were excluded. A multivariable logistic regression model was constructed with race as the independent variable and use of HAART as the dependent variable.
Results: Approximately 3 million HIV/AIDS patient visits were evaluated. Blacks were less likely than whites to use HAART and protease inhibitors (odds ratio, 95% CI 0.81 [0.81–0.82] and 0.67 [0.67–0.68], respectively). More blacks than whites used non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (odds ratio, 95% CI 1.18 [1.17–1.18]). In 1996, the crude rates of HAART were relatively low for both black and white cohorts (5% vs 6%). The rise in HAART for blacks appeared to lag behind that of whites for several years, until 2002, when the proportion of blacks receiving HAART slightly exceeded the proportion of whites receiving HAART. In later years, the rates of HAART were similar for blacks and whites (81% vs 82% in 2006). Blacks appeared less likely than whites to use protease inhibitors and more likely than whites to use non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors from 2000 to 2004.
Conclusions: Blacks experienced a lag in the use of antiretrovirals at the beginning of the study; this discrepancy dissipated in more recent years.