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Rompalo Anne M.; Shah, Nina; Mayer, Kenneth; Schuman, Paula; Klein, Robert S.; Smith, Dawn K.; Vlahov, David
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: September 1st, 2001
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Background:HIV-infected injection drug users consistently report poor antiretroviral therapy use and little contact with health care providers. It has been suggested that the clinical setting where patients are seen affects the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy.

Objectives:The purpose of this study was to determine whether ease of access to medical care affects self-report of taking antiretroviral therapy, particularly among female injection drug users.

Design:The study is a cross-sectional analysis from a prospective cohort study of HIV-infected women.

Setting:Women were enrolled at four sites in the United States: Detroit, Michigan, and Providence, Rhode Island, where on-site HIV care and treatment were offered, and Baltimore, Maryland, and the Bronx, New York, where all participants were referred elsewhere for HIV care and treatment.

Patients:Patients were HIV-infected women with no AIDS diagnosis or women who were at risk for HIV infection either through self-reported injection drug use since 1985 or through sexual contact.

Measurements:The study measured self-reported use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) alone or combined with Pneumocystis carinii (PCP) prophylaxis in the previous 6 months.

Results:In multivariate analysis including type of study site (on-site compared with referral care) and injection drug use, any self-reported ART use associated with low CD4 cell count category, older age, and race. However, at on-site care centers, women were equally likely to report ART use regardless of current, former, or no injection drug use, whereas at referral sites only women identified as sexual contacts were more likely to report any ART use, independent of all other variables.

Conclusions:Easy access to medical care has an important impact on HIV-infected women receiving ART, particularly those who are active injection drug users.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Anne M. Rompalo, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Room 447, 1830 East Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-0003 U.S.A.; e-mail: arompalo@jhmi.edu

Manuscript received October 24, 2000; accepted May 31, 2001.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.