Medication-specific Support May Reduce the Impact of Alcohol and Other Drug Use on Antiretroviral Adherence
The effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people with HIV/AIDS depends on high adherence over time. Alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems are associated with lower ART adherence. Researchers examined data collected during a trial of interventions to improve ART adherence (text message reminders, peer discussions, or both) (N=224). The question for this secondary data analysis (adjusted for intervention group assignment) was whether self-report of having received social* or medication-specific support** buffered the effect of AOD use on adherence. General social support was measured with the 19-item Medical Outcomes Study-Social Support survey, while medication-specific support was measured with an 8-item survey created by the investigators. At baseline, 27% of the sample reported past-year unhealthy alcohol use (AUDIT† score >7) and 55% reported past-year heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine use.
- General social support did not have a significant effect on the association between AOD use and ART adherence.
- Medication-specific support had a moderating effect at 3 months but not at 6 or 9 months, during which time support decreased. For example, for those reporting high medication-specific support, 100% medication adherence was reported for 75–77% of participants with and without unhealthy alcohol use. But for those with low medication support, 100% adherence was reported by 67% of those without and 37% of those with unhealthy alcohol use. Findings were similar for those with weekly drug use versus less frequent use.