Decreased Quality of Care for HIV-Infected People Who Use Alcohol and Other Drugs
Combined antiretroviral treatment has had a significant impact on survival of HIV-infected individuals. With HIV now considered a chronic medical condition, providers must consider certain quality indicators (QIs) when caring for HIV-infected patients. Researchers examined the association between self-reported past-year unhealthy alcohol use* and illicit drug use and quality of HIV care among HIV-infected Veterans Affairs (VA) patients based on 9 QIs. The sample consisted of 3410 HIV-infected patients enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (mean age, 49 years; 97% male).
- Twenty-six percent of the sample had unhealthy alcohol use, 29% had illicit drug use, and 12% had both.
- Patients infected with HIV received 82% (standard deviation [SD], 18.9) of the 9 QIs.
- Receipt of QI was lower among patients with unhealthy alcohol use versus those without (59% versus 70%) and among patients with illicit drug use versus those without (58% versus 71%). Unhealthy alcohol and illicit drug use were inversely associated with receipt of QI after adjusting for age, gender, race, history of homelessness, diabetes, depressed mood, and study site.
*Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C) score ≥4.