Community-wide HIV interventions improve care among illicit drug users

published on November 12, 2015 by Dave Muoio in Healio

A community wide intervention program targeting illicit drug users with HIV appeared to have several long-term benefits, including increased viral suppression and reduced HIV drug resistance, according to a recently published study.

“Given high levels of preventable HIV/AIDS-related morbidity and mortality observed among [people who use illicit drugs (PWUD)] worldwide, our results support redoubling efforts to scale-up ART among HIV-seropositive PWUD,” Thomas Kerr, PhD, co-director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and colleagues wrote in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The researchers examined a cohort of adult Canadian drug users with HIV enrolled in the ACCESS study from January 2006 to June 30, 2014. ACCESS introduced patients to care using community-based outreach methods, and included efforts to increase testing and ART initiation. Participants completed a survey and underwent examination in 6-month intervals, with those completing one or more viral load tests included in the present analysis. Researchers observed changes in viral load among individual participants and the proportion of the cohort achieving undetectable viral loads (< 50 copies/mL) over the course of the study. ART resistance also was observed, with samples determined to be resistant if they contained one or more resistance mutations to antiretroviral agents.

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