Social factors influencing antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among Black men living with HIV who use illicit drugs

J. Craig Phillips, Florida International University


In the United States 1.2 million persons are HIV infected. Among men, HIV rates in Blacks are seven times higher than Whites. More Black men progress to AIDS because of treatment failure and adherence problems. Antiretroviral therapy (ART), the only treatment effective for long term HIV suppression, requires near perfect adherence. Illicit drug use and homelessness pose further challenges. Suboptimal ART adherence leads to HIV mutations that can render entire classes of medication ineffective and transmission of mutated HIV to others in the community. The purpose of this study was to investigate ART adherence behaviors of Black men living with HIV who use illicit drugs. A sample of 160 Black men living with HIV who use illicit drugs was recruited using flyers and snowball sampling. These men completed study questionnaires that included: demographics, the K-10, PSOM and Social Capital Integrated Questionnaire, among others. One-way ANOVAs, multiple regression, and path analysis were used to address the study's research questions. Most of the Black men in this sample were high school graduates and single, with high rates of being marginally housed and homeless. Unemployment and disability were common, and personal and household income was low. The men reported high numbers of sexual partners both over the past year and during their lifetimes, suggesting continued engagement in high risk behaviors. The majority of the men attributed their HIV to heterosexual sex, with sexual commoditization being common. About half of the 105 men currently taking ART reported the current regimen was their first. Patient-provider relationship was positively associated with tolerability of ART. ART adherence was greater with less psychological distress, lower frequency of current illicit drug use, and greater tolerability of ART. Partner status negatively influenced ART adherence. This study of Black men's ART adherence behaviors has implications for public health. It identified social context factors that influence ART adherence among the men and provides evidence to refine existing, or develop new, ART adherence interventions.

Subject Area

African Americans|Nursing|Public health

Recommended Citation

Phillips, J. Craig, "Social factors influencing antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among Black men living with HIV who use illicit drugs" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3319008.