Racial and Gender Disparities in Receipt of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Persist in a Multistate Sample of HIV Patients in 2001

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National data from the mid-1990s demonstrated that many eligible patients did not receive highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and that racial and gender disparities existed in HAART receipt. We examined whether demographic disparities in the use of HAART persist in 2001 and if outpatient care is associated with HAART utilization.


Demographic, clinical, and pharmacy utilization data were collected from 10 US HIV primary care sites in the HIV Research Network (HIVRN). Using multivariate logistic regression, we examined demographic and clinical differences associated with receipt of HAART and the association of outpatient utilization with HAART.


In our cohort in 2001, 84% of patients received HAART and 66% had 4 or more outpatient visits during calendar year (CY) 2001. Of those with 2 or more CD4 counts below 350 cells/mm3 in 2001, 91% received HAART; 82% of those with 1 CD4 test result below 350 cells/mm3 received HAART; and 77% of those with no CD4 counts below 350 cells/mm3 received HAART. Adjusting for care site in multivariate analyses, age >40 years (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.13), male gender (AOR = 1.23), Medicaid coverage (AOR = 1.16), Medicare coverage (AOR = 1.73), having 1 or more CD4 counts less than 350 cells/mm3 (AOR = 1.33), and having 4 or more outpatient visits in a year (OR = 1.34) were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of HAART. African Americans (odds ratio [OR] = 0.84) and those with an injection drug use risk factor (OR = 0.86) were less likely to receive HAART.


Although the overall prevalence of HAART has increased since the mid-1990s, demographic disparities in HAART receipt persist. Our results support attempts to increase access to care and frequency of outpatient visits for underutilizing groups as well as increased efforts to reduce persistent disparities in women, African Americans, and injection drug users (IDUs).

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