Persistence of Virological Benefits Following Directly Administered Antiretroviral Therapy Among Drug Users: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial

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Although directly administered antiretroviral therapy (DAART) has demonstrated impressive biological benefits compared with self-administered therapy (SAT) among drug users, the persistence of DAART after transition to SAT has not been examined.


We conducted a community-based, prospective, randomized controlled trial of 6 months of DAART compared with SAT. The primary outcome was the proportion of subjects who achieved virological success at 6 months postintervention, defined as either a 1.0 log10 reduction from baseline or HIV-1 RNA <400 copies per milliliter. Secondary outcomes included the change from baseline in HIV-1 RNA and CD4 lymphocyte count.


Of the 53 subjects in the SAT arm and 88 subjects in the DAART arm, 52 and 82, respectively, provided blood samples at 6 months postintervention. The DAART (n = 88) and SAT (n = 53) arms did not differ on virological success (DAART 58.0% vs. SAT 56.6%, P = 0.64), mean reduction in log10 HIV-1 RNA (−0.79 vs. −0.31 log10 copies/mL, P = 0.53), or mean change in CD4 lymphocyte count (+60.2 vs. −15.4 cells/mL, P = 0.12). In the multivariate analysis, only high levels of social support significantly predicted virological success.


This analysis, from the first randomized controlled trial of DAART among active drug users, failed to show the persistence of the DAART intervention at improving virological outcomes. Additional strategies are needed to ensure the on-treatment benefits persist following the cessation of DAART.

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