Antiretroviral Therapy Use Among HIV-Infected People Who Inject Drugs—20 Cities, United States, 2009–2015

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Approximately 16% of infections among those living with diagnosed HIV infection in the United States are attributable to injection drug use. Antiretrovirals (ARVs) are recommended for all infected persons to improve health and prevent transmission. Using data from National HIV Behavioral Surveillance, we evaluated changes in ARV use from 2009 to 2015 among HIV-positive people who inject drugs (PWID).


PWID were recruited by respondent-driven sampling in 20 cities. ARV use was defined as self-reported use at the time of interview. Prevalence ratios measuring change in ARV use per 3-year increase in year were estimated using log-linked Poisson regression models with generalized estimating equations.


ARV use was 58% (319/548) in 2009, 67% (410/608) in 2012, and 71% (386/545) in 2015. In all 3 cycle years, a higher percentage of ARV treatment was observed among males, PWID of older age (≥50), and PWID with current health insurance. ARV use increased overall, with an adjusted relative increase of 8% per every 3-year increase in year (adjusted prevalence ratio 1.08, 95% confidence interval: 1.03 to 1.12). ARV use also increased among most subgroups.


These findings show progress in ARV treatment, although ARV coverage remains low compared with other populations at risk for HIV. Efforts to improve ARV coverage among PWIDs are needed.

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