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AIDS/HIV Therapy: Crack Cocaine Use Reduces Antiviral Therapy Use in Women with HIV
  Women's Health Weekly (05.13.04) CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News
US researchers reported that crack cocaine use decreases adherence to antiretroviral treatment among HIV-positive black women.
"Since the appearance of crack cocaine in the 1980s, unprecedented numbers of women have become addicted," wrote Tanya Telfair Sharpe and colleagues at CDC. "A disproportionate number of female crack users are Black and poor. We analyzed interview data of HIV-infected women greater than or equal to 18 years of age reported to 12 health departments between July 1997 and December 2000 to ascertain if Black women reported crack use more than other HIV-infected women and to examine the relationship between crack use and antiretroviral treatment (ART) adherence among Black women," the investigators reported.
"Of 1,655 HIV-infected women, 585 (35%) were nonusers of drugs, 694 (42%) were users of other drugs, and 376 (23%) were crack users," the study said. "Of the 1,196 (72%) Black women, 306 (26%) were crack users. We used logistic regression to examine the effect of crack use on adherence to ART, controlling for age and education among Black women."
"In multivariate analysis, crack users and users of other drugs were less likely than non-users to take their ART medicines exactly as prescribed (odds ratio OR=0.37; 95% confidence interval CI=0.24-0.56),(OR=0.47; 95% CI-0.36-0.68), respectively," the authors wrote.
The investigators concluded, "HIV-infected Black women substance users, especially crack cocaine users, may require sustained treatment and counseling to help them reduce substance use and adhere to ART."
The study, "Crack Cocaine Use and Adherence to Antiretroviral Treatment Among HIV-Infected Black Women," appeared in the Journal of Community Health (2004;29(2):117-127).
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