Drug use and medication adherence among HIV-1 infected individuals

AIDS Behav. 2007 Mar;11(2):185-94. doi: 10.1007/s10461-006-9152-0.


This longitudinal study examined the impact of drug use and abuse on medication adherence among 150 HIV-infected individuals, 102 who tested urinalysis positive for recent illicit drug use. Medication adherence was tracked over a 6-month period using an electronic monitoring device (MEMS caps). Over the 6-month study drug-positive participants demonstrated significantly worse medication adherence than did drug-negative participants (63 vs. 79%, respectively). Logistic regression revealed that drug use was associated with over a fourfold greater risk of adherence failure. Stimulant users were at greatest risk for poor adherence. Based upon within-participants analyses comparing 3-day adherence rates when actively using versus not using drugs, this appears to be more a function of state rather than trait. These data suggest that it is the acute effects of intoxication, rather than stable features that may be characteristic of the drug-using populace, which leads to difficulties with medication adherence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Cocaine
  • Drug Monitoring / methods
  • Electronics
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*


  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine