HIV medicine 2017 03 19() doi 10.1111/hiv.12493
HIV treatment-as-prevention campaigns emphasize early diagnosis and immediate access to care and antiretroviral therapy for HIV-positive individuals in order to increase levels of plasma HIV RNA viral load (VL) suppression. However, the possible role of harm reduction-based programmes in this objective has not yet been well evaluated. The objective of the study was to examine the relationship between being a client of the Dr. Peter Centre (DPC; an HIV/AIDS-focused adult integrated health programme) and VL suppression among highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-exposed HIV-positive people who use illicit drugs (PWUD) in Vancouver, Canada.
Data were derived from the AIDS Care Cohort to Evaluate Exposure to Survival Services (ACCESS) study, a study of a community-recruited cohort of HIV-positive PWUD. A marginal structural model using inverse probability of treatment weights was used to estimate the longitudinal relationship between being a DPC client and exhibiting a VL < 50 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL plasma. RESULTS
Between 2005 and 2014, 746 HAART-exposed participants were included in the study, of whom 269 (36.1%) reported being a DPC client at some time during the study period. A marginal structural model estimated a 1.54 greater odds of achieving VL suppression (95% confidence interval 1.20-1.99) among DPC clients.
Our findings demonstrate that participating in an innovative HIV/AIDS-focused adult integrated health programme that provides a broad range of clinical, harm reduction, and support services may contribute to optimizing the benefits of HAART in terms of morbidity, mortality and viral transmission among PWUD, and as a result help to fulfill the goals of the treatment-as-prevention strategy.