Before working on this article, I spoke to an old friend of mine who works in addiction counseling and worked inpatient intake at one of the best drug rehabs in the Midwest for over 3 years. She said that all inpatient treatment centers ask patients if they are HIV positive and if they have been tested for HIV. She noted that many times it seems as if the person has not really thought about it, and it often seems like patients give a quick answer and want to get to the next question. Most people probably know that needle use is the most likely candidate for passing HIV to other people after sexual activity. My friend noted that after the quick questionnaire to start treatment HIV is often not brought up again, although it must be said that many people work hard to test inpatient rehab patients for HIV and screen all people who walk into treatment facilities. I myself have mentioned HIV only a few times on this blog, even though one of the most serious outbreaks of HIV amongst drug users was in my state. I wrote about that case at the time and I have written about it more recently, as many heroin users in Scott County, Indiana were being exposed to HIV from used needles and Governor Pence refused to initiate much-needed harm reduction practices in the county, leading to more hardship and large costs to taxpayers from more people contracting HIV, an incredibly expensive virus to fight once a person is exposed. I want to educate myself and others more on this topic, and today I came across an interesting study that links antiretroviral therapy (ART), a medication therapy to fight HIV, to success in substance use disorder treatment.
Just to reiterate, at the best drug rehabs in Florida and elsewhere, much work goes into screening for disease, but it stands to reason that the prospect of having HIV is not comfortable for people just beginning to get clean. The study I looked at is called, “If You Build It, Will They Use It?” This is a quote from the study that sums up the goals of the researchers,
“Adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is an important predictor of long-term treatment success and is associated with optimal individual and public health outcomes. Novel technologies, such as electronic monitoring devices (EMDs) or pharmacokinetic testing, provide more objective measures of ART adherence than traditional measures of adherence (e.g., self-report) and may facilitate improved adherence through the provision of patient feedback.”
The researchers are able to show that adherence to a medication regimen for HIV, known as ART, predicts long term adherence to drug abuse treatment in those same patients. They mention electronic monitoring and monitoring of medication levels as possible avenues for keeping patient adherence at a high level. They also found that patients had quite different preferences for what they thought were acceptable practices for keeping patients in the programs. Many patients supported using biomarkers and pharmacokinetic testing, while others supported reminders through text messages and phone calls. Both of those groups had concerns about patient confidentiality on either of those two tracks. The researchers recommend hair sampling and dried blood testing as feasible and acceptable for most patients and coupled with text message reminders, this could provide a path for treatment providers to improve patient program adherence. As always, if you or a loved one needs help with a substance use disorder, more information on the best drug rehab in Florida is available on the programs tab on this website.
By Tim Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)
DAVIS, A. et al. If You Build It, Will They Use It? Preferences for Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Adherence Monitoring Among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Kazakhstan. AIDS and behavior, [s. l.], v. 23, n. 12, p. 3294–3305, 2019. DOI 10.1007/s10461-019-02421-y. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=30741397&authtype=geo&geocustid=s8475741&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Acesso em: 30 out. 2020.