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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

South Carolina: Researchers Examine Gender Disparities in Traumatic Life Experiences and Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence Among People Living with HIV

Researchers from the South Carolina SmartState Center for Healthcare Quality, based at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, have published a study on gender disparities in traumatic life experiences and antiretroviral therapy adherence among people living with HIV in South Carolina. The research was led by assistant professor of epidemiology Dr. Monique Brown and included in the journal, AIDS and Behavior.

People living with HIV are at increased risk for experiencing trauma, which may be linked to reduced adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART), making it more difficult to achieve and maintain viral suppression. The current study sought to assess whether traumatic life experiences were associated with lower ART adherence among a diverse sample of people living with HIV in South Carolina.

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey, which was completed by 402 individuals receiving HIV care from a large immunology center. The authors’ analysis revealed three primary categories of trauma experience: extreme violence/death-related trauma, physical and sexual assault, and accidental/disaster-related trauma.

They used regression models to determine the associations between experiencing each trauma category and ART adherence. Complete case analysis showed that overall, participants who reported exposure to any trauma were 58 percent less likely to be adherent to their ART (adjusted OR 0.42; 95 percent CI 0.21-0.86) compared to respondents who did not experience trauma.

Further, participants exposed to extreme violence/death-related trauma were 63 percent less likely to be adherent to their ART (adjusted OR 0.37; 95 percent CI 0.15-0.95) compared to respondents who did not experience trauma.

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