Disparities in antiretroviral treatment: A comparison of behaviorally HIV-infected youth and adults in the HIV Research Network

Allison L. Agwu, John A. Fleishman, P. Todd Korthuis, George K. Siberry, Jonathan M. Ellen, Aditya H. Gaur, Richard Rutstein, Kelly A. Gebo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives: Increasing numbers of youth are becoming HIV-infected and need highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We hypothesized that behaviorally HIV-infected youth (BIY) ages 18 to 24 years are less likely than adults (25 years or older) to receive HAART and, once initiated, more likely to discontinue their first HAART regimen. Methods: Longitudinal analysis of treatment-naïve patients (age 18 years or older) meeting criteria for HAART and followed at HIV Research Network sites (2002-2008). Time from meeting criteria to HAART initiation and duration on first regimen were assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression. Results: A total of 3127 (268 youth, 2859 adult) treatment-naïve, HIV-infected patients met criteria. BIY were more likely to be black (66.8% vs 51.1%; P < 0.01) and less likely to identify injection drug use HIV risk (1.1% vs 8.8%; P < 0.01) than adults 25 years of age or older. Nearly 69% of BIY started HAART versus 79% of adults (P < 0.001). Adults 25 to 29 years of age (adjusted hazards ratio [AHR], 1.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12-1.73) and 50 years of age or older (AHR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.00-1.54), but not 30 to 49 years (AHR, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.99-1.44) were more likely to initiate HAART than BIY. Attending four or more HIV provider visits within 1 year of meeting criteria was associated with HAART initiation (AHR, 1.91; 1.70-2.14). CD4 200 to 350 versus less than 200 cells/mm3 (AHR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.52-0.63), and injection drug use (AHR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.69-0.92) were associated with a lower likelihood of HAART initiation. There were no age-related differences in duration of the first regimen. Conclusion: BIY are less likely to start HAART when meeting treatment criteria. Addressing factors associated with this disparity is critical to improving care for youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-107
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Disparities
  • HIV
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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