Brief Report: Substance Use Care Continuum in Women With and Without HIV in the Southern United States

Aditi Ramakrishnan, Ayako W. Fujita, C. Christina Mehta, Tracey E. Wilson, Steve Shoptaw, Adam Carrico, Adaora A. Adimora, Ellen F. Eaton, Deborah L. Jones, Aruna Chandran, Anandi N. Sheth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:Substance use (SU) contributes to poor outcomes among persons living with HIV. Women living with HIV (WWH) in the United States are disproportionately affected in the South, and examining SU patterns, treatment, and HIV outcomes in this population is integral to addressing HIV and SU disparities.Methods:WWH and comparable women without HIV (WWOH) who enrolled 2013-2015 in the Women's Interagency HIV Study Southern sites (Atlanta, Birmingham/Jackson, Chapel Hill, and Miami) and reported SU (self-reported nonmedical use of drugs) in the past year were included. SU and treatment were described annually from enrollment to the end of follow-up. HIV outcomes were compared by SU treatment engagement.Results:At enrollment, among 840 women (608 WWH, 232 WWOH), 18% (n = 155) reported SU in the past year (16% WWH, 24% WWOH); 25% (n = 38) of whom reported SU treatment. Over time, 30%, 21%, and 18% reported SU treatment at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively, which did not significantly differ by HIV status. Retention in HIV care did not differ by SU treatment. Viral suppression was significantly higher in women who reported SU treatment only at enrollment (P = 0.03).Conclusions:We identified a substantial gap in SU treatment engagement, with only a quarter reporting treatment utilization, which persisted over time. SU treatment engagement was associated with viral suppression at enrollment but not at other time points or with retention in HIV care. These findings can identify gaps and guide future strategies for integrating HIV and SU care for WWH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-430
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 15 2024


  • HIV
  • care continuum
  • epidemiology
  • public health
  • substance use
  • women's health


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