Substance Use and Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy among People Living with HIV in the United States

Sarahmona Przybyla, Rebecca L. Ashare, Loriann Cioffi, Isabella Plotnik, Jonathan Shuter, Elizabeth K. Seng, Andrea H. Weinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


People with HIV (PWH) report substance use at higher rates than HIV-uninfected individuals. The potential negative impact of single and polysubstance use on HIV treatment among diverse samples of PWH is underexplored. PWH were recruited from the Center for Positive Living at the Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, NY, USA) from May 2017-April 2018 and completed a cross-sectional survey with measures of substance use, antiretroviral therapy (ART) use, and ART adherence. The overall sample included 237 PWH (54.1% Black, 42.2% female, median age 53 years). Approximately half of the sample reported any current substance use with 23.1% reporting single substance use and 21.4% reporting polysubstance use. Polysubstance use was more prevalent among those with current cigarette smoking relative to those with no current smoking and among females relative to males. Alcohol and cannabis were the most commonly reported polysubstance combination; however, a sizeable proportion of PWH reported other two, three, and four-substance groupings. Single and polysubstance use were associated with lower ART adherence. A thorough understanding of substance use patterns and related adherence challenges may aid with targeted public health interventions to improve HIV care cascade goals, including the integration of substance use prevention into HIV treatment and care settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number349
JournalTropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • United States
  • adherence
  • antiretroviral therapy
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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