Courtney Maierhofer currently works for the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center as a Clinical Research Assistant. She recently earned her MPH from Ohio State University, specializing in Epidemiology. Her research interests include factors that influence the acquisition, diagnosis, treatment, and care of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Presentation: High Levels of Self-Reported Prescription Opioid Use by HIV-positive Individuals
Time: Breakout Session 2
Prescription medication use (other than antiretroviral therapy (ART)) is highly prevalent among people living with HIV. Prescription medications may be used medically or non-medically: nonmedical use includes using more medication than prescribed, using medication prescribed to someone else, or using medication for a purpose other than its prescribed use. Because several prescription medications have almost identical pharmacology to illicit drugs, use of prescription medication could have effects on patient behavior and HIV disease progression similar to those of the use of illicit drugs. To better understand the scope and magnitude of use of prescription medication in an “in care” population of people living with HIV, we characterized the prevalence of both medical and nonmedical prescription drug use among HIV-positive patients attending either an academic medical center (n=149) or community-based AIDS service organization (n=105). Respondents were largely male (91%), aged 40 or older (61%), and identified as gay or bisexual (79%). Beyond the expected high prevalence of use of ART (95%), use of other prescription medications by HIV-positive patients was very common, and use of prescription opioids in both participant populations approached 50%. The current focus of many studies on only non-medical prescription medication use not only underestimates the widespread exposure of HIV-positive individuals to these drugs, but may also underestimate potential adverse effects of prescription medications in this population.
1. Describe the current literature on illicit drug use and medical and non-medical prescription drug use among HIV-positive individuals in the United States.
2. Describe the prevalence of illicit drug use and both medical and nonmedical prescription drug use among HIV-positive patients attending either an academic medical center (n=149) or community-based AIDS service organization (n=105)
3. Discuss the gaps in knowledge of potential adverse effects of prescription medications in HIV-positive individuals and potential for further research.