Boston, MA Socioeconomic position is a determinant of antiretroviral treatment effectiveness during initial therapy for HIV-1 infection. The effect was found even among subjects with high rates of drug adherence, according to a study published in the August 1 issue of the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Massachusetts General Hospital, Stanford University Medical School, and the American Psychological Association.
The researchers used data from a clinical trial that recruited HIV-positive men and women in the U.S. and Italy who had not previously taken any HIV medications. The study participants were being treated with highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART), a combination of antiretroviral drugs sometimes referred to as an AIDS cocktail.
Scientific literature suggests that stress and emotional distress predict a faster decline in the immune system cells that can fight HIV progression. Previous studies have shown that people at lower socioeconomic positions often report chronic life stressors. The HSPH team and its collaborators wanted to examine whether socioeconomic position would influence immune functioning and response to antiretroviral treatments, even if patients adhered to their antiretroviral drugs. The researchers used the educational level of subjects as a measure for socioeconomic position.
The studys authors documented the length of time until a participant first experienced a regimen failure, meaning that the drug combination had failed to maintain low HIV levels in the bloodstream or that HIV drugs had been changed or stopped. The researchers found that participants with lower levels of education reached initial regimen failure faster than participants with a college- or graduate-level degree.
However, participants with high levels of so-called adherence self-efficacy, despite lower education level
|Contact: Christina Roache|
Harvard School of Public Health