, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 199-206

Medication Compliance and Satisfaction with Treatment for HIV Disease in a Sample of African-American Crack Cocaine Smokers

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The development of treatment regimes for African-American HIV-infected crack cocaine users has often been based on assumptions about compliance with medication regimes rather than evidence. This study sought to obtain baseline information on the adherence to antiretroviral medications by members of this important risk population in Houston, Texas. It was found that for only 5 of a range of 16 antiviral medications was there a significant correlation between levels of compliance reported by respondents and their beliefs as to how effective these medications are. Medication compliance was also found not to be associated with frequency of crack cocaine use in the month prior to interview. Furthermore, irrespective of both gender and their reported extent of medication compliance, the respondents tended to report positive relationships with their treating physician, with higher levels of satisfaction reported by women. These results suggest that the majority of African-American crack cocaine users are able to comply with HIV treatment regimes, with more than half (53%) claiming full compliance for one or more medications, and a further one third (31%) claiming compliance more than half the time. Moreover, these findings suggest that they will continue to take antiretroviral medications even if they have doubts about the effectiveness of these medications.