AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 12, pp 3599–3606 | Cite as

Caregivers’ Support Network Characteristics Associated with Viral Suppression among HIV Care Recipients

  • Julie A. Denison
  • Mary M. Mitchell
  • Allysha C. Maragh-Bass
  • Amy R. Knowlton
Original Paper


Informal care receipt is associated with health outcomes among people living with HIV. Less is known about how caregivers’ own social support may affect their care recipient’s health. We examined associations between network characteristics of informal caregivers and HIV viral suppression among former or current drug using care recipients. We analyzed data from 258 caregiver-recipient dyads from the Beacon study, of whom 89% of caregivers were African American and 59% were female. In adjusted logistic regression analysis, care recipients had lower odds of being virally suppressed if their caregiver was female, was caring for youth involved in the criminal justice system, and had network members who used illicit drugs. Caregivers’ greater numbers of non-kin in their support network was positively associated with viral suppression among care recipients. The findings reveal contextual factors affecting ART outcomes and the need for interventions to support caregivers, especially HIV caregiving women with high-risk youth.


Informal HIV caregiving Black/African American HIV/AIDS Viral load suppression Social support networks 



The study team gratefully acknowledges the study participants’ time and openness during this research.


This study was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA13142-01A1 and R01 DA019413), and the National Institute of Nursing Research (R01 NR14050-01), and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (5K01AT009049-02). This research was also supported by the Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research (1P30AI094189).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie A. Denison
    • 1
  • Mary M. Mitchell
    • 2
  • Allysha C. Maragh-Bass
    • 3
  • Amy R. Knowlton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of International HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Behavior and SocietyJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Formerly part of the Department of Health Behavior and SocietyJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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