CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

The Demand for Antiretroviral Drugs in the Illicit Marketplace: Implications for HIV disease management among vulnerable populations

Department

Department of Family Therapy; Department of Justice and Human Services

Publication Date

8-5-2014

Publication Title

AIDS and Behavior

ISSN or ISBN

1090-7165

Volume

19

Issue

5

First Page

857

Last Page

868

Abstract

The diversion of antiretroviral medications (ARVs) has implications for the integrity and success of HIV care, however little is known about the ARV illicit market. This paper aimed to identify the motivations for buying illicit ARVs and to describe market dynamics. Semi-structured interviews (n = 44) were conducted with substance-involved individuals living with HIV who have a history of purchasing ARVs on the street. Grounded theory was used to code and analyze interviews. Motivations for buying ARVs on the illicit market were: to repurchase ARVs after having diverted them for money or drugs; having limited access or low quality health care; to replace lost or ruined ARVs; and to buy a back-up stock of ARVs. This study identified various structural barriers to HIV treatment and ARV adherence that incentivized ARV diversion. Findings highlight the need to improve patient-provider relationships, ensure continuity of care, and integrate services to engage and retain high-needs populations.

DOI

10.1007/s10461-014-0856-2