“Mental illness and substance use delay HIV treatment” [March 18, 2008]
“People with untreated mental illness or substance abuse, or both together, start HIV treatment later than people without mental illness or substance abuse, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs. People who are receiving drug treatment for a mental illness, however, do not delay starting HIV treatment. . . . Given that rates of mental illness and substance abuse are more common in people living with HIV, and that these conditions have been found to interfere with adherence to HIV treatment, Mary Tegger, P.A.-C, MPH, and her colleagues from the University of Washington in Seattle set out to determine whether these conditions may also delay the start of antiretroviral therapy.”
Did they take any bets beforehand, as to what the study would find?
Among “all HIV-positive patients receiving primary care at the university’s Harborview Medical Center HIV Clinic during 2004 . . . . Of the 1,744 patients included in the study, 63 percent were found to have a mental illness, 45 percent had a substance use disorder and 38 percent had both. Alcohol was the most commonly abused substance, followed by cocaine and amphetamine. Depression and anxiety were the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses.”
“Tegger’s team theorizes that there are multiple reasons for the delay in antiretroviral treatment observed in people with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The team proposes that such individuals are less willing, on average, to comply with treatment recommendations, such as starting antiretroviral treatment.”
On the other hand, any sane and sober person reading the official treatment guidelines might well be inclined to delay treatment forever — see also DEATH, ANTIRETROVIRAL DRUGS, and COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, 9 May 2008; TO AVOID HIV LATER, DAMAGE YOUR KIDNEYS AND LIVER NOW, 19 January 2008; HISTORY OF AZT, 1 January 2008; FIRST: DO NO HARM!, 19 December 2007; WHAT HIV DRUGS DO, 15 December 2007; OFFICIAL GUIDELINES FOR HIV TREATMENT, 14 December 2007; ANTIRETROVIRAL DRUGS: HISTORY AND RHETORIC, 12 DECEMBER 2007; BEST TREATMENT FOR HIV: THIS YEAR’S ADVICE, LAST YEAR’S, OR NEXT YEAR’S?, 10 December 2007.
I’m working on several posts that call for much reading, and I’m away this week at the meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, presenting the data that show lack of benefit from antiretroviral drugs and absence of “latent period”, see “HIV DISEASE” IS NOT AN ILLNESS, 19 March 2008. Then I’ll get back to working on a deconstruction of the claim that treatments for AIDS have saved at least 3 million years of life; see Anthony S. Fauci, “Twenty-five years of HIV/AIDS”, Manila Times 29 May 2007, relying on Walensky et al., Journal of Infectious Diseases 194  11-19; mentioned, unsurprisingly enough, among the News Items on the website of Fauci’s Institute.