Impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic on Prescriptions for Antiretroviral Drugs for HIV Treatment in the United States, 2019–2021

Weiming Zhu; Ya-lin A. Huang; Jeffrey Wiener; Robyn Neblett-Fanfair; Athena P. Kourtis; H. Irene Hall; Karen W. Hoover

Disclosures

AIDS. 2022;36(12):1697-1705. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Objective: To assess disruption in healthcare services for HIV treatment by national emergency in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States.

Design: Time-series analysis

Methods: We analyzed the IQVIA Real World Data–Longitudinal Prescriptions Database and calculated time trends in the weekly number of persons with active antiretroviral prescriptions for HIV treatment, and of persons who obtained antiretroviral prescriptions during January 2017–March 2021. We used interrupted time-series models to estimate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on antiretroviral therapy (ART) use between March 2020 and March 2021.

Results: We found that the weekly number of persons with active antiretroviral prescriptions decreased by an average 2.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: −3.8% to −1.1%), compared to predicted use, during March 2020 through March 2021. The weekly number of persons who obtained antiretroviral prescriptions decreased 4.5% (95% CI: −6.0% to −3.0%), compared to the predicted number. Men, persons aged ≤34 years, privately insured persons, and persons in medication assistance programs had greater decreases than other groups.

Conclusions: We demonstrated a decrease in the number of persons with active antiretroviral prescriptions during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the number did not return to levels expected in the absence of the pandemic. Disruptions in HIV care and decreased ART may lead to lower levels of viral suppression and immunologic control, and increased HIV transmission in the community.

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