African Americans with HIV are much less likely to adhere to drug therapy than others with the disease, according to a University of Michigan study. Moreover, untreated depression may greatly hinder adherence to antiretroviral (ARV) therapy for all low-income, HIV-positive people, regardless of race. According to Rajesh Balkrishnan, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the College of Pharmacy, the study is the first known to indicate a true racial disparity in treatment adherence. Less than 30 percent of HIV-positive African-American participants in the one-year study sustained optimal adherence to ARVs, compared with 40 percent of other participants. More than 66 percent of the 7,034 HIV-positive people in the study were black, and nearly half of them reported depression. The good news, said Balkrishnan, is that antidepressants nearly doubled the odds of sticking to HIV treatment for low-income populations.

To read the University of Michigan report, click here.