Many barriers to the use of HIV medications have been identified. Research findings have also shown a gender disparity in HIV care behaviors. However, interaction effects of gender with the potential barriers to use of HIV medications among HIV-positive minority drug users remain under-studied. This study examined interaction effects of gender with potential moderating factors (i.e., individual and network characteristics) on the use of HIV medications. Analyses were based on 260 HIV-positive Puerto Rican heroin and cocaine users, recruited in New York (N=178) and Puerto Rico (N=82) in 1998-2003. HIV status was assessed using OraSure, and heroin or cocaine use was verified by urinalysis. All participants were tested and interviewed at baseline and six-month follow-up (183 males; 77 females). In predicting use of HIV medications at follow-up (HIVMEDF), use of HIV medications at baseline (HIVMED), individual characteristics (e.g., depression), network characteristics (e.g., having an intravenous drug user [IDU] sex partner), recruitment site, and interaction effects of these variables with gender, were examined in multiple logistic regression analysis. Use of HIV medications was low (29% at baseline; 40% at follow-up). HIVMED, recruitment site, gender, and depression had significant main effects on HIVMEDF. Depression also had a significant interaction effect with gender on HIVMEDF. Unlike men, women with depression were less likely than women without depression to use the medications. The findings indicate that gender-specific issues should be addressed by treatment programs for HIV-positive drug users, with particular efforts needed to enhance use of medications for depressed women.
Differential gender effects of depression on use of HIV medications among HIV-positive Puerto Rican drug users