Trends in racial and ethnic disparities in antiretroviral therapy prescription and viral suppression in the United States, 2009-2013
Linda Beer, Ph.D
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Objectives: To examine trends in racial/ethnic disparities in antiretroviral therapy (ART) prescription and viral suppression among HIV-infected persons in care, overall and among men who have sex with men (MSM), from 2009 to 2013.
Design: The Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) is a complex sample survey of HIV-infected adults receiving medical care in the United States.
Methods: We used weighted interview and medical record data collected 06/2009-05/2014 to estimate the prevalence of ART prescription and viral suppression among racial/ethnic groups overall and among MSM.
Results: We found significant increases in ART prescription and viral suppression among all racial/ethnic groups from 2009 to 2013, both overall and among MSM. By 2013, overall and among MSM, the Hispanic-white disparity in ART prescription was non-existent, and the black-white disparity was not significant after accounting for differences between blacks and whites in age and length of HIV diagnosis. Despite reductions in racial/ethnic disparities in viral suppression over the time period, significant disparities remained among the total population, even after adjusting for differences in racial/ethnic group characteristics. Encouragingly, however, there was no significant Hispanic-white disparity in viral suppression among MSM by 2013.
Conclusions: Despite significant improvements in ART prescription and viral suppression in recent years, racial and ethnic disparities persist, particularly for black persons. If the United States is to achieve the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goal of reducing HIV-related health disparities, continued efforts to accelerate the rate of improvement in ART prescription and viral suppression among Hispanic and black persons may need to be prioritized.