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Social Support Boosts Therapy Success

Social Support Boosts Therapy Success


Having a strong social support system can result in improved health for HIV-positive adults on antiretroviral therapy, according to a study by psychiatric researchers in Toronto. Thirty-four adult patients taking anti-HIV drugs were followed for four years; social support networks were evaluated at three points in time during the study. Researchers discovered that patients with strong emotional and interpersonal support--or with improving support systems--were significantly more likely to be responding well to antiretroviral therapy and to have an undetectable viral load. Study subjects with weak support networks or with declining support were more likely to have detectable blood-based virus. 'HIV-positive adults consistently taking [highly active antiretroviral therapy] appeared to experience better clinical benefit if they perceived interpersonal, informational, and emotional support to be available--a finding that underscores the importance of social support in relation to treatment outcome for this population,' the researchers conclude.

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