Health care today isn't always on the side of patients, despite that much of the cost of prescription drugs falls on them.
According to a study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2019), there are many people living with HIV who are not always adhering to their medicine due to the financial cost.
In fact, 13 percent of HIV-positive people reported at least one cost-saving strategy, while 8 percent admitted to not always adhering to treatment in an effort to cut costs. Furthermore, according to the study, rates of viral suppression and engagement in care were lower in those reporting non-adherence for economic reasons, reports NAM AIDSMap.
Data from the study came from the Medical Monitoring Project, which collected clinical and behaviorial information from 3,650 HIV-positive people in the United States who took prescription medications during 2015-2016.
Read results of the overall group below:
8% had asked their doctor for a lower-cost medication to save money
1% had bought prescription drugs from another country to save money
2% had used alternative therapies to save money
4% had skipped medication doses to save money
4% had taken less medicine to save money
6% had delayed filling a prescription to save money
The last three of those strategies were more common in people with private insurance, reflecting the problem of incomplete coverage and co-payments associated with private insurance. They were also more common in those who had sought, but not received, help from the Ryan White AIDS Drug Assistance Program — as well as in those who had a disability.
Additionally, folks who reported cost-saving strategies that limited adherence were also significantly less likely to be virally suppressed — or undetectable, which means your viral load is so suppressed that it's virtually impossible to transmit HIV.