BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS researchers propose ways of improving care for HIV-positive women

Taking potent combination anti-HIV therapy (commonly called ART or HAART) every day, exactly as directed, is a cornerstone of improving health for HIV-positive people. Many other factors can affect health, well-being and survival of patients, and one of those factors is the quality of care that patients receive.

Researchers at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver have developed a tool to assess the quality of care received by patients. This tool, called the Programmatic Compliance Score (PCS), compares certain aspects of care that patients receive against recommendations within leading HIV treatment guidelines.

In previous research, the BC team that developed the PCS found that patients who are not receiving guideline-recommended care in the first year of using ART are likely to have poor health and an increased risk of death.

In its latest report, the BC team focused on analysing the care received by nearly 3,600 HIV-positive participants (80% men, 20% women). The researchers found that, overall, women appeared to receive “poorer quality of care” than men. Furthermore, the researchers found that women with the following factors were more likely to be recipients of poorer quality of care:

  • a history of injecting street drugs
  • being of Aboriginal ancestry
  • residing on Vancouver island
  • initiating ART shortly after it became available in the mid-to-late 1990s

The research team provided ideas of how care for HIV-positive women could be improved. These are discussed later in this CATIE News bulletin.

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