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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Study Examines How Neighborhood Impacts on Time Living with Detectable Viral Load

Researchers from the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health (Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, South Carolina SmartState Center for Healthcare Quality) and School of Medicine as well as Ohio University have published a paper on neighborhood disadvantages and the impact of time living with detectable viral load for new adult human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnoses in South Carolina. The project was led by health services policy and management clinical associate professor Dr. Bankole Olatosi and Dr. Sharon Weissman (UofSC School of Medicine) and published in AIDS and Behavior.

With this study, the authors examined the association between neighborhood disadvantages and percent person-time spent with increased transmission risk for people living with HIV in South Carolina. Participants included more than 2,000 people living with HIV who were diagnosed between 2014 and 2017 with two or more viral load tests six months apart. The researchers then calculated the proportion of time living with a viral load greater than 1500 copies/ml after linkage to care and assessed neighborhood disadvantage based on area deprivation index.

Based on their analyses, Dr. Olatosi and his team found that almost half of the people living with HIV lived with a viral load of more than 1500 copies/ml for some times (median days = 46), with young adults and people living with HIV who injected drugs experiencing the highest proportion for time living with detectable viral load. “Targeted programs are needed to improve viral load suppression, reduce new transmissions and decrease disparities in HIV outcomes in all neighborhoods,” says Dr. Olatosi.

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