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Released Inmates Unlikely to Fill Antiretroviral Prescriptions

Large majority of released inmates do not fill prescriptions to avoid treatment interruption

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A vast majority of HIV-infected prison inmates, after release, do not fill their prescriptions for antiretroviral therapy medication in a timely manner to avoid treatment interruption, according to study findings published in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jacques Baillargeon, Ph.D., of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues performed a retrospective assessment of all 2,115 HIV-infected prison inmates released from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison system between 2004 and 2007. All inmates were receiving antiretroviral therapy prior to release, and were followed-up for up to 60 days after their individual release.

Only 5.4 percent of released inmates filled their antiretroviral prescription within 10 days of their release, the investigators found. Of the remaining released inmates, 82.3 percent had not filled their prescriptions within 30 days of their release, and 70 percent had not filled them within 60 days of their release, the researchers report. Multivariate analysis revealed that Hispanic and black released inmates were the least likely to fill their prescriptions. Inmates released on parole, as well as those participating in an AIDS drug assistance program, were 1.3-fold and 1.8-fold more likely to fill their prescriptions within 30 days, and 1.5-fold and 1.3-fold within 60 days, respectively, the report indicates.

According to the authors, the "exceedingly high rates of treatment interruption suggest that most inmates face significant administrative, socioeconomic, or personal barriers to accessing antiretroviral therapy when they return to their communities."

Several of the study authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry, some of which manufacture antiretroviral therapy.

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