Durable HIV suppression among people who inject drugs from a community-based cohort study in Baltimore, Maryland, 1997-2017

Becky L. Genberg, Gregory D. Kirk, Jacquie Astemborski, Hana Lee, Noya Galai, Kenrad E. Nelson, David Vlahov, David D. Celentano, Shruti H. Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


People who inject drugs (PWID) face disparities in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment outcomes and may be less likely to achieve durable viral suppression. We characterized transitions into and out of viral suppression from 1997 to 2017 in a long-standing community-based cohort study of PWID, the AIDS Link to Intravenous Experience (ALIVE) Study, analyzing HIV-positive participants who had made a study visit in or after 1997. We defined the probabilities of transitioning between 4 states: 1) suppressed, 2) detectable, 3) lost to follow-up, and 4) deceased. We used multinomial logistic regression analysis to examine factors associated with transition probabilities, with a focus on transitions from suppression to other states. Among 1,061 participants, the median age was 44 years, 32% were female, 93% were African-American, 59% had recently injected drugs, and 28% were virologically suppressed at baseline. Significant improvements in durable viral suppression were observed over time; however, death rates remained relatively stable. In adjusted analysis, injection drug use and homelessness were associated with increased virological rebound in earlier time periods, while only age and race were associated with virological rebound in 2012-2017. Opioid use was associated with an increased risk of death following suppression in 2012-2017. Despite significant improvements in durable viral suppression, subgroups of PWID may need additional efforts to maintain viral suppression and prevent premature mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2086-2096
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 31 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • HIV care continuum
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • mortality
  • opioids
  • people who inject drugs
  • viral suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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