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West J Nurs Res. 2012 Aug;34(5):621-34. doi: 10.1177/0193945911419679. Epub 2011 Sep 2.

Social networks of substance users with HIV infection: application of the Norbeck Social Support Scale.

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  • 1University of Missouri–Kansas City, School of Nursing, 2497 Charlotte, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA.


The role of social support networks in medication adherence among HIV-infected substance users remains understudied. In this secondary data analysis, the authors sought to determine the relationship between social support networks and antiretroviral adherence among HIV-infected substance abusers receiving methadone. They analyzed data collected in a 24-week study of 76 methadone-maintained, HIV-infected substance abusers randomized to directly observed antiretroviral therapy or treatment as usual. The authors used logistic regression to examine the relationship between social support networks and self-reported antiretroviral adherence. Their results showed that study participants had an average of 1.36 social network members (SD = 1.4); 34% of participants had at least one drug user and 25% had at least one HIV-infected person in their network. The presence of network drug users and HIV-infected network members was associated with less antiretroviral medication adherence (p < .05). The authors conclude that both social network density and characteristics of network members have implications for medication adherence.

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