Abuse and resilience in relation to haart medication adherence and HIV viral load among women with HIV in the United States

Sannisha Dale, Mardge Cohen, Kathleen Weber, Ruth Cruise, Gwendolyn Kelso, Leslie Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Abuse is highly prevalent among HIV+ women, leading to behaviors, including lower adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) that result in poor health outcomes. Resilience (functioning competently despite adversity) may buffer the negative effects of abuse. This study investigated how resilience interacted with abuse history in relation to HAART adherence, HIV viral load (VL), and CD4+ cell count among a convenience sample of 138 HIV+ women from the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center/Cook County Health and Hospital Systems site of the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Resilience was measured by the 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). HAART adherence (≥95% vs. <95% self reported usage of prescribed medication) and current or prior sexual, physical, or emotional/domestic abuse, were reported during structured interviews. HIV viral load (≥20 vs. <20 copies/mL) and CD4+ count (200 vs. <200 cells/mm) were measured with blood specimens. Multiple logistic regressions, controlling for age, race, income, enrollment wave, substance use, and depressive symptoms, indicated that each unit increase in resilience was significantly associated with an increase in the odds of having ≥95% HAART adherence and a decrease in the odds of having a detectable viral load. Resilience-Abuse interactions showed that only among HIV+ women with sexual abuse or multiple abuses did resilience significantly relate to an increase in the odds of ≥95% HAART adherence. Interventions to improve coping strategies that promote resilience among HIV+ women may be beneficial for achieving higher HAART adherence and viral suppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-143
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS patient care and STDs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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