Prevalence and Patterns of Antiretroviral Therapy Prescription in the United States

Yunfeng Tie1, *, Jacek Skarbinski2, Gengsheng Qin3, Emma L Frazier1
1 Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
2 The Permanente Medical Group, Oakland, CA, USA
3 Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA

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© 2018 Tie et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Mailstop E-46, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, Tel: 404-718-5781, Fax no: 404- 639-8640,



The use of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in HIV-infected persons has proven to be effective in the reduction of risk of disease progression and prevention of HIV transmission.


U.S. Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) guidelines specify recommended initial, alternative initial, and not-recommended regimens, but data on ART prescribing practices and real-world effectiveness are sparse.


Nationally representative annual cross sectional survey of HIV-infected adults receiving medical care in the United States, 2009-2012 data cycles. Using data from 18,095 participants, we assessed percentages prescribed ART regimens based on medical record documentation and the associations between ART regimens and viral suppression (most recent viral load test <200 copies/ml in past year) and ART-related side effects.


Among HIV-infected adults receiving medical care in the United States, 91.8% were prescribed ART; median time since ART initiation to interview date was 9.8 years. The percentage prescribed ART was significantly higher in 2012 compared to 2009 (92.7% vs 88.7%; p < 0.001). Of those prescribed ART, 51.6% were prescribed recommended initial regimens, 6.1% alternative initial regimens, 29.0% not-recommended as initial regimens, and 13.4% other regimens. Overall, 79.5% achieved viral suppression and 15.7% reported side effects. Of those prescribed ART and initiated ART in the past year, 80.5% were prescribed recommended initial regimens.


Among persons prescribed ART, the majority were prescribed recommended initial regimens. Monitoring of ART use should be continued to provide ongoing assessments of ART effectiveness and tolerability in the United States.

Keywords: HIV, ART Prescription, ARV regimens, ART initiation, CD4, FDA.