This year’s most-read articles on HIV explored vaccine hesitancy, medication acceptance, cardiac health, and more.
The top 5 most-read HIV articles and interviews on AJMC.com this year included experts looking back on the history of the epidemic, as well as coverage of new research into health consequences and treatment acceptance in patients with the disease.
Here are the 5 most-viewed HIV pieces of 2021.
5. New Study Highlights Importance of Cardiac Health in Persons Living With HIV
Individuals with HIV are increasingly dying of age-related diseases, such as cardiac disease, heightening the importance of a healthy lifestyle, according to this article from April that covered study findings. The prospective study found that a cohort with HIV had higher levels of noncalcified coronary plaque, and its authors suggested that CT angiography of patients with HIV should subtype their plaque to better understand their cardiovascular risk.
4. Dr Perry N. Halkitis Discusses COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Persons Living With HIV
In this interview from April, Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has reopened some old wounds for those who lived through the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Some individuals may mistrust the medical profession, leading them to avoid the COVID-19 vaccine, but their reasons for doing so vary because patients with HIV are not monolithic—and neither are the vaccine hesitant.
3. Contributor: A Renewed Call to Arms to Defeat HIV/AIDS on Its 40th Anniversary
Halkitis penned this contributor column in June that recognizes the 40th anniversary of the CDC’s initial report on what would eventually become known as an AIDS-defining illness. He notes the advances made in combating AIDS, but he also warns from personal experience that there is not enough attention on helping older gay men with HIV thrive physically, emotionally, socially, and financially. Halkitis issues “a call to arms to renew our battle against HIV with a focus on HIV and aging.”
2. Dr Michael Gottlieb Reflects on the Early Days of the AIDS Epidemic
As part of AJMC.com coverage of the 40th anniversary of that initial published report from the CDC, this video previews an in-depth Q&A with the lead author of that report, Michael Gottlieb, MD. In this preview, Gottlieb recalls the story of how investigators identified azidothymidine as a potential agent that could be used against HIV. The discovery by Marty St. Clair involved the will to search for a treatment plus a stroke of luck, Gottlieb explains.
1. Previous Intravenous Drug Use May Impact Women’s Comfort With Injectable HIV Medications
Medications for chronic diseases are only useful if patients will adhere to them, and this article published in January covers study findings on determinants of comfort with injectable HIV medications in women. The study found that although some women with a history of intravenous drug use were undeterred by the thought of self-administering injected HIV drugs, others felt that the needles involved could be triggers for a relapse. A key takeaway was that clinicians need to understand patients’ history with injection drug use before choosing whether to prescribe an injectable medication or an oral drug.