Edited by: Dr P. Todd Korthuis and Dr Jennifer Edelman
The HIV care continuum – also referred to as the HIV treatment cascade – identifies five stages of HIV medical care: 1) HIV diagnosis, 2) linkage to HIV care, 3) engagement and retention in HIV care, 4) treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 5) achievement of HIV viral suppression – all of which are essential in order to effectively treat and prevent the spread of HIV. Recent data from the U.S. estimate that 86% of people living with HIV are diagnosed, 40% are engaged in care, 37% receive ART, and only 30% achieve HIV viral suppression. People who use drugs and alcohol are particularly likely to experience gaps in each stage of the HIV care continuum, preventing them from realizing improvements in HIV survival. Screening for and treating substance use disorders may close these gaps in care and help achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal of achieving 90% diagnosis, 90% ART treatment, and 90% HIV viral suppression by 2020.
This thematic series in Addiction Science & Clinical Practice highlights articles that address the impact of drug and/or alcohol use on the HIV care cascade and specifically the role of substance use disorder screening and treatment as a means of meeting the 90-90-90 goal.
The Editors of the series declare no competing interests.