Prescription drug diversion among people living with HIV: A systematic scoping review


OBJECTIVES: Globally, people living with HIV (PLWH) are at greater risk for various infections and chronic pain, therefore, vulnerable to prescription drug diversion which might negatively impact HIV care. The study purpose is to gather evidence on prescription drug diversion among PLWH. STUDY DESIGN: This is a systematic scoping review. METHODS: Arksey and O’Malley’s framework and recommendation by Levac et al. were used to guide this study. Literature was searched in PubMed, Google Scholar, EBSCOhost (Academic Search Complete, MEDLINE and Newspaper Source) and Open Access Theses and Dissertations. Studies reporting evidence of prescription drug diversion from January 1996 to July 2017 were included. Thematic content analysis was performed to summarize data on the prevalence. RESULTS: Twenty-nine studies were eligible for data synthesis. Twenty-six studies were conducted in the United States of America (USA), one study in France and two multicountry studies; one study in Kenya and Uganda and the other study in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa; Zimbabwe, India, Thailand, Brazil and the USA. Research evidence shows high prevalence of prescription drug diversion for analgesics and antiretroviral drugs; meanwhile, stimulants and erectile dysfunction drugs were the least diverted drugs among PLWH. There is a research gap in low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) investigating prescription drug diversion among PLWH. CONCLUSION: Our findings reveal that diversion of various prescription drug classes among PWLH exists. There is lack of research in LMICs. We recommend research in LMICs where there is high HIV prevalence. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42017074076


Chibi B, Torres NF, Sokhela ZP, Mashamba-Thompson TP




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Substance Use
    • Nonmedicinal drugs


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