Demand and Supply Motivations for Antiretroviral Drugs in Illicit Street Markets: The Case of Atlanta, Georgia

  • Antonio SaraviaEmail author
  • Robert Mueller
Original Paper


We studied the motivations behind supply and demand of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) in the illicit street markets of the metropolitan statistical area of Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Roswell, Georgia. We found that these two market actions were largely interdependent: 39.53% of participants said that they sold their ARVs to pay for personal needs, and 20.93% said that they bought ARVs because they had previously sold them to pay for personal needs. The pattern that emerged suggests that illicit street markets have become mechanisms through which HIV patients cooperate to achieve competing goals: cover personal needs and keep up, however imperfectly, with their medication regime. We also found that HIV patients used illicit street markets because they faced institutional deficiencies, such as exclusion from the Ryan White/ADAP program, long waiting times to see a doctor, and prescription delays.


HIV ARVs Diversion Illicit Markets Atlanta Georgia 


Estudiamos las motivaciones de demanda y oferta de medicamentos antiretrovirales (ARVs) en el mercado negro del área metropolitana conformada por Atlanta, Sandy Springs y Roswell en Georgia. Encontramos que estas dos acciones de mercado son considerablemente interdependientes: 39.53% de los participantes indicaron que vendieron sus ARVs para pagar por necesidades personales, y 20.93% de los mismos indicaron que compraron ARVs porque los habían previamente vendido para pagar por necesidades personales. El patrón que emerge de estos resultados sugiere que los mercados negros de ARVs se han convertido en mecanismos a través de los cuales pacientes con HIV cooperan para satisfacer multiples objetivos: cubrir necesidades personales y mantener, aunque no perfectamente, su régimen medico. También encontramos que pacientes con HIV recurren a mercados negros de ARVs porque enfrentan deficiencias institucionales como la exclusión del programa Ryan White/ADAP, largos tiempos de espera para ser atendidos por un doctor y demoras en obtener sus prescripciones.



This study was funded by The Quality Enhancing Program office at Mercer University (grant awarded on February 25, 2016).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10461_2018_2359_MOESM1_ESM.xls (58 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (xls 58 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stetson School of Business and EconomicsMercer UniversityMaconUSA

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