National Estimate of Retention in HIV Care Is About 75 Percent

Study finds correlation between three accepted measures of care retention

MONDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Between 71 and 75 percent of HIV-infected patients retain care consistently, according to a national study published online Feb. 29 in AIDS.

Baligh R. Yehia, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and associates compared different measures of retention of care using data from a cohort of 17,425 HIV-infected adults treated at 12 HIV clinics between 2001 and 2008. Three measures of retention were compared for each patient and the effects of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were assessed.

The researchers found that there was a moderate-to-strong correlation between the three measures of retention. Averaging across the participants, 71 percent of the time in care was not spent in a gap of more than six months between successive outpatient visits; the proportion of 91-day quarters with at least one visit was 73 percent; and, in 75 percent of all years, two or more visits separated by at least 90 days occurred. For older individuals, women, whites, and men who had sex with men-related transmission, and for those with an initial CD4 cell count of 50 cell/µl or less, all measures of retention of care were significantly higher.

"This is the first study to provide a national estimate of retention in HIV care in the United States, which ranged from 71 to 75 percent using any of the accepted retention measures," the authors write. "Future studies should assess how well different measures predict clinical outcomes and establish acceptable target levels for retention."

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