restricted access Discontinuation From HIV Medical Care: Squandering Treatment Opportunities

The purpose of this study was to assess HIV-infected patients' discontinuation of their primary care. One hundred ninety-eight consecutive outpatients were interviewed on initial HIV primary care presentation, assessed after six months about their discontinuation from primary care, and had characteristics associated with discontinuation determined. Primary care was not continued in 20 percent (40/198) of the cases. Cohort characteristics included 25 percent women; 44 percent black, 28 percent white, 25 percent Hispanic; 69 percent with highest yearly income ≤ $16,000; 47 percent injection drug users; and median CD4 count 285/μL. Characteristics significantly associated (p ≤ 0.05) with discontinuation were higher CD4 count, less education, no history of victimization, previous jail time, and site of medical care. One-fifth of HIV-infected patients did not remain engaged in primary care after establishing this essential link to treatment.