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HIV outreach and return to care

When chronic disease patients let their care lapse and fail to show for clinic appointments, it may behoove clinics to reach out and encourage a return to care.

In the case of HIV patients in eastern Africa, reaching out within eight days of a missed clinic appointment is associated with a twice-greater likelihood of a return to care, according to a retrospective study by Peter Rebeiro, Ph.D., and colleagues.

The longer the delay in reaching out to no-shows, the less likely a return to care becomes, the study shows.

The team used data from 34,522 no-show patients, adjusting their analysis for a variety of patient factors. The study appears in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

“The re-engagement of individuals lost to care is an essential and understudied stage in the HIV continuum of care,” the authors wrote. “Our observations […] have the potential to inform both the possible benefit and optimal timing of such interventions.”

Rebeiro worked with investigators from Indiana University, New York University, Moi University and the University of Toronto. The study was funded in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (AI069911, AI069923) and PEPFAR/USAID (AID-623-A-12-0001).

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