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Factors associated with delayed entry into HIV medical care after HIV diagnosis in a resource-limited setting: Data from a cohort study in India

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Author(s): Gerardo Alvarez-Uria

Journal: PeerJ
ISSN 2167-8359

Volume: 1;
Start page: e90;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: HIV | Developing countries | Mortality | Program evaluation | Rural health | Lost to follow-up | Patient care planning

ABSTRACT
Studies from sub-Saharan Africa have shown that a substantial proportion of patients diagnosed with HIV enter into HIV medical care late. However, data from low or middle-income countries outside Africa are scarce. In this study, we investigated risk factors associated with delayed entry into care stratified by gender in a large cohort study in India. 7701 patients were diagnosed with HIV and 5410 entered into care within three months of HIV diagnosis. Nearly 80% entered into care within a year, but most patients who did not enter into care within a year remained lost to follow up or died. Patient with risk factors related to having a low socio-economic status (poverty, being homeless, belonging to a disadvantaged community and illiteracy) were more likely to enter into care late. In addition, male gender and being asymptomatic at the moment of HIV infection were factors associated with delayed entry into care. Substantial gender differences were found. Younger age was found to be associated with delayed entry in men, but not in women. Widows and unmarried men were more likely to enter into care within three months. Women belonging to disadvantaged communities or living far from a town were more likely to enter into care late. The results of this study highlight the need to improve the linkage between HIV diagnosis and HIV treatment in India. HIV programmes should monitor patients diagnosed with HIV until they engage in HIV medical care, especially those at increased risk of attrition.

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