New York City Successfully Locates HIV-Positive Patients 'Lost to Follow-Up'
Intensive Effort Leads Most Patients to Restart Treatment, Reports Study in AIDS Journal
Philadelphia, Pa. (May 30, 2013) - Public health officials in New York City have launched a successful program to locate
HIV-positive patients who have been "lost to follow-up" and reconnect them with treatment services, reports a study published
in AIDS, official journal of
the International AIDS Society. AIDS is published
by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part
of Wolters Kluwer Health.
Efforts to restart antiretroviral therapy are especially important with the current emphasis on "treatment-as-prevention" for HIV,
according to the study by Chi-Chi N. Udeagu, MPH, and colleagues of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The article is available on the AIDS journal homepage and in the
June 12 print edition.
Effort to Locate HIV Patients Lost to Follow-Up .
The program used the NYC HIV surveillance registry to identify patients who had previously tested positive for HIV but did not have
current information on routine laboratory test results. Public health case workers made intensive efforts-including phone
calls, mail, home visits, and Internet searches- to contact this group of "lost to follow-up" patients.
Once located, patients were offered help in re-engaging with treatment services and restarting HIV care. They were also targeted for
efforts to identify sexual partners who might be at risk of HIV.
Case workers were able to locate 689 out of 797 patients presumed lost to follow-up. After being contacted, 33 percent of patients were
found to be up-to-date with HIV treatment - their most recent lab results were not yet reported in the database, or they were seen by
HIV medical providers not required to report lab results to the health department, such as Veterans hospitals and HIV clinical
trial units. Five percent of located patients had moved or were incarcerated, while two percent had died.
This left 409 patients who were successfully located and verified as not being up-to-date with HIV care. Once located, 77 percent of
these patients accepted an appointment at an HIV clinic and 57 percent returned to treatment.
.Leads Most to Re-Engage with Treatment Services
Overall, the program was successful in identifying about half of the initial list of patients as being lost to follow-up, and in
re-rengaging most of them with treatment services. About half of patients lost to follow-up agreed to be interviewed for partner
services. These efforts led to identification and a new diagnosis of HIV infection in three patients.
When patients were asked why they stopped attending HIV care, about 40 percent said they felt well and didn't think they needed treatment.
Other reasons included day-to-day responsibilities, not trusting health care workers, side effects of HIV medicines, feeling
depressed, being uninsured, and not wanting to think about being HIV-positive.
Recent years have seen a growing emphasis on "treatment-as-prevention" of HIV - giving antiretroviral medications to lower the viral
load, which significantly reduces the risk of transmitting the infection. Most studies of this approach have focused on patients
newly diagnosed with HIV. But it's just as important to focus efforts on patients with previously diagnosed HIV who
are "un-engaged or under-engaged" in HIV medical care.
The public health effort reported in the study would not have been possible without the NYC HIV surveillance registry, which was
used to identify patients ""lost to follow-up", and monitor their outcomes following re-engagement efforts. The fact that
one-third of located patients actually were current with care probably reflects lag times in reporting lab test results to
Based on their results, Udeagu and coauthors conclude, "HIV surveillance data can and should be used by health departments to
identify and locate people living with HIV who are lost to follow-up, and public health case-workers should investigate such
cases with the goal of re-engaging such [patients] in medical care for HIV." They add, "Although challenges abound,
such efforts are essential to any comprehensive effort to control the HIV epidemic."
AIDS publishes the very latest ground-breaking research on HIV and AIDS. Read by all the top clinicians and researchers, AIDS has
the highest impact of all AIDS-related journals. With 18 issues per year, AIDS guarantees the authoritative presentation of even
more significant advances. The Editors, themselves noted international experts who know the demands of HIV/AIDS research,
are committed to making AIDS the most distinguished and innovative journal in the field. Visit the journal website at www.aidsonline.com .
About Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) is a leading international publisher of trusted content delivered in innovative ways
to practitioners, professionals and students to learn new skills, stay current on their practice, and make important decisions
to improve patient care and clinical outcomes.
LWW is part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading
global provider of information, business intelligence and point-of-care solutions for the healthcare industry. Wolters Kluwer Health
is part of Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information
services company with 2012 annual revenues of €3.6 billion ($4.6 billion).
Director of Communications
Wolters Kluwer Health
+1 (215) 521-8928
Director, Marketing Communications
Wolters Kluwer Health Medical Research
+1 (646) 674-6348
For more HIV and AIDS News visit...
Positively Positive - Living with HIV/AIDS: