Status of hiv-infected patients classified as lost to follow up from a large antiretroviral program in southwest nigeria
Background Loss to follow-up (LTFU) is a term used to classify patients no longer being seen in a clinical care program, including HIV treatment programs. It is unclear if these patients have transferred their care services elsewhere, died, or if there are other reasons for their LTFU. To better understand the status of patients meeting the criteria of LTFU, we traced a sample of HIV-infected patients that were LTFU from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) antiretroviral program. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected adult patients who enrolled for care between 2010 and 2014 at LUTH and were considered LTFU. Patients with locator information were traced using phone calls. Face-to-face interviews were used to collect data from successfully traced and consenting participants. Predictors of LTFU from LUTH, disengagement from care and willingness to re-engage in care in LUTH were assessed. Results Of 6108 registered patients, 3397 (56%) were LTFU and being unmarried was a predictor of being LTFU from LUTH. Of 425 patients that were traced, 355 (84%) were alive and 70 (16%) were dead. Two hundred and sixty-eight patients consented to interviews; 96 (35.8%) of these had transferred to another clinic for care while 172 (64.2%) were disengaged from care. More than half (149/268; 55.6%) were not on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Some of the primary reasons for LTFU were; long distance to clinic (56%) and feeling healthy (6.7%). Predictor of disengagement from care within the interviewed cohort was not having started ART. The predictors of willingness to re-engage in care included, not having started ART, male sex and longer duration in HIV care prior to LTFU. Conclusion Most of the interviewed cohort that was LTFU were truly disengaged from care and not on ART. Interventions are required to address processes of re-engagement of patients that are LTFU.
Balogun, M, Meloni, S.T, Igwilo, U.U, Roberts, A, Okafor, I, Sekoni, A, Ogunsola, F, Kanki, P.J. and Akanmu, S. (2019). Status of HIV-infected patients classified as lost to follow up from a large antiretroviral program in southwest Nigeria. PLoS ONE 14(7): e0219903. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0219903.