Pretreatment loss-to-follow-up after HIV diagnosis from 27 counseling and testing centers across India: Findings from a cohort study

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Individuals testing HIV positive were interviewed at testing centers, followed prospectively and interviewed again when they registered at referral antiretroviral therapy (ART) centers (ARTCs). Those who did not register at ARTCs were traced and interviewed in the community. A total of 1057 newly diagnosed people living with HIV (PLHIV; 52% women; mean age, 34.7 years) were recruited. A total of 73.5% of PLHIV registered at referral ARTCs within 60 days, 17.9% did not register and were interviewed in the community, and 8.6% were not interviewed. The 2 main reasons cited for not registering were a perception of good health (30%) and work/family engagements (22%). Single clients (adjusted relative risk [ARR]: 1.54; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02–2.34), participants who had not disclosed their HIV status (ARR: 2.32; 95% CI: 1.77–3.05), participants who knew a PLHIV (ARR: 1.89; 95% CI: 1.41–2.53), and participants from laborer households (ARR: 2.66; 95% CI:1.15–6.15) were more likely to not register. In conclusion, the majority of newly diagnosed PLHIV do reach ARTCs. Disclosure concerns and a perception of good health prevent PLHIV from accessing services.