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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNC: History of Missed Medical Visits Predicts Who Is Most Likely to Fall Out of HIV Care

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients who missed medical visits within the past year are more likely to be no-shows in the future, according to new research from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Missing medical visits can result in negative health outcomes for patients with HIV, and research shows that 61 percent of new HIV cases are transmitted from HIV-positive individuals who are not currently engaged in medical care. By finding ways to spot patients who may miss future visits and dedicating special efforts to keep them in care, researchers say providers can prevent harmful outcomes for HIV patients and lower the likelihood of future virus transmission.

“Having patients fall out of HIV care is a big problem, both for the patients themselves and for the effort to end the HIV epidemic,” says Dr. Brian Wells Pence, professor of epidemiology and lead author of the study. “Clinicians can predict whether a patient they are seeing in clinic today is likely to be a no-show for their next HIV appointment using a pretty simple metric.”

The study, “Who Will Show? Predicting Missed Visits Among Patients in Routine HIV Primary Care in the United States,” was published July 13 by AIDS and Behavior. Using data from the Center for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems, researchers developed a predictive model for whether a patient would show up for their next scheduled HIV primary care appointment.

“If you don’t have a car or a job or a stable place to live, making it to a medical appointment can be a challenge,” Dr. Pence explains. “That’s why it’s so important to identify patients at risk while they are still in the clinic and mobilize supportive services — such as social work and financial counseling — to help address whatever a particular patient’s challenges are.”

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