Health Care Utilization Behaviors Predict Disengagement From HIV Care: A Latent Class Analysis.

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The traditional definition of engagement in HIV care in terms of only clinic attendance and viral suppression provides a limited understanding of how persons living with HIV (PLWH) interact with the health care system.


We conducted a retrospective analysis of patients with ≥1 HIV clinic visits at the Duke Adult Infectious Diseases Clinic between 2008 and 2013. Health care utilization was characterized by 4 indicators: clinic attendance in each half of the year (yes/no), number of emergency department (ED) visits/year (0, 1, or 2+), inpatient admissions/year (0, 1, 2+), and viral suppression (never, intermittent, always). Health care engagement patterns were modeled using latent class/latent transition analysis.


A total of 2288 patients (median age, 46.4 years; 59% black, 71% male) were included in the analysis. Three care engagement classes were derived from the latent class model: "adherent" "nonadherent," and "sick." Patients age ≤40 years were more likely to be in the nonadherent class (odds ratio, 2.64; 95% confidence interval, 1.38-5.04) than other cohort members. Whites and males were more likely to transition from nonadherent to adherent the following year. Nonadherent patients were significantly more likely to disengage from care the subsequent year than adherent patients (23.6 vs 0.2%, P < .001).


A broader definition of health care engagement revealed distinct and dynamic patterns among PLWH that would have been hidden had only previous HIV clinic attendance had been considered. These patterns may be useful for designing engagement-targeted interventions.





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Okeke, Nwora Lance, Meredith E Clement, Mehri S McKellar and Jason E Stout (2018). Health Care Utilization Behaviors Predict Disengagement From HIV Care: A Latent Class Analysis. Open forum infectious diseases, 5(5). p. ofy088. 10.1093/ofid/ofy088 Retrieved from

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Mehri Sadri McKellar

Associate Professor of Medicine

Jason Eric Stout

Professor of Medicine

My research focuses on the epidemiology, natural history, and treatment of tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacterial infections. I am also interested in the impact of HIV infection on mycobacterial infection and disease, and in examining health disparities as they relate to infectious diseases, particularly in immigrant populations.

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