CHPIR intern, Alice Pollard (MSW, MSPH), will give a presentation based upon the work of NC-LINK on Thursday, September 19th at the North Carolina Public Health Association Fall Educational Conference in Asheville. Her presentation (abstract available below) is entitled Patients in HIV Care in NC Clinics: An Assessment of Efforts in NC HIV Clinics. For more information about the conference, including the agenda, please visit www.ncpha.com.
Patients in HIV Care in NC Clinics: An Assessment of Efforts in NC HIV Clinics
Routine medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) is critical for
improving individual health outcomes and reducing HIV transmission. However,
many PLWHA who are initially linked to medical care do not remain engaged. HRSA
defines engagement in HIV care as attending 2 HIV medical appointments annually,
at least 3 months apart. Only 44% (11,006) of PLWHA in NC accessed at least one
care visit in 2011. Of those who had a visit, 30% were not retained in care.1
Recent efforts at the national level have concentrated on retaining more PLWHA in
consistent, quality medical care and re-engaging those lost-to-care. Similarly in
North Carolina, HIV clinics across the state have employed a variety of
strategies to retain and re-engage HIV patients in care. NC-LINK is a multi-year
project, funded through HRSA, with the goal of increasing the number of PLWHA in
care by creating systems linkages across the HIV care continuum in North Carolina.
In an effort to understand current retention and re-engagement activities in North
Carolina, NC-LINK investigators are conducting phone interviews with staff
from approximately 15 HIV clinics. This presentation provides a snapshot of our
findings, highlighting the retention and re-engagement efforts in clinics;
the similarities and differences between clinics; and identifying strengths and gaps
in retention and re-engagement activities. Improved understanding of current
retention and re-engagement activities will provide direction for future efforts at
the clinic, regional, and state level, and facilitate sharing of promising practices
to improve engagement in care.
1. North Carolina Division of Public Health Epidemiology Section. EpiNotes. 2013. http://epi.publichealth.nc.