PloS one 2016 Oct 611(10) e0162739 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0162739
The main objective of the TAK project is investigating barriers in accessing HIV care after HIV-diagnosis at the CBVCTs of central Poland. Here we describe factors associated with and changes over time in linkage to care and access to cART.
Data collected in 2010-2013 in CBVCTs were linked with HIV clinics records using unique identifiers. Individuals were followed from the day of CBVCTs visit until first clinical visit or 4/06/2014. Cox-proportional hazard models were used to identify factors associated with being linked to care and starting cART.
In total 232 persons were diagnosed HIV-positive and 144 (62.1% 95%CI: 55.5-68.3) persons were linked to care. There was no change over time in linkage to care (p = 0.48), while time to starting cART decreased (p = 0.02). Multivariate factors associated with a lower rate of linkage to care were hetero/bisexual sexual orientation, lower education, not having an HIV-positive partner and not using condoms in a stable relationship. Multivariate factors associated with starting cART were lower education, recent year of linked to care, and first HIV RNA and CD4 cell count.
Benefits of linkage to care, measured by access to early treatment, steadily improved in recent years. However at least 1 in 3 persons aware of their HIV status in central Poland remained outside professional healthcare. Persons at higher risk of remaining outside care, thus target population for future interventions, are bi/heterosexuals and those with lower levels of education.