Aging and loss to follow-up among youth living with human immunodeficiency virus in the HIV research network

Allison L. Agwu, Lana Lee, John A. Fleishman, Cindy Voss, Baligh R. Yehia, Keri N. Althoff, Richard Rutstein, W. Christopher Mathews, Ank Nijhawan, Richard D. Moore, Aditya H. Gaur, Kelly A. Gebo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose In the United States, 21 years is a critical age of legal and social transition, with changes in social programs such as public insurance coverage. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected youth have lower adherence to care and medications and may be at risk of loss to follow-up (LTFU) at this benchmark age. We evaluated LTFU after the 22nd birthday for HIV-infected youth engaged in care. LTFU was defined as having no primary HIV visits in the year after the 22nd birthday. Methods All HIV-infected 21-year-olds engaged in care (2002-2011) at the HIV Research Network clinics were included. We assessed the proportion LTFU and used multivariable logistic regression to evaluate demographic and clinical characteristics associated with LTFU after the 22nd birthday. We compared LTFU at other age transitions during the adolescent/young adult years. Results Six hundred forty-seven 21-year-olds were engaged in care; 91 (19.8%) were LTFU in the year after turning 22 years. Receiving care at an adult versus pediatric HIV clinic (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.42-5.93), having fewer than four primary HIV visits/year (AOR, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.67-4.42), and antiretroviral therapy prescription (AOR,.50; 95% CI,.41-.60) were independently associated with LTFU. LTFU was prevalent at each age transition, with factors associated with LTFU similar to that identified for 21-year-olds. Conclusions Although 19.8% of 21-year-olds at the HIV Research Network sites were LTFU after their 22nd birthday, significant proportions of youth of all ages were LTFU. Fewer than four primary HIV care visits/year, receiving care at adult clinics and not prescribed antiretroviral therapy, were associated with LTFU and may inform targeted interventions to reduce LTFU for these vulnerable patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-351
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Adolescents
  • Attrition
  • Care
  • HIV
  • Loss to follow-up
  • Network
  • Research
  • Young adults
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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