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AIDS Care. 2014;26(10):1249-57. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2014.897910. Epub 2014 Mar 25.

Lost-to-care and engaged-in-care HIV patients in Leningrad Oblast, Russian Federation: barriers and facilitators to medical visit retention.

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  • 1a Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine , University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia , PA , USA.


Sixty-nine percent of the 1.5 million Eastern Europeans and Central Asians with HIV live in the Russian Federation. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is effective but cannot help those who leave treatment. Focus groups with patients who dropped out of ART for ≥12 months (lost-to-care, LTCs, n = 21) or continued for ≥12 months (engaged-in-care; EICs; n = 24) were conducted in St. Petersburg. Structural barriers included stigma/discrimination and problems with providers and accessing treatment. Individual barriers included employment and caring for dependents, inaccurate beliefs about ART (LTC only), side-effects, substance use (LTCs, present; EICs, past), and depression. Desire to live, social support, and spirituality were facilitators for both; EICs also identified positive thinking and experiences with ART and healthcare/professionals. Interventions to facilitate retention and adherence are discussed.


AIDS; HIV; Russian Federation; attrition; positive psychology; retention

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