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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Jan 1;47(1):116-25.

Enrollment and retention of HIV discordant couples in Lusaka, Zambia.

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Zambia-Emory HIV Research Project, Lusaka, Zambia.



Biased enrollment and attrition compromise the power of clinical trials and limit generalizability of findings. We identify predictors of enrollment and retention for HIV-discordant couples enrolled in prospective studies in Zambia.


A total of 1995 discordant couples were invited to enroll. Predictors of nonenrollment, loss to follow-up, and missed appointments were evaluated using multivariate models. MF couples were more likely to be eligible and to enroll and less likely to be lost to follow-up than FM couples. Substantial losses to follow-up occurred between testing and enrollment (21.3% of MF and 28.1% of FM) and between enrollment and the first follow-up visit (24.9% of MF and 30.5% of FM). Among MF and FM couples, residence far from the clinic, younger age, and women's age at first intercourse </=17 years were predictive of attrition. No income, </=2 lifetime sex partners, no history of sexually transmitted infection in women, and recent extramarital contact in their male partners predicted attrition in FM couples.


Discordant couples are critical to observational studies and clinical trials to prevent male-to-female and female-to-male transmission. Retention biases must be taken into account during analysis. Run-in designs that delay randomization may improve retention in clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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