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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2015 Jan;29 Suppl 1:S20-6. doi: 10.1089/apc.2014.0271.

Considering care-seeking behaviors reveals important differences among HIV-positive women not engaged in care: implications for intervention.

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1 Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center , Bronx, New York.


We sought to examine characteristics of HIV-positive women with varying levels of engagement in care and care-seeking behaviors. From 2010 to 2013, in a multi-site US-based study of engagement in care among HIV-positive women, we conducted baseline interviews, which included socio-demographic, clinical, and risk behavior characteristics, and barriers to care. We used multinomial logistic regression to compare differences among three distinct categories of 748 women: engaged in care; not engaged in care, but seeking care ("seekers"); and not engaged in care and not seeking care ("non-seekers"). Compared with women in care, seekers were more likely to be uninsured and to report fair or poor health status. In contrast, non-seekers were not only more likely to be uninsured, but, also, to report current high-risk drug use and sexual behaviors, and less likely to report transportation as a barrier to care. Examining care-seeking behaviors among HIV-positive women not engaged in care revealed important differences in high-risk behaviors. Because non-seekers represent a particularly vulnerable population of women who are not engaged in care, interventions targeting this population likely need to address drug use and be community-based given their limited interaction with the health care system.

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