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Open Forum Infect Dis. 2018 Jun 28;5(6):ofy104. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofy104. eCollection 2018 Jun.

Implementation of a Rapid Entry Program Decreases Time to Viral Suppression Among Vulnerable Persons Living With HIV in the Southern United States.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
Emory Center for AIDS Research, Atlanta, Georgia.
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Infectious Diseases Program, Grady Health System, Atlanta, Georgia.



Rapid entry programs (REPs) improve time to antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation (TAI) and time to viral suppression (TVS). We assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of a REP in a large HIV clinic in Atlanta, Georgia, serving a predominately un- or underinsured population.


The Rapid Entry and ART in Clinic for HIV (REACH) program was implemented on May 16, 2016. We performed a retrospective cohort study with the main independent variable being period of enrollment: January 1, 2016, through May 15, 2016 (pre-REACH); May 16, 2016, through July 31, 2016 (post-REACH). Included individuals were HIV-infected and new to the clinic with detectable HIV-1 RNA. Six-month follow-up data were collected for each participant. Survival analyses were conducted for TVS. Logistic and linear regression analyses were used to evaluate secondary outcomes: attendance at first clinic visit, viral suppression, TAI, and time to first attended provider visit.


There were 117 pre-REACH and 90 post-REACH individuals. Median age (interquartile range [IQR]) was 35 (25-45) years, 80% were male, 91% black, 60% men who have sex with men, 57% uninsured, and 44% active substance users. TVS decreased from 77 (62-96) to 57 (41-70) days (P < .0022). Time to first attended provider visit decreased from 17 to 5 days, and TAI from 21 to 7 days (P < .0001), each remaining significant in adjusted models.


This is the largest rapid entry cohort described in the United States and suggests that rapid entry is feasible and could have a positive impact on HIV transmission at the population level.


HIV; antiretroviral therapy; rapid entry; viral suppression

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