Diagnosing HIV infection in primary care settings: missed opportunities.
In the United States, 20% of HIV-infected persons are unaware of their diagnosis. Improved application of HIV screening recommendations in healthcare settings may facilitate diagnosis. Clinical patient data and previous healthcare visits were reviewed from medical records of newly diagnosed HIV-infected persons in Durham County, North Carolina, who initiated HIV care at Duke University Medical Center in 2008-2011. Comparisons were made to similar data from 2002-2004 using the Pearson's chi-square test and logistic regression. 101 consecutive newly diagnosed patients were identified: 67 males; 73 black, 20 white, and 8 Hispanic/Latino. Mean age was 39 years (range, 17-69), and 73 had health insurance. Median baseline CD4 count was 313 cells/μL (range, 4-1302), and HIV-1 viral load was 45,700 copies/mL (range, 165-10,000,000). One-third had a baseline CD4 count <50 cells/μL, and 15% presented with opportunistic infections. Compared to patients newly diagnosed in 2002-2004, significantly greater proportions were black and less immunocompromised in 2008-2011. Most had been seen at least once by a healthcare provider in the year prior to HIV diagnosis: 72 had ≥1 prior visits, and 47 had ≥2 visits. Among those with prior visits, 37/72 (51%) were seen in an emergency department on the first or second visit. Men were three times more likely than women to be diagnosed at their first healthcare encounter (p=0.03, OR=3.2). Despite CDC recommendations for widespread HIV screening in healthcare settings, HIV diagnosis remains delayed, even among those with frequent healthcare encounters. Educating providers and removing barriers to HIV screening may improve this problem.
Chin, T; Hicks, C; Samsa, G; McKellar, M
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