Measuring Unmet Needs among Persons Living with HIV at Different Stages of the Care Continuum

Abstract

Unmet needs can impede optimal care engagement, impacting the health and well-being of people living with HIV (PLWH); yet, whether unmet needs differ by care engagement status is not well understood. Using surveys and qualitative interviews, we examined and compared unmet needs for PLWH (n = 172) at different levels of care engagement. Unmet needs varied only slightly by care status. Survey findings revealed that provision of housing, emergency financial assistance, employment assistance, and food security were the greatest unmet need; for those in care, housing was the greatest unmet need, whereas for those sporadically in care or out of care, employment assistance was the greatest unmet needs. Qualitative interviews likewise illustrated that a lack of financial resources including insurance, housing, employment, and transportation presented barriers to care engagement across all care groups. Our findings indicate that unmet needs among PLWH are complex and multi-faceted across care engagement status.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the staff at DC Department of Health HIV/AIDS Hepatitis, STD, TB Administration for their assistance with the Recapture Blitz; staff at the participating clinics and organizations for their assistance with recruitment; and the study participants without whom these data would not be possible. The authors would also like to acknowledge the DC Center for AIDS Research (P30AI117970) and the ECHPP-2 study team.

Funding

This study was funded through a supplemental to the DC Center for AIDS Research (P30AI117970).

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ADC conceptualized and designed the study. ADC, MH, AA, HY, FM, HA, and KD were responsible for data collection, analysis, and interpretation. TS and JP were responsible for analysis and interpretation of qualitative data. All authors contributed to the writing, revisions, and final approval of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Amanda D. Castel.

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All procedures and study materials were reviewed and approved by the George Washington and DC Department of Health Institutional Review Boards. The procedures used in this study adhere to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Sangaramoorthy, T., Haddix, M., Agopian, A. et al. Measuring Unmet Needs among Persons Living with HIV at Different Stages of the Care Continuum. AIDS Behav (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-020-03125-4

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Keywords

  • HIV
  • Engagement in care
  • Unmet needs
  • Continuum of care