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Retention in Medical Care

Since there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, continual follow-up care is essential for effective, long-term management of the disease. Keeping people in care is often referred to as retention or engagement. Retention in care is often defined as visiting a clinic twice during a calendar year, spaced approximately 2-6 months apart. Engagement in care is often defined more broadly, encompassing visits to clinics as well as adherence to drug regimens and other clinical or lifestyle-change recommendations made by providers.

Individuals may stop engaging in HIV care for many reasons. A person diagnosed with HIV is generally prescribed antiretroviral therapy (ART), which requires daily medication dosages in order to work effectively. Though the complexity of ART regimens has decreased over time, adhering to this daily regimen requires significant effort on the part of the individual and can be challenging for individuals with other healthcare or behavioral health issues or a lack of financial resources.

Resources to Learn More

Linkage to, Retention in, and Re-engagement in HIV Care (LRC)
Website
Describes the best programs and practices found to be effective in helping people living with HIV to be linked to care and to enter and remain in the HIV care continuum.
Organization(s): Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Retention in Care
Website
Offers guidelines for healthcare providers regarding ongoing regularly scheduled HIV care. Identifies barriers to sustained care and includes talking points to encourage regular, ongoing care with people living with HIV.
Organization(s): Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)