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Causes of hospitalization and perceived access to care among persons newly diagnosed with HIV infection: implications for HIV testing programs.

Shahani L, Hartman C, Troisi C, Kapadia A, Giordano TP. Causes of hospitalization and perceived access to care among persons newly diagnosed with HIV infection: implications for HIV testing programs. AIDS Patient Care and Stds. 2012 Feb 1; 26(2):81-6.

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There has been little research on the causes of hospitalization when patients are first diagnosed with HIV in the hospital. Reduced access to care could partially explain inpatient diagnosis. We sought to determine if the patients diagnosed as inpatients are hospitalized due to a HIV-related cause versus some other causes, to compare access to care of patients diagnosed with HIV in hospital and outpatient settings, and to determine factors associated with access to care. Participants were newly diagnosed with HIV and recruited between January 2006 and August 2007. The reason for hospitalization was classified as HIV-related, other infectious cause, noninfectious cause, or miscellaneous cause. Access to care was self-reported using a six-item scale and scores were compared with the t test. Multivariate linear regression determined factors associated with improved access to care. Of 185 participants in the study, 78 were diagnosed in hospital and 107 in outpatient settings. Thirty-two percent of participants were female, 90% were racial/ethnic minority, 45% had no high school diploma, and 85% were uninsured. HIV-related conditions accounted for 60% of admissions, followed by non-infectious causes (20%) and other infectious causes (17%). Inpatients did not report less access to care than patients diagnosed while outpatients. Multivariate analysis demonstrated improvement in access to care with better health insurance (p = 0.01) and greater education (p = 0.08). HIV-related preventable conditions account for many hospitalizations when patients are first diagnosed with HIV. While socioeconomic factors are associated with perceived access to care, persons diagnosed in the inpatient setting do not report lower perceived access to care than persons diagnosed as outpatients, suggesting other barriers to earlier diagnosis.

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