July 13, 2021

Establishing HIV care in Tennessee

Vanderbilt researchers find that heterosexually active Black males are the least likely to establish HIV care within one month of diagnosis and suggest that targeted interventions focus on this population.

by Paul Govern

Minimizing the time from HIV diagnosis to establishing care in an HIV clinic is a public health priority for control of HIV transmission. 

In the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health DisparitiesLeslie Pierce, MPH, Aima Ahonkhai, MD, MPH, and colleagues report the intersecting influences of age, race, gender, sexual preference and other patient factors on linkage to HIV care in Tennessee. Their study is based on the 3,750 state residents diagnosed with HIV from 2012 to 2016. 

The report finds that Black males overall, and young, heterosexually active Black males in particular, were least likely to establish HIV care within one month of diagnosis. 

The investigators also report that people in their 30s took longer to establish care than older and younger groups; Black people were slower to establish care than white people; and men who have sex with men and heterosexually active females were quicker to establish care than heterosexually active males.

Others from Vanderbilt on the study include Peter Rebeiro, PhD, MHS, Cathy Jenkins, MS, Derek Griffith, PhD, Bryan Shepherd, PhD, and Carolyn Wester, MD, MPH. They were joined by researchers from the Tennessee Department of Health, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of South Carolina. The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (AI110527).