Objective: Identify factors associated with appointment-keeping among HIV-infected adolescents and young adults.
Methods: HIV-infected adolescent and young adult females in five U.S. cities were followed for a period of 18 months to examine adherence to scheduled clinic visits with their HIV care provider. Psychosocial and behavioral factors that have been shown in other populations to influence appointment adherence were measured at baseline and follow-up visits using an audio computer-assisted self-interview questionnaire. These factors included mood disorder, depressive symptoms, social network support, healthcare satisfaction, disease acceptance, HIV stigma, alcohol use, and marijuana use. CD4 count and prescription of antiretroviral therapy medication were also monitored to understand the influence of health status on appointment- keeping.
Results: Participants included 178 youth with a mean age of 20.6 years. Forty-two percent had clinically significant depressive symptoms, 10% had a diagnosable mood disorder, 37% reported marijuana use in the last 90 days, and 47% reported alcohol use. Overall, participants attended 67.3% of their scheduled visits. Controlling for age and health status, marijuana use was the only variable that was associated with appointment-keeping behavior.
Conclusions: Considering the importance of appointment-keeping for maintaining personal health and preventing further transmission, screening HIV-infected adolescents for marijuana use could help alert providers of this specific barrier to visit compliance.