Background: Participant attrition in HIV longitudinal studies may introduce bias and diminish research quality. The identification of participant characteristics that are predictive of attrition might inform retention strategies.
Objective: The study aimed to identify factors associated with attrition among HIV-infected Russian risky drinkers from the secondary HIV prevention HERMITAGE trial. We examined whether current injection drug use (IDU), binge drinking, depressive symptoms, HIV status nondisclosure, stigma, and lifetime history of incarceration were predictors of study attrition. We also explored effect modification due to gender.
Methods: Complete loss to follow-up (LTFU), defined as no follow-up visits after baseline, was the primary outcome, and time to first missed visit was the secondary outcome. We used multiple logistic regression models for the primary analysis, and Cox proportional hazards models for the secondary analysis.
Results: Of 660 participants, 101 (15.3%) did not return after baseline. No significant associations between independent variables and complete LTFU were observed. Current IDU and HIV status nondisclosure were significantly associated with time to first missed visit (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR], 1.39; 95% CI, 1.03-1.87; AHR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.03-1.86, respectively). Gender stratified analyses suggested a larger impact of binge drinking among men and history of incarceration among women with time to first missed visit.
Conclusions: Although no factors were significantly associated with complete LTFU, current IDU and HIV status nondisclosure were significantly associated with time to first missed visit in HIV-infected Russian risky drinkers. An understanding of these predictors may inform retention efforts in longitudinal studies.
Keywords: HIV; IDU; Russia; longitudinalstudies; loss to follow-up.