Substance use disorders (SUDs) are thought to predict care discontinuity, though magnitude and substance-specific variance of effects are unclear. This report of analytic work undertaken with a multi-regional American cohort of 9153 care enrollees addresses these gaps. Care retention was computed from 24-month post-linkage clinic visit documentation, with SUD cases identified from patient-report screening instruments. Two generalized estimating equations tested binary and hierarchial SUD predictors of retention, and potential effect modification by patient age-group, sex, and care site. Findings demonstrate: (1) detrimental SUD effect, equivalent to a nine percentage-point decrease in retention, with independent effects of age-group and care site; (2) substance-specific effect of marijuana UD associated with lower retention; and (3) age-modification of each effect on care discontinuity, with SUDs serving as a risk factor among 18-29 year-olds and protective factor among 60+ year-olds. Collective findings document patient attributes as influences that place particular subgroups at-risk to discontinue care.
Keywords: Care retention; HIV care settings; Substance use disorders; United States.