Ancillary service needs likely influence time to diagnosis and presentation for HIV care. The effect of both met and unmet needs on late presentation to HIV care is not well understood. We used baseline data from 348 people with HIV (PWH) with no prior HIV care who enrolled in iENGAGE (a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of an intervention to support retention in care) at one of four HIV clinics in the US. A standardized baseline questionnaire collected information on ancillary service needs, and whether each need was presently unmet. We examined covariates known to be associated with disease stage at presentation to care and their association with needs. We subsequently assessed the relationship of needs with CD4 accounting for those other covariates by estimating prevalence ratios (PR) using inverse probability weights. Most patients enrolling in the RCT were male (79%) and the majority were Black (62%); median age was 34 years. Prevalence of any reported individual need was 69%. One-third of the sample had a baseline CD4 cell count <200, 42% between 200 and 499 and 27% ≥500. There was no statistically significant association between need or unmet need and baseline CD4. In general, psychiatric health and SU issues (depression, anxiety, and drug use) were consistently associated with higher prevalence of need (met and unmet). Additionally, the Black race was associated with higher basic resource needs (housing: PR 1.67, 95%CI 1.08-2.59; transportation: PR 1.65, 95% CI 1.12-2.45). Ancillary service needs (met and unmet) were common among patients new to HIV care and impacted vulnerable subgroups. However, we found no evidence that reporting a specific individual need, whether met or unmet, was associated with a timely presentation to HIV care. The impact of needs on subsequent steps of the HIV care continuum will be examined with longitudinal data.
Keywords: Retention; needs; treatment naive.