Racial disparities in HIV virologic failure: Do missed visits matter?

Michael J. Mugavero, Hui Yi Lin, Jeroan J. Allison, Thomas P. Giordano, James H. Willig, James L. Raper, Nelda Wray, Stephen R. Cole, Joseph E. Schumacher, Susan Davies, Michael S. Saag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Racial/ethnic health care disparities are well described in people living with HIV/AIDS, although the processes underlying observed disparities are not well elucidated. METHODS: A retrospective analysis nested in the University of Alabama at Birmingham 1917 Clinic Cohort observational HIV study evaluated patients between August 2004 and January 2007. Factors associated with appointment nonadherence, a proportion of missed outpatient visits, were evaluated. Next, the role of appointment nonadherence in explaining the relationship between African American race and virologic failure (plasma HIV RNA >50 copies/mL) was examined using a staged multivariable modeling approach. RESULTS: Among 1221 participants, a broad distribution of appointment nonadherence was observed, with 40% of patients missing at least 1 in every 4 scheduled visits. The adjusted odds of appointment nonadherence were 1.85 times higher in African American patients compared with whites [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.61 to 2.14]. Appointment nonadherence was associated with virologic failure (odds ratio = 1.78, 95% CI = 1.48 to 2.13) and partially mediated the relationship between African American race and virologic failure. African Americans had 1.56 times the adjusted odds of virologic failure (95% CI = 1.19 to 2.05), which declined to 1.30 (95% CI = 0.98 to 1.72) when controlling for appointment nonadherence, a hypothesized mediator. CONCLUSIONS: Appointment nonadherence was more common in African American patients, associated with virologic failure, and seemed to explain part of observed racial disparities in virologic failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Access to care
  • Adherence
  • Disparities
  • Mediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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