Presentation Title

Impact of HIV healthcare accessibility on viral suppression in Florida

Abstract

This study aimed to compare access to HIV healthcare services across different regions of Florida (North, Central, and South) and evaluate how differences in heatlhcare accessibility may impact the ability to achieve viral suppression among PLWH.

Proposal Summary

The Southern United States accounts for almost half of all HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S., with the state of Florida consistently ranking among the top three in incident cases annually. Transmission of HIV is linked to persons living with HIV (PLWH) who are not virally suppressed. To achieve viral suppression (<200 copies>/mL), PLWH must be linked to HIV healthcare and receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART). Both measures are influenced by accessibility of HIV care services, however, few studies have been conducted to examine access to HIV healthcare in Florida. We aimed to (1) compare characteristics of PLWH within different regions of Florida (North, Central, and South), and (2) assess the impact of HIV healthcare accessibility on viral suppression. We hypothesized that individuals living in rural areas (North Florida) would have less access to healthcare, thus lower rates of viral suppression. Using the Florida Cohort survey (n=935) and linked viral load laboratory data reported to the Florida Department of Health enhanced HIV/AIDS Reporting System (eHARS), PLWH demographics, mode of transportation, distance to provider’s office, and viral suppression were compared across regions using Chi-square analysis. Inconsistent with our hypothesis, PLWH from the Northern region of the state were more likely to achieve suppression (83.5%), compared with the Central region which had the lowest proportion of PLWH with viral suppression (68.1%, p <.0001). The Central region of Florida consists of primarily urban areas (e.g., Tampa and Orlando), indicating that interventions may need to be targeted towards those living these areas. Surprisingly, viral suppression was not associated with the time it took to arrive to their HIV provider’s office. Based on these findings, we recommend future research consider other factors that may affect a populations’ ability to achieve viral suppression as access to an HIV care provider did not appear to be a significant predictor for viral suppression.

Relevance And Significance

This proposal most closely relates to the topics “access, retention, and care in rural communities” and “medical access and compliance issues among rural populations”. By assessing how access to an HIV care provider impacted viral suppression, we gained an understanding of the link between a region where HIV care is being accessed and viral suppression. This study highlights the disparity between urban and rural populations and the ability of PLWH within those regions to achieve viral suppression, which warrants future studies.

Session Format

Poster Session

Keywords

HIV, healthcare access, viral suppression, urban/rural

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Sep 21st, 5:30 PM Sep 21st, 7:30 PM

Impact of HIV healthcare accessibility on viral suppression in Florida

This study aimed to compare access to HIV healthcare services across different regions of Florida (North, Central, and South) and evaluate how differences in heatlhcare accessibility may impact the ability to achieve viral suppression among PLWH.