NHIVNA Best Practice Finding and managing patients living with HIV lost to care: a guide for nurses

Pauline Jelliman MSc, BA, RGN
Former Clinical Lead HIV and TB Community Services, Liverpool, UK

The issue of people living with HIV no longer engaging
with their HIV team can be termed ‘lost to follow up’
(LTFU), ‘lost to care’ (LTC) or ‘need to find’ (NTF). For
the purpose of this guideline the term LTC will be
used and people living with HIV are referred to as
patients.
The importance of lifelong retention in care for patients
is well understood and documented [1]. First, the
individual impact. Engagement in care optimises living
well with HIV by timely initiation and maintenance of
antiretroviral therapy (ART) and facilitating access to
other health and social care services. As patients age
with HIV, more complex medical and psychosocial
issues can emerge underpinning the cruciality of
retention in care ensuring met need. LTC can result
in advanced HIV leading to poor physical and mental
health, disability or death. Second, the public health
impact. Retention in care should result in long-term
viral load suppression, preventing onward transmission
during condomless sex [2]. Read more…