Loss to follow-up and HIV incidence in female sex workers in Kaiyuan, Yunnan Province China: a nine year longitudinal study
Su, Y.; Ding, G.; Reilly, K.H.; Norris, J.L.; Liu, H.; Li, Z.; Wang, G.; Fang, G.; Wang, N.
Bmc Infectious Diseases 16(1): 526
ISSN/ISBN: 1471-2334 PMID: 27686152 DOI: 10.1186/s12879-016-1854-y
Longitudinal studies of female sex workers (FSWs) are vulnerable to loss to follow-up (LTFU) due to this population's high mobility and low willingness to self-identify as FSWs. LTFU in cohort studies is a critical problem and may lead to bias in estimation of incidence and exposure-outcome associations. The aim of this study was to analyze LTFU and HIV incidence and their associated factors in a 9-year longitudinal study of FSWs in Kaiyuan, Yunnan Province, China. This analysis includes all HIV-1 seronegative FSWs who were recruited into a prospective study in Kaiyuan with at least one follow-up visit after enrollment from March 2006 to November 2013. Participants were visited in 6-month intervals after enrollment. Their demographic and behavioral data and blood specimens for HIV and sexual transmitted disease testing were collected at enrollment and at each follow-up visit. The administrative censoring date was December 31, 2014. Participants were considered LTFU if their last visit occurred 1 year or more before the administrative censoring date. Univariate and multivariable Cox regression models with time-independent variables were used to investigate the hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) of the factors associated with LTFU and HIV acquisition. Of the 1158 FSWs, 950 were defined as LTFUs (LTFU rate: 29.69, 95 % CI: 27.85-31.62 per 100 person years [PYs]), and 33 experienced HIV seroconversions (cumulative incidence: 1.06, 95 % CI: 0.74-1.47 per 100 PYs). After adjustment, we found that FSWs who used drugs were less likely to be LTFU compared with non-drug users (adjust hazard ratio [AHR]= 0.62, 95 % CI: 0.51-0.76), though FSWs who used drug were associated with a higher risk of HIV acquisition (AHR = 3.06, 95 % CI: 1.49-6.30). Also, FSWs who always used condoms with clients in the previous month were associated with a higher risk of LTFU (AHR = 1.51, 95 % CI: 1.15-1.97), while they were negative associated with new HIV infection (AHR = 0.28, 95 % CI: 0.12-0.61). A high LTFU rate exists in the Kaiyuan FSW cohort study, and LTFU did not occur at random. Participants retained in the cohort tended to be at higher risk of HIV acquisition, which may result in an overestimate of the incidence of HIV infection from the Kaiyuan FSW cohort.