Lost to Follow Up–Contributing Factors and Challenges in South African Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy (Original Articles)
Background. Patients who do not return for follow-up at clinics providing comprehensive HIV/AIDS care require special attention. This is particularly true where resources are limited and clinic loads are high. Themba Lethu Clinic at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg is a facility supported by PEPFAR funding through Right to Care (Grant CA-574-A-00-02-00018); more than 800 HIV/AIDS patients are seen there each week. Data on a sample of patients who failed to return for follow-up were analysed to identify the causes and to plan strategies to overcome the problem. Methods. A group of 182 patients who missed follow-up appointments at the clinic were identified. Their files were examined to identify possible contributing factors. The patients were then contacted telephonically and asked their reasons for non-attendance.