HIV primary care by the infectious disease physician in the United States - extending the continuum of care

Seetha Lakshmi, Susan E. Beekmann, Philip M. Polgreen, Allan Rodriguez, Maria L. Alcaide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Models of care for people living with HIV (PLWH) have varied over time due to long term survival, development of HIV-associated non-AIDS conditions, and HIV specific primary care guidelines that differ from those of the general population. The objectives of this study are to assess how often infectious disease (ID) physicians provide primary care for PLWH, assess their practice patterns and barriers in the provision of primary care. We used a 6-item survey electronically distributed to ID physician members of Emerging Infections Network (EIN). Of the 1248 active EIN members, 644 (52%) responded to the survey. Among the 644 respondents, 431 (67%) treated PLWH. Of these 431 responders, 326 (75%) acted as their primary care physicians. Responders who reported always/mostly performing a screening assessment as recommended per guidelines were: (1) Screening specific to HIV (tuberculosis 95%, genital chlamydia/gonorrhoea 77%, hepatitis C 67%, extra genital chlamydia/gonorrhoea 47%, baseline anal PAP smear for women 36% and men 34%); (2) Primary care related screening (fasting lipids 95%, colonoscopy 95%, mammogram 90%, cervical PAP smears 88%, depression 57%, osteoporosis in postmenopausal women 55% and men >50 yrs 33%). Respondents who worked in university hospitals, had <5 years of ID experience, and those who cared for more PLWH were most likely to provide primary care to all or most of their patients. Common barriers reported include: refusal by patient (72%), non-adherence to HIV medications (43%), other health priorities (44%), time constraints during clinic visit (43%) and financial/insurance limitations (40%). Most ID physicians act as primary care providers for their HIV infected patients especially if they are recent ID graduates and work in university hospitals. Current screening rates are suboptimal. Interventions to increase screening practices and to decrease barriers are urgently needed to address the needs of the aging HIV population in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-577
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 4 2018


  • HIV
  • Primary care
  • infectious disease physician

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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