Fishing communities are potentially suitable for Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) efficacy trials due to their high risk profile. However, high mobility and attrition could decrease statistical power to detect the impact of a given intervention. We report dropout and associated factors in a fisher-folk observational cohort in Uganda.
Human immunodeficiency virus-uninfected high-risk volunteers aged 13–49 years living in five fishing communities around Lake Victoria were enrolled and followed every 6 months for 18 months at clinics located within each community. Volunteers from two of the five communities had their follow-up periods extended to 30 months and were invited to attend clinics 10–40 km (km) away from their communities. Human immunodeficiency virus counseling and testing was provided, and data on sexual behaviour collected at all study visits. Study completion was defined as completion of 18 or 30 months or visits up to the date of sero-conversion and dropout as missing one or more visits. Discrete time survival models were fitted to find factors independently associated with dropout.
A total of 1000 volunteers (55 % men) were enrolled. Of these, 91.9 % completed 6 months, 85.2 % completed 12 months and 76.0 % completed 18 months of follow-up. In the two communities with additional follow-up, 76.9 % completed 30 months. In total 299 (29.9 %) volunteers missed at least one visit (dropped out). Dropout was independently associated with age (volunteers aged 13–24 being most likely to dropout), gender [men being more likely to dropout than women [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 1.4; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.1–1.8)], time spent in the fishing community (those who stayed <1 year being most likely to dropout), History of marijuana use (users being more likely to dropout than non-users [1.7; (1.2–2.5)], ethnicity (non-Baganda being more likely to dropout than Baganda [1.5; (1.2–1.9)], dropout varied between the five fishing communities, having a new sexual partner in the previous 3 months [1.3 (1.0–1.7)] and being away from home for ≥2 nights in the month preceding the interview [1.4 (1.1–1.8)].
Despite a substantial proportion dropping out, retention was sufficient to suggest that by incorporating retention strategies it will be possible to conduct HIV prevention efficacy trials in this community.
...The results suggest a number of factors that are associated with dropout from the fisher-folk cohort including young age, male gender, ethnicity, having a new sexual partner, time spent in the fishing communities, being away from home for ≥2 nights and marijuana use. Consistent with other studies in the neighbouring fishing  and non-fishing communities [9, 10], USA  and Brazil , study dropout was associated with age, with those in the youngest age group (13–24) being most likely to dropout. Since there were nearly equal proportions of men (49 %) and women (51 %) in this age group, this could be due to both looking for work and new relationships.
Dropping out was associated with the ethnicity of the volunteers, with non-Baganda being more likely to dropout. This has been indicated in the previous study further North of Lake Victoria . The majority of non-Baganda volunteers come from further afield, including neighbouring countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda) and some are traders and transporters who might spend relatively long periods away from the fishing communities. These were more likely to be involved in fishing or related activities compared to the Baganda who were likely to be engaged in small scale businesses. Furthermore, number of years spent in the fishing site was independently associated with study dropout, with those who have spent more than 1 year in the fishing communities being less likely to dropout. This further demonstrates that individuals who have lived in a community for a long time are more likely to be available for recruitment in prevention studies. Additionally these could easily be retained in study follow up. The finding that dropout was associated with use of marijuana is consistent with findings from cohorts in the USA  and Japan , where similar dropout rates were observed among illicit drug users.
In this cohort we ascertained the frequency of reporting a new sexual partner for both men and women and this was independently associated with cohort dropout. This is consistent with the results from the inland non-fishing community in which the reported number of lifetime partners was higher in those who changed residence to other neighboring villages and there was also more risky sexual behavior reported among those who changed residence . The fact that higher risk volunteers were more likely to drop out could lead to underestimation of HIV incidence in a prevention trial...
Full article at: http://goo.gl/fzVnth
By: Andrew Abaasa, Gershim Asiki, Juliet Mpendo, Jonathan Levin, Janet Seeley, Leslie Nielsen, Ali Ssetaala, Annet Nanvubya, Jan De Bont, Pontiano Kaleebu, and Anatoli Kamali
Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute (MRC/UVRI), P.O Box 49, Entebbe, Uganda
Uganda Virus Research Institute/International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (UVRI/IAVI)-HIV Vaccine Program, Entebbe, Uganda
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, New York, USA
Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Andrew Abaasa, Phone: 256 (0)417 704000, Email: gro.adnagucrm@asaabA.werdnA, Email: email@example.com.
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