BACKGROUND: The burden of advanced HIV disease (AHD) and predictors of outcomes among people living with HIV (PLHIV) re-engaging in care are not well known.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of PLHIV who re-engaged in care after being lost to follow-up (LFU), from 2003 to 2019, in Myanmar. We calculated the incidence rates of attrition after re-engagement and performed Cox regression to identify risk factors for attrition.
RESULTS: Of 44 131 PLHIV who started antiretroviral treatment, 12 338 (28.0%) were LFU at least once: 7608 (61.6%) re-engaged in care, 4672 (61.4%) with AHD at re-engagement. The death and LFU rates were 2.21-fold (95% CI 1.82 to 2.67) and 1.46-fold (95% CI 1.33 to 1.61) higher among patients who re-engaged with AHD (p>0.001). Death in patients who re-engaged with AHD was associated with male sex (adjusted HR [aHR] 2.63; 95% CI 1.31 to 5.26; p=0.006), TB coinfection (aHR 2.26; 95% CI 1.23 to 4.14; p=0.008) and sex work (aHR 7.49, 95% CI 2.29 to 22.52; p<0.001). History of intravenous drug use was identified as a predictor of being LFU.
CONCLUSIONS: Re-engagement in HIV care in Myanmar is frequent and those who re-engage carry a high burden of AHD. As AHD at re-engagement is associated with higher attrition rates, implementation of differentiated interventions that enable earlier linkage to care and prompt identification and management of AHD in this population is necessary.