Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
ACURCIO, Francisco de Assis and GUIMARAES, Mark Drew Crosland. Uso de los servicios de salud y progresión al sida entre personas con infección por VIH en Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais), Brasil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.4, n.5 ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891998001100006.
A nonconcurrent prospective study was done on the relationship between a number of variables and the progression to AIDS among persons diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The variables included sociodemographic ones, behavioral ones, and, most importantly, those persons' difficulties in obtaining public health services for HIV/AIDS. The course of the infection was monitored from the first to the last visit to the health services by means of an individual, diagnostic-based classification, using categories established in 1993 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States of America. Participating in the study were 758 patients seen between 1989 and 1992 in the public AIDS referral services of the city of Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais). All the persons had been diagnosed with HIV and classified in a pre-AIDS stage. Both the patients who developed AIDS during the study as well as those who did not were assessed according to the selected study characteristics. During the study period, 39.5% of the patients developed AIDS. For the group as a whole, the median time without AIDS was 32.4 months. Multivariate analysis showed that the patients who had less risk of developing AIDS were those who had had fewer than 8.8 medical consultations per year (relative risk = 0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.26 to 0.50) and an interval of at least 6 months between consultations (RR = 0.37; 95% CI, 0.25 to 0.55). The risk was greater in patients age 30 and older (RR = 1.37; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.84), in those who were not treated with zidovudine (AZT) (RR = 1.91; 95% CI, 1.37 to 2.64), and those who were initially classified in stage "B" of the disease (RR = 4.83; 95% CI, 3.59 to 6.48). The results of this investigation show the dynamics of the supply and demand of services by these patients, and the information will be useful in planning and organizing care for persons with HIV. Recommendations include giving priority to early intervention with a focus on ongoing outpatient care, and more study of the process that persons with HIV follow in seeking and obtaining health care.