Predictors of retention in the prospective HIV prevention OKAPI cohort in Kinshasa
Retention is a key element in HIV prevention programs. In Sub-Saharan Africa most data on retention come from HIV clinical trials or people living with HIV attending HIV treatment and control programs. Data from observational cohorts are less frequent. Retention at 6-/12-month follow-up and its predictors were analyzed in OKAPI prospective cohort. From April 2016 to April 2018, 797 participants aged 15-59 years attending HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing in Kinshasa were interviewed about HIV-related knowledge and behaviors at baseline and at 6- and 12-month follow-ups. Retention rates were 57% and 27% at 6- and 12-month follow up; 22% of participants attended both visits. Retention at 6-month was significantly associated with 12-month retention. Retention was associated with low economic status, being studying, daily/weekly Internet access, previous HIV tests and aiming to share HIV test with partner. Contrarily, perceiving a good health, living far from antiretroviral center, daily/weekly alcohol consumption and perceiving frequent HIV information were inversely associated with retention. In conclusion, a high attrition was found among people attending HIV testing participating in a prospective cohort in Kinshasa. Considering the low retention rates and the predictors found in this study, more HIV cohort studies in Kinshasa need to be evaluated to identify local factors and strategies that could improve retention if needed.