Jannat-Khah DP, Unterbrink M, McNairy M, Pierre S, Fitzgerald DW, Pape J, Evans A. Treating loss-to-follow-up as a missing data problem: a case study using a longitudinal cohort of HIV-infected patients in Haiti. BMC public health. 2018 Nov 19;18(18). 1269 p. PMID: 30453995 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC6245624
HIV programs are often assessed by the proportion of patients who are alive and retained in care; however some patients are categorized as lost to follow-up (LTF) and have unknown vital status. LTF is not an outcome but a mixed category of patients who have undocumented death, transfer and disengagement from care. Estimating vital status (dead versus alive) among this category is critical for survival analyses and program evaluation.