Researchers at UCLA have found that people living with HIV do not receive the best possible medical care when their lives are disorganized, characterized by lacking a set routine from week to week and having difficulty in keeping a schedule.

The study, which will be published in this month’s Journal of General Internal Medicine, examined 220 low-income HIV-positive individuals, utilizing a new scale to determine the level of chaos in each of their lives.

The scale, derived from a measurement tool originally designed for parents to assess chaos in their children’s lives, consisted of participants’ responses to six statements regarding their personal schedules. Participants indicated to what extent they agreed with statements such as “my life is organized” or “my routine is the same from week to week.” Through these responses, researchers determined that HIV-positive people with a more chaotic lifestyle were less likely to make and keep HIV care appointments.