Program-level and contextual-level determinants of low-median CD4(+) cell count in cohorts of persons initiating ART in eight sub-Saharan African countries
ABSTRACT In sub-Saharan Africa, many patients initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) at CD4 cell counts much lower than those recommended in national guidelines. We examined program-level and contextual-level factors associated with low median CD4 cell count at ART initiation in populations initiating ART.
Multilevel analysis of aggregate and program-level service delivery data.
We examined data on 1690 cohorts of patients initiating ART during 2004-2008 in eight sub-Saharan African countries. Cohorts with median CD4 less than 111 cells/μl (the lowest quartile) were classified as having low median CD4 cell count at ART initiation. Cohort information was combined with time-updated program-level data and subnational contextual-level data, and analyzed using multilevel models.
The 1690 cohorts had median CD4 cell count of 136 cells/μl and included 121,504 patients initiating ART at 267 clinics. Program-level factors associated with low cohort median CD4 cell count included urban setting [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.1; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-3.3], lower provider-to-patient ratio (AOR 2.2; 95% CI 1.3-4.0), no PMTCT program (AOR 3.6; 95% CI 1.0-12.8), outreach services for ART patients only vs. both pre-ART and ART patients (AOR 2.4; 95% CI 1.5-3.9), fewer vs. more adherence support services (AOR 1.6; 95% CI 1.0-2.5), and smaller cohort size (AOR 2.5; 95% CI 1.4-4.5). Contextual-level factors associated with low cohort median CD4 cell count included initiating ART in areas where a lower proportion of the population heard of AIDS, tested for HIV recently, and a higher proportion believed 'limiting themselves to one HIV-uninfected sexual partner reduces HIV risk'.
Determinants of CD4 cell count at ART initiation in populations initiating ART operate at multiple levels. Structural interventions targeting points upstream from ART initiation along the continuum from infection to diagnosis to care engagement are needed.
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ABSTRACT: HIV care and treatment programmes worldwide are transforming as they push to deliver universal access to essential prevention, care and treatment services to persons living with HIV and their communities. The characteristics and capacity of these HIV programmes affect patient outcomes and quality of care. Despite the importance of ensuring optimal outcomes, few studies have addressed the capacity of HIV programmes to deliver comprehensive care. We sought to describe such capacity in HIV programmes in seven regions worldwide. Staff from 128 sites in 41 countries participating in the International epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS completed a site survey from 2009 to 2010, including sites in the Asia-Pacific region (n=20), Latin America and the Caribbean (n=7), North America (n=7), Central Africa (n=12), East Africa (n=51), Southern Africa (n=16) and West Africa (n=15). We computed a measure of the comprehensiveness of care based on seven World Health Organization-recommended essential HIV services. Most sites reported serving urban (61%; region range (rr): 33-100%) and both adult and paediatric populations (77%; rr: 29-96%). Only 45% of HIV clinics that reported treating children had paediatricians on staff. As for the seven essential services, survey respondents reported that CD4+ cell count testing was available to all but one site, while tuberculosis (TB) screening and community outreach services were available in 80 and 72%, respectively. The remaining four essential services - nutritional support (82%), combination antiretroviral therapy adherence support (88%), prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) (94%) and other prevention and clinical management services (97%) - were uniformly available. Approximately half (46%) of sites reported offering all seven services. Newer sites and sites in settings with low rankings on the UN Human Development Index (HDI), especially those in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief focus countries, tended to offer a more comprehensive array of essential services. HIV care programme characteristics and comprehensiveness varied according to the number of years the site had been in operation and the HDI of the site setting, with more recently established clinics in low-HDI settings reporting a more comprehensive array of available services. Survey respondents frequently identified contact tracing of patients, patient outreach, nutritional counselling, onsite viral load testing, universal TB screening and the provision of isoniazid preventive therapy as unavailable services. This study serves as a baseline for on-going monitoring of the evolution of care delivery over time and lays the groundwork for evaluating HIV treatment outcomes in relation to site capacity for comprehensive care.Journal of the International AIDS Society 12/2014; 17(1):19045. DOI:10.7448/IAS.17.1.19045 · 4.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the advanced stages of HIV infection remains a major challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. This study was conducted to better understand barriers and enablers to timely ART initiation in Rwanda where ART coverage is high and national ART eligibility guidelines first expanded in 2007-2008.AIDS (London, England) 11/2014; DOI:10.1097/QAD.0000000000000520 · 6.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: With the emphasis on structural-level interventions that target social determinants of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission to curb the HIV epidemic, there is a need to develop evaluation models that can detect changes in individual factors associated with HIV-related structural changes. To describe whether structural changes developed and achieved by community coalitions are associated with an effect on individual factors associated with the risk of contracting HIV. In this serial cross-sectional survey design, data were collected from 8 cities during 4 rounds of annual surveys from March 13, 2007, through July 29, 2010. Study recruitment took place at venues where the population of focus was known to congregate, such as clubs, bars, community centers, and low-income housing. The convenience sample of at-risk youth (persons aged 12-24 years) included 5337 individuals approached about the survey and 3142 (58.9%) who were screened for eligibility. Of the 2607 eligible participants, 2559 (98.2%) ultimately agreed to participate. Achievement of locally identified structural changes that targeted public and private entities (eg, federal agencies, homeless shelters, and school systems) with the goal of fostering changes in policy and practice to ultimately facilitate positive behavioral changes aimed at preventing HIV. Number of sexual partners, partner characteristics, condom use, and history of sexually transmitted infections and HIV testing. Exposure to structural changes was not statistically significantly associated with any of the outcome measures, although some results were in the direction of a positive structural change effect (eg, a 10-unit increase in a structural change score had an odds ratio of 0.88 [95% CI, 0.76-1.03; P = .11] for having an older sexual partner and an odds ratio of 0.91 [95% CI, 0.60-1.39; P = .39] for using a condom half the time or less with a casual partner). This study evaluated a broad representation of at-risk individuals and assessed the effect of numerous structural changes related to various HIV risk factors. No structural changes as measured in this study were associated with a statistically significant reduction in risk behaviors. These null findings underscore the need for a long-term approach in evaluating structural interventions and the development of more nuanced methods of quantifying and comparing structural-change initiatives and determining the appropriate strategies for evaluating effect.JAMA Pediatrics 01/2015; 169(3). DOI:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.3010 · 4.25 Impact Factor