Program-level and contextual-level determinants of low-median CD4(+) cell count in cohorts of persons initiating ART in eight sub-Saharan African countries

International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York, USA.
AIDS (London, England) (Impact Factor: 5.55). 07/2011; 25(12):1523-33. DOI: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e32834811b2
Source: PubMed


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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Available from: Denis Nash
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    • "Multiple factors may be contributing to the low attrition in ART programs in Rwanda. First, the median CD4+ count at ART initiation in our population was significantly higher than has been observed in other countries [18, 25, 29, 30], and could account for this association. Our results also showed that CD4+ counts >200/μL were associated with a 20% reduction in attrition. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background We report levels and determinants of attrition in Rwanda, one of the few African countries with universal ART access. Methods We analyzed data abstracted from health facility records of a nationally representative sample of adults [≥18 years] who initiated ART 6, 12, and 18 months prior to data collection; and collected facility characteristics with a health facility assessment questionnaire. Weighted proportions and rates of attrition [loss to follow-up or death] were calculated, and patient- and health facility-level factors associated with attrition examined using Cox proportional hazard models. Results 1678 adults initiated ART 6, 12 and 18 months prior to data collection, with 1508 person-years [PY] on ART. Attrition was 6.8% [95% confidence interval [CI] 6.0-7.8]: 2.9% [2.4-3.5] recorded deaths and 3.9% [3.4-4.5] lost to follow-up. Population attrition rate was 7.5/100PY [6.1-9.3]. Adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] for attrition was 4.2 [3.0-5.7] among adults enrolled from in-patient wards [vs 2.2 [1.6-3.0] from PMTCT, ref: VCT]. Compared to adults who initiated ART 18 months earlier, aHR for adults who initiated ART 12 and 6 months earlier was 1.8 [1.3-2.5] and 1.3 [0.9-1.9] respectively. Male aHR was 1.4 [1.0-1.8]. AHR of adults enrolled at urban health facilities was 1.4 [1.1-1.8, ref: rural health facilities]. AHR for adults with CD4+ ≥200 cells/μL vs <200 cells/μL was 0.8 [0.6-1.0]; and adults attending facilities with performance-based financing since 2004–2006 [vs. 2007–2008] had aHR 0.8 [0.6-0.9]. Conclusions Attrition was low in the Rwandan national program. The above patient and facility correlates of attrition can be the focus of interventions to sustain high retention.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · BMC Public Health
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    • "The overall median CD4 cell count at ART initiation in this study was 150 cells/mm3. This is comparable to other studies conducted in Asia, South America and sub-Saharan Africa, which ranged from 67 to 234 cells/mm3 [15–19]. Unexpectedly, patients in low/lower middle-income countries had higher median CD4 cell count levels at ART initiation compared to the upper middle-income categories and comparable to those of patients in high-income countries. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been rapidly scaled up in Asia, most HIV-positive patients in the region still present with late-stage HIV disease. We aimed to determine trends of pre-ART CD4 levels over time in Asian HIV-positive patients and to determine factors associated with late ART initiation. Methods Data from two regional cohort observational databases were analyzed for trends in median CD4 cell counts at ART initiation and the proportion of late ART initiation (CD4 cell counts <200 cells/mm3 or prior AIDS diagnosis). Predictors for late ART initiation and mortality were determined. Results A total of 2737 HIV-positive ART-naïve patients from 22 sites in 13 Asian countries and territories were eligible. The overall median (IQR) CD4 cell count at ART initiation was 150 (46–241) cells/mm3. Median CD4 cell counts at ART initiation increased over time, from a low point of 115 cells/mm3 in 2008 to a peak of 302 cells/mm3 after 2011 (p for trend 0.002). The proportion of patients with late ART initiation significantly decreased over time from 79.1% before 2007 to 36.3% after 2011 (p for trend <0.001). Factors associated with late ART initiation were year of ART initiation (e.g. 2010 vs. before 2007; OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.27–0.59; p<0.001), sex (male vs. female; OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.18–1.93; p=0.001) and HIV exposure risk (heterosexual vs. homosexual; OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.24–2.23; p=0.001 and intravenous drug use vs. homosexual; OR 3.03, 95% CI 1.77–5.21; p<0.001). Factors associated with mortality after ART initiation were late ART initiation (HR 2.13, 95% CI 1.19–3.79; p=0.010), sex (male vs. female; HR 2.12, 95% CI 1.31–3.43; p=0.002), age (≥51 vs. ≤30 years; HR 3.91, 95% CI 2.18–7.04; p<0.001) and hepatitis C serostatus (positive vs. negative; HR 2.48, 95% CI 1.−4.36; p=0.035). Conclusions Median CD4 cell count at ART initiation among Asian patients significantly increases over time but the proportion of patients with late ART initiation is still significant. ART initiation at higher CD4 cell counts remains a challenge. Strategic interventions to increase earlier diagnosis of HIV infection and prompt more rapid linkage to ART must be implemented.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of the International AIDS Society
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    • "Yet less is known about the contextual factors that could operate at a broader scale and determine to various extents the performance of preventive or therapeutic programs. In this context, multilevel modeling techniques have proven useful to assess the independent roles and interactions between factors nested at different levels [16], including individual-, site-, program- or country-level characteristics that could partly explain or modulate the effectiveness of PMTCT programs scale-up. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Uptake of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programs remains challenging in sub-Saharan Africa because of multiple barriers operating at the individual or health facility levels. Less is known regarding the influence of program-level and contextual determinants. In this study, we explored the multilevel factors associated with coverage in single-dose nevirapine PMTCT programs. Methods: We analyzed aggregate routine data collected within the framework of the Viramune(®) Donation Programme (VDP) from 269 sites in 20 PMTCT programs and 15 sub-Saharan countries from 2002 to 2005. Site performance was measured using a nevirapine coverage ratio (NCR), defined as the reported number of women receiving nevirapine divided by the number of women who should have received nevirapine (observed HIV prevalence x number of women in antenatal care [ANC]). Data on program-level determinants were drawn from the initial application forms, and country-level determinants from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and the World Bank (World Development Indicators). Multilevel linear mixed models were used to identify independent factors associated with NCR at the site-, program- and country-level. Results: Of 283,410 pregnant women attending ANC in the included sites, 174,312 women (61.5%) underwent HIV testing after receiving pre-test counselling, of whom 26,700 tested HIV positive (15.3%), and 22,591 were dispensed NVP (84.6%). Site performance was highly heterogeneous between and within programs. Mean NCR by site was 43.8% (interquartile range: 19.1-63.9). Multilevel analysis identified higher HIV prevalence (Beta coefficient: 25.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 18.7 to 31.6), higher proportion of persons with knowledge of PMTCT (8.3; CI 0.5 to 16.0), higher health expenditure as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (3.9 per %; CI 2.0 to 5.8) and lower percentage of rural population (-0.7 per %; CI -1.0 to -0.5) as significant country-level predictors of higher NCR at the p<0.05 level. A medium ANC monthly activity (30-100/month) was the only site-level predictor found (-7.6; CI -15.1 to -0.1). Conclusions: Heterogeneity of nevirapine coverage between sites and programs was high. Multilevel analysis identified several significant contextual determinants, which may warrant additional research to further define important multi-level and potentially modifiable determinants of performance of PMTCT programs.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · BMC Public Health
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