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Cape Town, South Africa

Current WHO guidelines for developing countries recommend efavirenz (EFV) and nevirapine (NVP) for first-line antiretroviral treatment (ART). This paper compares the effectiveness of EFV and NVP among ART-naive patients initiating treatment at 56 public health facilities in South Africa between January 2004 and December 2007. Participants were assigned to the EFV or NVP cohorts depending on their baseline ART regimen. Mortality, viral load suppression after 6 months and ART regimen change were compared between the cohorts using Cox proportional hazards models and logistic regression. At initiation, 19 441 (71.1%) patients started EFV and 7909 (28.9%) started NVP treatment. The median follow-up period was 9.5 months (IQR 4.6-17.7). After adjustment, mortality was similar in the two cohorts, (adjusted HR = 1.07, 95% CI 0.89-1.28). Viral load suppression at 6 months was higher in the EFV cohort overall (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.29, 95% CI 1.05-1.59) and in women aged 16-40 years (AOR = 1.35, 95% CI 1.11-1.63) and women with CD4 counts <25 cells/μL (AOR = 1.95, 95% CI 1.01-3.76). Patients starting on EFV were 47% less likely to change regimen (AOR = 0.53, 95% CI 0.48-0.59). These findings suggest the superior effectiveness of EFV for first-line ART compared with NVP and should be considered during development of future ART guidelines for high-burden regions. Source


There are conflicting reports of antiretroviral therapy (ART) effectiveness comparisons between primary healthcare (PHC) facilities and hospitals in low-income settings. This comparison has not been evaluated on a broad scale in South Africa. A retrospective cohort study was conducted including ART-naïve adults from 59 facilities in four provinces in South Africa, enrolled between 2004 and 2007. Kaplan-Meier estimates, competing-risks Cox regression, generalised estimating equation population-averaged models and logistic regression were used to compare death, loss to follow-up (LTFU) and virological suppression (VS) between PHC, district and regional hospitals. 29 203 adults from 47 PHC facilities, nine district hospitals and three regional hospitals were included. Patients at PHC facilities had more advanced WHO stage disease when starting ART. Retention in care was 80.1% (95% CI: 79.3%-80.8%), 71.5% (95% CI: 69.1%-73.8%) and 68.7% (95% CI: 67.0%-69.7%) at PHC, district and regional hospitals respectively, after 24 months of treatment (P<0.0001). In adjusted regression analyses, LTFU was independently increased at regional hospitals (aHR 2.19; 95% CI: 1.94-2.47) and mortality was independently elevated at district hospitals (aHR 1.60; 95% CI: 1.30-1.99) compared to PHC facilities after 12 months of ART. District and regional hospital patients had independently reduced probabilities of VS, aOR 0.76 (95% CI: 0.59-0.97) and 0.64 (95% CI: 0.56-0.75) respectively compared to PHC facilities over 24 months of treatment. ART outcomes were superior at PHC facilities, despite PHC patients having more advanced clinical stage disease when starting ART, suggesting that ART can be adequately provided at this level and supporting the South African government's call for rapid up-scaling of ART at the primary level of care. Further prospective research is required to determine the degree to which outcome differences are attributable to either facility level characteristics or patient co-morbidity at hospital level. Source


Fatti G.,KhethImpilo | Shaikh N.,KhethImpilo | Eley B.,University of Cape Town | Grimwood A.,KhethImpilo
AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV | Year: 2016

Antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiation in HIV-infected pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains inadequate, and there is a severe shortage of professional healthcare workers in the region. The effectiveness of community support programmes for HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants in SSA is unclear. This study compared initiation of maternal antiretrovirals and infant outcomes amongst HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants who received and did not receive community-based support (CBS) in a high HIV-prevalence setting in South Africa. A cohort study, including HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants, was conducted at three sentinel surveillance facilities between January 2009 and June 2012, utilising enhanced routine clinical data. Through home visits, CBS workers encouraged uptake of interventions in the ART cascade, provided HIV-related education, ART initiation counselling and psychosocial support. Outcomes were compared using Kaplan-Meier analyses and multivariable Cox and log-binomial regression. Amongst 1105 mother-infant pairs included, 264 (23.9%) received CBS. Amongst women eligible to start ART antenatally, women who received CBS had a reduced risk of not initiating antenatal ART, 5.4% vs. 30.3%; adjusted risk ratio (aRR) = 0.18 (95% CI: 0.08-0.44; P <.0001). Women who received CBS initiated antenatal ART with less delay after the first antenatal visit, median 26 days vs. 39 days; adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 1.57 (95% CI: 1.15-2.14; P =.004). Amongst women who initiated antenatal zidovudine (ZDV) to prevent vertical transmission, women who received CBS initiated ZDV with less delay, aHR = 1.52 (95% CI: 1.18-2.01; P =.001). Women who received CBS had a lower risk of stillbirth, 1.5% vs. 5.4%; aRR = 0.24 (95% CI: 0.07-1.00; P =.050). Pregnant women living with HIV who received CBS had improved antenatal triple ART initiation in eligible women, women initiated ART and ZDV with shorter delays, and had a lower risk of stillbirth. CBS is an intervention that shows promise in improving maternal and infant health in high HIV-prevalence settings. © 2016 The Author(s). Source


Dewing S.,Health Systems Research Unit | Mathews C.,Health Systems Research Unit | Mathews C.,University of Cape Town | Fatti G.,KhethImpilo | And 2 more authors.
Current HIV/AIDS Reports | Year: 2014

There is concern that the expansion of ART (antiretroviral treatment) programmes to incorporate the use of treatment as prevention (TasP) may be associated with low levels of adherence and retention in care, resulting in the increased spread of drug-resistant HIV. We review research published over the past year that reports on interventions to improve adherence and retention in care in Southern Africa, and discuss these in terms of their potential to support the expansion of ART programmes for TasP. We found eight articles published since January 2012, seven of which were from South Africa. The papers describe innovative models for ART care and adherence support, some of which have the potential to facilitate the ongoing scale- up of treatment programmes for increased coverage and TasP. The extent to which interventions from South Africa can be effectively implemented in other, lower-resource Southern African countries is unclear. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media. Source


Fatti G.,KhethImpilo | Meintjes G.,Infectious Diseases Unit | Meintjes G.,University of Cape Town | Meintjes G.,Imperial College London | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes | Year: 2012

INTRODUCTION: A large increase in lay health care workers has occurred in response to shortages of professional health care staff in sub-Saharan African antiretroviral treatment (ART) programs. However, little effectiveness data of the large-scale implementation of these programs is available. We evaluated the effect of a community-based adherence-support (CBAS) program on ART outcomes across 57 South African sites. METHODS: CBAS workers provide adherence and psychosocial support for patients and undertake home visits to address household challenges affecting adherence. An observational multicohort study of adults enrolling for ART between 2004 and 2010 was performed. Mortality, loss to follow-up, and virological suppression were compared by intention to treat between patients who received and did not receive CBAS until 5 years of ART, using multiple imputation of missing covariate values. RESULTS: Of the 66,953 patients who were included, 19,668 (29.4%) patients received CBAS and 47,285 (70.6%) patients did not. Complete-case covariate data were available for 54.3% patients. After 5 years, patient retention was 79.1% [95% confidence interval (CI): 77.7% to 80.4%] in CBAS patients versus 73.6% (95% CI: 72.6% to 74.5%) in non-CBAS patients; crude hazard ratio (HR) for attrition was 0.68 (95% CI: 0.65 to 0.72). Mortality and loss to follow-up were independently lower in CBAS patients, adjusted HR (aHR) was 0.65 (95% CI: 0.59 to 0.72) and 0.63 (95% CI: 0.59 to 0.68), respectively. After 6 months of ART, virological suppression was 76.6% (95% CI: 75.8% to 77.5%) in CBAS patients versus 72% (95% CI: 71.3% to 72.5%) in non-CBAS patients (P < 0.0001), adjusted odds ratio was 1.22 (95% CI: 1.14 to 1.30). Improvement in virological suppression occurred progressively for longer durations of ART [adjusted odds ratio was 2.66 (95% CI: 1.61 to 4.40) by 5 years]. CONCLUSIONS: Patients receiving CBAS had considerably better ART outcomes. Further scale-up of these programs should be considered in low-income settings. Copyright © 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Source

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