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Anantapur district, India

Studies fromsub-Saharan Africa have shown that a substantial proportion of patients diagnosed with HIV enter into HIV medical care late. However, data from low or middle-income countries outside Africa are scarce. In this study, we investigated risk factors associated with delayed entry into care stratified by gender in a large cohort study in India. 7701 patients were diagnosed with HIV and 5410 entered into care within three months of HIV diagnosis. Nearly 80% entered into care within a year, but most patients who did not enter into care within a year remained lost to follow up or died. Patient with risk factors related to having a low socio-economic status (poverty, being homeless, belonging to a disadvantaged community and illiteracy) were more likely to enter into care late. In addition, male gender and being asymptomatic at the moment of HIV infection were factors associated with delayed entry into care. Substantial gender differences were found. Younger age was found to be associated with delayed entry in men, but not in women. Widows and unmarried men were more likely to enter into care within three months. Women belonging to disadvantaged communities or living far from a town were more likely to enter into care late. The results of this study highlight the need to improve the linkage between HIV diagnosis and HIV treatment in India. HIV programmes should monitor patients diagnosed with HIV until they engage in HIV medical care, especially those at increased risk of attrition. © 2013 Alvarez-Uria.


In low- and middle-income countries, the attrition across the continuum of care of HIV infected children is not well known. The aim of this study was to investigate predictors of mortality and loss to follow up (LTFU) in HIV infected children from a cohort study in India and to describe the cascade of care from HIV diagnosis to virological suppression after antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation. Multivariable analysis was performed using competing risk regression. The cumulative incidence of attrition due to mortality or LTFU after five year of follow-up was 16% fromentry into care to ART initiation and 24.9% after ART initiation. Of all children diagnosed with HIV, it was estimated that 91.9% entered into care, 77.2% were retained until ART initiation, 58% stayed in care after ART initiation, and 43.4% achieved virological suppression on ART. Approximately half of the attrition occurred before ART initiation, and the other half after starting ART. Belonging to socially disadvantaged communities and living >90 min from the hospital were associated with a higher risk of attrition. Being >10 years old and having higher 12-month risk of AIDS (calculated using the absolute CD4 lymphocyte count and the age) were associated with an increased risk of mortality. These findings indicate that we should consider placing more emphasis on promoting research and implementing interventions to improve the engagement of HIV infected children in pre-ART care. The results of this study can be used by HIV programmes to design interventions aimed at reducing the attrition across the continuum of care of HIV infected children in India. © 2014 Alvarez-Uria.


Alvarez-Uria G.,Rural Development Trust Hospital | Midde M.,Rural Development Trust Hospital | Naik P.K.,Rural Development Trust Hospital
International Journal of Infectious Diseases | Year: 2012

Objectives: To study the trends of the HIV epidemic and risk factors associated with HIV in a rural area of India. We utilized HIV prevalence among young pregnant women as an indicator of population trends in HIV infection. Methods: This was an observational study of pregnant women aged less than 25 years who were counseled and tested for HIV infection in a rural hospital between August 2007 and June 2011. Information on age, education, occupation, and community were collected prospectively from all of the women. Results: The HIV prevalence in young pregnant women decreased from 1.22% in 2007 to 0.35% in 2011. Comparing the periods 2007-2009 and 2010-2011, a reduction in HIV prevalence was seen in all subgroups except in women from forward castes. Women whose job was not related to agriculture and women who had only completed primary education were more likely to be HIV-infected. Conclusions: These results indirectly indicate that the incidence of HIV infection is decreasing in this rural setting. However, an increase in the HIV prevalence in women from forward castes was observed. In rural areas, HIV testing of pregnant women who have only completed primary education or who are working in a field not related to agriculture should be encouraged, because of their higher risk of HIV infection. © 2011 International Society for Infectious Diseases.


Alvarez-Uria G.,Rural Development Trust Hospital | Pakam R.,Rural Development Trust Hospital | Midde M.,Rural Development Trust Hospital | Naik P.K.,Rural Development Trust Hospital
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases | Year: 2013

HIV treatment, care, and support programmes in low- and middle-income countries have traditionally focused more on patients remaining in care after the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) than on earlier stages of care. This study describes the cumulative retention from HIV diagnosis to the achievement of virological suppression after ART initiation in an HIV cohort study in India. Of all patients diagnosed with HIV, 70% entered into care within three months. 65% of patients ineligible for ART at the first assessment were retained in pre-ART care. 67% of those eligible for ART initiated treatment within three months. 30% of patients who initiated ART died or were lost to followup, and 82% achieved virological suppression in the last viral load determination. Most attrition occurred the in pre-ART stages of care, and it was estimated that only 31% of patients diagnosed with HIV engaged in care and achieved virological suppression after ART initiation. The total mortality attributable to pre-ART attrition was considerably higher than the mortality for not achieving virological suppression. This study indicates that early entry into pre-ART care along with timely initiation of ART is more likely to reduce HIV-related mortality compared to achieving virological suppression. © 2013 Gerardo Alvarez-Uria et al.


Alvarez-Uria G.,Rural Development Trust Hospital | Naik P.K.,Rural Development Trust Hospital | Pakam R.,Rural Development Trust Hospital | Midde M.,Rural Development Trust Hospital
Global Health Action | Year: 2013

Background: Studies from sub-Saharan Africa have shown high incidence of attrition due to mortality or loss to follow-up (LTFU) after initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART). India is the third largest country in the world in terms of HIV infected people, but predictors of attrition after ART initiation are not well known. Design: We describe factors associated with attrition, mortality, and LTFU in 3,159 HIV infected patients who initiated ART between 1 January 2007 and 4 November 2011 in an HIV cohort study in India. The study included 6,852 person-years with a mean follow-up of 2.17 years. Results: After 5 years of follow-up, the estimated cumulative incidence of attrition was 37.7%. There was no significant difference between attrition due to mortality and attrition due to LTFU. Having CD4 counts <100 cells/ml and being homeless [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 3.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.6-3.8] were associated with a higher risk of attrition, and female gender (aHR 0.64, 95% CI 0.6-0.8) was associated with a reduced risk of attrition. Living near a town (aHR 0.82, 95% CI 0.7-0.999) was associated with a reduced risk of mortality. Being single (aHR 1.6, 95% CI 1.2-2.3), illiteracy (aHR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1-1.6), and age <25 years (aHR 1.3, 95% CI 1-1.8) were associated with an increased risk of LTFU. Although the cumulative incidence of attrition in patients diagnosed with tuberculosis after ART initiation was 47.4%, patients who started anti-tuberculous treatment before ART had similar attrition to patients without tuberculosis (36 vs. 35.2%, P=0.19) after four years of follow-up. Conclusions: In this cohort study, the attrition was similar to the one found in sub-Saharan Africa. Earlier initiation of ART, improving the diagnosis of tuberculosis before initiating ART, and giving more support to those patients at higher risk of attrition could potentially reduce the mortality and LTFU after ART initiation. © 2013 Gerardo Alvarez-Uria et al.

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