Determinants of time to antiretroviral treatment initiation and subsequent mortality on treatment in a cohort in rural northern Malawi

Brown, J. P., Ngwira, B., Tafatatha, T., Crampin, A. C. , French, N. and Koole, O. (2016) Determinants of time to antiretroviral treatment initiation and subsequent mortality on treatment in a cohort in rural northern Malawi. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 13(1), 24. (doi: 10.1186/s12981-016-0110-2) (PMID:27398087) (PMCID:PMC4938927)

186223.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Background: To optimise care HIV patients need to be promptly initiated on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and subsequently retained on treatment. In this study we report on the interval between enrolment and treatment initiation, and investigate subsequent attrition and mortality of patients on ART at a rural clinic in Malawi. Methods: HIV-positive individuals were recruited to a cohort study between January 2008 and August 2011 at Chilumba Rural Hospital (CRH). Outcomes were ascertained, up to 7 years after enrolment, through follow-up and by linkage to ART registers and the Karonga Health and Demographic Surveillance System (KHDSS). Kaplan–Meier methods and Cox regression were used to examine ART initiation after enrolment, mortality after ART initiation, and attrition after ART initiation. Results: Of the 617 individuals recruited, 523 initiated ART between January 2008 and January 2015. Median time from HIV testing to commencement of ART was 59 days (IQR: 10–330). By a year after enrolment 74.2 % (95 % CI 70.6–77.7 %) had initiated ART. Baseline clinical data at ART initiation and data on attrition was only available for the 438 individuals who initiated ART during active follow-up, between January 2008 and August 2011. Of these individuals, 6 were missing Ministry of Health numbers, leaving 432 included in analyses of attrition and mortality. At 4 years after ART initiation 71.3 % (95 % CI 65.7–76.2 %) of these patients were retained on treatment at the CRH and 17.2 % (95 % CI 13.8–21.4 %) had died. Participants who had a lower CD4 count at enrolment (≤350 cells/μl), enrolled in 2008, or tested for HIV at the CRH rather than through serosurveys, initiated treatment faster. Once on treatment, mortality rates were higher in patients who were HIV tested at the CRH, male, older (≥35 years), missing a CD4 count, or underweight (BMI < 18.5) at ART initiation. Conclusions: Through linkage to the KHDSS and ART registers it was possible to continue follow-up beyond the end of the initial cohort study. Annual mortality after ART initiation remained considerable over a period of 4 years. Greater access to HIV and CD4 testing alongside initiation at higher CD4 counts, as planned in the test and treat strategy, could reduce this mortality.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Crampin, Professor Mia
Authors: Brown, J. P., Ngwira, B., Tafatatha, T., Crampin, A. C., French, N., and Koole, O.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Addiction Science and Clinical Practice
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1742-6405
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Addiction Science and Clinical Practice 13(1):24
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record