antiretroviral treatment

This qualitative study at six health facilities in Kenya assessed how staff perceived and used an appointment-keeping system and a revised clinic form to monitor patients’ adherence to antiretroviral treatment. Early detection of treatment defaulters helped the providers to design targeted patient support to enhance appointment keeping. The intervention led to implementation of changes in clinics to enhance patients’ appointment keeping and improve adherence to treatment.

The intention of this study was to determine prevalence and associated factors with adherence to highly active ART among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) at the Debrebrihan Referral Hospital and Health Center, Northeast Ethiopia. A cross-sectional study design with systematic random sampling was conducted using a structured adherence questionnaire among 422 respondents from the hospital. Adherence was defined as not missing a single ART dose during the 30-day period prior to filling out the self-report. Among the participants, 95.5% were taking their medication without missing a dose. Factors such as having emotional or practical support positively encouraged ART adherence. However, users of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM) had a nearly five times higher risk for ART nonadherence (p = 0.05) than those not using TCAM. Strengthening emotional and practical support for PLWHA and integrating TCAM with the proper use of ART are vital to enhance ART adherence.

In July 2011, Malawi introduced an ambitious public health program known as “Option B+,” which provides all HIV- infected pregnant and breastfeeding women with lifelong combination antiretroviral therapy, regardless of clinical stage or CD4 count. Option B+ is expected to have benefits for HIV-infected women, their HIV-exposed infants, and their HIV-uninfected male sex partners. However, these benefits hinge on early uptake of prevention of mother-to-child transmission, good adherence, and long-term retention in care. The Prevention of mother-to-child transmission Uptake and REtention (PURE) study is a 3-arm cluster randomized controlled trial to evaluate whether clinic- or community-based peer support will improve care-seeking and retention in care by HIV- infected pregnant and breastfeeding women, their HIV-exposed infants, and their male sex partners, and ultimately improve health outcomes in all 3 populations. We describe the PURE Malawi Consortium, the initial work conducted to inform the trial and interventions, the trial design, and the analysis plan. We then discuss concerns and expected contributions to Malawi and the region.

Approximately 1 million people are infected with HIV in Malawi, where AIDS is the leading cause of death in adults. By December 31, 2007, more than 141,000 patients were initiated on antiretroviral treatment (ART) by use of a public health approach to scale up HIV services. In Malawi, a public health approach to ART increased treatment access and maintained high 6- and 12-month survival. Resource-limited countries scaling up ART programs may benefit from this approach of simplified clinical decision making, standardized ART regimens, nonphysician care, limited laboratory support, and centralized monitoring and evaluation.

As national antiretroviral treatment (ART) programmes scale up, it is essential that information is complete, timely and accurate for site monitoring and national planning. This study assessed the quality of quarterly aggregate summary data for April to June 2006 compiled and reported by ART facilities as compared to the "gold standard" facility summary data compiled independently by the Ministry of Health supervision team. The national summary using the site reports resulted in a 12% undercount in the national total number of persons on first-line treatment. While many sites are able to generate complete data summaries, the accuracy of facility reports is not yet adequate for national monitoring. The Ministry of Health and its partners should continue to identify and support interventions such as supportive supervision to build sites' capacity to maintain and compile quality data to ensure that accurate information is available for site monitoring and national planning.

In 2012, there were an estimated 2 million children in need of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the world, but ART is still reaching fewer than 3 in 10 children in need of treatment. As more HIV-infected children are identified early and universal treatment is initiated in children under 5 regardless of CD4, the success of pediatric HIV programs will depend on our ability to link children into care and treatment programs, and retain them in those services over time. In this review, we summarize key individual, institutional, and systems barriers to diagnosing children with HIV, linking them to care and treatment, and reducing loss to follow-up. We also explore how linkage and retention can be optimally measured so as to maximize the impact of available pediatric HIV care and treatment services.

Although antiretroviral treatment (ART) has reduced the incidence of HIV-related opportunistic infections among children living with HIV, access to ART remains limited for children, especially in resource-limited settings. This paper reviews current knowledge on the contribution of opportunistic infections and common childhood illnesses to morbidity and mortality in children living with HIV, highlights interventions known to improve the health of children, and identifies research gaps for further exploration.

Treatment 2.0 is an initiative launched by UNAIDS and WHO in 2011 to catalyze the next phase of treatment scale-up for HIV. The initiative defines strategic activities in 5 key areas--drugs, diagnostics, commodity costs, service delivery and community engagement--in an effort to simplify treatment, expand access and maximize program efficiency. For adults, many of these activities have already been turned into treatment policies. The recent WHO recommendation to use a universal first line regimen regardless of gender, pregnancy and TB status is a treatment simplification very much in line with Treatment 2.0. But despite that fact that Treatment 2.0 encompasses all people living with HIV, we have not seen the same evolution in policy development for children. In this paper we discuss how Treatment 2.0 principles can be adapted for the pediatric population.

As of 2012, only 34% of treatment eligible children in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) despite proven benefits of early initiation of antiretroviral treatment (ART) on child survival. We reviewed routine EID (early infant diagnosis) laboratory and paediatric ART patient records to determine missed opportunities for optimizing EID and current status of linkage between EID entry points to paediatric ART initiation in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. These are three countries with EID coverage of 22, 11 and 14%, respectively and ART coverage rates of 18, 16 and 32%, respectively. This article examines the most likely delivery points for collection of blood samples for EID testing for infant and young children and the most likely referral points for ART initiation of HIV-infected children in these three countries. This data provides evidence of consistent missed opportunities for linking HIV-infected children identified during EID to early ART treatment. We also argue for expanding the provision of EID to other service delivery points beyond PMTCT platform and provide suggestions for better linkages from EID to care and treatment.

Roughly 70% of infected children are not receiving live-saving HIV care and treatment. Strengthening case finding through improved diagnosis strategies and actively linking identified HIV-infected children to care and treatment are essential to ensuring that these children benefit from the care and treatment available to them. This article summarizes the challenges of identifying HIV-infected infants and children, reviews currently available evidence and guidance, describes promising new strategies for case finding, and makes recommendations for future research and interventions to improve identification of HIV-infected infants and children.

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