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Linkage to HIV Care and Antiretroviral Therapy in Cape Town, South Africa

By Yue Guan | 18 Nov, 2010

Background
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been scaled-up rapidly in Africa. Programme reports typically focus on loss to follow-up and mortality among patients receiving ART. However, little is known about linkage and retention in care of individuals prior to starting ART.

Methodology
Data on adult residents from a periurban community in Cape Town were collected at a primary care clinic and hospital. HIV testing registers, CD4 count results provided by the National Health Laboratory System and ART registers were linked. A random sample (n = 885) was drawn from adults testing HIV positive through antenatal care, sexual transmitted disease and voluntary testing and counseling services between January 2004 and March 2009. All adults (n = 103) testing HIV positive through TB services during the same time period were also included in the study. Linkage to HIV care was defined as attending for a CD4 count measurement within 6 months of HIV diagnosis. Linkage to ART care was defined as initiating ART within 6 months of HIV diagnosis in individuals with a CD4 count ≤200 cells/µl taken within 6 months of HIV diagnosis.

Findings
Only 62.6% of individuals attended for a CD4 count measurement within 6 months of testing HIV positive. Individuals testing through sexually transmitted infection services had the best (84.1%) and individuals testing on their own initiative (53.5%) the worst linkage to HIV care. One third of individuals with timely CD4 counts were eligible for ART and 66.7% of those were successfully linked to ART care. Linkage to ART care was highest among antenatal care clients. Among individuals not yet eligible for ART only 46.3% had a repeat CD4 count. Linkage to HIV care improved in patients tested in more recent calendar period.

Conclusion
Linkage to HIV and ART care was low in this poor peri-urban community despite free services available within close proximity. More efforts are needed to link VCT scale-up to subsequent care.

Attached resource:
  • Linkage to HIV Care and Antiretroviral Therapy in Cape Town, South Africa (download, 117.7 KB)

    Summary: Background
    Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been scaled-up rapidly in Africa. Programme reports typically focus on loss to follow-up and mortality among patients receiving ART. However, little is known about linkage and retention in care of individuals prior to starting ART.

    Methodology
    Data on adult residents from a periurban community in Cape Town were collected at a primary care clinic and hospital. HIV testing registers, CD4 count results provided by the National Health Laboratory System and ART registers were linked. A random sample (n = 885) was drawn from adults testing HIV positive through antenatal care, sexual transmitted disease and voluntary testing and counseling services between January 2004 and March 2009. All adults (n = 103) testing HIV positive through TB services during the same time period were also included in the study. Linkage to HIV care was defined as attending for a CD4 count measurement within 6 months of HIV diagnosis. Linkage to ART care was defined as initiating ART within 6 months of HIV diagnosis in individuals with a CD4 count ≤200 cells/µl taken within 6 months of HIV diagnosis.

    Findings
    Only 62.6% of individuals attended for a CD4 count measurement within 6 months of testing HIV positive. Individuals testing through sexually transmitted infection services had the best (84.1%) and individuals testing on their own initiative (53.5%) the worst linkage to HIV care. One third of individuals with timely CD4 counts were eligible for ART and 66.7% of those were successfully linked to ART care. Linkage to ART care was highest among antenatal care clients. Among individuals not yet eligible for ART only 46.3% had a repeat CD4 count. Linkage to HIV care improved in patients tested in more recent calendar period.

    Conclusion
    Linkage to HIV and ART care was low in this poor peri-urban community despite free services available within close proximity. More efforts are needed to link VCT scale-up to subsequent care.

    Source: PLoS One

    Publication Date: November 2, 2010

    Language: English

    Keywords: ART, linkage to care, Publications & Research, South Africa

 

This Community is Archived.

This community is no longer active as of December 2018. Thanks to those who posted here and made this information available to others visiting the site.