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Infectious Diseases - Public Health and Epidemiology - Urology

Second-Line Antiretroviral Therapy in a Workplace and Community-Based Treatment Programme in South Africa: Determinants of Virological Outcome
Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Author: Victoria Johnston et al.

by Victoria Johnston, Katherine Fielding, Salome Charalambous, Mildred Mampho, Gavin Churchyard, Andrew Phillips, Alison D. Grant

Background: As antiretroviral treatment (ART) programmes in resource-limited settings mature, more patients are experiencing virological failure. Without resistance testing, deciding who should switch to second-line ART can be difficult. The consequences for second-line outcomes are unclear. In a workplace- and community-based multi-site programme, with 6-monthly virological monitoring, we describe outcomes and predictors of viral suppression on second-line, protease inhibitor-based ART. Methods: We used prospectively collected clinic data from patients commencing first-line ART between 1/1/03 and 31/12/08 to construct a study cohort of patients switched to second-line ART in the presence of a viral load (VL) =400 copies/ml. Predictors of VL<400 copies/ml within 15 months of switch were assessed using modified Poisson regression to estimate risk ratios. Results: 205 workplace patients (91.7% male; median age 43 yrs) and 212 community patients (38.7% male; median age 36 yrs) switched regimens. At switch compared to community patients, workplace patients had a longer duration of viraemia, higher VL, lower CD4 count, and higher reported non-adherence on first-line ART. Non-adherence was the reported reason for switching in a higher proportion of workplace patients. Following switch, 48.3% (workplace) and 72.0% (community) achieved VL<400, with non-adherence (17.9% vs. 1.4%) and virological rebound (35.6% vs. 13.2% with available measures) reported more commonly in the workplace programme. In adjusted analysis of the workplace programme, lower switch VL and younger age were associated with VL<400. In the community programme, shorter duration of viraemia, higher CD4 count and transfers into programme on ART were associated with VL<400. Conclusion: High levels of viral suppression on second-line ART can be, but are not always, achieved in multi-site treatment programmes with both individual- and programme-level factors influencing outcomes. Strategies to support both healthcare workers and patients during this switch period need to be evaluated; sub-optimal adherence, particularly in the workplace programme must be addressed.