Lars Jørgen Østergaard

Lack of awareness of treatment failure among HIV-1-infected patients in Guinea-Bissau - a retrospective cohort study

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INTRODUCTION: With more people receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART), the need to detect treatment failure and switch to second-line ART has also increased. We assessed CD4 cell counts (as a marker of treatment failure), determined the rate of switching to second-line treatment and evaluated mortality related to treatment failure among HIV-infected patients in Guinea-Bissau.

METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, adult patients infected with HIV-1 receiving ≥6 months of ART at an HIV clinic in Bissau were included from June 2005 to July 2014 and followed until January 2015. Treatment failure was defined as 1) a fall in CD4 count to baseline (or below) or 2) CD4 levels persistently below 100 cells/µL after ≥6 months of ART. Cox hazard models, with time since six months of ART as the time-varying coefficient, were used to estimate the hazard ratio for death and loss to follow-up.

RESULTS: We assessed 1,591 HIV-1-infected patients for immunological treatment failure. Treatment failure could not be determined in 594 patients (37.3%) because of missing CD4 cell counts. Among the remaining 997 patients, 393 (39.4%) experienced failure. Only 39 patients (9.9%) with failure were switched from first- to second-line ART. The overall switching rate was 3.1 per 100 person-years. Mortality rate was higher in patients with than without treatment failure, with adjusted hazard rate ratios (HRRs) 10.0 (95% CI: 0.9-107.8), 7.6 (95% CI: 1.6-35.5) and 3.1 (95% CI: 1.5-6.3) in the first, second and following years, respectively. During the first year of follow-up, patients experiencing treatment failure had a higher risk of being lost to follow-up than patients not experiencing treatment failure (adjusted HRR 4.4; 95% CI: 1.7-11.8).

CONCLUSIONS: We found a high rate of treatment failure, an alarmingly high number of patients for whom treatment failure could not be assessed, and a low rate of switching to a second-line therapy. These factors could lead to an increased risk of resistance development and excess mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20243
JournalInternational AIDS Society. Journal
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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