Early loss of HIV-infected patients on potent antiretroviral therapy programmes in lower-income countries

UMMS Affiliation

Meyers Primary Care Institute; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Adult; Africa; Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active; Asia; CD4 Lymphocyte Count; Continuity of Patient Care; *Developing Countries; Female; HIV Infections; *HIV-1; Health Services Accessibility; Humans; International Cooperation; Logistic Models; Male; Middle Aged; Patient Acceptance of Health Care; Program Evaluation; Proportional Hazards Models; Public Health Informatics; Risk Factors; South America


Health Services Research | Primary Care


OBJECTIVE: To analyse the early loss of patients to antiretroviral therapy (ART) programmes in resource-limited settings.

METHODS: Using data on 5491 adult patients starting ART (median age 35 years, 46% female) in 15 treatment programmes in Africa, Asia and South America with (3) 12 months of follow-up, we investigated risk factors for no follow-up after treatment initiation, and loss to follow-up or death in the first 6 months.

FINDINGS: Overall, 211 patients (3.8%) had no follow-up, 880 (16.0%) were lost to follow-up and 141 (2.6%) were known to have died in the first 6 months. The probability of no follow-up was higher in 2003-2004 than in 2000 or earlier (odds ratio, OR: 5.06; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.28-20.0), as was loss to follow-up (hazard ratio, HR: 7.62; 95% CI: 4.55-12.8) but not recorded death (HR: 1.02; 95% CI: 0.44-2.36). Compared with a baseline CD4-cell count (3) 50 cells/microl, a count < 25 cells/microl was associated with a higher probability of no follow-up (OR: 2.49; 95% CI: 1.43-4.33), loss to follow-up (HR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.23-1.77) and death (HR: 3.34; 95% CI: 2.10-5.30). Compared to free treatment, fee-for-service programmes were associated with a higher probability of no follow-up (OR: 3.71; 95% CI: 0.97-16.05) and higher mortality (HR: 4.64; 95% CI: 1.11-19.41).

CONCLUSION: Early patient losses were increasingly common when programmes were scaled up and were associated with a fee for service and advanced immunodeficiency at baseline. Measures to maximize ART programme retention are required in resource-poor countries.


Bull World Health Organ. 2008 Jul;86(7):559-67.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Bulletin of the World Health Organization

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Link to Article in PubMed

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