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Alarming attrition rates among HIV-infected individuals in pre-antiretroviral therapy care in Myanmar, 2011-2014.

Alarming attrition rates among HIV-infected individuals in pre-antiretroviral therapy care in Myanmar, 2011-2014.
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Oo MM, Gupta V, Aung TK, Kyaw NT, Oo HN, Kumar AM,


Oo MM, Gupta V, Aung TK, Kyaw NT, Oo HN, Kumar AM, (click to view)

Oo MM, Gupta V, Aung TK, Kyaw NT, Oo HN, Kumar AM,

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Global health action 2016 08 249() 31280 doi 10.3402/gha.v9.31280

Abstract
BACKGROUND
High retention rates have been documented among patients receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Myanmar. However, there is no information on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals in care before initiation of ART (pre-ART care). We assessed attrition (loss-to-follow-up [LTFU] and death) rates among HIV-infected individuals in pre-ART care and their associated factors over a 4-year period.

DESIGN
In this retrospective cohort study, we extracted routinely collected data of HIV-infected adults (>15 years old) entering pre-ART care (June 2011-June 2014) as part of an Integrated HIV Care (IHC) programme, Myanmar. Attrition rates per 100 person-years and cumulative incidence of attrition were calculated. Factors associated with attrition were examined by calculating hazard ratios (HRs).

RESULTS
Of 18,037 HIV-infected adults enrolled in the IHC programme, 11,464 (63%) entered pre-ART care (60% men, mean age 37 years, median cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) cell count 160 cells/µL). Of the 11,464 eligible participants, 3,712 (32%) underwent attrition of which 43% were due to deaths and 57% were due to LTFU. The attrition rate was 78 per 100 person-years (95% CI, 75-80). The cumulative incidence of attrition was 70% at the end of a 4-year follow-up, of which nearly 90% occurred in the first 6 months. Male sex (HR 1.5, 95% CI 1.4-1.6), WHO clinical Stage 3 and 4, CD4 count <200 cells/µL, abnormal BMI, and anaemia were statistically significant predictors of attrition. CONCLUSIONS
Pre-ART care attrition among persons living with HIV in Myanmar was alarmingly high – with most attrition occurring within the first 6 months. Strategies aimed at improving early HIV diagnosis and initiation of ART are needed. Suggestions include comprehensive nutrition support and intensified monitoring to prevent pre-ART care attrition by tracking patients who do not return for pre-ART care appointments. It is high time that Myanmar moves towards a ‘test and treat’ approach and ultimately eliminates the need for pre-ART care.

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