Journal of the International AIDS Society 2016 Oct 2519(1) 20926 doi 10.7448/IAS.19.1.20926
There is a growing interest in the potential contribution the private sector can make towards increasing access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low- and middle-income settings. This article describes a public-private partnership that was developed to expand HIV care capacity in Yangon, Myanmar. The partnership was between private sector general practitioners (GPs) and a community-based non-governmental organization (International HIV/AIDS Alliance).
Retrospective analysis of 2119 patient records dating from March 2009 to April 2015 was conducted. Outcomes assessed were immunological response, loss to follow-up, all-cause mortality, and alive and retained in care. Follow-up time was calculated from the date of registration to the date of death, loss to follow-up, transfer out, or if still alive and known to be in care, until April 2015. Cox proportional hazards model was used to identify predictors of loss to follow-up and mortality. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to estimate survival function of being alive and retained in care.
The median number of patients for each of the 16 GPs was 42 (interquartile range (IQR): 25-227), and the median follow-up period was 13 months. The median patient age was 35 years (IQR: 30-41); 56.6% were men, 62 and 11.8% were in WHO Stage III and Stage IV at registration, respectively; median CD4 count at registration was 177 cells/mm(3); and 90.7% were on ART in April 2015. The median CD4 count at registration increased from 122 cells/mm(3) in 2009 to 194 cells/mm(3) in 2014. Among patients on ART, CD4 counts increased from a median of 187 cells/mm(3) at registration to 436 cells/mm(3) at 36 months. The median time to initiation of ART among eligible patients was 29 days, with 93.8% of eligible patients being initiated on ART within 90 days. Overall, 3.3% patients were lost to follow-up, 4.2% transferred out to other health facilities, and 8.3% died during the follow-up period. Crude mortality rate was 48.6/1000 person-years; 42% (n=74) of deaths occurred during the pre-ART period and 39.8% (n=70) occurred during the first six months of ART. Of those who died during the pre-ART period, 94.5% were eligible for ART. In multivariate regression, baseline CD4 count and ART status were independent predictors of mortality, whereas ART status, younger age and patient volumes per provider were predictors of loss to follow-up. Probability of being alive and retained in care at six months was 96.8% among those on ART, 38.5% among pre-ART but eligible patients, and 20.0% among ART-ineligible patients.
Effectively supported private sector GPs successfully administered and monitored ART in Myanmar, suggesting that community-supported private sector partnerships can contribute to expansion of HIV treatment and care capacity. To further improve patient outcomes, early testing and initiation of ART, combined with close clinical monitoring and support during the initial periods of enrolling in treatment and care, are required.