PloS one 2018 03 2813(3) e0194047 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0194047
Retention, defined as continuous engagement in care, is an important indicator for quality of healthcare services. To achieve UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, emphasis on retention as a predictor of viral suppression in patients initiated on ART is vital. Using routinely collected clinical data, the authors sought to determine the effect of age on retention post ART initiation.
De-identified electronic data for 32965 HIV-infected persons aged ≥15 years at enrolment into the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare program between January 2008 and December 2014 were analyzed. Follow-up time was defined from the date of ART initiation until either loss to follow-up or death or close of the database (September 2016) was observed. Proportions were compared using Pearson’s Chi-square test and medians using Mann-Whitney U test. Logistic regression model was used to assess differences in ART initiation between groups, adjusting for baseline characteristics. Cox proportional hazards model adjusting for baseline characteristics and antiretroviral therapy (ART) status was used to compute hazard ratios. Kaplan-Meier survival function was used to compare retention on ART at 12, 24, and 36 months post ART initiation.
Of the total sample, 3924 (12.0%) were aged ≥50 years at enrolment. The median (IQR) age of young adults and older adults were 32.5 (26.6, 36.9) and 54.9 (51.7, 59.9) respectively. ART initiation rates were 70.5% among older adults and 68.2% among younger adults. Retention rates in care at 12, 24 and 36 months post ART initiation were 73.9% (95% CL: 72.2, 75.5), 62.9% (95% CL: 61.0, 64.7) and 55.4% (95% CL: 53.5, 57.3) among older adults compared to 69.8% (95% CL: 69.1, 70.4), 58.1% (95% CL: 57.4, 58.8) and 49.3% (95% CL: 48.6, 50.0) among younger adults (p <0.001). A higher proportion of older adults were retained in HIV care post ART initiation compared to younger adults, Adjusted Hazard Ratio (AHR): 0.83 (95% CI: 0.78, 0.87) though they were more likely to die, AHR: 1.35 (95% CI: 1.19, 1.52). CONCLUSION
A higher proportion of older adults are initiated on ART and have better retention in care at 12, 24 and 36 months post ART initiation than younger adults. However, older adults have a higher all-cause mortality rate, perhaps partially driven by late presentation to care. Enhanced outreach and care to this group is imperative to improve their outcomes.