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Same-day initiation (SDI) of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been recommended to improve ART programme outcomes in South Africa since August 2017. This study assessed implementation of SDI over time in two South African districts, describing the characteristics of same-day initiators and evaluating the impact of SDI on retention in ART care. Routine data were analysed for HIV-infected adults who were newly initiating ART in Johannesburg or Mopani Districts between October 2017 and June 2018. Characteristics of same-day ART initiators were compared to later initiators, and losses to follow-up (LTFU) to six months were assessed using Kaplan Meier survival analysis and multivariate logistic regression. The dataset comprised 32 290 records (29 964 from Johannesburg and 2 326 from Mopani). The overall rate of SDI was 40.4% (n = 13 038), increasing from 30.3% in October 2017 to 54.2% in June 2018. Same-day ART initiators were younger, more likely to be female and presented with less advanced clinical disease than those initiating treatment at later times following diagnosis (p<0.001 for all). SDI was associated with disengagement from care: LTFU was 30.1% in the SDI group compared to 22.4%, 19.8% and 21.9% among clients initiating ART 1-7 days, 8-21 days and ≥22 days after HIV diagnosis, respectively (p<0.001). LTFU was significantly more likely among clients in Johannesburg versus Mopani (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.43, p<0.001) and among same-day versus later initiators (aOR = 1.45, p<0.001), while increasing age reduced LTFU (aOR = 0.97, p<0.001). In conclusion, SDI has increased over time as per national guidelines, but there is serious concern regarding the reduced rate of retention among same-day initiators. Nevertheless, SDI may result in a net programmatic benefit provided that interventions are implemented to support client readiness for treatment and ongoing engagement in ART care, particularly among younger adults in large ART programmes such as Johannesburg.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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A republic in southern Africa, the southernmost part of Africa. It has three capitals: Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), and Bloemfontein (judicial). Officially the Republic of South Africa since 1960, it was called the Union of South Africa 1910-1960.
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All of Africa except Northern Africa (AFRICA, NORTHERN).
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AIDS and HIV
AIDS; Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV; Human Immunodeficiency Virus HIV infection causes AIDS. HIV infection also causes the production of anti-HIV antibodies, which forms the test for HIV in patients. People who have the HIV antibodies are ...