• Evaluation of Three Sampling Methods to Monitor Outcomes of Antiretroviral Treatment Programmes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

      Tassie, J-M; Malateste, K; Pujades-Rodríguez, M; Poulet, E; Bennett, D; Harries, A D; Mahy, M; Schechter, M; Souteyrand, Y; Dabis, F; et al. (2010-11-10)
      BACKGROUND: Retention of patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) over time is a proxy for quality of care and an outcome indicator to monitor ART programs. Using existing databases (Antiretroviral in Lower Income Countries of the International Databases to Evaluate AIDS and Médecins Sans Frontières), we evaluated three sampling approaches to simplify the generation of outcome indicators. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We used individual patient data from 27 ART sites and included 27,201 ART-naive adults (≥15 years) who initiated ART in 2005. For each site, we generated two outcome indicators at 12 months, retention on ART and proportion of patients lost to follow-up (LFU), first using all patient data and then within a smaller group of patients selected using three sampling methods (random, systematic and consecutive sampling). For each method and each site, 500 samples were generated, and the average result was compared with the unsampled value. The 95% sampling distribution (SD) was expressed as the 2.5(th) and 97.5(th) percentile values from the 500 samples. Overall, retention on ART was 76.5% (range 58.9-88.6) and the proportion of patients LFU, 13.5% (range 0.8-31.9). Estimates of retention from sampling (n = 5696) were 76.5% (SD 75.4-77.7) for random, 76.5% (75.3-77.5) for systematic and 76.0% (74.1-78.2) for the consecutive method. Estimates for the proportion of patients LFU were 13.5% (12.6-14.5), 13.5% (12.6-14.3) and 14.0% (12.5-15.5), respectively. With consecutive sampling, 50% of sites had SD within ±5% of the unsampled site value. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that random, systematic or consecutive sampling methods are feasible for monitoring ART indicators at national level. However, sampling may not produce precise estimates in some sites.
    • Prioritising prevention strategies for patients in antiretroviral treatment programmes in resource-limited settings

      Spaar, A; Graber, C; Dabis, F; Coutsoudis, A; Bachmann, L; McIntyre, J; Schechter, M; Prozesky, H W; Tuboi, S; Dickinson, D; et al. (2010-05-13)
      Expanded access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) offers opportunities to strengthen HIV prevention in resource-limited settings. We invited 27 ART programmes from urban settings in Africa, Asia and South America to participate in a survey, with the aim to examine what preventive services had been integrated in ART programmes. Twenty-two programmes participated; eight (36%) from South Africa, two from Brazil, two from Zambia and one each from Argentina, India, Thailand, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Morocco, Uganda and Zimbabwe and one occupational programme of a brewery company included five countries (Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi). Twenty-one sites (96%) provided health education and social support, and 18 (82%) provided HIV testing and counselling. All sites encouraged disclosure of HIV infection to spouses and partners, but only 11 (50%) had a protocol for partner notification. Twenty-one sites (96%) supplied male condoms, seven (32%) female condoms and 20 (91%) provided prophylactic ART for the prevention of mother-to child transmission. Seven sites (33%) regularly screened for sexually transmitted infections (STI). Twelve sites (55%) were involved in activities aimed at women or adolescents, and 10 sites (46%) in activities aimed at serodiscordant couples. Stigma and discrimination, gender roles and funding constraints were perceived as the main obstacles to effective prevention in ART programmes. We conclude that preventive services in ART programmes in lower income countries focus on health education and the provision of social support and male condoms. Strategies that might be equally or more important in this setting, including partner notification, prompt diagnosis and treatment of STI and reduction of stigma in the community, have not been implemented widely.