• Monitoring the South African National Antiretroviral Treatment Programme, 2003-2007: the IeDEA Southern Africa collaboration.

      Cornell, Morna; Technau, Karl; Fairall, Lara; Wood, Robin; Moultrie, Harry; van Cutsem, Gilles; Giddy, Janet; Mohapi, Lerato; Eley, Brian; MacPhail, Patrick; et al. (2009-09)
      OBJECTIVES: To introduce the combined South African cohorts of the International epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS Southern Africa (IeDEA-SA) collaboration as reflecting the South African national antiretroviral treatment (ART) programme; to characterise patients accessing these services; and to describe changes in services and patients from 2003 to 2007. DESIGN AND SETTING: Multi-cohort study of 11 ART programmes in Gauteng, Western Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. SUBJECTS: Adults and children (<16 years old) who initiated ART with > or =3 antiretroviral drugs before 2008. RESULTS: Most sites were offering free treatment to adults and children in the public sector, ranging from 264 to 17,835 patients per site. Among 45,383 adults and 6,198 children combined, median age (interquartile range) was 35.0 years (29.8-41.4) and 42.5 months (14.7-82.5), respectively. Of adults, 68% were female. The median CD4 cell count was 102 cells/microl (44-164) and was lower among males than females (86, 34-150 v. 110, 50-169, p<0.001). Median CD4% among children was 12% (7-17.7). Between 2003 and 2007, enrolment increased 11-fold in adults and 3-fold in children. Median CD4 count at enrolment increased for all adults (67-111 cells/microl, p<0.001) and for those in stage IV (39-89 cells/microl, p<0.001). Among children <5 years, baseline CD4% increased over time (11.5-16.0%, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: IeDEA-SA provides a unique opportunity to report on the national ART programme. The study describes dramatically increased enrolment over time. Late diagnosis and ART initiation, especially of men and children, need attention. Investment in sentinel sites will ensure good individual-level data while freeing most sites to continue with simplified reporting.
    • Temporal changes in programme outcomes among adult patients initiating antiretroviral therapy across South Africa, 2002-2007.

      Cornell, Morna; Grimsrud, Anna; Fairall, Lara; Fox, Matthew P; van Cutsem, Gilles; Giddy, Janet; Wood, Robin; Prozesky, Hans; Mohapi, Lerato; Graber, Claire; et al. (2010-09-10)
      OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the temporal impact of the rapid scale-up of large antiretroviral therapy (ART) services on programme outcomes. We describe patient outcomes [mortality, loss-to-follow-up (LTFU) and retention] over time in a network of South African ART cohorts. DESIGN: Cohort analysis utilizing routinely collected patient data. METHODS: Analysis included adults initiating ART in eight public sector programmes across South Africa, 2002-2007. Follow-up was censored at the end of 2008. Kaplan-Meier methods were used to estimate time to outcomes, and proportional hazards models to examine independent predictors of outcomes. RESULTS: Enrolment (n = 44 177, mean age 35 years; 68% women) increased 12-fold over 5 years, with 63% of patients enrolled in the past 2 years. Twelve-month mortality decreased from 9% to 6% over 5 years. Twelve-month LTFU increased annually from 1% (2002/2003) to 13% (2006). Cumulative LTFU increased with follow-up from 14% at 12 months to 29% at 36 months. With each additional year on ART, failure to retain participants was increasingly attributable to LTFU compared with recorded mortality. At 12 and 36 months, respectively, 80 and 64% of patients were retained. CONCLUSION: Numbers on ART have increased rapidly in South Africa, but the programme has experienced deteriorating patient retention over time, particularly due to apparent LTFU. This may represent true loss to care, but may also reflect administrative error and lack of capacity to monitor movements in and out of care. New strategies are needed for South Africa and other low-income and middle-income countries to improve monitoring of outcomes and maximize retention in care with increasing programme size.