Implementation of antiretroviral therapy for life in pregnant/breastfeeding HIV+ women (Option B+) alongside rollout and changing guidelines for ART initiation in rural Zimbabwe: the Lablite Project experience

Deborah Ford, Margaret Muzambi, Misheck J Nkhata, George Abongomera, Sarah Joseph, Makosonke Ndlovu, Travor Mabugu, Caroline Grundy, Adrienne K. Chan, Fabian Cataldo, Cissy Kityo, Janet Seeley, Elly Katabira, Charles F. Gilks, Andrew Reid, James Hakim, Diana M. Gibb

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Abstract

Background:
Lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) for pregnant and breastfeeding women (Option B+) was rolled out in Zimbabwe from 2014, with simultaneous raising of the CD4 treatment threshold to 500 cells per cubic millimeter in nonpregnant/breastfeeding adults and children 5 years and over.

Methods:
Lablite is an implementation project in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Uganda evaluating ART rollout. Routine patient-level data were collected for 6 months before and 12 months after Option B+ rollout at a district hospital and 3 primary care facilities in Zimbabwe (2 with outreach ART and 1 with no ART provision before Option B+).

Results:
Between September 2013 and February 2015, there were 1686 ART initiations in the 4 facilities: 91% adults and 9% children younger than 15 years. In the 3 facilities with established ART, initiations rose from 300 during 6 months before Option B+ to 869 (2.9-fold) and 463 (1.5-fold), respectively, 0–6 months and 6–12 months after Option B+. Post-Option B+, an estimated 43% of pregnant/breastfeeding women needed ART for their own health, based on World Health Organization stage 3/4 or CD4 ≤350 per cubic millimeter (64% for CD4 ≤500). Seventy-four men (22%) and 123 nonpregnant/breastfeeding women (34%) initiated ART with CD4 >350 after the CD4 threshold increase. Estimated 12-month retention on ART was 79% (69%–87%) in Option B+ women (significantly lower in younger women, P = 0.01) versus 93% (91%–95%) in other adults (difference P < 0.001).

Conclusions:
There were increased ART initiations in all patient groups after implementation of World Health Organization 2013 guidelines. Retention of Option B+ women was poorer than retention of other adults; younger women require attention because they are more likely to disengage from care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-516
Number of pages9
JournalJAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Volume74
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

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