Introduction: Improving HIV outcomes among severely immunocompromised HIV-infected persons who have increased morbidity and mortality remains an important issue in sub-Saharan Africa. We sought to evaluate the impact of targeted clinic-based nurse care on antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation and retention among severely immunocompromised HIV-infected persons. Methods: The study included ART-naive patients with CD4 counts ,100 cells per microliter registered in seven urban clinics in Kampala, Uganda. Data were retrospectively collected on patients enrolled from July to December 2011 (routine care cohort). Between July 2012 and September 2013, 1 additional nurse per clinic was hired (nurse counselor cohort) to identify new patients, expedite ART initiation, and trace those who were lost to follow-up. We compared time to ART initiation and 6-month retention in care between cohorts and used a generalized linear model to estimate the relative risk of retention. Results: The study included 258 patients in the routine care cohort and 593 in the nurse counselor cohort. The proportion of patients who initiated ART increased from 190 (73.6%) in the routine care cohort to 506 (85.3%) in the nurse counselor cohort (P , 0.001). At 6 months, 62% of the routine care cohort were retained in care versus 76% in the nurse counselor cohort (P = 0.001). A 21% increase in the likelihood of retention in the nurse counselor cohort (relative risk: 1.21, 95% CI: 1.09 to 1.34) compared with the routine care cohort was observed. Conclusions: Implementation of targeted nurse-led care of severely immunocompromised HIV-infected patients in public outpatient health care facilities resulted in decreased time to ART initiation and increased retention.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Department of State, Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U01GH000517). BMM and DRB are supported by the National Institutes of Health (U01AI089244, R01NS086312).
- Implementation science
- Retention in care