Original Research

HIV viral load testing coverage and timeliness after implementation of the wellness anniversary in a paediatric and adolescent HIV clinic in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Sibusiso E. Kubheka, Moherndran Archary, Kevindra K. Naidu
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 21, No 1 | a1016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v21i1.1016 | © 2020 Sibusiso E. Kubheka, Moherndran Archary, Kevindra K. Naidu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 July 2019 | Published: 03 February 2020

About the author(s)

Sibusiso E. Kubheka, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, College of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Moherndran Archary, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, College of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Kevindra K. Naidu, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The UNAIDS 2020 Global strategy to reduce the transmission of HIV includes ensuring HIV viral load (VL) testing coverage of at least 90% on all patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Routine VL monitoring has been shown to result in earlier detection of treatment failure, timely regimen switches, promotion of adherence to treatment and improved survival. We wanted to assess the introduction of the wellness anniversary in improving routine viral load monitoring.

Objectives: We retrospectively assessed effects of the wellness anniversary on routine VL coverage, timeliness and suppression rates.

Method: The month when the patient initiated ART was designated as the wellness anniversary. On the anniversary month a package of care, which included a routine VL, was delivered. We conducted a retrospective chart audit to assess VL coverage and timeliness between two time periods, from January 2016 to December 2016 (pre-implementation) and from January 2017 to December 2017 (post-implementation).

Results: Timeliness of VL testing improved from 27.5% in the pre-implementation cohort to 49.7% in the post-implementation cohort. Our study showed high VL testing coverage before the implementation of the wellness anniversary with an average of 98.3% VL. There was a significant correlation between timeliness and VL suppression (VLS) in the post-implementation group.

Conclusion: Implementation of the wellness anniversary may improve timeliness of routine VL testing in settings with high VL coverage. Studies looking at the effect of timeliness on VLS and clinical outcomes are needed.


Keywords

HIV; Viral Load Monitoring; Children; Paediatrics; Infectious Diseases

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