Original Research

Retention in care for adolescents who were newly initiated on antiretroviral therapy in the Cape Metropole in South Africa

Brian van Wyk, Ebrahim Kriel, Ferdinand Mukumbang
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 21, No 1 | a1077 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v21i1.1077 | © 2020 Brian van Wyk, Ebrahim Kriel, Ferdinand Mukumbang | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 February 2020 | Published: 22 July 2020

About the author(s)

Brian van Wyk, School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Ebrahim Kriel, School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Ferdinand Mukumbang, School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Long-term retention of adolescents aged 10 -19 years on antiretroviral therapy (ART) is crucial to achieve viral load suppression. However, it is reported globally that adolescents have lower retention in care (RiC) on ART, compared with children and adults.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence and predictors of RiC of adolescents over 2 years following initiation onto ART in public health facilities in the Metropole District Health Services of the Western Cape province in 2013.

Methods: Data of 220 adolescent patients who were newly initiated on ART in 2013 were extracted from the provincial electronic database, and subjected to univariate and bivariate analyses using SPSS.

Results: The rate of RiC post-initiation was low throughout the study period, that is, 68.6%, 50.5% and 36.4% at 4, 12 and 24 months, respectively. The corresponding post-initiation viral load suppression levels on ART of those remaining in care and who had viral loads monitored were 84.1%, 77.4% and 68.8% at 4, 12 and 24 months, respectively. Retention in care after initiation on ART was higher amongst younger adolescents (10-14 years), compared with older adolescents (15-19 years). Male adolescents were significantly more likely to be retained, compared with females. Pregnant adolescents were significantly less likely to be retained compared with those who were not pregnant.

Conclusion: Key interventions are needed to motivate adolescents to remain in care, and to adhere to their treatment regimen to achieve the target of 90% viral load suppression, with specific emphasis on older and pregnant adolescents.


Keywords

HIV; AIDS; adolescents; youth; retention in care

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