• Effect of community antiretroviral therapy on treatment outcomes among stable antiretroviral therapy patients in Nigeria: A quasi experimental study

      Dakum, Patrick; Ajav-Nyior, Juliet; Attah, Timothy A; Kayode, Gbenga A; Gomwalk, Asabe; Omuh, Helen; Ibrahim, Halima; Omozuafoh, Mercy; Alash'le, Abimiku; Mensah, Charles; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2021-04-26)
      Objectives: This study evaluates the effect of Community Anti-retroviral Groups on Immunologic, Virologic and clinical outcomes of stable Antiretroviral Therapy patients in Nigeria. Method: A cohort of 251 eligible adults (≥18 years) on first-line ART for at least 6 months with CD4 counts >200 cells/mm3 and viral load <1000 c/ml were devolved from 10 healthcare facilities to 51 community antiretroviral therapy groups. Baseline immunologic, virologic and clinical parameters were collected and community antiretroviral therapy group patients were followed up for a year after which Human Immunodeficiency Virus treatment outcomes at the baseline and a year after follow-up were compared using paired sample t-test. All the analyses were performed in STATA version 14. Result: Out of the 251 stable antiretroviral therapy adults enrolled, 186 (75.3%) were female, 52 (22.7%) had attained post-secondary education and the mean age of participants was 38 years (SD: 9.5). Also, 66 (27.9%) were employed while 125 (52.7%) were self-employed and 46(19.41%) unemployed. 246 (98.0%) of the participants were retained in care. While there was no statistically significant change in the CD4 counts (456cells/mm3 vs 481cells/mm3 P-0.489) and Log10 viral load (3.54c/ml vs 3.69c/ml P-0.359) after one year of devolvement into the community, we observed a significant increase in body weight (60.8 vs 65, P-0.01). Conclusion: This study demonstrates that community antiretroviral therapy has a potential of maintaining optimum treatment outcomes while improving adherence and retention, and reducing the burden of HIV treatment on the health facility. This study provides baseline information for further research and vital information for HIV program implementers planning to decentralize the management of stable antiretroviral therapy clients.