UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Rates and Correlates of Short Term Virologic Response among Treatment-Naïve HIV-Infected Children Initiating Antiretroviral Therapy in Ethiopia: A Multi-Center Prospective Cohort Study Tadesse, Birkneh Tilahun; Chala, Adugna; Mukonzo, Jackson; Chaka, Tolosssa Eticha; Tadesse, Sintayehu; Makonnen, Eyasu; Brumme, Zabrina L.; Brumme, Chanson J.; Aklillu, Eleni


There is limited data on virologic outcome and its correlates among HIV-infected children in resource-limited settings. We investigated rate and correlates of virologic outcome among treatment naïve HIV-infected Ethiopian children initiating cART, and were followed prospectively at baseline, 8, 12, 24 and 48 weeks using plasma viral load, clinical examination, laboratory tests and pretreatment HIV drug resistance (PDR) screening. Virologic outcome was assessed using two endpoints–virological suppression defined as having “undetectable” plasma viral load < 150 RNA copies/mL, and rebound defined as viral load ≥150 copies/mL after achieving suppression. Cox Proportional Hazards Regression was employed to assess correlates of outcome. At the end of follow up, virologic outcome was measured for 110 participants. Overall, 94(85.5%) achieved virological suppression, of which 36(38.3%) experienced virologic rebound. At 48 weeks, 9(8.2%) children developed WHO-defined virological treatment failure. Taking tenofovir-containing regimen (Hazard Ratio (HR) 3.1-[95% confidence interval (95%CI) 1.0–9.6], p = 0.049) and absence of pretreatment HIV drug resistance (HR 11.7-[95%CI 1.3–104.2], p = 0.028) were independently associated with earlier virologic suppression. In conclusion, PDR and cART regimen type correlate with rate of virologic suppression which was prominent during the first year of cART initiation. However, the impact of viral rebound in 38.3% of the children needs evaluation.

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