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1.  Systemic delays in the initiation of antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy do not improve outcomes of HIV-positive mothers: a cohort study 
Background
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation in eligible HIV-infected pregnant women is an important intervention to promote maternal and child health. Increasing the duration of ART received before delivery plays a major role in preventing vertical HIV transmission, but pregnant women across Africa experience significant delays in starting ART, partly due the perceived need to deliver ART counseling and patient education before ART initiation. We examined whether delaying ART to provide pre-ART counseling was associated with improved outcomes among HIV-infected women in Cape Town, South Africa.
Methods
We undertook a retrospective cohort study of 490 HIV-infected pregnant women referred to initiate treatment at an urban ART clinic. At this clinic all patients including pregnant women are screened by a clinician and then undergo three sessions of counseling and patient education prior to starting treatment, commonly introducing delays of 2–4 weeks before ART initiation. Data on viral suppression and retention in care after ART initiation were taken from routine clinic records.
Results
A total of 382 women initiated ART before delivery (78%); ART initiation before delivery was associated with earlier gestational age at presentation to the ART service (p < 0.001). The median delay between screening and ART initiation was 21 days (IQR, 14–29 days). Overall, 84.7%, 79.6% and 75.0% of women who were pregnant at the time of ART initiation were retained in care at 4, 8 and 12 months after ART initiation, respectively. Among those retained, 91% were virally suppressed at each follow-up visit. However the delay from screening to ART initiation was not associated with retention in care and/or viral suppression throughout the first year on ART in unadjusted or adjusted analyses.
Conclusions
A substantial proportion of eligible pregnant women referred for ART do not begin treatment before delivery in this setting. Among women who do initiate ART, delaying initiation for patient preparation is not associated with improved maternal outcomes. Given the need to maximize the duration of ART before delivery for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, there is an urgent need for new strategies to help expedite ART initiation in eligible pregnant women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-94
PMCID: PMC3490939  PMID: 22963318
Antiretroviral therapy; Pregnancy; Patient preparation; Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT); HIV/AIDS; South Africa
2.  Correlates of Delayed Diagnosis among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Pulmonary Tuberculosis Suspects in a Rural HIV Clinic, South Africa 
Background. Delay in pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) diagnosis is one of the major factors that affect outcome and threatens continued spread of tuberculosis. This study aimed at determining factors associated with delayed PTB diagnosis among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals. Methods. A retrospective observational study was done using clinic records of HIV-infected PTB suspects attending an HIV/AIDS clinic at Tintswalo rural hospital in South Africa (SA) between January 2006 and December 2007. Using routine clinic registers, 480 records were identified. Results. PTB diagnosis delay was found among 77/176 (43.8%) of the patients diagnosed with PTB. The mean delay of PTB diagnosis was 170.6 days; diagnosis delay ranged 1–30 days in 27 (35.1%) patients, 31–180 days in 24 (33.8%) patients; 24 (31.2%) patients remained undiagnosed for ≥180 days. Independent factors associated with delayed diagnosis were: older age >40 years (Odds Ratio (OR) 3.43, 95% CI 1.45–8.08) and virological failure (OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.09–6.74). Conclusion. There is a considerable delayed PTB diagnosis among HIV-infected patients in rural SA. Older patients as well as patients with high viral load are at a higher risk of PTB diagnosis delay. Therefore efforts to reduce PTB diagnosis delay need to emphasised.
doi:10.1155/2012/827148
PMCID: PMC3384891  PMID: 22778946

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