Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria, South Africa
Globally, the benefits of viral load suppression in improving the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS have been established. In 2010, the South African Government decentralised ART to the primary care level. This study intended to determine the effect of this decentralisation in achieving viral load suppression among patients.
To determine the prevalence of HIV viral load suppression and factors related to the suppression among patients initiated on ART at Pedisong 4 clinic, Tshwane District in Pretoria.
A prospective cohort study was conducted on 98 patients initiated on ART between 01 November 2012 and 30 April 2013. Based on the viral load results, they were divided into those who achieved Viral Load Suppression (VLS), and those who did not (NVLS). Analyses were done using SAS® (version 9.2) for Microsoft software. A p < 0.05 was considered significant.
Ninety patients (91.8%; 95%CI, 84.7% – 95.8%) achieved viral load suppression while eight (8.2%; 95%CI, 4.2% – 15.3%), did not. Of the 98 patients, 63 (64%) were female. In the NVLS group, the female to male ratio was 7:1 (p = 0.038). There was no relationship between viral load suppression and patients’ baseline characteristics, behavioural characteristics and clinical characteristics (p > 0.05). ART adherence reported in both patient groups was ≥ 87.0%.
There was good viral load suppression in patients initiated on ART at Pedisong 4 clinic. Patients’ baseline, behavioural and clinical characteristics were not related to viral load suppression, necessitating further large sample size studies in various health facilities.
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