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International Journal of Infectious Diseases






Background: HIV clinical care programs are increasingly cognizant of the importance of customizing services according to patients’ clinical stage progression (WHO's four-tiered staging) and other risk assessments. Understanding factors associated with Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) patients’ progression through the treatment cascade and clinical stages is essential for programs to provide patient-centered, evidence-based services.

Methods and materials: To analyze patient characteristics associated with disease progression stages for PLHIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART), this quantitative study used data, from January 2014–June 2019, from 49,460 PLHIV on ART from 241 HIV/AIDS outpatient clinics in 23 health zones in Haut-Katanga and Kinshasa provinces, Democratic Republic of Congo. To assess bivariate and multivariate associations, we performed Chi-square and multinomial logistic regression.

Results: Among PLHIV receiving ART, 4.4% were at stage 4, and 30.7% at stage 3. Those at the less severe stages 2 and 1 constituted 22.9% and 41.9%. After controlling for covariates, patients with no TB were significantly more likely than those with TB (p< = .05) to be at stage 1, rather than 3 or 4 (adjusted odds ratio or AOR, 5.73; confidence interval or CI, 4.98–6.59). Other characteristics significantly associated with higher odds of being at stage 1 included being female (AOR, 1.35; CI, 1.29–1.42), and shorter duration on ART (vs. > 40.37 months); for ART duration less than 3.23 months the AOR was 2.47, for 3.23–14.52 months duration the AOR was 2.60, and for 14.53–40.37 months duration the AOR was 1.77 (quartile cut points used). Compared to patients in urban health zones, those in rural (AOR, 0.32) and semi-rural health zones (AOR, 0.79) were less likely to be at stage 1.

Conclusion: Significant and substantial variation in HIV clinical progression stage by geographic location and demographic characteristics existed, indicative of the need for targeted efforts to improve the effectiveness of HIV care. Patients with TB coinfection compared to those without coinfection had a much greater risk of being at stage 3 or 4, implying a need for customized approaches and clinical regimens for this high-risk population.


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