Longitudinal evaluation of adherence, retention, and transition patterns of adolescents living with HIV in Nigeria

Seema T. Meloni, Patricia Agaba, Charlotte A. Chang, Esther Yiltok, Stephen Oguche, Emeka Ejeliogu, Oche Agbaji, Prosper Okonkwo, Phyllis J. Kanki, Bruce A. Larson
2020 PLoS ONE  
Adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and retention in treatment programs are required for successful virologic suppression and treatment outcomes. As the number of adolescents living with HIV continues to increase globally, more information about adherence and retention patterns during and through transition from child- to adult-centered care is needed to ensure provision of a high level of care and inform development of targeted interventions to improve patient outcomes in this vulnerable
more » ... in this vulnerable population. In this analysis, we sought to describe long-term trends in adherence, retention, and virologic suppression in adolescents receiving ART at a pediatric HIV clinic in Nigeria through transition to the adult clinic. The Jos University Teaching Hospital, United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded HIV clinic in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. We conducted a retrospective observational longitudinal evaluation of data that had been collected during the course of care in a large pediatric ART program in Nigeria. We used descriptive statistics to define our patient population and quantify retention from ART initiation through adolescence and transition to adult-centered care. Logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors of loss to follow-up. We used medication possession ratio (MPR) to quantify adherence for each year a patient was on ART. To evaluate adherence and virologic suppression, we measured the proportion of patients with ≥95% MPR and the proportion with virologic suppression (viral load ≤400 copies/mL) within each age cohort, and used bivariate analyses to examine any association between MPR and VL suppression for all person-years observed. A total of 476 patients received at least one dose of ART as an adolescent (ages 10-19 years). The proportions of patients lost to follow-up were: 11.9% (71/597) prior to adolescence, 19.1% (31/162) during adolescence, and 13.7% (10/73) during transition to adult-centered care. While over 80% of patients had ≥95% medication adherence in all age groups, their viral load suppression rates through adolescence and post-transition were only 55.6%-64.0%. For patients that successfully transitioned to adult-centered care, we observed 87.7% (50/57) retention at month 12 post-transition, but only 34.6% (9/26) viral load suppression. Our evaluation found considerable proportions of adolescents lost to follow-up throughout the ART program cascade. We also found discrepancies between the proportions of patients with ≥95% MPR and the proportions with VL suppression, suggesting that true medication adherence in this population may be poor. Significant attention and targeted interventions to improve retention and adherence focused on adolescents are needed in order for global programs to achieve 90-90-90 goals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0236801 pmid:32735566 fatcat:5pwyut2sdvd5vj2sxakbae5w44