Performance and Outcomes of Routine Viral Load Testing in People Living with HIV Newly Initiating ART in the Integrated HIV Care Program in Myanmar between January 2016 and December 2017
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Myanmar has introduced routine viral load (VL) testing for people living with HIV (PLHIV) starting first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART). The first VL test was initially scheduled at 12-months and one year later this changed to 6-months. Using routinely collected secondary data, we assessed program performance of routine VL testing at 12-months and 6-months in PLHIV starting ART in the Integrated HIV-Care Program, Myanmar, from January 2016 to December 2017. There were 7153 PLHIV scheduled
... PLHIV scheduled for VL testing at 12-months and 1976 scheduled for VL testing at 6-months. Among those eligible for testing, the first VL test was performed in 3476 (51%) of the 12-month cohort and 952 (50%) of the 6-month cohort. In the 12-month cohort, 10% had VL > 1000 copies/mL, 79% had repeat VL tests, 42% had repeat VL > 1000 copies/mL (virologic failure) and 85% were switched to second-line ART. In the 6-month cohort, 11% had VL > 1000 copies/mL, 83% had repeat VL tests, 26% had repeat VL > 1000 copies/mL (virologic failure) and 39% were switched to second-line ART. In conclusion, half of PLHIV initiated on ART had VL testing as scheduled at 12-months or 6-months, but fewer PLHIV in the 6-month cohort were diagnosed with virologic failure and switched to second-line ART. Programmatic implications are discussed.