Background: Timely detection of treatment failure with subsequent switch to second-line regimen reduces mortality among HIV infected people on antiretroviral therapy (ART). This paper aims to investigate the detection of immunological treatment failure and switch rate to second line regimen in Ethiopia. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted among HIV infected patients (age > 15 years) who initiated ART between 2007 and 2009. The required data were collected from patient registers and formats. Data were entered and validated using EpiData software and then exported to SPSS version 20.0 for analysis. Odds ratio with 95 % CI was used to assess whether immunological treatment failure was associated with experiencing unfavorable treatment outcomes (death or lost to follow up). Results: Records of 293 patients were reviewed with a total of 1545 Person-Years of Observation (PYO). The median baseline CD4 count was 115 cells/mm<sup>3</sup> (IQR: 64-176). A total of 46 (15.7 %) patients experienced immunological treatment failure. The immunological failure rate was 3.0 per 100 PYO. Treatment was switched to second-line regimen for six (2.1 %) patients. The rate of treatment switch to second-line regimen for any purpose was 0.4 per 100 PYO. Out of the six patients, only two fulfilled the WHO criteria for immunological failure; the remaining four patients had their treatment switched to second-line regimen for other purposes. This implies that only 4.3 % (2/46) of patients with immunological failure were switched to second-line regimen. The risk of experiencing unfavorable outcome was 5.75 (95 % CI 1.11, 29.8) times higher among those who had immunological failure than their counterparts after adjusting for baseline CD4 count. Conclusions: Majority of patients with immunological treatment failures were not detected and continued taking the failed regimen. Further studies are required to assess and explore why patients with immunological failure are not switched to second-line regimen as per the standard protocol.
Teshome, W., & Tefera, A. (2015). Detection of immunological treatment failure among HIV infected patients in Ethiopia: A retrospective cohort study. BMC Immunology, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12865-015-0120-1