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Equity of child and adolescent treatment, continuity of care and mortality, according to age and gender among enrollees in a large HIV programme in Tanzania

Journal title
Journal of the International AIDS Society
Publication year
Chaudhury, S.; Hertzmark, E.; Muya, A.; Sando, D.; Ulenga, N.; Machumi, L.; Spiegelman, D.; Fawzi, W. W.
21 Suppl 1

INTRODUCTION: Global scale up of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) has led to expansion of HIV treatment and prevention across sub-Saharan Africa. However, age and gender-specific disparities persist leading to failures in fulfillment of Sustainability Development Goals, including SDG3 (achieving healthy lives and wellbeing for all, at all ages) and SDG5 (gender equality). We assessed ART initiation and adherence, loss to follow-up, all-cause death and early death, according to SDG3 and SDG5 indicators among a cohort of HIV-infected children and adolescents enrolled in care in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania METHODS: SDG3 indicators included young (<5 years) and older paediatric children (5 to <10 years), early adolescent (10 to <15 years) and late adolescent (15 to <20 years) age group divisions and the SDG5 indicator was gender. Associations of age group and gender with ART initiation, loss to follow-up and all-cause death, were analysed using Cox proportional hazards regression and with adherence, using generalized estimating equations (GEE) with the Poisson distribution. Associations of age group and gender with early death were analysed, using log-Poisson regression with empirical variance. RESULTS: A total of 18,315 enrollees with at least one clinic visit were included in this cohort study. Of these 7238 (40%) were young paediatric , 4169 (23%) older paediatric, 2922 (16%) early adolescent and 3986 (22%) late adolescent patients at enrolment. Just over half of paediatric and early adolescents and around four fifths of the late adolescents were female. Young paediatric patients were at greater risk of early death, being almost twice as likely to die within 90 days. Males were at greater risk of early death once initiated on ART (HR 1.35, 95% CI 1.09, 1.66)), while females in late adolescence were at greatest risk of late death (HR 2.44 [1.60, 3.74] <0.01). Late adolescents demonstrated greater non-engagement in care (RR 1.21 (95% CI 1.16, 1.26)). Among both males and females, early paediatric and late adolescent groups experienced significantly greater loss to follow-up. CONCLUSION: These findings highlight equity concerns critical to the fulfillment of SDG3 and SDG5 within services for children and adolescents living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Young paediatric and late adolescent age groups were at increased risk of late diagnosis, early death, delayed treatment initiation and loss of continuity of care. Males were more likely to die earlier. Special attention to SDG3 and SDG5 disparities for children and adolescents living with HIV will be critical for fulfillment of the 2030 SDG agenda.

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