n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Loss to initiation on antiretroviral treatment (ART) after voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) at two VCT centres near Pretoria, South Africa : HIV and AIDS

Supplement 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Anecdotal evidence and published data suggest that many patients are lost in the transition from voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiation. This study aimed to identify the proportion of patients who fail to proceed from VCT to ART initiation within six months. Records of all patients who tested HIV positive at two VCT centres in South Africa, from 1 April 2009 to 30 June 2009, were selected for the study. Patients eligible for ART were identified, based on their CD4+ count ≤ 200 cells/mm3. An electronic patient database (SOZO) was used to track patients and determine whether they had attended pre-ART visits and whether they commenced ART. Patients were regarded as lost to initiation on ART if there was no proof that they attended pre-ART visits or finally accessed treatment within six months. More than half 63.9% (n=360) of the patients eligible for treatment at the two VCT centres did not commence ART within a period of six months. The majority of patients lost to initiation on ART (52.6 %) were lost before collecting their CD4+ count results. Evidently a high percentage of patients in need of ART is not receiving treatment and the majority of these patients are lost early in the process. These results suggest a need for urgent intervention to improve ART uptake.

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