Virologic suppression and associated factors in HIV infected Ugandan female sex workers: a cross-sectional study

  • Darius Owachi
  • Godwin Anguzu
  • Joanita Kigozi
  • Janneke Cox
  • Barbara Castelnuovo
  • Fred Semitala
  • David Meya
Keywords: HIV infected Ugandans; female sex workers.


Introduction: Key populations have disproportionately higher HIV prevalence rates than the general population.

Objective: To determine the level of virologic suppression and associated factors in female Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) who completed six months of ART and compare with the female general population (GP).

Methods: Clinical records of CSW and GPs who initiated ART between December 2014 to December 2016 from seven urban clinics were analyzed to determine virologic suppression (viral load < 1000 copies/ml) and associated factors.

Results: We identified 218 CSW and 182 female GPs. CSW had median age of 28 (IQR 25-31) vs 31 (IQR 26-37); median baseline CD4 446 (IQR 308-696) vs 352 (IQR 164–493) cells/microL; and optimal ART adherence levels at 70.6% vs 92.8% respectively, compared to GP. Virologic suppression in CSW and GPs was 85.7% and 89.6% respectively, P=0.28. Overall virologic suppression in CSW was 55% while Retention in care after 6 months of ART was 77.5%. Immediate ART initiation (<2weeks) and tuberculosis independently predicted virologic suppression in CSW with adjusted odds ratios 0.07 (95% C.I. 0.01-0.55, P=0.01) and 0.09 (95% C.I. 0.01-0.96, P=0.046) respectively.

Conclusion: Virologic suppression in both groups is similar, however, intensified follow-up is needed to improve treatment outcomes.

Keywoeds: HIV infected Ugandans; female sex workers.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905