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The first six months of HIV care and treatment are very important for long-term outcome. Early mortality (within 6 months of care initiation) undermines care and treatment goals. This study assessed the temporal distribution in baseline characteristics and early mortality among HIV patients at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria from 2006–2013. Factors associated with early mortality were also investigated. This was a retrospective analysis of data from 14 857 patients enrolled for care and treatment at the adult antiretroviral clinic of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria. Effects of factors associated with early mortality were summarised using a hazard ratio with a 95% confidence interval obtained from Cox proportional hazard regression models. The mean age of the subjects was 36.4 (SD = 10.2) years with females being in the majority (68.1%). While patients’ demographic characteristics remained virtually the same over time, there was significant decline in the prevalence of baseline opportunistic infections (2006–2007 = 55.2%; 2011–2013 = 38.0%). Overall, 460 (3.1%) patients were known to have died within 6 months of enrollment in care/treatment. There was no significant trend in incidence of early mortality. Factors associated with early mortality include: male sex, HIV encephalopathy, low CD4 count (< 50 cells), and anaemia. To reduce early mortality, community education should be promoted, timely access to care and treatment should be facilitated and the health system further strengthened to care for high risk patients.
Keywords: Anaemia, CD4 count, early mortality, HIV, Nigeria, opportunistic infections, patient characteristics, trends