Delayed initiation of anti-retroviral therapy in TB/HIV co-infected patients, Sanyati District, Zimbabwe, 2011-2012
Introduction: tuberculosis (TB) remains a public health problem and is driven by HIV. Recent studies indicate that anti-retroviral therapy (ART) initiated during the first two months of anti-TB treatment (ATT) reduces risk of HIV morbidity and mortality. In Sanyati district, 14% of TB/HIV co-infected patients were initiated on ART during TB treatment, in 2010. The study was conducted to determine the magnitude and determinants of delay in ART initiation, in TB/HIV co-infected patients.
Methods: an analytic cross sectional study was conducted at three study sites in Sanyati district. The outcome was delayed ART initiation, being failure to be initiated on ART during the first two months of ATT. Respondents were interviewed using pre-tested questionnaires. Epi-InfoTM was used to generate frequencies, means, odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Stratified and logistic regression analysis was done.
Results: of the 186 respondents, 63% had delayed ART initiation. Median delay from initiation of ATT to ART was 48 days (Q1=20; Q3=82). Risk factors for delayed ART initiation were: being treated for TB first time, AOR=2.23 (p=0.03); initially registered for HIV care outside Sanyati, AOR=3.08 (p<0.01); staying more than 5km from a clinic, AOR=3.29 (p<0.01). Enabling factors for early ART initiation was having a family member on ART, AOR=0.23 (p<0.01).
Conclusion: significant delay and barriers to ART initiation were identified. Decentralization of ART initiation should be expedited. ART initiation should be expedited in patients with identified risk factors for delaying ART initiation. Peer support should be strengthened in families and community. Periodic evaluation of magnitude of delay and impact of early ART initiation in TB/HIV patients is recommended.