Predictors of loss to follow-up among children attending HIV clinic in a hospital in rural Kenya
Introduction: African studies have reported high rates of loss to follow up (LTFU) among children in HIV care and treatment centres. Factors associated with LTFU may vary across populations. Few studies have been conducted among HIV infected children in care in rural areas of Kenya.
Methods: this involved children aged less than 15 years on follow up at Kangundo Level 4 Hospital HIV clinic from January 2010 to December 2015. We obtained sociodemographic and clinical information from patient files and electronic databases. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were conducted to identify factors predictive of LTFU.
Results: a total of 261 HIV-infected children were followed up. The mean age was 10.0 years (IQR, 7-13) and median CD4 count of 582cells/ul (IQR 314-984). By December 2015, 171 children (65.5%) remained in active care, 32 (12.3%) transferred out, 13 (5%) died, while 45 (17.2%) were classified as LTFU. Out of the 45 children presumed as LTFU, we traced 44 out of the 45 children (98%) and found that their actual current status was as follows: 33 of the 44 children (75.0%) had dropped out of care (true LTFU). Factors strongly predictive of LTFU included low caregiver level of education (HR 2.3, 1.9-3.9, P = 0.001), WHO stage I and II at enrolment (HR 1.6, 1.4-2.1, P = 0.05).
Conclusion: LTFU of HIV infected children was common with an incidence of 32.9 per 1000 child years and occurred early in treatment and risk factors included poverty, low caregiver education, male child and early HIV disease stage.