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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria having the third highest burden of HIV infection globally; efforts are made to increases access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment. This has currently reached rural areas with limited manpower and laboratory evaluation capacity. This review is necessitated by the paucity of interim report on treatment profile in Nigerian rural areas. We report on the immunological profile of patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Otukpo General Hospital, a rural Nigerian hospital. This is a retrospective cohort study of patients receiving ART treatment and care, on April 2009, when 2347 patients were under ART therapy. Out of these, 96 patients were selected by simple random sampling from hospital register, with their data abstracted from standardized Ministry of Health registers and facility documents kept at the hospital, and analyzed for descriptive and biometric measures. Ninty-six patients (29% males) with a median age of 35 years, median baseline CD4 lymphocyte count 221 cells/mL, median one year CD4 lymphocyte count of 356 cells/mL and median one year CD4 lymphocyte increment of 124 cells/mL were studied. There is no statistically significant difference in baseline CD4 lymphocyte count when data is disaggregated by type of drug regimen (AZT, D4T and TDF). Fourty-four percent, 23% and 33% of patients were on TDF, D4T & AZT based regimen, respectively (P=0.66). Increment of >100 cells/mL was seen in 64.58% of the reviewed patients. There was a higher CD4 lymphocyte count increment in patients on TDF & D4T compared with those in AZT based regimens (ANOVA; P<0.0003). Multivariate linear regression model showed one year CD4 lymphocyte count, one year increment in CD4 lymphocyte count, WBC count, and absolute neutrophil count to be significant correlates of baseline CD4 lymphocyte count (P<0.0001). Equally, multivariate logistic regression found age, platelet count and CD4 lymphocyte count at 12 months showed to be significant predictors of CD4 lymphocyte increment above 100 cells/µL (P<0.0001). Despite advanced disease presentation and a very large-scale program, high quality HIV/AIDS care was achieved as indicated by good short-term, immunologic outcomes, while TDF & D4T induce higher immunological recovery compared with AZT. This report suggests that quality HIV care and treatment can be effective despite the challenges of a resource-limited setting.
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