We measured the effect of point-of-care (POC) early infant HIV testing on antiretroviral therapy initiation rates and retention in care among infants in Mozambique.
A cluster-randomized trial was conducted in 16 primary healthcare centres providing either on-site POC arm (n = 8) or referred laboratory [standard-of-care (SOC) arm; n = 8] infant HIV testing.
The primary outcomes were the proportion of HIV-positive infants initiating antiretroviral therapy within 60 days of sample collection, and the proportion of HIV-positive infants who initiated antiretroviral therapy that were retained in care at 90 days of follow-up.
The proportion of HIV-positive infants initiating antiretroviral therapy within 60 days of sample collection was 89.7% (157 of 175) for the POC arm and 12.8% (13 of 102) for the SOC arm [relative risk (RR)(adj) 7.34; P < 0.001]. The proportion of HIV-positive infants who initiated antiretroviral therapy that were retained in care at 90 days of follow-up was 61.6% (101 of 164) for the POC arm and 42.9% (21 of 49) for the SOC arm [RR(adj) 1.40; P < 0.027]. The median time from sample collection to antiretroviral therapy initiation was less than 1 day (interquartile range: 0–1) for the POC arm and 127 days (44–154; P < 0.001) for the SOC arm.
POC infant HIV testing enabled clinics to more rapidly diagnose and provide treatment to HIV-infected infants. This reduced opportunities for pretreatment loss to follow-up and enabled a larger proportion of infants to receive test results and initiate antiretroviral therapy. The benefits of faster HIV diagnosis and antiretroviral treatment may also improve early retention in care.
aInstituto Nacional de Saúde
bClinton Health Access Initiative
cDepartment of Mathematics and Informatics, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique.
Correspondence to Ilesh V. Jani, MD, PhD, Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Av. Eduardo Mondlane 1008, 2nd floor, Maputo, Mozambique. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 28 November, 2017
Revised 21 February, 2018
Accepted 17 March, 2018