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Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Jan 15;42(2):252-9. Epub 2005 Dec 12.

Response to antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected patients attending a public, urban clinic in Kampala, Uganda.

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Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



Access to antiretroviral therapy and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care is increasing in resource-limited settings. We evaluated clinical, behavioral, and demographic risk factors associated with virologic suppression in a public, urban clinic in Kampala, Uganda.


We conducted a cross-sectional, observational study of 137 HIV-infected patients who were receiving antiretroviral therapy at the infectious diseases clinic at Mulago Hospital (Kampala). We measured the prevalence of viral suppression, evaluated risk factors associated with virologic failure, and documented phenotypic resistance patterns and genotypic mutations.


A total of 91 (66%) of 137 participants had an undetectable viral load (< 400 copies/mL) after a median duration of 38 weeks (interquartile range, 24-62 weeks) of antiretroviral therapy. Median CD4 cell count was 163 cells/mm3 (interquartile range, 95-260 cells/mm3). The majority of the patients (91%) were treated with nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor-based 3-drug regimens. In multivariate analysis, treatment with the first antiretroviral regimen was associated with viral suppression (odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-6.1). In contrast, a history of unplanned treatment interruption was associated with virologic treatment failure (odds ratio, 0.2; 95% confidence interval, 0.1-0.6). Of 124 participants treated with nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, 27 (22%) were documented to have experienced virologic treatment failure. The most common mutation detected was K103N (found in 14 of 27 patients with virologic treatment failure).


Although many HIV-infected people treated in Kampala, Uganda, have advanced HIV disease, the majority of patients who received antiretroviral therapy experienced viral suppression and clinical benefit. Because of the frequent use of nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor-based therapy, the majority of resistance was against this drug class. In resource-limited settings, initiation of therapy with a potent, durable regimen, accompanied by stable drug supplies, will optimize the likelihood of viral suppression.

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