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Int J STD AIDS. 2013 Jan;24(1):42-9. doi: 10.1177/0956462412472312. Epub 2013 May 6.

Factors associated with timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy in two HIV clinics in Lilongwe, Malawi.

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University of North Carolina.


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 30% of eligible, HIV-infected individuals start antiretroviral therapy (ART). This study seeks to explore the geographic and individual factors associated with starting ART on time. This retrospective study includes 15,734 HIV-positive adults initiating ART at two HIV clinics in Lilongwe, Malawi. The outcome was starting ART within two weeks of meeting ART eligibility as defined by the Malawi ART guidelines. Euclidean distance from patient neighbourhood to their clinic was calculated using Google Earth. Logistic regression models assessed factors influencing starting ART on time. Of 15,734 adults initiating ART, 8178 were from Lighthouse (LH) and 7556 were from Martin Preuss Center (MPC). Combined, 68.7% started treatment on time. Patients who were eligible for ART based on a CD4 cell count <250 cells/mm(3) versus WHO stage were less likely to begin ART on time at both LH (odds ratio [OR] 0.16; 95% CI 0.13-0.19) and MPC (OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.21-0.28). Likelihood of starting on time decreased with each kilometer further from clinic location among LH patients (OR 0.97; 95% CI 0.94-0.99); distance was not significant at MPC. In conclusion, predictors differed by clinic. Distance to clinic and type of eligibility for ART significantly influence starting ART on time.


ART eligibility; Africa; GIS; HIV; access to care; antiretroviral therapy; geographic information systems; loss to follow-up; time to start treatment; treatment

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