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J Int AIDS Soc. 2015 May 27;18:19984. doi: 10.7448/IAS.18.1.19984. eCollection 2015.

Implementation of community-based adherence clubs for stable antiretroviral therapy patients in Cape Town, South Africa.

Author information

1
Division of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; agrimsrud@gmail.com.
2
The Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
3
Gugulethu Community Health Centre, Provincial Government of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.
4
Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
5
Division of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Community-based models of antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery have been recommended to support ART expansion and retention in resource-limited settings. However, the evidence base for community-based models of care is limited. We describe the implementation of community-based adherence clubs (CACs) at a large, public-sector facility in peri-urban Cape Town, South Africa.

METHODS:

Starting in May 2012, stable ART patients were down-referred from the primary care community health centre (CHC) to CACs. Eligibility was based on self-reported adherence, >12 months on ART and viral suppression. CACs were facilitated by four community health workers and met every eight weeks for group counselling, a brief symptom screen and distribution of pre-packed ART. The CACs met in community venues for all visits including annual blood collection and clinical consultations. CAC patients could send a patient-nominated treatment supporter ("buddy") to collect their ART at alternate CAC visits. Patient outcomes [mortality, loss to follow-up and viral rebound (>1000 copies/ml)] during the first 18 months of the programme are described using Kaplan-Meier methods.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:

From June 2012 to December 2013, 74 CACs were established, each with 25-30 patients, providing ART to 2133 patients. CAC patients were predominantly female (71%) and lived within 3 km of the facility (70%). During the analysis period, 9 patients in a CAC died (<0.1%), 53 were up-referred for clinical complications (0.3%) and 573 CAC patients sent a buddy to at least one CAC visit (27%). After 12 months in a CAC, 6% of patients were lost to follow-up and fewer than 2% of patients retained experienced viral rebound.

CONCLUSIONS:

Over a period of 18 months, a community-based model of care was rapidly implemented decentralizing more than 2000 patients in a high-prevalence, resource-limited setting. The fundamental challenge for this out of facility model was ensuring that patients receiving ART within a CAC were viewed as an extension of the facility and part of the responsibility of CHC staff. Further research is needed to support down-referral sooner after ART initiation and to describe patient experiences of community-based ART delivery.

KEYWORDS:

ART delivery; community-based; decentralization; loss to follow-up; models of care; task shifting

PMID:
26022654
PMCID:
PMC4444752
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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