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Glob Health Sci Pract. 2019 Dec 23;7(4):575-584. doi: 10.9745/GHSP-D-19-00210. Print 2019 Dec 23.

Effects of a Peer-Led Intervention on HIV Care Continuum Outcomes Among Contacts of Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults Living With HIV in Zimbabwe.

Author information

1
Africaid Zvandiri, Harare, Zimbabwe. talent.tapera@gmail.com.
2
Africaid Zvandiri, Harare, Zimbabwe.
3
Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe.
4
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe.
5
National Institute for Medical Research, Muhimbili Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
6
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France.
7
National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Lung Disease Program, Nairobi, Kenya.
8
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, South-East Asia Office, New Delhi, India.
9
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur, India.
10
Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya, Mangaluru, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Africaid Zvandiri, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) in Zimbabwe, implemented a comprehensive, peer-led program, focused on children, adolescents, and young adults living with HIV aged 0-24 years. The peers, known as community adolescent treatment supporters (CATS), are people living with HIV (PLHIV) aged 18-24 years who are trained and mentored to support their peers throughout the HIV care continuum through support groups, home visits, phone call reminders, and messages. We report the HIV care continuum outcomes (HIV testing uptake, antiretroviral therapy [ART] uptake, retention, and viral suppression) in a cohort of household contacts and sexual partners (aged younger than 25 years) of index children, adolescents, and young adults living with HIV identified by CATS from October 2017 to September 2018 in 24 districts of Zimbabwe.

METHODS:

This was a retrospective cohort study involving analysis of routine program data, extracted from electronic databases consisting of data on contacts of index PLHIV and ART outcomes. We used April 30, 2019, as the censor date for all analyses.

RESULTS:

A total of 15,223 household contacts and sexual partners with unknown HIV status (linked to 9,353 index PLHIV) were identified and referred for HIV testing. Of these, 12,114 (79.6%) were tested and 1,193 (9.8%) were HIV-positive. Of the latter, 1,153 (96.6%) were initiated on ART with 99% starting on the day of diagnosis. Of those on ART, 1,151 (99.8%) were alive on ART at 6 months and 2 (0.2%) died. A total of 1,044 (91%) children, adolescents, and young people living with HIV underwent viral load testing at 6 months or later, of whom 1,037 (99.3%) were virally suppressed (<1000 copies/ml).

CONCLUSION:

These findings add to the global evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of peer-led interventions in children, adolescents, and young adults living with HIV and justify the decision of the MOHCC in Zimbabwe to scale-up the model nationally. Future research should aim to understand the reasons for the gaps in HIV testing and viral load testing using qualitative research.

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