University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

Strategies To Improve Linkage To HIV Care In Urban Areas Of Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-332
Number of pages12
JournalHIV/AIDS - Research and Palliative Care
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019

Abstract

Of the 37 million people estimated to be living with HIV globally in 2017, about 24.7 million were in the sub-Saharan Africa region, which has been and remains worst affected by the epidemic. Enrolment of newly diagnosed individuals into care in the region, however, remains poor with up to 54% not being linked to care. Linkage to care is a very important step in the HIV cascade as it is the precursor to initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART), retention in care, and viral suppression. A systematic review was conducted to gather information regarding the strategies that have been documented to increase linkage to care of Persons living with HIV(PLHIV) in urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa. An electronic search was conducted on Scopus, Cochrane central, CINAHL Plus, PubMed and OpenGrey for linkage strategies implemented from 2006. A total of 189 potentially relevant citations were identified, of which 7 were eligible for inclusion. The identified strategies were categorized using themes from literature. The most common strategies included: health system interventions (i.e. comprehensive care, task shifting); patient convenience and accessibility (i.e. immediate CD4 count testing, immediate ART initiation, community HIV testing); behavior interventions and peer support (i.e. assisted partner services, care facilitation, mobile phone appointment reminders, health education) and incentives (i.e. non-cash financial incentives and transport reimbursement). Several strategies showed favorable outcomes: comprehensive care, immediate CD4 count testing, immediate ART initiation, and assisted partner services. Assisted partner services, same day home-based ART initiation, combination intervention strategies and point-of-care CD4 testing significantly improved linkage to care in urban settings of sub-Saharan African region. They can be delivered either in a health facility or in the community but should be facilitated by health workers. There is, however, the need to conduct more linkage-specific studies in the sub-region.

Notes

© 2019 Koduah Owusu et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

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