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Type: Journal article
Title: Factors associated with loss to follow-up among women in Option B+ PMTCT programme in northeast Ethiopia: a retrospective cohort study
Author: Mitiku, I.
Arefayne, M.
Tefera, Y.M.
Gizaw, M.
Citation: Journal of the International AIDS Society, 2016; 19(1):1-8
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1758-2652
Statement of
Israel Mitiku, Mastewal Arefayne, Yonatal Mesfin and Muluken Gizaw
Abstract: Introduction: Ethiopia has recently adopted lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all HIV-positive pregnant and breastfeeding women (Option B+ strategy), regardless of CD4 count or clinical stage. However, the exact timing and predictors of loss to follow-up (LFU) are unknown. Thus, we examined the levels and determinants of LFU under Option B+ among pregnant and breastfeeding women initiated on lifelong ART for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in Ethiopia. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study among 346 pregnant and breastfeeding women who started ART at 14 public health facilities in northeast Ethiopia from March 2013 to April 2015. We defined LFU as 90 days since the last clinic visit among those not known to have died or transferred out.We used Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate cumulative LFU and identify the predictors of LFU, respectively. Results: Of the 346 women included, 88.4% were pregnant and the median follow-up was 13.7 months. Overall, 57 (16.5%) women were LFU. The cumulative proportions of LFU at 6, 12 and 24 months were 11.9, 15.7 and 22.6%, respectively. The risk of LFU was higher in younger women (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 18 to 24 years/30 to 40 years: 2.3; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2 to 4.5), in those attending hospitals compared to those attending health centres (aHR: 1.8; 95% CI: 1.1 to 3.2), in patients starting ART on the same day of diagnosis (aHR: 1.85; 95% CI: 1.1 to 3.2) and missing CD4 cell counts at ART initiation (aHR: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2 to 4.4). Conclusions: The level of LFU we found in this study is comparable with previous findings from other resource-limited settings. However, high early LFU shortly after ART initiation is still a major problem. LFU was high among younger women, those initiating ART on the day of HIV diagnosis, those missing baseline CD4 count and those attending hospitals. Thus, targeted HIV care and treatment programmes for these patients should be part of future interventions to improve retention in care under the Option B+ PMTCT programme.
Keywords: Loss to follow-up; Option B+; Ethiopia
Rights: Copyright: © 2016 Mitiku I et al; licensee International AIDS Society. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
DOI: 10.7448/IAS.19.1.20662
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