Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 137  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1145-1153

Immunologic response among HIV-infected patients enrolled in a graduated cost-recovery programme of antiretroviral therapy delivery in Chennai, India


1 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA; YR Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research & Education, Chennai, India
2 YR Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research & Education, Chennai, India
3 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA
4 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA

Correspondence Address:
Suniti Solomon
Director, YR Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research & Education, VHS Adyar, Taramani, Chennai 600 113, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 23852295

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Background & objectives: Sustainability of free antiretroviral therapy (ART) roll out programmes in resource-limited settings is challenging given the need for lifelong therapy and lack of effective vaccine. This study was undertaken to compare treatment outcomes among HIV-infected patients enrolled in a graduated cost-recovery programme of ART delivery in Chennai, India. Methods: Financial status of patients accessing care at a tertiary care centre, YRGCARE, Chennai, was assessed using an economic survey; patients were distributed into tiers 1- 4 requiring them to pay 0, 50, 75 or 100 per cent of their medication costs, respectively. A total of 1754 participants (ART naοve = 244) were enrolled from February 2005-January 2008 with the following distribution: tier 1=371; tier 2=338; tier 3=693; tier 4=352. Linear regression models with generalized estimating equations were used to examine immunological response among patients across the four tiers. Results: Median age was 34; 73 per cent were male, and the majority were on nevirapine-based regimens. Median follow up was 11.1 months. The mean increase in CD4 cell count within the 1 st three months of HAART was 50.3 cells/μl per month in tier 1. Compared to those in tier 1, persons in tiers 2, 3 and 4 had comparable increases (49.7, 57.0, and 50.9 cells/μl per month, respectively). Increases in subsequent periods (3-18 and >18 months) were also comparable across tiers. No differential CD4 gains across tiers were observed when the analysis was restricted to patients initiating ART under the GCR programme. Interpretation & conclusions: This ART delivery model was associated with significant CD4 gains with no observable difference by how much patients paid. Importantly, gains were comparable to those in other free rollout programmes. Additional cost-effectiveness analyses and mathematical modelling would be needed to determine whether such a delivery programme is a sustainable alternative to free ART programmes.


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