Determining virological suppression and resuppression by point-of-care viral load testing in a HIV care setting in sub-Saharan Africa

Villa, Giovanni, Abdullahi, Adam, Owusu, Dorcas, Smith, Colette, Azumah, Marilyn, Sayeed, Laila, Austin, Harrison, Awuah, Dominic, Beloukas, Apostolos, Chadwick, David, Phillips, Richard and Geretti, Anna Maria (2020) Determining virological suppression and resuppression by point-of-care viral load testing in a HIV care setting in sub-Saharan Africa. EClinicalMedicine, 18. 100231 1-10. ISSN 2589-5370

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB)


This prospective pilot study explored same-day point-of-care viral load testing in a setting in Ghana that has yet to implement virological monitoring of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Consecutive patients accessing outpatient care while on ART underwent HIV-1 RNA quantification by Xpert. Those with viraemia at the first measurement (T0) received immediate adherence counselling and were reassessed 8 weeks later (T1). Predictors of virological status were determined by logistic regression analysis. Drug resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) were detected by Sanger sequencing.

At T0, participants had received treatment for a median of 8·9 years; 297/333 (89·2%) were on NNRTI-based ART. The viral load was ≥40 copies/mL in 164/333 (49·2%) patients and ≥1000 copies/mL in 71/333 (21·3%). In the latter group, 50/65 (76·9%) and 55/65 (84·6%) harboured NRTI and NNRTI RAMs, respectively, and 27/65 (41·5%) had ≥1 tenofovir RAM. Among 150/164 (91·5%) viraemic patients that reattended at T1, 32/150 (21·3%) showed resuppression <40 copies/mL, comprising 1/65 (1·5%) subjects with T0 viral load ≥1000 copies/mL and 31/85 (36·5%) subjects with lower levels. A T0 viral load ≥1000 copies/mL and detection of RAMs predicted ongoing T1 viraemia independently of self-reported adherence levels. Among participants with T0 viral load ≥1000 copies/mL, 23/65 (35·4%) showed resuppression <1000 copies/mL; the response was more likely among those with higher adherence levels and no RAMs.

Same-day point-of-care viral load testing was feasible and revealed poor virological control and suboptimal resuppression rates despite adherence counselling. Controlled studies should determine optimal triaging modalities for same-day versus deferred viral load testing.

University of Liverpool, South Tees Infectious Diseases Research Fund

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2020 09:17
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2020 12:08

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update