Use of WHO clinical stage for assessing patient eligibility to antiretroviral therapy in a routine health service setting in Jinja, Uganda
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In a routine service delivery setting in Uganda, we assessed the ability of the WHO clinical stage to accurately identify HIV-infected patients in whom antiretroviral therapy should be started. Among 4302 subjects screened for ART, the sensitivity and specificity (95% CI) of WHO stage III, IV against a CD4 count < 200 × 106/l were 52% (50, 54%) and 68% (66, 70%) respectively. Plasma viral load was tested in a subset of 1453 subjects in whom ART was initiated. Among 938 subjects with plasma viral load of 100,000 copies or more, 391 (42%, 95% CI 39, 45%) were at WHO stage I or II. In this setting, a large number of individuals could have been denied access to antiretroviral therapy if eligibility to ART was assessed on the basis of WHO clinical stage. There is an urgent need for greater CD4 count testing and evaluation of the utility of plasma viral load prior to initiation of ART to accompany the roll-out of ART.
- School of Medicine