An empiric tool to identify Kenyans living with HIV who will have unsuppressed viremia 18 months following treatment initiation to guide differentiated care models

Academic Article


  • Background With the global push towards universal access to Antiretroviral Treatment (ART), patient numbers are increasing, further straining already under-resourced healthcare systems in sub-Saharan Africa. A simple scoring tool could be useful in optimizing differentiated service delivery by identifying individuals likely to have unsuppressed viral load. Methods Using existing data of patients accessing ART at public health facilities that were extracted from the Kenya Electronic Medical Record (KenyaEMR) and standard methods of developing a clinical prediction tool; we created and validated a risk scoring tool to identify persons likely to be virally unsuppressed at 18 months post-ART initiation. Data from the KenyaEMR were cleaned, merged and reviewed for completeness. We utilized multivariate modelling to determine key predictors of viral load suppression that could be measured in clinical settings. Results We assessed clinical reports of 3,968 patients on ART who had been on ART for at least 18 months and had at least one viral load result and were ≥ 18 years old. Of these, the majority (81%) were virally suppressed 18 months post-ART initiation. The final risk score included age, sex, body mass index at HIV diagnosis, number of years of formal education, disclosure status, and duration of time between HIV diagnosis and initiating ART. The maximum risk score was 78; a risk score of ≥ 22 was associated with unsuppressed viral load (>1000copies/mL). The area under the curve (AUC) for the probability of the risk score to correctly predict unsuppressed viral load was 0.55 (95% CI: 0.52 to 0.56). Internal and external validation showed similar predictive ability. Conclusions Routinely collected variables in a public HIV clinic medical record predicts, with modest accuracy, individuals likely to have unsuppressed HIV viremia 18 months after they initiate ART. The use and application of this tool could improve and complement efficiency in differentiated care models for patients on ART.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Njuguna N; Mugo N; Anzala O; Mureithi M; Irungu E; Wamicwe J; Baeten JM; Heffron R
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 7 July