AIDS and Behavior

Early ART Initiation Improves HIV Status Disclosure and Social Support in People Living with HIV, Linked to Care Within a Universal Test and Treat Program in Rural South Africa (ANRS 12249 TasP Trial)

Publications

Authors

Marion Fiorentino, Marie Nishimwe, Camelia Protopopescu, Collins Iwuji, Nonhlanhla Okesola, Bruno Spire, Joanna Orne-Gliemann, Nuala McGrath, Deenan Pillay, François Dabis, Joseph Larmarange, Sylvie Boyer & for the ANRS 12249 TaSP Study Group

Abstract

We investigated the effect of early antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiation on HIV status disclosure and social support in a cluster-randomized, treatment-as-prevention (TasP) trial in rural South Africa. Individuals identified HIV-positive after home-based testing were referred to trial clinics where they were invited to initiate ART immediately irrespective of CD4 count (intervention arm) or following national guidelines (control arm). We used Poisson mixed effects models to assess the independent effects of (a) time since baseline clinical visit, (b) trial arm, and (c) ART initiation on HIV disclosure (n = 182) and social support (n = 152) among participants with a CD4 count > 500 cells/mm3 at baseline. Disclosure and social support significantly improved over follow-up in both arms. Disclosure was higher (incidence rate ratio [95% confidence interval]: 1.24 [1.04; 1.48]), and social support increased faster (1.22 [1.02; 1.46]) in the intervention arm than in the control arm. ART initiation improved both disclosure and social support (1.50 [1.28; 1.75] and 1.34 [1.12; 1.61], respectively), a stronger effect being seen in the intervention arm for social support (1.50 [1.12; 2.01]). Besides clinical benefits, early ART initiation may also improve psychosocial outcomes. This should further encourage countries to implement universal test-and-treat strategies.

Reference

Fiorentino Marion, Nishimwe Marie, Protopopescu Camelia, Iwuji Collins, Okesola Nonhlanhla, Spire Bruno, Orne-Gliemann Joanna, McGrath Nuala, Pillay Deenan, Dabis François, Larmarange Joseph, Boyer Sylvie and for the ANRS 12249 TaSP Study Group (2020) “Early ART Initiation Improves HIV Status Disclosure and Social Support in People Living with HIV, Linked to Care Within a Universal Test and Treat Program in Rural South Africa (ANRS 12249 TasP Trial)”, AIDS and Behavior (November 18). DOI : 10.1007/s10461-020-03101-y. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-020-03101-y.