The impact of community- versus clinic-based adherence clubs on loss from care and viral suppression for antiretroviral therapy patients: Findings from a pragmatic randomized controlled trial in South Africa

Colleen Hanrahan, Sheree Schwartz, Mutsa Mudavanhu, Nora S. West, Lillian Mutunga, Valerie Keyser, Jean Bassett, Annelies Van Rie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Adherence clubs, where groups of 25-30 patients who are virally suppressed on antiretroviral therapy (ART) meet for counseling and medication pickup, represent an innovative model to retain patients in care and facilitate task-shifting. This intervention replaces traditional clinical care encounters with a 1-hour group session every 2-3 months, and can be organized at a clinic or a community venue. We performed a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to compare loss from club-based care between community- and clinic-based adherence clubs. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Patients on ART with undetectable viral load at Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, were randomized 1:1 to a clinic- or community-based adherence club. Clubs were held every other month. All participants received annual viral load monitoring and medical exam at the clinic. Participants were referred back to clinic-based standard care if they missed a club visit and did not pick up ART medications within 5 days, had 2 consecutive late ART medication pickups, developed a disqualifying (excluding) comorbidity, or had viral rebound. From February 12, 2014, to May 31, 2015, we randomized 775 eligible adults into 12 pairs of clubs-376 (49%) into clinic-based clubs and 399 (51%) into community-based clubs. Characteristics were similar by arm: 65% female, median age 38 years, and median CD4 count 506 cells/mm3. Overall, 47% (95% CI 44%-51%) experienced the primary outcome of loss from club-based care. Among community-based club participants, the cumulative proportion lost from club-based care was 52% (95% CI 47%-57%), compared to 43% (95% CI 38%-48%, p = 0.002) among clinic-based club participants. The risk of loss to club-based care was higher among participants assigned to community-based clubs than among those assigned to clinic-based clubs (adjusted hazard ratio 1.38, 95% CI 1.02-1.87, p = 0.032), after accounting for sex, age, nationality, time on ART, baseline CD4 count, and employment status. Among those who were lost from club-based care (n = 367), the most common reason was missing a club visit and the associated ART medication pickup entirely (54%, 95% CI 49%-59%), and was similar by arm (p = 0.086). Development of an excluding comorbidity occurred in 3% overall of those lost from club-based care, and was not different by arm (p = 0.816); no deaths occurred in either arm during club-based care. Viral rebound occurred in 13% of those lost from community club-based care and 21% of those lost from clinic-based care (p = 0.051). In post hoc secondary analysis, among those referred to standard care, 72% (95% CI 68%-77%) reengaged in clinic-based care within 90 days of their club-based care discontinuation date. The main limitations of the trial are the lack of a comparison group receiving routine clinic-based standard care and the potential limited generalizability due to the single-clinic setting. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that overall loss from an adherence club intervention was high in this setting and that, importantly, it was worse in community-based adherence clubs compared to those based at the clinic. We urge caution in assuming that the effectiveness of clinic-based interventions will carry over to community settings, without a better understanding of patient-level factors associated with successful retention in care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (PACTR201602001460157).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1002808
JournalPLoS medicine
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2019

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South Africa
Randomized Controlled Trials
Therapeutics
CD4 Lymphocyte Count
Viral Load
Comorbidity
Ethnic Groups
Registries
Counseling
Patient Care
Clinical Trials
Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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The impact of community- versus clinic-based adherence clubs on loss from care and viral suppression for antiretroviral therapy patients : Findings from a pragmatic randomized controlled trial in South Africa. / Hanrahan, Colleen; Schwartz, Sheree; Mudavanhu, Mutsa; West, Nora S.; Mutunga, Lillian; Keyser, Valerie; Bassett, Jean; Van Rie, Annelies.

In: PLoS medicine, Vol. 16, No. 5, 01.05.2019, p. e1002808.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "BACKGROUND: Adherence clubs, where groups of 25-30 patients who are virally suppressed on antiretroviral therapy (ART) meet for counseling and medication pickup, represent an innovative model to retain patients in care and facilitate task-shifting. This intervention replaces traditional clinical care encounters with a 1-hour group session every 2-3 months, and can be organized at a clinic or a community venue. We performed a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to compare loss from club-based care between community- and clinic-based adherence clubs. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Patients on ART with undetectable viral load at Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, were randomized 1:1 to a clinic- or community-based adherence club. Clubs were held every other month. All participants received annual viral load monitoring and medical exam at the clinic. Participants were referred back to clinic-based standard care if they missed a club visit and did not pick up ART medications within 5 days, had 2 consecutive late ART medication pickups, developed a disqualifying (excluding) comorbidity, or had viral rebound. From February 12, 2014, to May 31, 2015, we randomized 775 eligible adults into 12 pairs of clubs-376 (49{\%}) into clinic-based clubs and 399 (51{\%}) into community-based clubs. Characteristics were similar by arm: 65{\%} female, median age 38 years, and median CD4 count 506 cells/mm3. Overall, 47{\%} (95{\%} CI 44{\%}-51{\%}) experienced the primary outcome of loss from club-based care. Among community-based club participants, the cumulative proportion lost from club-based care was 52{\%} (95{\%} CI 47{\%}-57{\%}), compared to 43{\%} (95{\%} CI 38{\%}-48{\%}, p = 0.002) among clinic-based club participants. The risk of loss to club-based care was higher among participants assigned to community-based clubs than among those assigned to clinic-based clubs (adjusted hazard ratio 1.38, 95{\%} CI 1.02-1.87, p = 0.032), after accounting for sex, age, nationality, time on ART, baseline CD4 count, and employment status. Among those who were lost from club-based care (n = 367), the most common reason was missing a club visit and the associated ART medication pickup entirely (54{\%}, 95{\%} CI 49{\%}-59{\%}), and was similar by arm (p = 0.086). Development of an excluding comorbidity occurred in 3{\%} overall of those lost from club-based care, and was not different by arm (p = 0.816); no deaths occurred in either arm during club-based care. Viral rebound occurred in 13{\%} of those lost from community club-based care and 21{\%} of those lost from clinic-based care (p = 0.051). In post hoc secondary analysis, among those referred to standard care, 72{\%} (95{\%} CI 68{\%}-77{\%}) reengaged in clinic-based care within 90 days of their club-based care discontinuation date. The main limitations of the trial are the lack of a comparison group receiving routine clinic-based standard care and the potential limited generalizability due to the single-clinic setting. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that overall loss from an adherence club intervention was high in this setting and that, importantly, it was worse in community-based adherence clubs compared to those based at the clinic. We urge caution in assuming that the effectiveness of clinic-based interventions will carry over to community settings, without a better understanding of patient-level factors associated with successful retention in care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (PACTR201602001460157).",
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T1 - The impact of community- versus clinic-based adherence clubs on loss from care and viral suppression for antiretroviral therapy patients

T2 - Findings from a pragmatic randomized controlled trial in South Africa

AU - Hanrahan, Colleen

AU - Schwartz, Sheree

AU - Mudavanhu, Mutsa

AU - West, Nora S.

AU - Mutunga, Lillian

AU - Keyser, Valerie

AU - Bassett, Jean

AU - Van Rie, Annelies

PY - 2019/5/1

Y1 - 2019/5/1

N2 - BACKGROUND: Adherence clubs, where groups of 25-30 patients who are virally suppressed on antiretroviral therapy (ART) meet for counseling and medication pickup, represent an innovative model to retain patients in care and facilitate task-shifting. This intervention replaces traditional clinical care encounters with a 1-hour group session every 2-3 months, and can be organized at a clinic or a community venue. We performed a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to compare loss from club-based care between community- and clinic-based adherence clubs. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Patients on ART with undetectable viral load at Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, were randomized 1:1 to a clinic- or community-based adherence club. Clubs were held every other month. All participants received annual viral load monitoring and medical exam at the clinic. Participants were referred back to clinic-based standard care if they missed a club visit and did not pick up ART medications within 5 days, had 2 consecutive late ART medication pickups, developed a disqualifying (excluding) comorbidity, or had viral rebound. From February 12, 2014, to May 31, 2015, we randomized 775 eligible adults into 12 pairs of clubs-376 (49%) into clinic-based clubs and 399 (51%) into community-based clubs. Characteristics were similar by arm: 65% female, median age 38 years, and median CD4 count 506 cells/mm3. Overall, 47% (95% CI 44%-51%) experienced the primary outcome of loss from club-based care. Among community-based club participants, the cumulative proportion lost from club-based care was 52% (95% CI 47%-57%), compared to 43% (95% CI 38%-48%, p = 0.002) among clinic-based club participants. The risk of loss to club-based care was higher among participants assigned to community-based clubs than among those assigned to clinic-based clubs (adjusted hazard ratio 1.38, 95% CI 1.02-1.87, p = 0.032), after accounting for sex, age, nationality, time on ART, baseline CD4 count, and employment status. Among those who were lost from club-based care (n = 367), the most common reason was missing a club visit and the associated ART medication pickup entirely (54%, 95% CI 49%-59%), and was similar by arm (p = 0.086). Development of an excluding comorbidity occurred in 3% overall of those lost from club-based care, and was not different by arm (p = 0.816); no deaths occurred in either arm during club-based care. Viral rebound occurred in 13% of those lost from community club-based care and 21% of those lost from clinic-based care (p = 0.051). In post hoc secondary analysis, among those referred to standard care, 72% (95% CI 68%-77%) reengaged in clinic-based care within 90 days of their club-based care discontinuation date. The main limitations of the trial are the lack of a comparison group receiving routine clinic-based standard care and the potential limited generalizability due to the single-clinic setting. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that overall loss from an adherence club intervention was high in this setting and that, importantly, it was worse in community-based adherence clubs compared to those based at the clinic. We urge caution in assuming that the effectiveness of clinic-based interventions will carry over to community settings, without a better understanding of patient-level factors associated with successful retention in care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (PACTR201602001460157).

AB - BACKGROUND: Adherence clubs, where groups of 25-30 patients who are virally suppressed on antiretroviral therapy (ART) meet for counseling and medication pickup, represent an innovative model to retain patients in care and facilitate task-shifting. This intervention replaces traditional clinical care encounters with a 1-hour group session every 2-3 months, and can be organized at a clinic or a community venue. We performed a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to compare loss from club-based care between community- and clinic-based adherence clubs. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Patients on ART with undetectable viral load at Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, were randomized 1:1 to a clinic- or community-based adherence club. Clubs were held every other month. All participants received annual viral load monitoring and medical exam at the clinic. Participants were referred back to clinic-based standard care if they missed a club visit and did not pick up ART medications within 5 days, had 2 consecutive late ART medication pickups, developed a disqualifying (excluding) comorbidity, or had viral rebound. From February 12, 2014, to May 31, 2015, we randomized 775 eligible adults into 12 pairs of clubs-376 (49%) into clinic-based clubs and 399 (51%) into community-based clubs. Characteristics were similar by arm: 65% female, median age 38 years, and median CD4 count 506 cells/mm3. Overall, 47% (95% CI 44%-51%) experienced the primary outcome of loss from club-based care. Among community-based club participants, the cumulative proportion lost from club-based care was 52% (95% CI 47%-57%), compared to 43% (95% CI 38%-48%, p = 0.002) among clinic-based club participants. The risk of loss to club-based care was higher among participants assigned to community-based clubs than among those assigned to clinic-based clubs (adjusted hazard ratio 1.38, 95% CI 1.02-1.87, p = 0.032), after accounting for sex, age, nationality, time on ART, baseline CD4 count, and employment status. Among those who were lost from club-based care (n = 367), the most common reason was missing a club visit and the associated ART medication pickup entirely (54%, 95% CI 49%-59%), and was similar by arm (p = 0.086). Development of an excluding comorbidity occurred in 3% overall of those lost from club-based care, and was not different by arm (p = 0.816); no deaths occurred in either arm during club-based care. Viral rebound occurred in 13% of those lost from community club-based care and 21% of those lost from clinic-based care (p = 0.051). In post hoc secondary analysis, among those referred to standard care, 72% (95% CI 68%-77%) reengaged in clinic-based care within 90 days of their club-based care discontinuation date. The main limitations of the trial are the lack of a comparison group receiving routine clinic-based standard care and the potential limited generalizability due to the single-clinic setting. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that overall loss from an adherence club intervention was high in this setting and that, importantly, it was worse in community-based adherence clubs compared to those based at the clinic. We urge caution in assuming that the effectiveness of clinic-based interventions will carry over to community settings, without a better understanding of patient-level factors associated with successful retention in care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (PACTR201602001460157).

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