Retention in care prior to antiretroviral treatment eligibility in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review of the literature


OBJECTIVE: We aimed at summarising rates and factors associated with retention in HIV care prior to antiretroviral treatment (ART) eligibility in sub-Saharan Africa. DESIGN: We conducted a systematic literature review (2002-2014). We searched Medline/Pubmed, Scopus and Web of Science, as well as proceedings of conferences. We included all original research studies published in peer-reviewed journals, which used quantitative indicators of retention in care prior to ART eligibility. PARTICIPANTS: People not yet eligible for ART. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOMES: Rate of retention in HIV care prior to ART eligibility and associated factors. RESULTS: 10 papers and 2 abstracts were included. Most studies were conducted in Southern and Eastern Africa between 2004 and 2011 and reported retention rates in pre-ART care up to the second CD4 measurement. Definition of retention in HIV care prior to ART eligibility differed substantially across studies. Retention rates ranged between 23% and 88% based on series ranging from 112 to 10,314 individuals; retention was higher in women, individuals aged >25 years, those with low CD4 count, high body mass index or co-infected with tuberculosis, and in settings with free cotrimoxazole use. CONCLUSIONS: Retention in HIV care prior to ART eligibility in sub-Saharan Africa has been insufficiently described so far leaving major research gaps, especially regarding long-term retention rates and sociodemographic, economic, clinical and programmatic logistic determinants. The prospective follow-up of newly diagnosed individuals is required to better evaluate attrition prior to ART eligibility among HIV-infected people.


Plazy M, Orne-Gliemann J, Dabis F, Dray-Spira R.




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Retention in care
    • Treatment


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