Treatment failure and associated factors among people living with HIV on highly active antiretroviral therapy in mainland China: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Objective: Reducing the prevalence of treatment failure among people living with HIV (PLHIV) on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is crucial for improving individual health and reducing disease burden. This study aimed to assess existing evidence on treatment failure and its associated factors among PLHIV in mainland China.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, WanFang, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and SinoMed databases. Relevant studies on treatment failure among PLHIV in mainland China until September 2022 were searched, including cross-sectional, case-control, and cohort studies. The primary outcome was treatment failure, and secondary outcomes were the potential influencing factors of treatment failure. We performed a meta-analysis to pool each outcome of interest, including meta-regression, subgroup, publication bias, and sensitivity analyses.

Results: A total of 81 studies were deemed eligible and included in the final meta-analysis. The pooled treatment failure prevalence among PLHIV in mainland China was 14.40% (95% confidence interval [CI]:12.30–16.63), of which the virological and immunological failure prevalence was 10.53% (95%CI:8.51–12.74) and 18.75% (95%CI:15.44–22.06), respectively. The treatment failure prevalence before and after 2016 was 18.96% (95%CI:13.84–24.67) and 13.19% (95%CI:10.91–15.64). Factors associated with treatment failure included good treatment adherence (odds ratio [OR] = 0.36, 95%CI:0.26–0.51), baseline CD4 counts>200 cells/μL (OR = 0.39, 95%CI:0.21–.75), HAART regimens containing Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (TDF) (OR = 0.70, 95%CI:0.54–0.92), WHO clinical stage III/IV (OR = 2.02, 95%CI:1.14–3.59) and age≥40 years (OR = 1.56, 95%CI:1.23–1.97).

Conclusion: The prevalence of treatment failure among PLHIV receiving HAART in mainland China was low and tended to decline. Poor adherence, low baseline CD4 count, HAART regimens without TDF, advanced clinical stage, and old age were contributing factors for treatment failure. Relevant intervention programs are needed with increasing treatment adherence through behavioral intervention or precise intervention targeting older adults.


Niu D, Tang H, Chen F, Zhao D, Zhao H, Hou Y, Wang S, Lyu F




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment


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