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PLOS ONE  2013 

Scaling Up Antiretroviral Treatment Services in Karnataka, India: Impact on CD4 Counts of HIV-Infected People

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072188

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Setting Twelve antiretroviral treatment centres under National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), Karnataka State, India. Objective For the period 2004-2011, to describe the trends in the numbers of people living with HIV (PLHIV) registered for care and their median baseline CD4 counts, disaggregated by age and sex. Design Descriptive study involving analysis of routinely captured data (year of registration, age, sex, baseline CD4 count) under NACP. Results 34,882 (97% of total eligible) PLHIV were included in analysis. The number registered for care has increased by over 12 times during 2004-11; with increasing numbers among females. The median baseline CD4 cell count rose from 125 in 2004 to 235 in 2011 – the increase was greater among females as compared to males. However, about two-thirds still presented at CD4 cell counts less than 350. Conclusion We found an increasing trend of median CD4 counts among PLHIV presenting to ART centres in Karnataka, an indicator of enhanced and early access to HIV care. Equal proportion of females and higher baseline CD4 counts among them allays any fear of differential access by gender. Despite this relative success, a substantial proportion still presented at low CD4 cell counts indicating possibly delayed HIV diagnosis and delayed linkage to HIV care. Universal HIV testing at health care facilities and strengthening early access to care are required to bridge the gap.


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