Ten year experience with antiretroviral treatment in Cambodia: trends in patient characteristics and treatment outcomes

Phirum Lay, Sokkab An, Sunpiseth Soeung, Pich Sovannary Srey, Sopheak Thai, Lutgarde Lynen, Johan van Griensven

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BACKGROUND: Although HIV disease stage at ART initiation critically determines ART outcomes, few reports have longitudinally monitored this within Asia. Using prospectively collected data from a large ART program at Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope in Cambodia, we report on the change in patient characteristics and outcomes over a ten-year period.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis including all adults (≥ 18 years old) starting ART from March 2003-March 2013 in a non-governmental hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The cumulative incidence of death, lost to follow-up (LTFU), attrition (death or LTFU) and first line treatment failure were calculated using Kaplan-Meier methods. Independent risk factors for these outcomes were determined using Cox regression modeling.

RESULTS: Over the ten-year period, 3581 patients initiated ART with a median follow-up time of 4.8 years (IQR 2.8-7.2). The median age was 35 years (IQR 30-41), 54% were female. The median CD4 count at ART initiation increased from 22 cells/μL (IQR 4-129) in 2003 to 218 (IQR 57-302) in 2013. Over the 10 year period, a total of 282 (7.9%) individuals died and 433 (12.1%) were defined LTFU. Program attrition (died or LTFU) was 11.1% (95% CI: 10.1%- 12.4%) at one year, 16.3% (95% CI: 15.1%-17.6%) at three years, 19.8% (95% CI: 18.5%-21.2%) at five years and 23.3% (95% CI: 21.6-25.1) at ten years. Male sex and low baseline body mass index (BMI) were associated with increased attrition. Factors independently associated with mortality included a low baseline CD4 count, older age, male sex, low baseline BMI and hepatitis B co-infection. Individuals aged above 40 years old had an increased risk of mortality but were less likely to LTFU. There were a total of 137 individuals with first line ART failure starting second line treatment. The probability of first line failure was estimated at 2.8% (95% CI: 2.3%-3.4%) at 3 years, 4.6% (95% CI: 3.9%-5.5%) at 5 years and 7.8% (95% CI 4.8%-12.5%) at ten years of ART. The probability was particularly high in the first few program years. A lower risk was observed among individuals starting ART during the 2006-2008 period. Factors independently associated with an increased risk of treatment failure included ART-experience, NVP-based ART and a baseline CD4 count below 200 cells/μL.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall program outcomes were fair, and generally compare well to other reports from the region. Despite gradually earlier initiation of ART over the ten year period, ART is still initiated at too low CD4 count levels, warranting increased efforts for early HIV diagnosis and enrolment/retention into HIV care. Tailored strategies for poor prognostic groups (older age, male, low BMI) should be designed and evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)e0185348
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Journal Article


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