Validation of a clinical prediction score to target viral load testing in adults with suspected first line treatment failure in resource-constrained settings

V. Phan, S. Thai, O. Koole, J. Menten, F. Meheus, J. van Griensven, L. Lynen

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND:: Whereas routine viral load (VL) monitoring currently is too costly for poor countries, clinical failure criteria perform poorly. We previously developed an algorithm combining a clinical predictor score (CPS) with targeted VL testing in a Cambodian patient population (derivation population). We now prospectively validate the algorithm in the same clinical setting (validation population), assess its operational performance and explore its cost-saving potential. METHODS:: We performed a cross-sectional study in a tertiary hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia applying the CPS in adults on first-line antiretroviral treatment (ART) for at least 1 year. Treatment failure was defined as a VL > 1000 copies/ml. The area under the receiver-operating characteristic (AUROC) curve of the CPS to detect treatment failure in the current study population (validation population) was compared with the AUROC of the CPS obtained in the patient population where the CPS was derived from in 2008 in the same study setting (derivation population). Costs related to VL testing and second line regimens with the different testing strategies were compared. RESULTS:: 1490 individuals (56.6% female, median age 38 years (IQR 33-44)) were included, with a median baseline CD4 cell count of 94 cells/muL (IQR 28-205). Median time on ART was 3.6 years (IQR 2.1-5.1), 45 (3.0%) individuals had treatment failure. The AUROC of the CPS in validation was 0.75 (95% 0.67-0.83), relative to an AUROC of 0.70 in the derivation population. At the CPS cut-off >/= 2, VL was indicated for 164 (11%) individuals, preventing inappropriate switching to second line in 143 cases. Twenty-four cases of treatment failure would be missed. When applied in routine care, the AUROC was 0.69 (95% CI 0.60-0.77). Overall one-year program costs with targeted VL testing were four-fold reduced. CONCLUSIONS:: The algorithm performed well in validation and has cost-saving potential. Further studies to assess its performance, feasibility and impact in different settings are warranted.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)509-516
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Viral diseases
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Antiretrovirals
  • Treatment failure
  • Clinical management
  • Monitoring
  • Viral load
  • Algorithms
  • Validation
  • Prediction
  • Evaluation
  • Performance
  • Cost analysis
  • Testing
  • Second-line drugs
  • Regimens
  • Cambodia
  • Asia-Southeast


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