Likely effect of the 2014 Ebola epidemic on HIV care in Liberia


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Abstract

Objective: Liberia's health system has been severely struck by the 2014 Ebola epidemic. We aimed to assess the potential effect of this epidemic on the care of HIV patient in two clinics [John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Redemption Hospitals] in Monrovia, which stayed open throughout the epidemic.Design and methods: A preexisting electronic database of HIV patient's follow-up visits was used to estimate three weekly parameters from January 2012 to October 2014: number of visits, number of new patient, and proportion of patients with follow-up delay. We used segmented negative binomial regressions to assess trends before and after the week of the Ebola outbreak defined in June 2014 by WHO.Results: The cumulative number of patients in care comprised 5948 patients with a total of 56 287 visits between January 2012 and October 2014. From June 2014, the number of visit per week, stable since 2012, abruptly decreased (59%) in Redemption (P < 0.001) and progressively decreased by 3% per week in JFK (P < 0.001). In both the clinics, the weekly proportion of patient with follow-up delay sharply increased after the point break from June 2014 (P value < 0.001). From June 2014, a significant decrease in new patients per week occurred in both the clinics: by 57% (P value < 0.001) in Redemption and by 4.6% per week (P value < 0.001) in JFK.Conclusion: The Ebola epidemic had a significant effect on HIV care in Monrovia. Given the particular impact on the rate of patients with follow-up delay, a long-term impact is feared.

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