A Longitudinal Study of Behavioral Risk, Adherence, and Virologic Control in Adolescents Living With HIV in Asia


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Abstract

Background:Adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) have poorer adherence and clinical outcomes than adults. We conducted a study to assess behavioral risks and antiretroviral therapy outcomes among ALHIV in Asia.Methods:A prospective cohort study among ALHIV and matched HIV-uninfected controls aged 12–18 years was conducted at 9 sites in Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam from July 2013 to March 2017. Participants completed an audio computer-assisted self-interview at weeks 0, 48, 96, and 144. Virologic failure (VF) was defined as ≥1 viral load (VL) measurement >1000 copies/mL. Generalized estimating equations were used to identify predictors for VF.Results:Of 250 ALHIV and 59 HIV-uninfected controls, 58% were Thai and 51% females. The median age was 14 years at enrollment; 93% of ALHIV were perinatally infected. At week 144, 66% of ALHIV were orphans vs. 28% of controls (P < 0.01); similar proportions of ALHIV and controls drank alcohol (58% vs. 65%), used inhalants (1% vs. 2%), had been sexually active (31% vs. 21%), and consistently used condoms (42% vs. 44%). Of the 73% of ALHIV with week 144 VL testing, median log VL was 1.60 (interquartile range 1.30–1.70) and 19% had VF. Over 70% of ALHIV had not disclosed their HIV status. Self-reported adherence ≥95% was 60% at week 144. Smoking cigarettes, >1 sexual partner, and living with nonparent relatives, a partner or alone, were associated with VF at any time.Conclusions:The subset of ALHIV with poorer adherence and VF require comprehensive interventions that address sexual risk, substance use, and HIV-status disclosure.

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