Attrition and Mortality of Children Receiving Antiretroviral Treatment through the Universal Coverage Health Program in Thailand

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To assess mortality and loss to follow-up of children with HIV infection who started antiretroviral therapy (ART) through the Universal Coverage Health Program (UC) in Thailand.

Study design

Children with HIV infection who initiated ART at age <15 years through the UC between 2008 and 2013 were included in the analysis. Death was ascertained through linkage with the National Death Registry. A competing-risks method was used to calculate subdistribution hazard ratios (SHRs) of predictors for loss to follow-up. Death was considered a competing risk. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess predictors of mortality.


A total of 4618 children from 497 hospitals in Thailand were included in the study. Median age at ART initiation was 9 years (IQR, 6–12 years), and the median duration of tracking was 4.1 years (a total of 18 817 person-years). Three hundred and ninety-five children (9%) died, for a mortality rate of 2.1 (95% CI, 1.9–2.3) per 100 person-years, and 525 children (11%) were lost to follow-up, for a lost to follow-up rate of 2.9 (95% CI, 2.7–3.2) per 100 person-years. The cumulative incidence of loss to follow-up increased from 4% at 1 year to 8.8% at 3 years. Children who started ART at age ≥12 years were at the greatest risk of loss to follow-up. The probability of death was 3.2% at 6 months and 6.4% at 3 years. Age ≥12 years at ART initiation, lower baseline CD4%, advanced HIV staging, and loss to follow-up were associated with mortality.


The Thai national HIV treatment program has been very effective in treating children with HIV infection, with low mortality and modest rates of loss to follow-up.

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