Background Zambia recently achieved UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets for HIV epidemic control; however, inpatient facilities continue to face a large burden of patients with advanced HIV disease and HIV-related mortality. Management of advanced HIV disease, following guidelines from outpatient settings, may be more difficult within complex inpatient settings. We evaluated adherence to HIV guidelines during hospitalization, including opportunistic infection (OI) screening, treatment, and prophylaxis.
Methods We reviewed inpatient medical records of people living with HIV (PLHIV) admitted to the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia between December 1, 20218 and April 30, 2019. We collected data on patient demographics, antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV biomarkers, and OI screening and treatment – including tuberculosis (TB), Cryptococcus, and OI prophylaxis with cotrimoxazole (CTX). Screening and treatment cascades were constructed based on the 2017 WHO Advanced HIV Guidelines.
Results We reviewed files from 200 charts of patients with advanced HIV disease; of these 92% (184/200) had been on ART previously; 58.1% (107/184) for more than 12 months. HIV viral load (VL) testing was uncommon but half of VL results were high. 39% (77/200) of patients had a documented CD4 count result. Of the 172 patients not on anti-TB treatment (ATT) on admission, TB diagnostic tests (either sputum Xpert MTB/RIF MTB/RIF or urine TB-LAM) were requested for 105 (61%) and resulted for 60 of the 105 (57%). Nine of the 14 patients (64%) with a positive lab result for TB died before results were available. Testing for Cryptococcosis was performed predominantly in patients with symptoms of meningitis. Urine TB-LAM testing was rarely performed.
Conclusions Inconsistent CD4 testing reduced recognition of advanced HIV and OI screening was suboptimal, in part due to laboratory challenges. HIV programs can potentially reduce mortality and identify PLHIV with retention and adherence issues through strengthening inpatient activities, including VL testing.