Characteristics and outcomes of HIV-infected youth and young adolescents enrolled in HIV care in Kenya.
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Background:: The number of youth and adolescents (10-24 years) with HIV infection has increased substantially presenting unique challenges to effective health service delivery. Methods:: We examined routinely collected patient-level data for antiretroviral treatment (ART)-naive HIV-infected patients, aged 10-24 years, enrolled in care during 2006-2011 at 109 ICAP-supported health facilities in three provinces in Kenya. Loss to follow-up (LTF) was defined as having no clinic visit for 12 months prior to ART initiation (pre-ART) and 6 months for ART patients. Competing risk and Kaplan-Meier estimators were used to calculate LTF and death rates. Sub-distributional and Cox proportional-hazards models were used to identify potential predictors of death and LTF. Results:: Overall 22 832 patients were enrolled in care at 10-24 years of age, 69.5% were aged 20-24 years, and 82% were female. Median CD4 cell count was 332 cells/μl (interquartile range 153-561); 70.8% were WHO stage I/II. Young adolescents (10-14 years) had more advanced WHO stage and lower median CD4 cell count compared to youth (15-24 years) at enrollment (284 vs. 340 cells/μl; P < 0.0001). Cumulative incidence of LTF and death at 24 months for pre-ART patients was 46.1% [95% confidence interval (CI) 45.4-46.8%) and 2.1% (95% CI 1.9-2.3%), respectively. For those on ART, 32.2% (95% CI 31.1-33.3%) were LTF and 3.9% (95% CI 1.7-2.3%) died within 24 months. LTF among pre-ART and ART patients was twice as high among youth compared to young adolescents. Conclusion:: LTF of young people with HIV in this Kenyan cohort was high and notably greater among youth compared to young adolescents. Novel strategies targeting these populations are urgently needed to improve retention.