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Reasons for not starting antiretroviral therapy in HIV-1-infected individuals: a changing landscape


Fehr, Jan; Nicca, Dunja; Goffard, Jean-Christophe; Haerry, David; Schlag, Michael; Papastamopoulos, Vasileios; Hoepelman, Andy; Skoutelis, Athanasius; Diazaraque, Ruth; Ledergerber, Bruno (2016). Reasons for not starting antiretroviral therapy in HIV-1-infected individuals: a changing landscape. Infection, 44(4):521-529.

Abstract

PURPOSE A cross-sectional survey was conducted to better understand why chronically HIV-1-infected individuals stratified by CD4 count (≤349; 350-499; ≥500 cells/μL) were not on antiretroviral therapy (ART). METHODS Before the consultation, treatment-naive patients and their physicians independently completed a 90-item-questionnaire about barriers and their readiness to start/defer ART. The study was carried out at 34 sites in nine countries in Europe and Australia. RESULTS Between December 2011 and October 2012, 508 pairs of patient- and physician-questionnaires were completed. 426 (84 %) patients were male and 39 (8 %), 138 (27 %), and 330 (65 %) were in the three stratified groups based on CD4 count, respectively. In the category 'Body and symptoms' the most commonly identified reason for patients not to start was: "As long as I feel good I don't have to take medication" (44 %). Less than 20 % of respondents indicated fears of side effects and toxicity or problems to manage pills. Most patients were in the lowest stage of treatment-readiness (N = 323, 68 %), especially patients with CD4 cells ≥500 cells/μL (N = 240, 79 %). Physicians answered in 92 (18 %) cases that ART was not indicated for CD4 cells <500 cells/μL. Main reasons for physicians not starting treatment for these patients were their perception that patients were 'too depressed' (13 %) or that they had not known them long enough (13 %). CONCLUSIONS Nowadays patient-barriers to ART are commonly related to health-and treatment-beliefs compared to fear of toxicity or ART manageability in the past. This new barrier pattern seems to reflect the era of well tolerated, easier ART regimens and has to be considered in light of the new recommendations to treat all HIV-infected individuals regardless of the CD4 cell count.

Abstract

PURPOSE A cross-sectional survey was conducted to better understand why chronically HIV-1-infected individuals stratified by CD4 count (≤349; 350-499; ≥500 cells/μL) were not on antiretroviral therapy (ART). METHODS Before the consultation, treatment-naive patients and their physicians independently completed a 90-item-questionnaire about barriers and their readiness to start/defer ART. The study was carried out at 34 sites in nine countries in Europe and Australia. RESULTS Between December 2011 and October 2012, 508 pairs of patient- and physician-questionnaires were completed. 426 (84 %) patients were male and 39 (8 %), 138 (27 %), and 330 (65 %) were in the three stratified groups based on CD4 count, respectively. In the category 'Body and symptoms' the most commonly identified reason for patients not to start was: "As long as I feel good I don't have to take medication" (44 %). Less than 20 % of respondents indicated fears of side effects and toxicity or problems to manage pills. Most patients were in the lowest stage of treatment-readiness (N = 323, 68 %), especially patients with CD4 cells ≥500 cells/μL (N = 240, 79 %). Physicians answered in 92 (18 %) cases that ART was not indicated for CD4 cells <500 cells/μL. Main reasons for physicians not starting treatment for these patients were their perception that patients were 'too depressed' (13 %) or that they had not known them long enough (13 %). CONCLUSIONS Nowadays patient-barriers to ART are commonly related to health-and treatment-beliefs compared to fear of toxicity or ART manageability in the past. This new barrier pattern seems to reflect the era of well tolerated, easier ART regimens and has to be considered in light of the new recommendations to treat all HIV-infected individuals regardless of the CD4 cell count.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Infectious Diseases
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:16 March 2016
Deposited On:04 Aug 2016 12:02
Last Modified:05 Aug 2016 08:05
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0300-8126
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s15010-016-0887-x
PubMed ID:26983974

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