Immunological failure in HIV-infected adults from 2003 to 2015 in Southwest Ethiopia: A retrospective cohort study

Hailay Gesesew, Paul Ward, Kifle Woldemichael, Lillian Mwanri

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Objective To assess the prevalence, trend and associated factors for immunological failure (IF), and the magnitude of antiretroviral therapy (ART) shift among adults infected with HIV in Southwest Ethiopia.

Setting A retrospective cohort study was undertaken using the data from ART clinic at Jimma University Teaching Hospital from 21 June 2003 to 15 March 2015.

Participants Retrospective analysis of 4900 HIV-infected adult patient records dating from June 2003 to March 2015 was conducted.

Primary outcome measure The primary outcome was IF defined when cluster for differentiation 4 (CD4) count falls to the baseline (or below) or persistent CD4 levels below 100 cells/mm3 after 6 months of ART treatment. The analyses included descriptive and inferential statistics.

Results 546 (19.5%) adults had developed clinical failure (CF), 775 (19.7%) adults had developed IF and 1231 (25.1%) had developed either CF or IF or both. The prevalence of IF was consistently high throughout the decade. Age 25 to ≤50 years adjusted OR (AOR 1.5, 9% CI 1.2 to 2.4), being female (AOR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 1.9), late presenter for HIV care (AOR 2.2, 95% CI 1.6 to 2.7) and having baseline CD4 count below 200 cells/mm3 (AOR 5.5, 95% CI 4.1 to 7.4), and having no history of HIV testing before diagnosis (AOR 0.7, 95% CI 0.5 to 0.9) were the predictors for IF. Only 29 (0.9%) adults infected with HIV were shifted to second-line ART regimen.

Conclusions The magnitude of CF or IF or both was found significant and consistently high throughout the calendar year although ART shift was found minimal. HIV-infected adult patients with IF were early age adults, females, late presenters for HIV care, and those who had low baseline CD4 counts and history of HIV testing before diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere017413
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:


  • immunological failure
  • antiretroviral therapy
  • HIV
  • Ethiopia
  • trend
  • retrospective
  • factors


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