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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Infectious Diseases 1/2017

Five-year trends in treatment changes in an adult cohort of HIV/AIDS patients in Ghana: a retrospective cohort study

BMC Infectious Diseases > Ausgabe 1/2017
Daniel N. A. Ankrah, Margaret Lartey, Aukje K. Mantel-Teeuwisse, Hubert G. M. Leufkens



There is limited information on patterns of treatment change among new initiators of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the regions most affected by HIV/AIDS. This makes it difficult to identify the determinants of treatment change. In this retrospective cohort study, we examined treatment change patterns over a five-year period among initiators of HAART.


De-identified data were obtained from the Fevers’ Unit Database at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. All adult treatment-naive patients who started treatment with first line HAART between 1st January, 2008 and 31st December, 2012 were followed over a minimum period of three months. The main outcome was the first treatment change, defined as the first substitution/switch in accordance with the standard treatment guidelines. Data were analyzed stratified by year of treatment initiation. Crude and adjusted hazard ratios were calculated.


A total of 3933 patients were followed with almost equal numbers of initiators per year. The mean age (standard deviation) at treatment initiation was 39 (10.3) years. The most prescribed HAART combination was AZT/3TC/EFV and overall for initiators zidovudine combination therapy was about 60%. Utilization of stavudine containing HAART increased gradually until 2010 and then dropped to zero. Over the study period, 44.9% of recorded deaths were from those initiated with a stavudine backbone, 41.1% from a zidovudine backbone, and 11.5% from a tenofovir backbone. Females had a significantly higher rate of treatment change compared to males (p-value = 0.0002), and d4T/3TC/EFV and d4T/3TC/NVP recorded independent treatment change hazard ratios of 12.05 (CI 9.58 to 15.16) and 12.03 (CI 9.27 to 15.61) respectively.. Kaplan-Meier curves showed that treatment change was higher among those who started treatment later in the study period compared with those who started earlier.


A major treatment change in the utilization of antiretroviral medicines in Ghana occurred during the study period which was associated with type of treatment, year of treatment, gender and disease stage. The influence of a policy change during the period may have made a significant impact.. For diseases involving life-long treatment in particular, it is important to monitor and periodically evaluation treatment utilization patterns.
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