Publications by authors named "Tessa Govender"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Barriers to Care and 1-Year Mortality Among Newly Diagnosed HIV-Infected People in Durban, South Africa.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2017 04;74(4):432-438

*Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; †Division of General Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; ‡Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; §Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; ‖Harvard University Center for AIDS Research, Harvard University, Boston, MA; ¶Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA; #McCord Hospital, Durban, South Africa; **Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA; ††RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA; ‡‡St. Mary's Hospital, Durban, South Africa; §§Division of Infectious Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; ‖‖Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA; ¶¶Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA; ##Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; and ***Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

Background: Prompt entry into HIV care is often hindered by personal and structural barriers. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of self-perceived barriers to health care on 1-year mortality among newly diagnosed HIV-infected individuals in Durban, South Africa.

Methods: Before HIV testing at 4 outpatient sites, adults (≥18 years) were surveyed regarding perceived barriers to care including (1) service delivery, (2) financial, (3) personal health perception, (4) logistical, and (5) structural. We assessed deaths via phone calls and the South African National Population Register. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazards models to determine the association between number of perceived barriers and death within 1 year.

Results: One thousand eight hundred ninety-nine HIV-infected participants enrolled. Median age was 33 years (interquartile range: 27-41 years), 49% were females, and median CD4 count was 192/μL (interquartile range: 72-346/μL). One thousand fifty-seven participants (56%) reported no, 370 (20%) reported 1-3, and 460 (24%) reported >3 barriers to care. By 1 year, 250 [13%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 12% to 15%] participants died. Adjusting for age, sex, education, baseline CD4 count, distance to clinic, and tuberculosis status, participants with 1-3 barriers (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.49, 95% CI: 1.06 to 2.08) and >3 barriers (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.35 to 2.43) had higher 1-year mortality risk compared with those without barriers.

Conclusions: HIV-infected individuals in South Africa who reported perceived barriers to medical care at diagnosis were more likely to die within 1 year. Targeted structural interventions, such as extended clinic hours, travel vouchers, and streamlined clinic operations, may improve linkage to care and antiretroviral therapy initiation for these people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001277DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5321110PMC
April 2017

Sizanani: A Randomized Trial of Health System Navigators to Improve Linkage to HIV and TB Care in South Africa.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2016 Oct;73(2):154-60

Divisions of *Infectious Diseases;†General Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA;‡Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA;§Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA;‖Harvard University Center for AIDS Research, Harvard University, Boston, MA;¶Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA;#McCord Hospital, Durban, South Africa;**Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA;††St. Mary's Hospital, Durban, South Africa;‡‡Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA;§§Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA;Divisions of ‖‖Rheumatology;¶¶Infectious Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA;##Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; and***Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

Background: A fraction of HIV-diagnosed individuals promptly initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART). We evaluated the efficacy of health system navigators for improving linkage to HIV and tuberculosis (TB) care among newly diagnosed HIV-infected outpatients in Durban, South Africa.

Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial (Sizanani Trial, NCT01188941) among adults (≥18 years) at 4 sites. Participants underwent TB screening and randomization into a health system navigator intervention or usual care. Intervention participants had an in-person interview at enrollment and received phone calls and text messages over 4 months. We assessed 9-month outcomes via medical records and the National Population Registry. Primary outcome was completion of at least 3 months of ART or 6 months of TB treatment for coinfected participants.

Results: Four thousand nine hundred three participants were enrolled and randomized; 1899 (39%) were HIV-infected, with 1146 (60%) ART-eligible and 523 (28%) TB coinfected at baseline. In the intervention, 212 (39% of outcome-eligible) reached primary outcome compared to 197 (42%) in usual care (RR 0.93, 95% CI: 0.80 to 1.08). One hundred thirty-one (14%) HIV-infected intervention participants died compared to 119 (13%) in usual care; death rates did not differ between arms (RR 1.06, 95% CI: 0.84 to 1.34). In the as-treated analysis, participants reached for ≥5 navigator calls were more likely to achieve study outcome.

Conclusions: ∼40% of ART-eligible participants in both study arms reached the primary outcome 9 months after HIV diagnosis. Low rates of engagement in care, high death rates, and lack of navigator efficacy highlight the urgency of identifying more effective strategies for improving HIV and TB care outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5026386PMC
October 2016

Understanding HIV-infected patients' experiences with PEPFAR-associated transitions at a Centre of Excellence in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa: a qualitative study.

AIDS Care 2015 24;27(10):1298-303. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

e Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) , Boston , MA , USA.

South Africa was the largest recipient of funding from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs from 2004 to 2012. Funding decreases have led to transfers from hospital and non-governmental organization-based care to government-funded, community-based clinics. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 36 participants to assess patient experiences related to transfer of care from a PEPFAR-funded, hospital-based clinic in Durban to either primary care clinics or hospital-based clinics. Participant narratives revealed the importance of connectedness between patients and the PEPFAR-funded clinic program staff, who were described as respectful and conscientious. Participants reported that transfer clinics were largely focused on dispensing medication and on throughput, rather than holistic care. Although participants appreciated the free treatment at transfer sites, they expressed frustration with long waiting times and low perceived quality of patient-provider communication, and felt that they were treated disrespectfully. These factors eroded confidence in the quality of the care. The transfer was described by participants as hurried with an apparent lack of preparation at transfer clinics for new patient influx. Formal (e.g., counseling) and informal (e.g., family) social supports, both within and beyond the PEPFAR-funded clinic, provided a buffer to challenges faced during and after the transition in care. These data support the importance of social support, adequate preparation for transfer, and improving the quality of care in receiving clinics, in order to optimize retention in care and long-term adherence to treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540121.2015.1051502DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4548805PMC
February 2018

The Linkage Outcomes of a Large-scale, Rapid Transfer of HIV-infected Patients From Hospital-based to Community-based Clinics in South Africa.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2014 Sep 12;1(2):ofu058. Epub 2014 Aug 12.

Division of General Medicine ; Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Department of Medicine ; Division of Infectious Disease , Massachusetts General Hospital ; Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

Background: President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding changes have resulted in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinic closures. We evaluated linkage to care following a large-scale patient transfer from a PEPFAR-funded, hospital-based HIV clinic to government-funded, community-based clinics in Durban.

Methods: All adults were transferred between March and June 2012. Subjects were surveyed 5-10 months post-transfer to assess self-reported linkage to the target clinic. We validated self-reports by auditing records at 8 clinics. Overall success of transfer was estimated using linkage to care data for both reached and unreached subjects, adjusted for validation results.

Results: Of the 3913 transferred patients, 756 (19%) were assigned to validation clinics; 659 (87%) of those patients were reached. Among those reached, 468 (71%) had a validated clinic record visit. Of the 46 who self-reported attending a different validation clinic than originally assigned, 39 (85%) had a validated visit. Of the 97 patients not reached, 59 (61%) had a validated visit at their assigned clinic. Based on the validation rates for reached and unreached patients, the estimated success of transfer for the cohort overall was 82%.

Conclusions: Most patients reported successful transfer to a community-based clinic, though a quarter attended a different clinic than assigned. Validation of attendance highlights that nearly 20% of patients may not have linked to care and may have experienced a treatment interruption. Optimizing transfers of HIV care to community sites requires collaboration with receiving clinics to ensure successful linkage to care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofu058DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4281821PMC
September 2014

A randomized trial to optimize HIV/TB care in South Africa: design of the Sizanani trial.

BMC Infect Dis 2013 Aug 26;13:390. Epub 2013 Aug 26.

Division of General Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Despite increases in HIV testing, only a fraction of people newly diagnosed with HIV infection enter the care system and initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) in South Africa. We report on the design and initial enrollment of a randomized trial of a health system navigator intervention to improve linkage to HIV care and TB treatment completion in Durban, South Africa.

Methods/design: We employed a multi-site randomized controlled trial design. Patients at 4 outpatient sites were enrolled prior to HIV testing. For all HIV-infected participants, routine TB screening with sputum for mycobacterial smear and culture were collected. HIV-infected participants were randomized to receive the health system navigator intervention or usual care. Participants in the navigator arm underwent a baseline interview using a strengths-based case management approach to assist in identifying barriers to entering care and devising solutions to best cope with perceived barriers. Over 4 months, participants in the navigator arm received scheduled phone and text messages. The primary outcome of the study is linkage and retention in care, assessed 9 months after enrollment. For ART-eligible participants without TB, the primary outcome is 3 months on ART as documented in the medical record; participants co-infected with TB are also eligible to meet the primary outcome of completion of 6 months of TB treatment, as documented by the TB clinic. Secondary outcomes include mortality, receipt of CD4 count and TB test results, and repeat CD4 counts for those not ART-eligible at baseline. We hypothesize that a health system navigator can help identify and positively affect modifiable patient factors, including self-efficacy and social support, that in turn can improve linkage to and retention in HIV and TB care.

Discussion: We are currently evaluating the clinical impact of a novel health system navigator intervention to promote entry to and retention in HIV and TB care for people newly diagnosed with HIV. The details of this study protocol will inform clinicians, investigators, and policy makers of strategies to best support HIV-infected patients in resource-limited settings.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov. unique identifier: NCT01188941.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-13-390DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3765953PMC
August 2013
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