Predictors of timely linkage-to-ART within universal test and treat in the HPTN 071 (PopART) trial in Zambia and South Africa: findings from a nested case-control study
HPTN 071 (PopART) is a three-arm community randomized trial in Zambia and South Africa evaluating the impact of a combination HIV prevention package, including universal test and treat (UTT), on HIV incidence. This nested study examined factors associated with timely linkage-to-care and ART initiation (TLA) (i.e. within six-months of referral) in the context of UTT within the intervention communities of the HPTN 071 (PopART) trial.
The lack of socio-demographic differences between cases and controls in the study is encouraging for a "universal" intervention that seeks to ensure high coverage across whole communities. Making clinics more "patient-friendly" could enhance treatment uptake further. The finding that those with higher risk behaviour are more actively engaging with UTT holds promise for treatment-as-prevention.