Long-term outcomes of second-line antiretroviral treatment in an adult and adolescent cohort in Myanmar

Glob Health Action. 2017;10(1):1290916. doi: 10.1080/16549716.2017.1290916.


Background: Myanmar has a high burden of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and second-line antiretroviral treatment (ART) has been available since 2008 in the public health sector. However, there have been no published data about the outcomes of such patients until now.

Objective: To assess the treatment and programmatic outcomes and factors associated with unfavorable outcomes (treatment failure, death and loss to follow-up from care) among people living with HIV (aged ≥ 10 years) receiving protease inhibitor-based second-line ART under the Integrated HIV Care Program in Myanmar between October 2008 and June 2015.

Design: Retrospective cohort study using routinely collected program data.

Results: Of 824 adults and adolescents on second-line ART, 52 patients received viral load testing and 19 patients were diagnosed with virological failure. However, their treatment was not modified. At the end of a total follow-up duration of 7 years, 88 (11%) patients died, 35 (4%) were lost to follow-up, 21 (2%) were transferred out to other health facilities and 680 (83%) were still under care. The incidence rate of unfavorable outcomes was 7.9 patients per 100 person years follow-up. Patients with a history of injecting drug use, with a history of lost to follow-up, with a higher baseline viral load and who had received didanosine and abacavir had a higher risk of unfavorable outcomes. Patients with higher baseline C4 counts, those having taken first-line ART at a private clinic, receiving ART at decentralized sites and taking zidovudine and lamivudine had a lower risk of unfavorable outcomes.

Conclusions: Long-term outcomes of patients on second-line ART were relatively good in this cohort. Virological failure was relatively low, possibly because of lack of viral load testing. No patient who failed on second-line ART was switched to third-line treatment. The National HIV/AIDS Program should consider making routine viral load monitoring and third-line ART drugs available after a careful cost-benefit analysis.

Keywords: HIV; died; lost to follow-up; operational research; virological failure.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myanmar / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents

Grant support

This study was supported and financed by The Union and the Department for International Development (DFID), UK. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.