Background: There are limited data on individual human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral load (VL) trajectories at the population-level after the introduction of universal test and treat (UTT) in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods: Human immunodeficiency virus VLs were assessed among HIV-positive participants through 3 population-based surveys in 4 Ugandan fishing communities surveyed between November 2011 and August 2017. The unit of analysis was a visit-pair (2 consecutive person-visits), which were categorized as exhibiting durable VL suppression, new/renewed VL suppression, viral rebound, or persistent viremia. Adjusted relative risks (adjRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of persistent viremia were estimated using multivariate Poisson regression.
Results: There were 1346 HIV-positive participants (n = 1883 visit-pairs). The population-level prevalence of durable VL suppression increased from 29.7% to 67.9% during UTT rollout, viral rebound declined from 4.4% to 2.7%, and persistent viremia declined from 20.8% to 13.3%. Younger age (15-29 vs 40-49 years; adjRR = 1.80; 95% CI = 1.19-2.71), male sex (adjRR = 2.09, 95% CI = 1.47-2.95), never being married (vs currently married; adjRR = 1.88, 95% CI = 1.34-2.62), and recent migration to the community (vs long-term resident; adjRR = 1.91, 95% CI = 1.34-2.73) were factors associated with persistent viremia.
Conclusions: Despite increases in durable VL suppression during roll out of UTT in hyperendemic communities, a substantial fraction of the population, whose risk profile tended to be younger, male, and mobile, remained persistently viremic.
Keywords: Africa; HIV prevention; cohort studies; universal test and treat; viral suppression.
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