Reducing HIV-associated post-hospital mortality through home-based care in South Africa: a randomized controlled trial

Clin Infect Dis. 2023 Dec 5:ciad727. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciad727. Online ahead of print.


Background: Twenty-three percent of people with HIV (PWH) die within 6-months of hospital discharge. We tested the hypothesis whether a series of structured home visits could reduce mortality.

Methods: We designed a disease neutral home visit package with up to 6 home visits starting 1-week post-hospitalization and every 2 weeks thereafter. The home visit team used a structured assessment algorithm to evaluate and triage social and medical needs of the participant and provide nutritional support. We compared all-cause mortality 6-months following discharge for the intervention compared to usual care in a pilot randomized trial conducted in South Africa. To inform potential scale-up we also included and separately analyzed a group of people without HIV (PWOH).

Results: We enrolled 125 people with HIV and randomized them 1:1 to the home visit intervention or usual care. Fourteen were late exclusions because of death prior to discharge or delayed discharge leaving 111 for analysis. The median age was 39 years, 31% were men; and 70% had advanced HIV disease. At six months among PWH 4 (7.3%) in the home visit arm and 10 (17.9%) in the usual care arm (p = 0.09) had died. Among the 70 PWOH enrolled overall 6-month mortality was 10.1%. Of those in the home visit arm, 91% received at least one home visit.

Conclusions: We demonstrated feasibility of delivering post-hospital home visits and demonstrated preliminary efficacy among PWH with a substantial, but not statistically significant, effect size (59% reduction in mortality). COVID-19 related challenges resulted in under-enrollment.

Keywords: Africa; HIV; advanced HIV disease; hospital discharge; mortality; nutritional intervention; psychosocial intervention.