Background: The rapid expansion of antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs in resource-constrained countries in the previous decade has led to large numbers of patients reaching ≥5 years on ART, but little evidence exists about long-term economic outcomes. We report the effect of ART on symptoms, general health, ability to perform normal activities, and employment among patients in South Africa during the first five years on treatment. Methods: A cohort of 1065 adult South African patients were enrolled before ART initiation or on ART < 6 months and followed for up to five years. Subjects were interviewede rapid expansion of antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs in resource-constrained countries in the previous decade has during routine clinic visits a mean of 7.3 times. Outcomes were estimated using population-averaged logistic regression. Results: Of the original cohort, 174 patients never initiated ART and 12 had no interviews after initiating. Data on the remaining 879 were analyzed. All outcomes improved continuously over the full five-year follow up. The probability of reporting pain last week fell from 61% during the three months before starting ART to 13% after five years on ART, fatigue 56% to 4%, nausea 24% to 3%, and skin problems 48% to 3%.
Conference: IAEN 2012, Wahington DC, USA