Improved simplified clinical algorithm for identifying patients eligible for immediate initiation of antiretroviral therapy for HIV (SLATE II): protocol for a randomized evaluation

By  Sydney Rosen  Dr Mhairi Maskew  Alana Brennan  Matthew Fox  Lungisile Vezi  P D Ehrenkranz and W D F Venter  |  | 

The SLATE II (Simplified Algorithm for Treatment Eligibility) study is an individually randomized evaluation of a clinical algorithm to reliably determine a patient’s eligibility for immediate ART initiation without waiting for laboratory results or additional clinic visits. It differs from the earlier SLATE I study in management of patients with symptoms of tuberculosis (under SLATE II these patients may be started on ART immediately) and
other criteria for immediate initiation. SLATE II will randomize (1:1) 600 adult, HIV-positive patients who present for HIV testing or care and are not yet on ART in South Africa. Patients randomized to the standard arm will receive standard-of-care ART initiation from clinic staff. Patients randomized to the intervention arm will be administered a symptom report, medical history, brief physical exam, and readiness assessment. Symptomatic patients will also have a tuberculosis (TB) module with lipoarabinomannan antigen of mycobacteria test. Patients who have satisfactory results for all four components will be dispensed antiretrovirals (ARVs) immediately, at the same clinic visit. Patients who have any negative results will be referred for further investigation, care, counseling, tests, or other services prior to being dispensed ARVs. Follow-up will be by passive medical record review. The primary outcomes will be ART initiation in ≤ 7 days and retention in care 8 months after study enrollment.

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