Introduction: Differentiated service delivery (DSD) models for antiretroviral treatment (ART) for HIV are being scaled up in the expectation that they will better meet the needs of patients, improve the quality and efficiency of treatment delivery and reduce costs while maintaining at least equivalent clinical outcomes. We reviewed the recent literature on DSD models to describe what is known about clinical outcomes.
Methods: We conducted a rapid systematic review of peer-reviewed publications in PubMed, Embase and the Web of Science and major international conference abstracts that reported outcomes of DSD models for the provision of ART in sub-Saharan
Africa from January 1, 2016 to September 12, 2019. Sources reporting standard clinical HIV treatment metrics, primarily retention in care and viral load suppression, were reviewed and categorized by DSD model and source quality assessed.
Results and discussion: Twenty-nine papers and abstracts describing 37 DSD models and reporting 52 discrete outcomes met search inclusion criteria. Of the 37 models, 7 (19%) were facility-based individual models, 12 (32%) out-of-facility-based individual models, 5 (14%) client-led groups and 13 (35%) healthcare worker-led groups. Retention was reported for 29 (78%) of the models and viral suppression for 22 (59%). Where a comparison with conventional care was provided, retention in most DSD models was within 5% of that for conventional care; where no comparison was provided, retention generally exceeded 80% (range 47% to 100%). For viral suppression, all those with a comparison to conventional care reported a small increase in
suppression in the DSD model; reported suppression exceeded 90% (range 77% to 98%) in 11/21 models. Analysis was limited by the extensive heterogeneity of study designs, outcomes, models and populations. Most sources did not provide comparisons with conventional care, and metrics for assessing outcomes varied widely and were in many cases poorly defined.
Conclusions: Existing evidence on the clinical outcomes of DSD models for HIV treatment in sub-Saharan Africa is limited in both quantity and quality