HIV: Software Finds 25% Patients in Washington, DC Not Achieving Viral Suppression

Nearly a quarter of HIV positive patients getting care through the Ryan White federally funded treatment program have not gotten their viral loads down. The analysis was made by the district's health department, which has used the data to address the problem.

Though more than three-quarters of HIV positive patients served through federal Ryan White funding in Washington DC are virally suppressed by adequate anti-retrovirals, one quarter are not.

Reporting at the 20th Annual United States Conference on AIDS, Lena Lago, MPH of the Washington, DC Department of Health, reported on the use of the District’s CAREWare software to track these patients.

Custom performance measures were developed to assess the total population of unsuppressed clients, and whether their care was continuous ART therapy, sporadic, or whether these patients were not getting ART at all.

The software let the investigator look at viral status and treatment history to see what trends emerged.

She found that in 2015-2016 of 4,924 HIV positive patients, 1,197 were not virally suppressed.

That meant their treatment was suboptimal, or that they were not complying with treatment plans, or both.

As a result of the analysis, new strategies and plans are in place.

Those include a campaign to raise awareness among patients and caregivers that so many people are not achieving viral suppression. In some cases the solution will be modifying prescriptions and/or offering mental health and substance abuse counseling.

Expanding team-based care and pharmacist-led interventions are also under consideration.