Date: 13 Mar 2004

Efficacy of Directly Observed Treatment of HIV Infection: Experience in AIDS Welfare Homes

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With the objective of analyzing the efficacy of directly observed treatment (DOT) of HIV infection in the management of severely immunodepressed patients, this method was examined in individuals cared for in two social welfare facilities for HIV-infected persons and compared to self-administered therapy in outpatients. Forty-seven patients with registered HIV infection, stage C, were assigned to DOT for 9 months, the majority of whom had previously received antiretroviral therapy. A group of 51 HIV-infected outpatients, who attended day clinics attached to the reference hospitals, served as a comparison group. Together with increases in weight (9.2±7.5 kg) and Karnofsky scores (16.9±12.2) in the DOT group, a significant improvement of surrogate markers, such as CD4+ T-cell counts (increase in DOT group, 113.4±151.0 cells/µl; control group, −2.8±114.1 cells/µl; P<0.001) and HIV load (decrease in DOT group, −1.7±2.3 log10 copies/ml; control group, −0.4±1.5 log10 copies/ml; P<0.01) was detected in the DOT group. Morbidity and mortality were similar in both groups. The results indicate that such welfare facilities provide a useful framework not only for social objectives but also for healthcare purposes.