BACKGROUND. HIV research is a therapeutic area for which well-defined population-specific treatment and prophylaxis guidelines exist.
However, there are limited objective, evidence-based data for assessing adherence to these guidelines.
OBJECTIVE. To conduct a retrospective, cross-sectional study of adult HIV-infected patients receiving treatment at the antiretroviral (ARV)
roll-out clinic of the Infectious Diseases Clinic Pharmacy at 1 Military Hospital (1MH) over a period of 3 years to assess clinicians’
adherence to the 2010 ARV guidelines.
METHODS. Pharmacy files from the pool of adult patients receiving treatment at the ARV roll-out clinic between 1 April 2009 and 31 March
2012 were selected. Variables used to establish adherence were assessed through evaluation of pharmacy scripts and laboratory tests.
RESULTS. In accordance with the ARV guidelines, we found a switch in the first-line regimen from stavudine to tenofovir during the period
following implementation. There was no difference in baseline blood tests conducted, suggesting that clinicians were recommending a
standardised test panel. Notably, similar blood tests were routinely done during follow-up visits, despite no indication for doing so. While
the number of blood tests was found to decrease over time, the type of blood tests requested for specific treatment regimens was not in
accordance with the ARV guidelines.
CONCLUSION. We used an evidence-based approach to critically assess variations from the delineated ARV guidelines. Adherence to clinical
guidelines at 1MH, while demonstrating improvement in patient outcomes, highlighted the need for increased vigilance in monitoring
failure of prescribers to comply with ARV guidelines.