Aim To determine if poor access to healthcare is associated with increased cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis risk among patients with HIV with CD4 counts of <100 cells/μL screened in a resource-limited setting.
Methods This is a prospective cross-sectional study. Patients with known HIV and a CD4 count of <100 cells/μL attending an HIV clinic in Chiang Mai, Thailand, completed a standardised questionnaire and underwent dilated fundus examination. Participants without CMV retinitis were invited for repeated examinations every 3 months until their CD4 count exceeded 100 cells/μL. The relationship between various potential risk factors and CMV retinitis was assessed with logistic regression.
Results 103 study participants were enrolled. At enrolment, the mean age was 37.5 (95% CI 35.7 to 39.2) years, 61.2% (95% CI 51.6% to 70.7%) were male and the mean CD4 count was 29.5 (95% CI 25.9 to 33.1) cells/μL. 21 eyes from 16 (15.5%) participants were diagnosed with CMV retinitis. In multivariate analyses, CMV retinitis was significantly associated with lower CD4 count (OR 1.42 per 10-cell decrement, 95%CI 1.05 to 1.93), longer travel time to clinic (OR 3.85 for those with >30-min travel time, 95% CI 1.08 to 13.8) and lower income (OR 1.22 per US$50 less income, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.47).
Conclusions CD4 count, low income and longer travel time to clinic were significant risk factors for CMV retinitis among patients with HIV in a resource-limited setting. These results suggest that reducing blindness from CMV retinitis should focus on increasing accessibility of screening examinations to poor and hard-to-reach patients.
- Public health