Background Late presentation to care of HIV-positive individuals and late introduction of antiretroviral therapy can lead to occurance of opportunistic diseases and higher morbidity and mortality of patients. Croatia is a country with a low-level HIV epidemic. Even after interventions undertaken during the Croatian Global Fund Project in 2004–2006 late presentation to care remains a problem.
Methods The aim of this study was to determine the percentage of late presenters among newly-diagnosed HIV-positive individuals who entered clinical care from January of 2007 till December of 2011. Late presenters were defined as patients with < 350 CD4 T-cells per μl. CD4 T-cell count was measured by flow cytometry (Beckman Coulter Flow Count reagent).
Results The number of patients diagnosed with HIV did not grow dramatically over the years (52 newly-diagnosed HIV-individuals entered clinical care in 2007, and 77 in 2010). The percentage of late presenters however, did grow over the years, from 46.2% in 2007 to 64% in 2011. Still, the number of patients presented to care with less than 200 CD4 T-cells/μl was the lowest in 2011 (30 patients out of 48, 62.5%), and highest in 2007 (19 out of 24 patients, 79.2%).
Conclusion The percentage of late presenters in Croatia is still quite high, even though there are fewer patients with less than 200 CD4 T-cells/μl. A national strategy for earlier entrance to care should be developed.
- CD4 count
- late presenters