Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: We aimed to compare clinical outcomes after viremia between dolutegravir vs efavirenz-based first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) as evidence is lacking outside clinical trials in resource-limited settings. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis with routine data from 59 South African clinics. We included people with HIV aged ≥15 years receiving first-line tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, lamivudine, dolutegravir (TLD) or tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, emtricitabine, efavirenz (TEE) and with first viremia (≥50 copies/mL) between June and November 2020. We used multivariable modified Poisson regression models to compare retention in care and viral suppression (<50 copies/mL) after 12 months between participants on TLD vs TEE. RESULTS: At first viremia, among 9657 participants, 6457 (66.9%) were female, and the median age (interquartile range [IQR]) was 37 (31-44) years; 7598 (78.7%) were receiving TEE and 2059 (21.3%) TLD. Retention in care was slightly higher in the TLD group (84.9%) than TEE (80.8%; adjusted risk ratio [aRR], 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00-1.06). Of 6569 participants retained in care with a 12-month viral load, viral suppression was similar between the TLD (78.9%) and TEE (78.8%) groups (aRR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.98-1.05). However, 3368 participants changed ART during follow-up: the majority from TEE to first-line TLD (89.1%) or second-line (TLD 3.4%, zidovudine/emtricitabine/lopinavir-ritonavir 2.1%). In a sensitivity analysis among the remaining 3980 participants who did not change ART during follow-up and had a 12-month viral load, viral suppression was higher in the TLD (78.9%) than TEE (74.9%) group (aRR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03-1.12). CONCLUSIONS: Among people with viremia on first-line ART, dolutegravir was associated with slightly better retention in care and similar or better viral suppression than efavirenz.

Original publication




Journal article


Open Forum Infect Dis

Publication Date





antiretroviral therapy, dolutegravir, retention in care, viral suppression, viremia