Does undernutrition increase the risk of lost to follow-up in adults living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa? Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMJ open, 2021, 11, (12), pp. e048022
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INTRODUCTION:Undernutrition is considered a marker for poor prognosis among people living with HIV (PLHIV), particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where undernutrition and HIV are both highly prevalent. Evidence suggests that undernutrition (body mass index <18.5 kg/m2) is one of the main factors that significantly increases the risk of lost to follow-up (LTFU) in PLHIV. However, primary studies in SSA have reported inconsistent findings on the relationship between undernutrition and LTFU among adults living with HIV. To the best of our knowledge, no systematic review which aimed to summarise the available evidence. Hence, this review aims to determine the pooled effect of undernutrition on LTFU among adults living with HIV in SSA. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Scopus, and, for grey literature, Google Scholar will be systematically searched to include relevant articles published since 2005. Studies reporting the effect of undernutrition on LTFU in adults living with HIV in SSA will be included. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale will be used for quality assessment. Data from eligible studies will be extracted using a standardised data extraction tool. Heterogeneity between included studies will be assessed using Cochrane Q-test and I2 statistics. The Egger's and Begg's tests at a 5% significance level will be used to evaluate publication bias. As heterogeneity is anticipated, the pooled effect size will be estimated using a random-effects model. The final effect size will be reported using the adjusted HR with a 95% CI. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:Ethical approval is not required for a protocol for a systematic review. The results of this systematic review will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and will be publicly available. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER:CRD42021277741.
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