ResearchPad - antiviral-therapy https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Mortality estimates by age and sex among persons living with HIV after ART initiation in Zambia using electronic medical records supplemented with tracing a sample of lost patients: A cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13858 Despite many studies demonstrating differences in HIV-related outcomes between men and women on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa, few studies use a probability sample that would enable them to offer regionally representative estimates.Many studies taken from routine service delivery settings are unable to account for outcomes among individuals lost to follow-up, which may threaten the validity of estimates comparing mortality in men and women.Furthermore, whether differences in survival between men and women vary across other important sociodemographic characteristics (such as age) remains underexplored.What did the researchers do and find?We used a multistage sampling approach to enumerate an analysis population of HIV-positive patients visiting public health facilities in 4 provinces in Zambia (Lusaka, Southern, Eastern, and Western).We estimated the association between sex and mortality overall and by age, adjusting for other sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.Of 49,129 adults newly initiating ART, the mortality rate was almost twice as high in men compared to women.Analysis of age-by-sex interactions revealed particularly elevated mortality among young males (as compared to females of the same age). While mortality rates appeared to fall with age among men, mortality rates rose with age among women, and by 50 years of age, women had a 2–3 times higher rate of death compared to women under 30.What do these findings mean?Among adults living with HIV in Zambia, men on average experience greater mortality compared to women, but this difference varies markedly by age, even after adjustment for other sociodemographic and clinical characteristics (e.g., baseline level of immunosuppression).Additional means of engaging and supporting younger men in HIV care is urgently needed and may include improved access to self-testing, use of financial incentives, and male-friendly services that feature flexible hours, an integrated multi-disease care model, and reduced visit frequency.Rising mortality associated with age in women greater than would be expected in the general population suggests that health services targeting women of reproductive age may be in part responsible for good clinical outcomes in younger women, but also highlights the need for specific programs to engage older women in care. ]]> <![CDATA[Adherence to antiretroviral therapy and associated factors among Human immunodeficiency virus positive patients accessing treatment at Nekemte referral hospital, west Ethiopia, 2019]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7637 Antiretroviral therapy has a remarkable clinical effect in reducing the progress of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The clinical outcome of Anti-Retroviral therapy depends on strict adherence. Poor adherence reduces the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy and increases viral replication. With changes in service delivery over time and differences in socio-demographic status from region to region, it is essential to measure adherence. Therefore, this study aimed to assess adherence to antiretroviral therapy and its associated factors among HIV/AIDS patients accessing treatment at Nekemte referral hospital, West Ethiopia.MethodsInstitutional based cross-sectional study was conducted on 311 HIV/AIDS patients from March 01 to March 30, 2019. The study participants were selected by a simple random sampling method and interviewed using structured questionnaires. Bivariable logistic regression was conducted to find an association between each independent variable and adherence to antiretroviral medication. Multivariable logistic regression was used to find the independent variables which best predict adherence. The statistical significance was measured using odds ratio at a 95% confidence interval with a p-value of less than 0.05.ResultsOut of a total of 311 patients sampled, 305 were participated in the study, making a response rate of 98.07%. From these 305 study participants,73.1% (95% CI = 68.2, 78.0) were adherent to their medication. Having knowledge about HIV and its treatment (AOR = 8.24, 95% CI: 3.10, 21.92), having strong family/social support (AOR = 6.21, 95% CI: 1.39, 27.62), absence of adverse drug reaction (AOR = 5.33, 95% CI: 1.95, 14.57), absence of comorbidity of other chronic diseases (AOR = 5.72, 95% CI: 1.91, 17.16) and disclosing HIV status to the family (AOR = 5.08, 95% CI: 2.09, 12.34) were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of adherence to antiretroviral medication.ConclusionThe level of adherence to antiretroviral therapy was found low compared to WHO recommendation. The clinician should emphasize reducing adverse drug reaction, detecting and treating co-morbidities early, improving knowledge through health education, and encouraging the patients to disclose their HIV status to their families. ]]> <![CDATA[Effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy on semen parameters of a cohort of 770 HIV-1 infected men]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c78500cd5eed0c484007bb8

Background

HIV-1 infected patients show impaired semen parameters. Currently, it is not clear whether HIV-1 infection itself or antiretroviral therapy have an effect on semen parameters. We aim evaluate semen quality in a large cohort of fertile HIV-1 infected men under stable highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and to assess the effect of HAART type and duration on semen parameters.

Materials and methods

Between January 2010 and June 2014, we enrolled in a retrospective case-control study 770 HIV-1 patients under stable HAART asking a reproductive counselling with their HIV negative partner. Co-infections with HBV or HCV, genital tract infections and known causes of infertility represented exclusion criteria. Semen samples were analysed and compared with the WHO reference values. A multivariate analysis including HAART type and duration, age, viral load and CD4 count, was performed on 600 patients out of 770.

Results

The median values of all semen parameters were significantly lower among HIV-1 infected patients compared to the WHO reference group, with a significant proportion of patients having values below the 5th percentile of the WHO reference value. In a multivariate analysis, only age and viral load negatively impacted progressive motility (β -0.3 (95% CI: -0.5; -0.0) %, p<0.05) and semen morphology (β -0.00 (95% CI: -0.00; -0.00) %, p≤0.01), while no associations were detected as regards HAART type and duration.

Conclusions

HIV-1 infected patients showed a significant impairment of semen parameters compared to the reference values. HAART type and duration showed no associations with semen quality. Further research is needed to investigate implications for clinical care of HIV infected men desiring a child.

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<![CDATA[“Even if she’s really sick at home, she will pretend that everything is fine.”: Delays in seeking care and treatment for advanced HIV disease in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9efd5eed0c48452a55d

Introduction

HIV prevalence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is estimated to be 1.2%, and access to HIV testing and treatment remains low across the country. Despite advances in treatment, HIV continues to be one of the main reasons for hospitalisation and death in low- and middle-income countries, including DRC, but the reasons why people delay seeking health-care when they are extremely sick remain little understood. People in Kinshasa, DRC, continue to present to health-care facilities in an advanced stage of HIV when they are close to death and needing intensive treatment.

Methods

This qualitative study was conducted in one health-care facility in Kinshasa. A total of 24 in-depth interviews with purposively selected health-care workers, patients and care-givers were conducted. Patients were currently or previously hospitalised with advanced HIV, defined as CD4 count <200 cells/μl. Patients included those who had previously started antiretroviral treatment (ART), and those who had not. Participant observation was also carried out. Interviews were audio-recorded, translated from French and Lingala into English, transcribed, coded and thematically analysed using NVivo.

Results

The main reasons for delaying access to health-care were stigmatisation, religious beliefs and limited economic resources. Stigmatisation meant that people feared disclosing their HIV status and thus did not receive support from their families. Religious leaders were reported to have encouraged people not to take ART. Patients delayed seeking treatment as they could not afford it, and health-care workers believed that staff at other facilities in Kinshasa were delaying HIV diagnoses for economic benefit.

Conclusions

Delays in accessing care and treatment linked to stigma, religious beliefs and economic factors contribute to explaining the persistence of advanced HIV within this context. Access to free HIV-testing, ART and treatment of opportunistic infections; counselling; training of health-care workers; support for care-givers and stigma reduction strategies are urgently needed to prevent unnecessary deaths.

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<![CDATA[Presence, persistence and effects of pre-treatment HIV-1 drug resistance variants detected using next generation sequencing: A Retrospective longitudinal study from rural coastal Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9f3d5eed0c48452a5bd

Background

The epidemiology of HIV-1 drug resistance (HIVDR) determined by Sanger capillary sequencing, has been widely studied. However, much less is known about HIVDR detected using next generation sequencing (NGS) methods. We aimed to determine the presence, persistence and effect of pre-treatment HIVDR variants detected using NGS in HIV-1 infected antiretroviral treatment (ART) naïve participants from rural Coastal Kenya.

Methods

In a retrospective longitudinal study, samples from HIV-1 infected participants collected prior [n = 2 time-points] and after [n = 1 time-point] ART initiation were considered. An ultra-deep amplicon-based NGS assay, calling for nucleotide variants at >2.0% frequency of viral population, was used. Suspected virologic failure (sVF) was defined as a one-off HIV-1 viral load of >1000 copies/ml whilst on ART.

Results

Of the 50 eligible participants, 12 (24.0% [95% CI: 13.1–38.2]) had at least one detectable pre-treatment HIVDR variant against Protease Inhibitors (PIs, n = 6 [12%]), Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs, n = 4 [8.0%]) and Non-NRTIs (n = 3 [6.0%]). Overall, 15 pre-treatment resistance variants were detected (frequency, range: 2.3–92.0%). A positive correlation was observed between mutation frequency and absolute load for NRTI and/or NNRTI variants (r = 0.761 [p = 0.028]), but not for PI variants (r = -0.117 [p = 0.803]). Participants with pre-treatment NRTI and/or NNRTI resistance had increased odds of sVF (OR = 6.0; 95% CI = 1.0–36.9; p = 0.054).

Conclusions

Using NGS, pre-treatment resistance variants were common, though observed PI variants were unlikely transmitted, but rather probably generated de novo. Even when detected from a low frequency, pre-treatment NRTI and/or NNRTI resistance variants may adversely affect treatment outcomes.

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<![CDATA[Mucosal cell populations may contribute to peripheral immune abnormalities in HIV-infected subjects introducing cART with moderate immune-suppression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f153bd5eed0c48467af19

HIV infection causes the progressive depletion of CD4+ T-lymphocytes and profound modifications of T-cell homeostasis, which persist despite virologically-suppressive treatment and have been linked to a worse clinical outcome. Enduring alterations of the gastrointestinal tract may represent the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of these phenomena. Twenty-six HIV-infected subjects were assessed over a 12-month period following the introduction of antiretroviral therapy. 18 uninfected individuals were enrolled as controls. Parameters of peripheral T-cell homeostasis (activation, maturation), gastrointestinal function (microbial translocation, gut inflammation, fecal microbiota composition) and mucosal immunity (CD4+CCR6+CD161+, CD4+CCR9+α4β7+, stem cell memory CD4+/CD8+ T-cells) were assessed. CD4+CCR6+CD161+ cells were depleted in HIV-infected untreated subjects and maintained significantly lower levels compared to controls, despite the introduction of effective antiviral treatment. The frequency of gut-homing CD4+CCR9+α4β7+ cells was also impaired in untreated infection and correlated with the HIV RNA load and CD4+HLADR+CD38+; during therapy, we observed a contraction of this pool in the peripheral blood and the loss of its correlation with antigenic exposure/immune activation. A partial correction of the balance between stem cell memory pools and T-cell homeostasis was registered following treatment. In HIV-infected subjects with moderate immune-suppression, antiretroviral therapy has a marginal impact on mucosal immune populations which feature distinctive kinetics in the periphery, possibly reflecting their diverse recruitment from the blood to the mucosa. The persistent defects in mucosal immunity may fuel peripheral T-cell abnormalities through diverse mechanisms, including the production of IL-17/IL-22, cellular permissiveness to infection and regulation of T-lymphocyte maturation.

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<![CDATA[Treatment of HIV among tuberculosis patients: A replication study of timing of antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1-associated tuberculosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df36fd5eed0c4845812c9

Co-diagnosis of HIV and tuberculosis presents a treatment dilemma. Starting both treatments at the same time can cause a flood of immune response called immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) which can be lethal. But, how long to delay HIV treatment is less understood. In 2011, based on the conclusions of three separate studies, WHO recommended starting HIV treatment earlier for those with later HIV disease progression. This paper conducts a replication study of one of the three studies, by Havlir and colleagues. Using their publicly available data, we were able to replicate most of the results presented in the original paper. In our measurement and estimation analyses we use different estimation techniques to assess the robustness of the results. We find that adjusting for loss to follow-up does not affect the main results of the paper. However, an ANCOVA estimation and an instrumental variable model weaken the main result of the paper of better outcomes with early HIV treatment only for those who are sicker, reducing significance from the 5% to the 10% level. A change-point analysis also detects no changes in effect by timing of HIV treatment initiation or different thresholds of CD4 count for the primary outcome. This result suggests that the choice of start time for HIV treatment initiation should be based on other factors including potential drug interactions, overlapping side effects, a high pill burden and severity of illness rather than CD4 threshold and preset timeframes. While we caution against overgeneralizing, the result of this replication is aligned with more recent studies that show no evidence that early initiation of HIV treatment reduces mortality for any patients.

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<![CDATA[Mortality risk in the population of HIV-positive individuals in Southern China: A cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b2637d5eed0c4842895b1

To evaluate the mortality risk in the HIV-positive population, we conducted an observational cohort study involving routine data collection of HIV-positive patients who presented at HIV clinics and multiple treatment centers throughout Guangxi province, Southern China in 2011. The patients were screened for tuberculosis (TB) and tested for hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) virus infections yearly. Following the registration, the cohort was followed up for a 60-month period till the end-point (December 31, 2015). Univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to analyze the hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for mortality after adjusting for confounding factors stratified by patients’ sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics. HRs were compared within risk-factor levels. With the median follow-up of 3.7-person years for each individual, 5,398 (37.8%) (of 14,293 patients with HIV/AIDS) died; among whom, 78.4% were antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naïve; 43.6% presented late; and 12.2% and 3.3% of patients had Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and HBV and HCV co-infection, respectively. Of individuals with CD4 counts, those with CD4 count >350 cells/μL formed 14.0% of those who died. Furthermore, gender [multivariable HR (95% CI):1.94 (1.68–2.25)], Han ethnicity [2.15 (1.07–4.32)], illiteracy [3.28 (1.96–5.5)], elementary education [2.91 (1.8–4.72)], late presentation [2.89 (2.46–3.39)], and MTB co-infection [1.28 (1.10–1.49)] strongly increased the all-cause mortality risk of HIV-positive individuals. The HR for ART-based stratification was 0.08 (0.07–0.09); and for HBV and HCV co-infection, HR was 1.02 (0.86–1.21). The findings emphasized that accessibility to HIV testing among high-risk populations and screening for viral hepatitis and TB co-infection are important for the survival of HIV-positive individuals. Initiating early ART, even for individuals with higher CD4 counts, is advisable to help increase the prolongation of lives within the community.

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<![CDATA[Patient costs incurred by people living with HIV/AIDS prior to ART initiation in primary healthcare facilities in Gauteng, South Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b2632d5eed0c484289528

Purpose

To quantify costs to patients of accessing HIV care prior to ART initiation.

Materials and methods

Using a cross-sectional study design, costs incurred by HIV-positive patients prior to ART initiation were estimated at urban primary healthcare facilities in South Africa. Costs included direct costs, indirect (productivity) costs, carer and coping costs (value of assets sold and money borrowed). The percentage of individual income spent on healthcare was calculated and compared by patient income tertiles and CD4 count strata.

Results

289 patients (69% female, mean age 37 (SD: 10) years, median CD4 317 (IQR: 138–494) cells/mm3) were interviewed. The total mean monthly cost of pre-ART care was US$15.71. Indirect costs accounted for $2.59 (16.49%) of this when time was valued using the patient’s reported income. The mean monthly patient costs were $31.61, $12.78, $12.65 and $11.93 for those with a CD4 count <100, 101–350, 351–500 and >500 cells/mm3 respectively. The percentage of individual income spent on healthcare was 7.25% for those with a CD4 count <100 cells/mm3 and 4.05% for those with a CD4 count >500 cells/mm3.

Conclusions

Despite the provision of charge-free services at public clinics, care prior to ART initiation can be costly, particularly for the poor and unemployed. Our study adds to the growing body of evidence that highlights the need to consider policies to reduce the economic barriers to HIV service access, particularly for low income or unwell patient groups, such as improving access to disability grants.

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<![CDATA[Breakthrough tuberculosis disease among people with HIV – Should we be worried? A retrospective longitudinal study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8ddd5eed0c48496f299

Introduction

Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) is a proven means to prevent tuberculosis (TB) disease among people living with HIV (PLHIV). However, there is a concern that patients often develop tuberculosis disease while receiving IPT, defined here as breakthrough tuberculosis, which may affect treatment outcome. In this study, we assessed the magnitude and determinants of breakthrough tuberculosis.

Methods

A multisite retrospective longitudinal study from the year 2005 to 2014 involving 11 randomly selected hospitals from the Addis Ababa, SNNPR (Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region), and Gambela regions of Ethiopia was carried out to assess the occurrence of breakthrough tuberculosis. Cox regression analysis was used to study factors associated with breakthrough TB.

Results

4,484 patients in chronic HIV care received IPT. Eighty percent of the same number received antiretroviral therapy (ART). Tuberculosis developed in 88 of 4,484 (2%) patients of which 24 (0.5%) were diagnosed while receiving IPT. Breakthrough TB incidence was 1106 per 100,000 person-years (PY) (95% CI: 742–1651) while TB incidence after completing IPT was 624 per 100,000 PY (95% CI: 488–797). Seven of the 24 (29%) breakthrough TB cases were diagnosed within the first month of IPT initiation. Of 15 patients who developed breakthrough TB while on ART, nine (60%) were diagnosed within the first six months of ART initiation. Having high CD4 cell count and being on ART were associated with having lower risk of developing TB and breakthrough TB.

Conclusion

Breakthrough TB was uncommon in the study setting. Even then, taking ART reduced the risk of its occurrence. Slightly more than a quarter of the cases of breakthrough TB occurred in the first month of treatment and may be existing undiagnosed TB cases which were missed during diagnostic work-up.

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<![CDATA[HIV virologic failure and its predictors among HIV-infected adults on antiretroviral therapy in the African Cohort Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c633958d5eed0c484ae6500

Introduction

The 2016 WHO consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs defines HIV virologic failure for low and middle income countries (LMIC) as plasma HIV-RNA ≥ 1000 copies/mL. We evaluated virologic failure and predictors in four African countries.

Materials and methods

We included HIV-infected participants on a WHO recommended antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen and enrolled in the African Cohort Study between January 2013 and October 2017. Studied outcomes were virologic failure (plasma HIV-RNA ≥ 1000 copies/mL at the most recent visit), viraemia (plasma HIV-RNA ≥ 50 copies/mL at the most recent visit); and persistent viraemia (plasma HIV-RNA ≥ 50 copies/mL at two consecutive visits). Generalized linear models were used to estimate relative risks with their 95% confidence intervals.

Results

2054 participants were included in this analysis. Viraemia, persistent viraemia and virologic failure were observed in 396 (19.3%), 160 (7.8%) and 184 (9%) participants respectively. Of the participants with persistent viraemia, only 57.5% (92/160) had confirmed virologic failure. In the multivariate analysis, attending clinical care site other than the Uganda sitebeing on 2nd line ART (aRR 1.8, 95% CI 1·28–2·66); other ART combinations not first line and not second line (aRR 3.8, 95% CI 1.18–11.9), a history of fever in the past week (aRR 3.7, 95% CI 1.69–8.05), low CD4 count (aRR 6.9, 95% CI 4.7–10.2) and missing any day of ART (aRR 1·8, 95% CI 1·27–2.57) increased the risk of virologic failure. Being on 2nd line therapy, the site where one receives care and CD4 count < 500 predicted viraemia, persistent viraemia and virologic failure.

Conclusion

In conclusion, these findings demonstrate that HIV-infected patients established on ART for more than six months in the African setting frequently experienced viraemia while continuing to be on ART. The findings also show that being on second line, low CD4 count, missing any day of ART and history of fever in the past week remain important predictors of virologic failure that should trigger intensified adherence counselling especially in the absence of reliable or readily available viral load monitoring. Finally, clinical care sites are different calling for further analyses to elucidate on the unique features of these sites.

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<![CDATA[Enhanced adherence counselling and viral load suppression in HIV seropositive patients with an initial high viral load in Harare, Zimbabwe: Operational issues]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c633956d5eed0c484ae64da

Background

In people living with HIV (PLHIV) who are on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), it is essential to identify persons with high blood viral loads (VLs) (≥1000 copies/ml), provide enhanced adherence counselling (EAC) for 3 months and assess for VL suppression (<1000 copies/ml).

Objective

Our study objectives were to determine the proportion who had a high viral load in those people who underwent viral load testing between 1 August 2016–31 July 2017 at Wilkins Hospital, Harare, Zimbabwe. Of those with high viral load to assess; a) the proportion who enrolled for EAC, the demographic and clinical characteristics associated with enrolment for EAC and, b) the proportion who achieved viral load suppression and demographic, clinical characteristics associated with viral load suppression.

Design

Retrospective cohort study using routinely collected programme data. Data was collected from PLHIV who were on ART and had a high viral load from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017.

Results

Of 5,573 PLHIV on ART between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017, 4787 (85.9%) had undergone VL testing and 646 (13.5%) had high VLs. Of these 646, only 489 (75.7%) were enrolled for EAC, of whom 444 (69%) underwent a repeat VL test at ≥ 3 months with 201 (31.2%) achieving VL suppression. The clinical characteristics that were independently associated with higher probability of VL suppression were: a) undergoing 3 sessions of EAC; b) being on 2nd line ART. Initial VL levels >5,000 copies/ml were associated with lower probability of viral suppression.

Conclusion

The routine VL testing levels were high, but there were major programmatic gaps in enrolling PLHIV with high VLs into EAC and achieving VL suppression. The full potential of EAC on achieving viral load suppression has not been achieved in this setting. The reasons for these gaps need to be assessed in future research studies and addressed by suitable changes in policies/practices.

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<![CDATA[Re-boost immunizations with the peptide-based therapeutic HIV vaccine, Vacc-4x, restores geometric mean viral load set-point during treatment interruption]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b5285d5eed0c4842bca97

Background

Vacc-4x, a therapeutic HIV vaccine candidate has previously induced a significant reduction in viral load (VL) set-point compared to placebo upon interruption of combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART) (2007/1 study). This study, (2012/1), explored the potential to maintain Vacc-4x effect by re-boosting eligible 2007/1 study participants.

Methods

Participant inclusion required 2007/1 participants to have completed all Vacc-4x immunizations and interrupted ART for up to 26 weeks. At weeks (wk)0 and 2, participants received intradermal (i.d.) Vacc-4x booster immunizations (1.2mg) on ART with GM-CSF (60μg) i.d. as a local adjuvant. ART was interrupted for up to 16 weeks (wk12-wk28). Participants were then followed on ART until wk36. VL set-point, total proviral DNA (pvDNA) and immunogenicity assessed by IFN-γ ELISPOT, T-cell proliferation and delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactions were compared to participants’ values in the 2007/1 study where available.

Results

This open, multicenter, clinical study enrolled 33 participants from 9 clinical trial sites in the US and Europe. In the per-protocol (PP) population, the VL set-point geometric mean (GM) 18162 copies/mL was not significantly changed compared to the 2007/1 study (GM VL 22035 copies/mL), (p = 0.453, n = 18). For participants with available preART VL values, the VL set-point (GM 26279 copies/mL) remained significantly lower than the preART VL set-point (GM 74048 copies/mL, p = 0.021, n = 13). A statistically significant reduction in pvDNA (49%) from baseline to wk4 was observed (p = 0.03, n = 26). DTH responses (wk4) increased significantly from baseline (p = 0.006, n = 30) and compared to the 2007/1 study (p = 0.022, n = 29) whilst the proportion of participants with ELISPOT and T-cell proliferation responses was similar between the two studies.

Conclusions

Vacc-4x booster immunizations safely maintained the mean VL set-point at that established following primary Vacc-4x therapeutic immunization. The reduction in pvDNA during ART supports the potential for Vacc-4x immunization to reduce HIV reservoirs and thereby contribute to combination HIV cure strategies.

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<![CDATA[HIV prevalence and determinants of loss-to-follow-up in adolescents and young adults with tuberculosis in Cape Town]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c63392bd5eed0c484ae6139

TB remains a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa, due to the HIV epidemic. As TB treatment is lengthy, the completion of the full course of treatment may be especially challenging for young people. We therefore aimed to identify the extent of and reasons underlying loss to follow-up from TB treatment among young people in Cape Town. Accordingly, we reviewed the outcomes of young people treated for TB in Cape Town during 2009–2013, across three age groups: younger adolescents (10–14 years); older adolescents; (15–19 years) and young adults (20–24 years). We employed logistic regression analysis to identify risk factors for loss from TB care. 23,737 patients aged 10–24 were treated for drug sensitive TB over the study period. Of these, the HIV co-infection prevalence was 18.5% for younger adolescents, 12.9% for older adolescents and 33.1% for young adults. From age 16, HIV prevalence increased disproportionately among young women: by age 22, over 50% of women were TB/HIV co-infected compared to 14% of men. TB treatment success (cure plus completion) was 84.4%, while 1.7% of patients died, 9.5% were lost-to follow-up and 0.4% failed treatment. Being an older adolescent (aOR 1.75 [95% CI: 1.38–2.21]) or young adult (aOR: 1.96 [95% CI: 1.57–2.45]) increased the risk of loss-to-follow up, relative to being a younger adolescent. Further risk factors for loss from TB care were male gender (aOR: 1.33 [95% CI:1.20–1.46]), being a TB/HIV co-infected young person (aOR 1.74 [95% CI: 1.57–1.93]) and having had prior treatment for TB (aOR 3.17 [95% CI 2.87–3.51]). We identified risk factors for loss to follow-up and highlighted the need to focus on HIV prevention and retention in TB care among young people. TB care tailored to the needs of young people could improve patient retention, similar to improved outcomes reported by youth friendly HIV clinics.

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<![CDATA[Factors affecting mortality among HIV positive patients two years after completing recommended therapy for Cryptococcal meningitis in Uganda]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52d0d5eed0c4842bd096

Background

Cryptococcal meningitis (CCM) remains a leading cause of mortality amongst HIV infected patients in sub-Saharan Africa. When patients receive recommended therapy, mortality at 10 weeks has been reported to vary between 20 to 36%. However, mortality rate and factors affecting mortality after completing recommended therapy are not well known. We investigated mortality rate, and factors affecting mortality at 2 years among CCM patients following completion of recommended CCM therapy in Uganda.

Methods

A retrospective cohort study was conducted among HIV infected patients that had completed 10 weeks of recommended therapy for CCM (2 weeks of intravenous amphotericin B 1mg/kg and 10 weeks of oral Fluconazole 800mg daily) in the CryptoDex trial (ISRCTN59144167) between 2013 and 2015. Survival analysis applying Cox regression was used to determine the mortality rate and factors affecting mortality at 2 years.

Results

This study followed up 112 participants for 2 years. Mean age (±SD) was 34.9 ± 8, 48 (57.1%) were female and 80 (74.8%) had been on ART for less than 1 year. At 2 years, overall mortality was 30.9% (20 deaths per 100 person-years). Majority of deaths (61.8%) occurred during the first 6 months. In multivariable analysis, mortality was associated with ever being re-admitted since discharge after hospital-based management of CCM (aHR = 13.33, 95% CI: 5.92–30.03), p<0.001; and self-perceived quality of life, with quality of life 50–75% having reduced risk compared to <50% (aHR = 0.21, 95% CI: 0.09–0.5), p<0.001, as well as >75% compared to <50% (HR = 0.29, 95% CI: 0.11–0.81), p = 0.018.

Conclusion

There remains a considerable risk of mortality in the first two years after completion of standard therapy for CCM in resource-limited settings with risk highest during the first 6 months. Maintenance of patient follow up during this period may reduce mortality.

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<![CDATA[Factors predictive of successful retention in care among HIV-infected men in a universal test-and-treat setting in Uganda and Kenya: A mixed methods analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5217f9d5eed0c484795d4b

Background

Previous research indicates clinical outcomes among HIV-infected men in sub-Saharan Africa are sub-optimal. The SEARCH test and treat trial (NCT01864603) intervention included antiretroviral care delivery designed to address known barriers to HIV-care among men by decreasing clinic visit frequency and providing flexible, patient-centered care with retention support. We sought to understand facilitators and barriers to retention in care in this universal treatment setting through quantitative and qualitative data analysis.

Methods

We used a convergent mixed methods study design to evaluate retention in HIV care among adults (age > = 15) during the first year of the SEARCH (NCT01864603) test and treat trial. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to evaluate predictors of retention in care. Longitudinal qualitative data from n = 190 in-depth interviews with HIV-positive individuals and health care providers were analyzed to identify facilitators and barriers to HIV care engagement.

Results

There were 1,863 men and 3,820 women who linked to care following baseline testing. Retention in care was 89.7% (95% CI 87.0–91.8%) among men and 89.0% (86.8–90.9%) among women at one year. In both men and women older age was associated with higher rates of retention in care at one year. Additionally, among men higher CD4+ at ART initiation and decreased time between testing and ART initiation was associated with higher rates of retention. Maintaining physical health, a patient-centered treatment environment, supportive partnerships, few negative consequences to disclosure, and the ability to seek care in facilities outside of their community of residence were found to promote retention in care.

Conclusions

Features of the ART delivery system in the SEARCH intervention and social and structural advantages emerged as facilitators to retention in HIV care among men. Messaging around the health benefits of early ART start, decreasing logistical barriers to HIV care, support of flexible treatment environments, and accelerated linkage to care, are important to men’s success in ART treatment programs. Men already benefit from increased social support following disclosure of their HIV-status. Future efforts to shift gender norms towards greater equity are a potential strategy to support high levels of engagement in care for both men and women.

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<![CDATA[Rapid antiretroviral therapy initiation in low- and middle-income countries: A resource-based approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c99d5eed0c484bd356f

In an Essay, Mark Tenforde and colleagues advocate continued provision of baseline CD4 cell count testing in HIV care in low- and middle-income countries.

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<![CDATA[The effect of gender on food insecurity among HIV-infected people receiving anti-retroviral therapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d0159d5eed0c48403a7c8

Background

HIV-infected adults receiving anti-retroviral therapy have a high prevalence of food insecurity in both high- and low-income settings., Women bear an inequitable burden of food insecurity due to lack of control over resources and over household food allocation decision-making. The few studies conducted on the association between food insecurity and gender among HIV-infected adults have inconclusive findings. Therefore, the objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to estimate the pooled effect of gender on food insecurity among HIV-infected adults receiving antiretroviral therapy.

Method

We conducted an electronic, web-based search using PubMed, CINAHL, PopLine, MedNar, Embase, Cochrane library, the JBI Library, the Web of Science and Google Scholar. We included studies which reported the association between food insecurity and gender among HIV-infected adults receiving antiretroviral therapy whose age was greater than 18 years. The analysis was conducted using STATA 14 software. A random effects model was used to estimate the pooled effect a 95% confidence interval(CI). Forest plots were used to visualize the presence of heterogeneity. Funnel plots and Egger’s and Begg’s tests were used to check for publication bias.

Results

A total of 776 studies were identified of which seventeen studies were included in the meta-analysis, with a total of 5827 HIV infected adults receiving antiretroviral therapy. We found that the gender of HIV-infected adults receiving anti-retroviral therapy had statistically significant effects on food insecurity. The pooled odds of developing food insecurity among female HIV infected adults receiving anti-retroviral therapy was 53% higher than male HIV infected adults (OR: 1.53, 95% CI: 1.29, 1.83). Our analysis indicate the findings of studies conducted in the high-income countries showed weakest associations between gender and food insecurity than those conducted in low- and middle-income countries.

Conclusion

Our systematic review and meta-analysis showed statistically significant effect of gender on food insecurity among HIV-infected adults receiving anti-retroviral therapy in which odds of food insecurity was higher among female HIV infected adults compared to male HIV-infected adults. These findings suggest that the need to include within food and nutrition interventions for HIV-infected adults receiving antiretroviral treatment, culture- and context-specific gender-based policies to address the sex/gender related vulnerability to food insecurity.

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<![CDATA[Machine learning models to predict disease progression among veterans with hepatitis C virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bb0d5eed0c48491dd99

Background

Machine learning (ML) algorithms provide effective ways to build prediction models using longitudinal information given their capacity to incorporate numerous predictor variables without compromising the accuracy of the risk prediction. Clinical risk prediction models in chronic hepatitis C virus (CHC) can be challenging due to non-linear nature of disease progression. We developed and compared two ML algorithms to predict cirrhosis development in a large CHC-infected cohort using longitudinal data.

Methods and findings

We used national Veterans Health Administration (VHA) data to identify CHC patients in care between 2000–2016. The primary outcome was cirrhosis development ascertained by two consecutive aspartate aminotransferase (AST)-to-platelet ratio indexes (APRIs) > 2 after time zero given the infrequency of liver biopsy in clinical practice and that APRI is a validated non-invasive biomarker of fibrosis in CHC. We excluded those with initial APRI > 2 or pre-existing diagnosis of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma or hepatic decompensation. Enrollment was defined as the date of the first APRI. Time zero was defined as 2 years after enrollment. Cross-sectional (CS) models used predictors at or closest before time zero as a comparison. Longitudinal models used CS predictors plus longitudinal summary variables (maximum, minimum, maximum of slope, minimum of slope and total variation) between enrollment and time zero. Covariates included demographics, labs, and body mass index. Model performance was evaluated using concordance and area under the receiver operating curve (AuROC). A total of 72,683 individuals with CHC were analyzed with the cohort having a mean age of 52.8, 96.8% male and 53% white. There are 11,616 individuals (16%) who met the primary outcome over a mean follow-up of 7 years. We found superior predictive performance for the longitudinal Cox model compared to the CS Cox model (concordance 0.764 vs 0.746), and for the longitudinal boosted-survival-tree model compared to the linear Cox model (concordance 0.774 vs 0.764). The accuracy of the longitudinal models at 1,3,5 years after time zero also showed superior performance compared to the CS model, based on AuROC.

Conclusions

Boosted-survival-tree based models using longitudinal information are statistically superior to cross-sectional or linear models for predicting development of cirrhosis in CHC, though all four models were highly accurate. Similar statistical methods could be applied to predict outcomes in other non-linear chronic disease states.

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<![CDATA[Trends in HIV care cascade engagement among diagnosed people living with HIV in Ontario, Canada: A retrospective, population-based cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390ba4d5eed0c48491da7e

Background

The HIV cascade is an important framework for assessing systems of care, but population-based assessment is lacking for most jurisdictions worldwide. We measured cascade indicators over time in a population-based cohort of diagnosed people living with HIV (PLWH) in Ontario, Canada.

Methods

We created a retrospective cohort of diagnosed PLWH using a centralized laboratory database with HIV diagnostic and viral load (VL) test records linked at the individual-level. Individuals enter the cohort with record of a nominal HIV-positive diagnostic test or VL test, and remain unless administratively lost to follow-up (LTFU, >2 consecutive years with no VL test and no VL test in later years). We calculated the annual percent of diagnosed PLWH (cohort individuals not LTFU) between 2000 and 2015 who were in care (≥1 VL test), on ART (as documented on VL test requisition) or virally suppressed (<200 copies/ml). We also calculated time from diagnosis to linkage to care and viral suppression among individuals newly diagnosed with HIV. Analyses were stratified by sex and age. Upper/lower bounds were calculated using alternative indicator definitions.

Results

The number of diagnosed PLWH increased from 8,859 (8,859–11,389) in 2000 to 16,110 (16,110–17,423) in 2015. Over this 16-year period, the percent of diagnosed PLWH who were: in care increased from 81% (63–81%) to 87% (81–87%), on ART increased from 55% (34–60%) to 81% (70–82%) and virally suppressed increased from 41% (23–46%) to 80% (67–81%). Between 2000 and 2014, the percent of newly diagnosed individuals who linked to care within three months of diagnosis or achieved viral suppression within six months of diagnosis increased from 67% to 82% and from 22% to 42%, respectively. Estimates were generally lower for females and younger individuals.

Discussion

HIV cascade indicators among diagnosed PLWH in Ontario improved between 2000 and 2015, but gaps still remain—particularly for younger individuals.

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