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1.  Improved survival for HIV infected patients with severe Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia is independent of highly active antiretroviral therapy 
Thorax  2006;61(8):716-721.
Despite a decline in incidence of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), severe PCP continues to be a common cause of admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) where mortality remains high. A study was undertaken to examine the outcome from intensive care for patients with PCP and to identify prognostic factors.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted of HIV infected adults admitted to a university affiliated hospital ICU between November 1990 and October 2005. Case note review collected information on demographic variables, use of prophylaxis and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), and hospital course. The main outcome was 1 month mortality, either on the ICU or in hospital.
Fifty nine patients were admitted to the ICU on 60 occasions. Thirty four patients (57%) required mechanical ventilation. Overall mortality was 53%. No patient received HAART before or during ICU admission. Multivariate analysis showed that the factors associated with mortality were the year of diagnosis (before mid 1996 (mortality 71%) compared with later (mortality 34%; p = 0.008)), age (p = 0.016), and the need for mechanical ventilation and/or development of pneumothorax (p = 0.031). Mortality was not associated with sex, ethnicity, prior receipt of sulpha prophylaxis, haemoglobin, serum albumin, CD4 count, Pao2, A‐ao2 gradient, co‐pathology in bronchoscopic lavage fluid, medical co‐morbidity, APACHE II score, or duration of mechanical ventilation.
Observed improved outcomes from severe PCP for patients admitted to the ICU occurred in the absence of intervention with HAART and probably reflect general improvements in ICU management of respiratory failure and ARDS rather than improvements in the management of PCP.
PMCID: PMC2104703  PMID: 16601092
AIDS; intensive care; mechanical ventilation;  Pneumocystis jirovecii ; opportunistic infections; respiratory failure
2.  Trends of Mortality and Cause of Death among HIV-Infected Patients in Korea, 1990-2011 
Although a decrease in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related mortality has been documented in highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era, there are no published data comparing specific causes of death between pre-HAART and HAART era in Korea. Mortality and cause of death were analyzed in three treatment periods; pre-HAART (1990-1997), early-HAART (1998-2001), and late-HAART period (2002-2011). The patients were retrospectively classified according to the treatment period in which they were recruited. Although mortality rate per 100 person-year declined from 8.7 in pre-HAART to 4.9 in late-HAART period, the proportion of deaths within 3 months of initial visit to study hospital significantly increased from 15.9% in pre-HAART to 55.1% in late-HAART period (P < 0.001). Overall, 59% of deaths were attributable to AIDS-related conditions, and Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) was the most common cause of death (20.3%). The proportion of PCP as cause of death significantly increased from 8.7% in pre-HAART to 31.8% in late-HAART period (P < 0.001). Despite of significant improvement of survival, there was still a high risk of early death in patients presenting in HAART era, mainly due to late human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnosis and late presentation to care.
PMCID: PMC3546107  PMID: 23341714
HIV; Antiretroviral Therapy; Mortality; Cause of Death
3.  The Effect of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy on the Survival of HIV-Infected Children in a Resource-Deprived Setting: A Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(6):e1001044.
This observational cohort study by Andrew Edmonds and colleagues reports that treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) markedly improves the survival of HIV-infected children in Kinshasa, DRC, a resource-deprived setting.
The effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on the survival of HIV-infected children has not been well quantified. Because most pediatric HIV occurs in low- and middle-income countries, our objective was to provide a first estimate of this effect among children living in a resource-deprived setting.
Methods and Findings
Observational data from HAART-naïve children enrolled into an HIV care and treatment program in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, between December 2004 and May 2010 were analyzed. We used marginal structural models to estimate the effect of HAART on survival while accounting for time-dependent confounders affected by exposure. At the start of follow-up, the median age of the 790 children was 5.9 y, 528 (66.8%) had advanced or severe immunodeficiency, and 405 (51.3%) were in HIV clinical stage 3 or 4. The children were observed for a median of 31.2 mo and contributed a total of 2,089.8 person-years. Eighty children (10.1%) died, 619 (78.4%) initiated HAART, six (0.8%) transferred to a different care provider, and 76 (9.6%) were lost to follow-up. The mortality rate was 3.2 deaths per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.4–4.2) during receipt of HAART and 6.0 deaths per 100 person-years (95% CI 4.1–8.6) during receipt of primary HIV care only. The mortality hazard ratio comparing HAART with no HAART from a marginal structural model was 0.25 (95% CI 0.06–0.95).
HAART reduced the hazard of mortality in HIV-infected children in Kinshasa by 75%, an estimate that is similar in magnitude but with lower precision than the reported effect of HAART on survival among children in the United States.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In 2009, an estimated 2.5 million children were living with HIV, the majority of whom (2.3 million) were in sub-Saharan Africa. Most (90%) of these children acquired HIV from their HIV-infected mothers during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding, highlighting the importance of giving effective drugs for the prevention of mother to child transmission. As such interventions are still not widely accessible or available in most resource-limited countries, where the burden of HIV is highest, every day an estimated 1,000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2009, but only 360,000 children were receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
Although HAART improves the survival of adults living with HIV, less is known about the degree to which HAART affects the survival of HIV-infected children—although response to antiretroviral treatment is known to differ across age groups. Furthermore, as the course of HIV disease in children is different from that in adults (partly because of the impact of the virus on the immature thymus, which can lead to high HIV RNA viremia and rapid death), it is inappropriate to extrapolate results from studies of adults to pediatric populations. Therefore, it is imperative that the effect of HAART on survival be quantified specifically in children.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most observational studies of the effects of treatment on child survival have been undertaken in high-income countries, such as Italy and the United States. As most children with HIV live in low-resource areas, where multiple factors, such as delayed presentation to care and a higher incidence of co-occurring conditions, might adversely affect treatment outcomes, there is a specific need for information on the effects of HAART in children with HIV living in low-income countries. Although some investigations have taken place in pediatric cohorts from such countries (for example, Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti, Lesotho, Thailand, and Zambia), the effect of HAART on mortality has not been accurately quantified among children in a resource-deprived setting. Therefore, in this observational clinical cohort study, the researchers investigated the effect of HAART on mortality in HIV-infected children in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data from 790 children enrolled into an HIV program in Kinshasa, DRC, between December 2004 and May 2010 and used a statistical model (marginal structural models) to adjust for time-dependent confounding factors, such as the fact that HAART is typically initiated in sicker patients, for example, those with lower CD4 cell percentages. Assuming that all children starting HAART received it uninterruptedly throughout follow-up, using this statistical model, the researchers were able to compare the hazard ratio of death had all children initiated HAART to that had no children initiated HAART during follow-up.
In the study, 619 out of the 790 children (78.4%) initiated HAART during follow-up and were followed for a median of 31.2 months, with a median of 30 HIV care visits. Of those who started treatment, 110 (17.8%) switched to an alternative regimen because of an adverse event or treatment failure. During the 2,089.8 accrued person-years of follow-up, 80 children (10.1%) died, giving an overall mortality rate of 3.8 deaths per 100 person-years. The unadjusted mortality rate ratio comparing HAART to no HAART was 0.54. Using a marginal structural model, the researchers estimated that compared to no HAART, HAART reduced the hazard (rate) of mortality during follow-up by 75%.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that treatment with HAART markedly improved the survival of children infected with HIV in Kinshasa, DRC, and suggest that HAART is as effective in improving the survival of HIV-infected children in a severely resource-deprived country (still recovering from civil war) as in more resource-privileged settings—an important finding given that the vast majority of children receiving HAART live in resource-poor areas. This study provides additional evidence that accelerating rollout of antiretroviral therapy to children with HIV in resource-poor countries is lifesaving and effective. Future research needs to address how effective HAART is in understudied populations in resource-poor countries, such as undernourished children or those with co-infections such as tuberculosis.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization's Web site has more information about the treatment of children living with HIV
Médecins Sans Frontières's Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines Web site has more information on pediatric HAART
PMCID: PMC3114869  PMID: 21695087
4.  Pneumocystis pneumonia in HIV-positive patients in Spain: epidemiology and environmental risk factors 
Specific environmental factors may play a role in the development of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in HIV-positive patients. The aim of this study was to estimate the PCP incidence and mortality in hospitalized HIV-positive patients in Spain during the combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) era (1997 to 2011), as well as to analyze the climatological factors and air pollution levels in relation to hospital admissions and deaths.
We carried out a retrospective study. Data were collected from the National Hospital Discharge Database and the State Meteorological Agency of Spain. A case-crossover analysis was applied to identify environmental risk factors related to hospitalizations and deaths. For each patient, climatic factors and pollution levels were assigned based on readings from the nearest meteorological station to his or her postal code.
There were 13,139 new PCP diagnoses and 1754 deaths in hospitalized HIV-positive patients from 1997 to 2011. The PCP incidence (events per 1000 person-years) dropped from 11.6 in 1997 to 2000, to 5.4 in 2004 to 2011 (p<0.001). The mortality (events per 10,000 person-years) also decreased from 14.3 in 1997 to 2000, to 7.5 in 2004 to 2011 (p<0.001). Most hospital admissions and deaths occurred in the winter season and the fewest occurred in the summer, overlapping respectively with the lowest and highest temperatures of the year in Spain. Moreover, lower temperatures prior to PCP admission, as well as higher concentrations of NO2 and particulate matter up to 10 m in size (PM10) at the time of admission were associated with higher likelihoods of hospital admission due to PCP when two weeks, one month, 1.5 months or two months were used as controls (p<0.01). Furthermore, higher concentrations of ozone at one month (p=0.007), 1.5 months (p<0.001) and two months (p=0.006) prior to admission were associated with higher likelihoods of hospital admission with PCP. For PCP-related deaths, lower temperatures prior to admission and higher concentrations of atmospheric PM10 at the time of admission were related to higher likelihood of death when two weeks, one month and 1.5 months were used as controls (p<0.05).
PCP was a significant health problem in the cART era (1997 to 2011), and PCP epidemiology was adversely influenced by colder climatological factors and higher ambient air pollution levels.
PMCID: PMC4440874  PMID: 25997453
Pneumocystis; epidemiology; seasonality; air pollution; AIDS
5.  Impact of haart on causes of death of persons with late-stage AIDS 
The increasing use of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAARTs) has changed the course of AIDS-related illnesses and enhanced the quality of life of patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and may have changes the causes of deaths in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
The aim of the present study was to investigate causes of deaths in long-term care hospital patients with late-stage AIDS who expired at the Coler-Goldwater Memorial Hospital in New York City in 1995, and in 1998 and 1999, that is, immediately before and the two most recent years after the advent of HAART.
Analysis of causes of deaths as recorded on the death certificates of 232 AIDS patients.
The overall mortality rate declined from 75.6 deaths per 100 person-years in 1995 to 33.2 deaths per 100 person-years in 1998–1999 (P<.001) The number of AIDS patients who expired because of sepsis and opportunistic infections, which includedPneumocystis carinii Pneumonia (PCP), decreased significantly from 30 (26.1%) and 24 (20.9%) in 1995 to 15 (12.8%) and 10 (8.5%) in 1998–1999, respectively (P<.05). In contrast, deaths from hepatic failure increased from 0(0%) in 1995 to 7 (6%) in 1998–1999 (P<.05). Increases, although not significant statistically, were associated with pneumonias excluding PCP, end-stage AIDS, renal failure, and malignancies. Analysis of cause-specific mortality by gender between 1995 and 1998–1999 revealed very little difference between men and women. This analysis showed, however, that the infectious processes taken together (pneumonias excluding PCP, sepsis, and opportunistic infections including PCP) were significantly less frequent causes of death in 1998–1999 than in 1995 (P<.01).
These findings indicate that HAART affected the causes of deaths in patients with AIDS, with “traditional” opportunistic infections diminishing in importance relative to chronic medical conditions and malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3456132  PMID: 10855998
Death; HAART; Hepatic Failure; Late-Stage AIDS; Opportunistic Infections; Sepsis
6.  Changes in hospitalizations due to opportunistic infections, chronic conditions and other causes among HIV patients (1989–2011). A study in a HIV unit 
Reduction in mortality and morbidity in HIV patients due to the introduction of HAART have resulted in changes in patterns of hospital admissions.
To examine trends of HIV patients hospital admissions.
Design and method
Serial cross-sectional analysis of HIV-hospitalized patients from 1989 to 2011 in an HIV Care Unit. Each hospitalization was classified as major categories: opportunistic infections, other infections, drug-related admissions, chronic hepatopathy, AIDS and non-AIDS-related tumours and chronic medical conditions (COPD, diabetes) and as specific diagnosis: tuberculosis, PCP, CMV, bacterial pneumonia and others. We considered 4 periods of time: pre-HAART, 1989–1996; early HAART, 1997–2001; intermediate HAART, 2002–2006; and present HAART, 2007–2011.
We evaluated 2588 admissions. 20.7% of patients were unaware of HIV infection before first admission; this proportion did not change along the time (p=0.27). No previous outpatient follow-up was seen in 34.9% of patients. There were differences in diagnosis, mortality, age and mean inpatient stay time (Table 1) between the analyzed periods of time.OIHIV tumoursNon-HIV tumoursChronic diseasesMortalityMean ageMean hospital stayPneumoniaResp infectTBCCMVPCPPMLPre-HAART 682 adm.51.7%* 5.1%* 0.8%* 3.2%* 10.1%* 36.1* 23.9* 12.1%* 14.1%* 14.1%15%* 9.5%* 5.1%Early HAART 632 adm.34.5%4%2.2%9%4.6%38.417.2* 21.1%19.9%11.7%5%8.2%4.1%Intermediate HAART 613 adm.31.4%* 2.4%2.8%7.7%4.4%39.615.725.6%* 23.2%11.4%1.7%* 3.4%* 3%Present HAART 661 adm.21.8%* 0.8%* 4.1%* 15.9%* 3.8%* 42.9* 14.229.8%* 29.2%* 10.9%1.9%* 4.2%* 2.2%*p<0.05
(i) HAART and older age have changed the pattern of hospital admissions with a decrease of OI-related admissions and an increase of chronic diseases and non-AIDS-related tumours and with a decrease in mortality and length of inpatient stay. (ii) Proportion of patients with unknown HIV serostatus before admission has not changed along the time. (iii) Pneumonia, respiratory tract infection and tuberculosis were the more common causes of admission.
PMCID: PMC3512520
7.  Early Predictors of Mortality from Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia in HIV-Infected Patients: 1985–2006 
Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) remains the leading cause of opportunistic infection among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected persons. Previous studies of PCP that identified case-fatality risk factors involved small numbers of patients, were performed over few years, and often focused on patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit.
The objective of this study was to identify case-fatality risk factors present at or soon after hospitalization among adult HIV-infected patients admitted to University College London Hospitals (London, United Kingdom) from June 1985 through June 2006.
Patients and Methods
We performed a review of case notes for 494 consecutive patients with 547 episodes of laboratory-confirmed PCP.
Overall mortality was 13.5%. Mortality was 10.1% for the period from 1985 through 1989, 16.9% for the period from 1990 through June 1996, and 9.7% for the period from July 1996 through 2006 (P = .142). Multivariate analysis identified factors associated with risk of death, including increasing patient age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11–2.23; P = .011), subsequent episode of PCP (AOR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.14–4.52; P = .019), low hemoglobin level at hospital admission (AOR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.60–0.83; P < .001), low partial pressure of oxygen breathing room air at hospital admission (AOR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.60–0.81; P < .001), presence of medical comorbidity (AOR, 3.93; 95% CI, 1.77–8.72; P = .001), and pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma (AOR, 6.95; 95% CI, 2.26–21.37; P =.001). Patients with a first episode of PCP were sicker (mean partial pressure of oxygen at admission ± standard deviation, 9.3 ± 2.0 kPa) than those with a second or third episode of PCP (mean partial pressure of oxygen at admission ± standard deviation, 9.9 ± 1.9 kPa; P =.008), but mortality among patients with a first episode of PCP (12.5%) was lower than mortality among patients with subsequent episodes of PCP (22.5%) (P = .019). No patient was receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy before presentation with PCP, and none began highly active antiretroviral therapy during treatment of PCP.
Mortality risk factors for PCP were identifiable at or soon after hospitalization. The trend towards improved outcome after June 1996 occurred in the absence of highly active antiretroviral therapy.
PMCID: PMC2735405  PMID: 18190281
8.  Pneumocystis pneumonia in South African children diagnosed by molecular methods 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:26.
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is an important cause of hospitalization and mortality in HIV-infected children. However, the incidence of PCP has been underestimated due to poor sensitivity of diagnostic tests. The use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for pneumocystis has enabled more reliable diagnosis. This study describes the incidence, clinical features and outcome of PCP in South African children diagnosed using PCR.
A prospective study of children hospitalised in South Africa with suspected PCP was done from November 2006 to August 2008. Clinical, laboratory and radiological information were collected. Lower respiratory tract specimens were obtained for PCP immunofluorescence (IF), real- time PCR for pneumocystis, bacterial and mycobacterial culture. Nasopharyngeal aspirates were taken for immunofluorescence (IF), real-time PCR for pneumocystis and PCR for respiratory viruses. A blood specimen for bacterial culture and for cytomegalovirus PCR was taken. Children were followed for the duration of their hospitalisation and the outcome was recorded.
202 children [median (interquartile range, IQR) age 3.2 (2.1– 4.6) months] were enrolled; 124 (61.4%) were HIV infected. PCP was identified in 109 (54%) children using PCR, compared to 43 (21%) using IF and Grocott staining (p < 0.0001). Most PCP cases (88, 81%) occurred in HIV-infected children. All 21 cases (19%) occurring in HIV- negative children had another risk factor for PCP. On logistic regression, predictive factors for PCP were HIV infection, lack of fever, high respiratory rate and low oxygen saturation whilst cotrimoxazole prophylaxis was protective (OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.1 to 0.5; p < 0.002). The case fatality of children with PCP was higher than those without PCP (32.1% versus 17.2%; relative risk 1.87; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11 – 3.15). Amongst HIV-infected children, a CD4 less than 15% was the only independent predictor of mortality.
The diagnostic yield for PCP is more than 2.5 times higher on PCR than other detection methods. PCP is a very common cause of severe hypoxic pneumonia and is associated with high mortality in HIV-infected African infants.
PMCID: PMC3892044  PMID: 24410938
Pneumocystis pneumonia; HIV; Children; Prophylaxis; PCR; Diagnosis; Incidence
9.  Pneumocystis Pneumonia in Hospitalized Patients; A Detailed Examination of Symptoms, Management, and Outcomes in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected Persons 
Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia is a life-threatening infection for immunocompromised individuals. There are robust data and clear guidelines for prophylaxis and treatment of HIV-related Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (HIV-PCP), yet few data and no guidelines for non-HIV related Pneumocystis pneumonia (NH-PCP). We postulated that prevention and inpatient management of HIV-PCP differed from NH-PCP.
We performed a retrospective case review of all pathologically confirmed cases of PCP seen at the University of Alabama Medical Center from 1996 to 2008. Data on clinical presentation, hospital course, and outcome were collected using a standardized data collection instrument. Bivariate analysis compared prophylaxis, adjunctive corticosteroids, and clinical outcomes between patients with HIV-PCP and NH-PCP.
Our analysis of the cohort included 97 cases of PCP; 65 HIV and 32 non-HIV cases. Non-HIV cases rarely received primary prophylaxis (4% vs. 38%, p=0.01) and received appropriate antibiotics later in the course of hospitalization (5.2 vs 1.1 days, P<0.005). Among transplant patients, NH-PCP was diagnosed a mean of 1,066 days after transplantation and most patients were on low-dose corticosteroids (87%) at the time of disease onset. No significant differences in adjunctive corticosteroid use (69% vs. 77%, p=0.39) and 90-day mortality (41% vs. 28%, p=0.20) were detected.
Patients who have undergone organ or stem cell transplant remain at risk for PCP for many years after transplantation. In our cohort, patients who developed NH-PCP were rarely given prophylaxis and initiation of appropriate antibiotics was significantly delayed compared to cases of HIV-PCP. Medical providers should be aware of the ongoing risk for NH-PCP, even late after transplantation, and consider more aggressive approaches to both prophylaxis and earlier empiric therapy for PCP.
PMCID: PMC3889465  PMID: 22548840
Pneumocystis Pneumonia; Transplant; Infectious Complications
10.  Public-Health and Individual Approaches to Antiretroviral Therapy: Township South Africa and Switzerland Compared 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(7):e148.
The provision of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in resource-limited settings follows a public health approach, which is characterised by a limited number of regimens and the standardisation of clinical and laboratory monitoring. In industrialized countries doctors prescribe from the full range of available antiretroviral drugs, supported by resistance testing and frequent laboratory monitoring. We compared virologic response, changes to first-line regimens, and mortality in HIV-infected patients starting HAART in South Africa and Switzerland.
Methods and Findings
We analysed data from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study and two HAART programmes in townships of Cape Town, South Africa. We included treatment-naïve patients aged 16 y or older who had started treatment with at least three drugs since 2001, and excluded intravenous drug users. Data from a total of 2,348 patients from South Africa and 1,016 patients from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study were analysed. Median baseline CD4+ T cell counts were 80 cells/μl in South Africa and 204 cells/μl in Switzerland. In South Africa, patients started with one of four first-line regimens, which was subsequently changed in 514 patients (22%). In Switzerland, 36 first-line regimens were used initially, and these were changed in 539 patients (53%). In most patients HIV-1 RNA was suppressed to 500 copies/ml or less within one year: 96% (95% confidence interval [CI] 95%–97%) in South Africa and 96% (94%–97%) in Switzerland, and 26% (22%–29%) and 27% (24%–31%), respectively, developed viral rebound within two years. Mortality was higher in South Africa than in Switzerland during the first months of HAART: adjusted hazard ratios were 5.90 (95% CI 1.81–19.2) during months 1–3 and 1.77 (0.90–3.50) during months 4–24.
Compared to the highly individualised approach in Switzerland, programmatic HAART in South Africa resulted in similar virologic outcomes, with relatively few changes to initial regimens. Further innovation and resources are required in South Africa to both achieve more timely access to HAART and improve the prognosis of patients who start HAART with advanced disease.
Comparing HIV treatment in Switzerland, where drug selection is individualized, and South Africa, where a programmatic approach is used, Matthias Egger and colleagues find similar virologic outcomes over two years.
Editors' Summary
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed more than 25 million people since the first reported case in 1981, and more than 30 million people are now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. HIV destroys immune system cells (including CD4 cells, a type of lymphocyte), leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-infected people died within 10 years of becoming infected. Then, in 1996, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)—a combination of several antiretroviral drugs—was developed. Now, in resource-rich countries, clinicians provide individually tailored care for HIV-infected people by prescribing combinations of antiretroviral drugs chosen from more than 20 approved medicines. The approach to treatment of HIV in developed countries typically also includes frequent monitoring of the amount of virus in patients' blood (viral load), viral resistance testing (to see whether any viruses are resistant to specific antiretroviral drugs), and regular CD4 cell counts (an indication of immune-system health). Since the implementation of these interventions, the health and life expectancy of people with HIV has improved dramatically in these countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
The history of HIV care in resource-poor countries has been very different. Initially, these countries could not afford to provide HAART for their populations. In 2003, however, governments, international agencies, and funding bodies began to implement plans to increase HAART coverage in developing countries. By December 2006, more than a quarter of the HIV-infected people in low- and middle-income countries who urgently needed treatment were receiving HAART. However, instead of individualized treatment, HAART programs in developing countries follow a public-health approach developed by the World Health Organization. That is, drug regimens, clinical decision-making, and clinical and laboratory monitoring are all standardized. This public-health approach takes into account the realities of under-resourced health systems, but is it as effective as the individualized approach? The researchers addressed this question by comparing virologic responses (the effect of treatment on the viral load), changes to first-line (initial) therapy, and deaths in patients receiving HAART in South Africa (public-health approach) and in Switzerland (individualized approach).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data collected since 2001 from more than 2,000 patients enrolled in HAART programs in two townships (Gugulethu and Khayelitsha) in Cape Town, South Africa, and from more than 1,000 patients enrolled in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study, a nationwide study of HIV-infected people. The patients in South Africa, who had a lower starting CD4 cell count and were more likely to have advanced AIDS than the patients in Switzerland, started their treatment for HIV infection with one of four first-line therapies, and about a quarter changed to a second-line therapy during the study. By contrast, 36 first-line regimens were used in Switzerland and half the patients changed to a different regimen. Despite these differences, the viral load was greatly reduced within a year in virtually all the patients and viral rebound (an increased viral load after a low measurement) developed within 2 years in a quarter of the patients in both countries. However, more patients died in South Africa than in Switzerland, particularly during the first 3 months of therapy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the public-health approach to HAART practiced in South Africa is as effective in terms of virologic outcomes as the individualized approach practiced in Switzerland. This is reassuring because it suggests that “antiretroviral anarchy” (the unregulated use of antiretroviral drugs, interruptions in drug supplies, and the lack of treatment monitoring), which is likely to lead to the emergence of viral resistance, is not happening in South Africa as some experts feared it might. Thus, these findings support the continued rollout of the public-health approach to HAART in resource-poor countries. Conversely, they also suggest that a more standardized approach to HAART could be taken in Switzerland (and in other industrialized countries) without compromising its effectiveness. Finally, the higher mortality in South Africa than in Switzerland, which partly reflects the many patients in South Africa in desperate need of HAART and their more advanced disease at the start of therapy, suggests that HIV-infected patients in South Africa and in other resource-limited countries would benefit from earlier initiation of therapy.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides information about universal access to HIV treatment (in several languages) and on its recommendations for a public-health approach to antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection
More details on the Swiss HIV Cohort Study and on the studies in Gugulethu and Khayelitsha are available
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information about antiretroviral therapy and links to treatment guidelines for various countries
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on HIV and AIDS around the world and on providing AIDS drug treatment for millions
PMCID: PMC2443185  PMID: 18613745
11.  Mortality among HIV-Infected Patients in Resource Limited Settings: A Case Controlled Analysis of Inpatients at a Community Care Center 
Problem statement
Despite massive national efforts to scale up Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) access in India since 2004, the AIDS death rate was 17.2 per 100,000 persons during 2003-2005. In the era of HAART in resource poor settings, it is imperative to understand and address the causes of AIDS related mortality. This collaborative study aimed at defining the predictors of mortality among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) admitted during 2003-2005 to the Freedom Foundation (FF) Care and Support facility, Bangalore, India.
Fifty consecutively selected HIV-infected patients who died during the study period and 50 HIV-infected patients matched by age, gender, route of transmission, nutrition status and stage of disease who survived at least 12 months post-ART were included in this study. The impact on mortality by factors such as: Hemoglobin, CD4+T lymphocyte counts, weight loss and Opportunistic Infections (OIs) were studied. Statistical analyses were done by Chi-square, Fisher’s Exact Test, Kaplan-Meier and multivariate logistic regression.
Recurrent diarrhea was a significant risk factor for mortality (OR = 12.25, p = 0.004), followed by a diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) at first admission (OR = 4.86) while TB in general also negatively impacted survival (p = 0.002). Though not statistically significant, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, Cryptococcal meningitis and Toxoplasmosis also negatively affected survival. Mortality was high among those not on HAART (81%) while it was significantly reduced (28%) among those on HAART (p<0.001). Patients who died had elevated liver enzymes (p = 0.027) and significant weight loss (p = 0.012). Mortality was high among patients irregular with their medical follow-up (p<0.001).
Interventions that facilitate early OI diagnosis and treatment especially diarrhea and TB may reduce mortality in HIV. HAART alone without proper OI management and nutrition did not prevent mortality among PLHA. In resource poor settings, it becomes imperative to focus on low cost tools and increased capacity building along with regular clinical follow-up for diagnosis and early treatment of OIs. Further studies are warranted to explore benefits of initiating HAART earlier than currently recommended.
PMCID: PMC2831752  PMID: 20204076
HIV-1; tuberculosis; opportunistic infections; antiretroviral therapy; diarrhea
12.  Timing of Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation and its Impact on Disease Progression in Perinatal Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Infection 
Treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) reduces overall perinatal HIV-1 related mortality. The impact of timing of HAART initiation on reduction of morbidity is not well-defined. We evaluated the association of timing of HAART initiation on progression to moderate or severe disease.
Retrospective, population-based study of 196 perinatally HIV-infected children followed from birth in northern California from 1988 to 2009.
Of 196 children, 58% received HAART and were followed for a median of 6.2 years after HAART initiation. HAART use was associated with improved survival to age 5 years: 50% no HAART vs. 88% HAART, p<0.0001. However, the advantage of initial HAART over mono or dual therapy transitioning to HAART was small and not statistically significant (p=0.23). Starting HAART before the development of moderate or severe disease delayed the median age of diagnosis of moderate disease from 0.4 years (IQR [0.3–0.8]) without HAART to 3.0 years ([IQR 1.9–5.8], p<.0001) with HAART. HAART initiation after progression to moderate or severe disease was associated with decreased progression to severe disease or death, respectively (moderate to severe: 8% (3/36) HAART vs. 84% (70/83) no HAART, p<0.0001; severe to death: 9% (6/68) HAART vs. 73% (49/67) no HAART, p<0.0001).
In perinatal HIV infection, HAART is associated with delayed progression and reduced mortality regardless of disease severity at HAART initiation. This finding reinforces U.S. guidelines regarding HAART initiation at>1 year of age if children present with most clinical category B diagnoses, regardless of CD4 measurements or plasma HIV RNA level.
PMCID: PMC3252403  PMID: 21979798
perinatal; HIV-1; highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART); timing of onset
13.  Clinical presentation and outcome of Tuberculosis in Human Immunodeficiency Virus infected children on anti-retroviral therapy 
BMC Pediatrics  2008;8:1.
The tuberculosis (TB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemics are poorly controlled in sub-Saharan Africa, where highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) has become more freely available. Little is known about the clinical presentation and outcome of TB in HIV-infected children on HAART.
We performed a comprehensive file review of all children who commenced HAART at Tygerberg Children's Hospital from January 2003 through December 2005.
Data from 290 children were analyzed; 137 TB episodes were recorded in 136 children; 116 episodes occurred before and 21 after HAART initiation; 10 episodes were probably related to immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS). The number of TB cases per 100 patient years were 53.3 during the 9 months prior to HAART initiation, and 6.4 during post HAART follow-up [odds ratio (OR) 16.6; 95% confidence interval (CI) 12.5–22.4]. A positive outcome was achieved in 97/137 (71%) episodes, 6 (4%) cases experienced no improvement, 16 (12%) died and the outcome could not be established in 18 (13%). Mortality was less in children on HAART (1/21; 4.8%) compared to those not on HAART (15/116; 12.9%).
We recorded an extremely high incidence of TB among HIV-infected children, especially prior to HAART initiation. Starting HAART at an earlier stage is likely to reduce morbidity and mortality related to TB, particularly in TB-endemic areas. Management frequently deviated from standard guidelines, but outcomes in general were good.
PMCID: PMC2246130  PMID: 18186944
14.  Factors Impacting Early Mortality in Tuberculosis/HIV Patients: Differences between Subjects Naïve to and Previously Started on HAART 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45704.
Mortality among patients with tuberculosis (TB)/HIV is highest during the first few months of antituberculous therapy. The objective of this study was to assess the factors associated with early mortality among TB/HIV patients and whether these factors are similar for HAART naïve and those with prior HAART initiation.
Prospective cohort study including HIV patients with tuberculosis confirmed by culture, cared for at a referral center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Multivariable Cox analysis was used to assess predictors of mortality within 3 months of antituberculous therapy.
Among 227 patients included, 90 (40%) started HAART before TB diagnosis. The median time to TB diagnosis after ARV initiation was 5.9 months (interquartile range [IQR] 3.0–8.9 months). Fourteen patients (6%) died within the first 3 months. Mortality was not different between patients previously started on HAART and those who were naïve to it. In the overall adjusted analysis, HAART use during TB treatment (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.21, 95% confidential interval [CI] = 0.06–0.72) and CD4 lymphocyte count >100 cells/mm3 (HR = 0.21, 95% CI = 0.04–0.99) were associated with lower mortality, while subjects with unknown baseline CD4 lymphocyte count (HR = 9.39, 95% CI = 2.56–34.5) had higher mortality. In subgroup analysis, among HAART naïve subjects, disseminated TB (HR = 5.32, 95% CI = 1.09–25.8) and unknown baseline CD4 lymphocyte count (HR = 13.2, 95% CI = 2.71–64.5) were associated with significantly higher mortality, while HAART (HR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.03–0.69) predicted a better outcome. Among subjects previously started on HAART, mortality was significantly associated with duration of TB symptoms >120 days (HR = 6.15, 95% CI = 1.15–32.9).
Predictors of early mortality among TB/HIV patients may vary according to the timing of HAART initiation. Among HAART naïve patients, mortality was influenced by baseline clinical severity, HAART use and, possibly, the quality of care preceding TB diagnosis. For patients with prior HAART initiation, longer delays in TB diagnosis predicted a significantly higher mortality.
PMCID: PMC3458068  PMID: 23049842
15.  Patient-Centered Research Abstracts 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2000;15(Suppl 2):6-7.
AIDS continues to devastate urban communities, particularly among marginally-housed, ethnic minority, and drug-using populations. This study (1) describes access to comprehensive medical care, quality of HIV-related care, and attitudes regarding health among HIV-infected residents of single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels and (2) explores predictors of the use of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis and highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
We conducted a cross-sectional, community-based study of 69 Bronx SRO hotel residents during May 1998. Utilizing door-to-door recruitment, we administered a 41-item, anonymous questionnaire to assess participants' demographic characteristics, level of illness and health care utilization, use of HIV-related therapies, and perceptions of their own health and medical care.
Of respondents, 65% identified as African-American or Black, 22% as Puerto Rican, and 13% as White or Other. The median age was 42; 68% were male, and 38% were high school graduates. Most individuals were marginally-housed (median stay = 9 months). Almost all participants (96%) paid for medical services via Medicaid. Of the 93% with HIV infection, 44% had been hospitalized at least once in the past year, 72% reported a history of AIDS-defining opportunistic infections, and the median CD4 count was 214. Over two-thirds were actively using drugs and/or alcohol.
Among HIV-infected residents, 81% had seen a doctor in the last three months. However, only 67% felt they had a "regular" physician, and 48% felt their access to medical care was average to very poor. Among eligible HIV-infected persons, only 39% had taken HAART and 73% had taken PCP prophylaxis in the last week. Predictors for the use of HAART included absence of active cocaine and/or crack use (RR = 3.91; 95% CI 1.03–14.8; p < .03), use of PCP prophylaxis (RR = 5.69; 95% CI .85–38.1; p < .03) and the belief that HAART "can help people with AIDS" (RR = 1.75; 95% CI 1.28–2.44; p < .03). HAART use did not correlate with site or frequency of medical care or active alcohol or heroin use. Individuals with regular doctors were less likely to have visited an emergency room in the past 3 months (RR = .41; 95% CI .22–.76; p < .02) and more likely to be taking PCP prophylaxis (RR = 2.68; 95% CI 1.19–6.02; p < .008).
Despite relatively advanced disease in this population of marginally-housed HIV-infected persons, significant proportions do not have a regular primary care provider, are not taking HAART, and report sub-optimal quality of and access to medical care. Active cocaine and/or crack use correlate with a lesser use of HAART.
PMCID: PMC1495737
16.  HIV: primary and secondary prophylaxis for opportunistic infections 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:0908.
Opportunistic infections can occur in up to 40% of people with HIV infection and a CD4 count less than 250/mm3, although the risks are much lower with use of highly active antiretroviral treatment.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of prophylaxis for Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) and toxoplasmosis? What are the effects of antituberculosis prophylaxis in people with HIV infection? What are the effects of prophylaxis for disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease for people with, and without, previous MAC disease? What are the effects of prophylaxis for cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), and varicella zoster virus (VZV)? What are the effects of prophylaxis for invasive fungal disease in people with, and without, previous fungal disease? What are the effects of discontinuing prophylaxis against opportunistic pathogens in people on highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART)? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to March 2008 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 43 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: aciclovir; antituberculosis prophylaxis; atovaquone; azithromycin (alone or plus rifabutin); clarithromycin (alone, or plus rifabutin and ethambutol); discontinuing prophylaxis for CMV, MAC, and PCP; ethambutol added to clarithromycin; famciclovir; fluconazole; isoniazid; itraconazole; oral ganciclovir; rifabutin (alone or plus macrolides); trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole; and valaciclovir.
Key Points
Opportunistic infections can occur in up to 40% of people with HIV infection and a CD4 count less than 250/mm3, although the risks are much lower with use of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART). HAART has reduced the rate of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), toxoplasmosis, and other opportunistic infections, so the absolute benefits of prophylactic regimens for opportunistic infections are probably smaller in people with HIV who are also taking HAART, and even smaller for those whose HIV is suppressed.
Primary prophylaxis with trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole may reduce the risk of PCP, and has been found to be more effective than pentamidine or dapsone. Atovaquone may prevent PCP in people who cannot tolerate trimethoprim−sulfamethoxazole.We don't know whether these drugs prevent toxoplasmosis as we found few RCTs, but there is consensus that standard trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole prophylaxis or dapsone should offer adequate coverage for toxoplasmosis.
Tuberculosis can be prevented by standard primary prophylaxis in people who are tuberculin skin test positive. Short-term combination treatment has similar efficacy to long-term isoniazid monotherapy, but is associated with a greater risk of adverse effects.
Azithromycin or clarithromycin reduce the risk of disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease as primary prophylaxis for people without prior MAC disease. Adding rifabutin may also be beneficial in this population, but is also associated with an increased risk of adverse effects. There is consensus that secondary prophylaxis with clarithromycin plus ethambutol decreases the risk of relapse in people with previous MAC disease. It remains unclear whether adding rifabutin to the dual drug regimen confers additional benefit as secondary prophylaxis, and the three-drug combination increases adverse effects.
Aciclovir as secondary prophylaxis reduces the risk of herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella zoster virus infection (VZV) and all-cause mortality. Valaciclovir may reduce the risk of recurrent HSV infection, but it may be associated with serious adverse effects.There is consensus that famciclovir is effective as secondary prophylaxis against HSV or VZV and that ganciclovir is effective as secondary prophylaxis against CMV, HSV, or VZV.
Fluconazole and itraconazole as primary prophylaxis may reduce the risk of invasive fungal infections, but azoles have been associated with potentially serious interactions with other drugs. As secondary prophylaxis, itraconazole seems effective in reducing relapse of Penicillium marneffei, but seems less effective than fluconazole at reducing recurrence of cryptococcal meningitis.
In people who have responded to HAART and have a CD4 cell count greater than 100/mm3 to 200/mm3 (depending on the condition), discontinuation of primary or secondary prophylactic treatment for PCP, toxoplasmosis, MAC, herpes virus, or invasive fungal disease infection seems safe.
PMCID: PMC3217757  PMID: 21418688
17.  Critical Importance of Long-Term Adherence to Care in HIV Infected Patients in the cART Era: New Insights from Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia Cases over 2004–2011 in the FHDH-ANRS CO4 Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94183.
To describe characteristics and outcomes of HIV-infected patients with Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) over 2004–2011 in France, in particular in those previously enrolled (PE) in the French Hospital Database on HIV (FHDH).
PE patients with an incident PCP were compared with patients with an inaugural PCP revealing HIV infection (reference). Adequate adherence to care was defined as a CD4 measurement at least every 6 months. Immune reconstitution (CD4≥200/mm3) and risk of death were studied using Kaplan-Meier estimates and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.
In a context of a decreasing incidence of PCP, 1259 HIV-infected patients had a PCP diagnosis, and 593 (47%) were PE patients of whom 161 (27%) have had a prior history of AIDS-defining clinical illness (prior ADI). Median time since enrolment was 8 years for PE patients; 74% had received cART. Median proportion of time with adequate adherence to care was 85% (IQR, 66–96) for all FHDH enrollees, but only 45% (IQR, 1–81) for PE patients during the 2 years before PCP. Median CD4 cell count (38/mm3) and HIV viral load (5.2 log10 copies/ml) at PCP diagnosis did not differ between PE patients and the reference group. Three year mortality rate of 25% was observed for PE prior ADI group, higher than in PE non-prior ADI group (8%) and the reference group (9%) (p<0.0001). In the PE prior ADI group, poor prognosis remained even after adjustment for virological control and immune reconstitution (HR, 2.4 [95%CI, 1.5–3.7]).
Almost 50% of PCP diagnoses in HIV-infected patients occurred presently in patients already in care, mainly with a previous cART prescription but with waning adherence to care. Having repeated ADI is contributing to the risk of death beyond its impact on immune reconstitution and viral suppression: special efforts must be undertaken to maintain those patients in care.
PMCID: PMC3984113  PMID: 24727746
18.  Clinical review: Respiratory failure in HIV-infected patients - a changing picture 
Critical Care  2013;17(3):228.
Respiratory failure in HIV-infected patients is a relatively common presentation to ICU. The debate on ICU treatment of HIV-infected patients goes on despite an overall decline in mortality amongst these patients since the AIDS epidemic. Many intensive care physicians feel that ICU treatment of critically ill HIV patients is likely to be futile. This is mainly due to the unfavourable outcome of HIV patients with Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia who need mechanical ventilation. However, the changing spectrum of respiratory illness in HIV-infected patients and improved outcome from critical illness remain under-recognised. Also, the awareness of certain factors that can affect their outcome remains low. As there are important ethical and practical implications for intensive care clinicians while making decisions to provide ICU support to HIV-infected patients, a review of literature was undertaken. It is notable that the respiratory illnesses that are not directly related to underlying HIV disease are now commonly encountered in the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era. The overall incidence of P. jirovecii as a cause of respiratory failure has declined since the AIDS epidemic and sepsis including bacterial pneumonia has emerged as a frequent cause of hospital and ICU admission amongst HIV patients. The improved overall outcome of HIV patients needing ICU admission is related to advancement in general ICU care, including adoption of improved ventilation strategies. An awareness of respiratory illnesses in HIV-infected patients along with an appropriate diagnostic and treatment strategy may obviate the need for invasive ventilation and improve outcome further. HIV-infected patients presenting with respiratory failure will benefit from early admission to critical care for treatment and support. There is evidence to suggest that continuing or starting HAART in critically ill HIV patients is beneficial and hence should be considered after multidisciplinary discussion. As a very high percentage (up to 40%) of HIV patients are not known to be HIV infected at the time of ICU admission, the clinicians should keep a low threshold for requesting HIV testing for patients with recurrent pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC3706935  PMID: 23806117
19.  Race/ethnicity and HAART initiation in a military HIV infected cohort 
Prior studies have suggested that HAART initiation may vary by race/ethnicity. Utilizing the U.S. military healthcare system, which minimizes confounding from healthcare access, we analyzed whether timing of HAART initiation and the appropriate initiation of primary prophylaxis among those at high risk for pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) varies by race/ethnicity.
Participants in the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study from 1998-2009 who had not initiated HAART before 1998 and who, based on DHHS guidelines, had a definite indication for HAART (CD4 <200, AIDS event or severe symptoms; Group A), an indication to consider HAART (including CD4 <350; Group B) or electively started HAART (CD4 >350; Group C) were analyzed for factors associated with HAART initiation. In a secondary analysis, participants were also evaluated for factors associated with starting primary PCP prophylaxis within four months of a CD4 count <200 cells/mm3. Multiple logistic regression was used to compare those who started vs. delayed therapy; comparisons were expressed as odds ratios (OR).
1262 participants were evaluated in the analysis of HAART initiation (A = 208, B = 637, C = 479 [62 participants were evaluated in both Groups A and B]; 94% male, 46% African American, 40% Caucasian). Race/ethnicity was not associated with HAART initiation in Groups A or B. In Group C, African American race/ethnicity was associated with lower odds of initiating HAART (OR 0.49, p = 0.04). Race and ethnicity were also not associated with the initiation of primary PCP prophylaxis among the 408 participants who were at risk.
No disparities in the initiation of HAART or primary PCP prophylaxis according to race/ethnicity were seen among those with an indication for therapy. Among those electively initiating HAART at the highest CD4 cell counts, African American race/ethnicity was associated with decreased odds of starting. This suggests that free healthcare can potentially overcome some of the observed disparities in HIV care, but that unmeasured factors may contribute to differences in elective care decisions.
PMCID: PMC3922739  PMID: 24460764
HIV; HAART; Race; Ethnicity; Indications for HIV treatment; Disparities in care; African Americans
20.  Diagnosis of Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia in Immunocompromised Patients by Real-Time PCR: a 4-Year Prospective Study 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(9):3370-3376.
Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) is a life-threatening infection in immunocompromised patients. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) is more sensitive than microscopic examination for the detection of P. jirovecii but also detects colonized patients. Hence, its positive predictive value (PPV) needs evaluation. In this 4-year prospective observational study, all immunocompromised patients with acute respiratory symptoms who were investigated for PCP were included, totaling 659 patients (814 bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples). Patients with negative microscopy but positive qPCR were classified through medical chart review as having retained PCP, possible PCP, or colonization, and their clinical outcomes were compared to those of patients with microscopically proven PCP. Overall, 119 patients were included for analysis, of whom 35, 41, and 43 were classified as having retained PCP, possible PCP, and colonization, respectively. The 35 patients with retained PCP had clinical findings similar to those with microscopically proven PCP but lower fungal loads (P < 0.001) and were mainly non-HIV-infected patients (P < 0.05). Although the mean amplification threshold was higher in colonized patients, it was not possible to determine a discriminant qPCR cutoff. The PPV of qPCR in patients with negative microscopy were 29.4% and 63.8% when considering retained PCP and retained plus possible PCP, respectively. Patients with possible PCP had a higher mortality rate than patients with retained PCP or colonization (63% versus 3% and 16%, respectively); patients who died had not received co-trimoxazole. In conclusion, qPCR is a useful tool to diagnose PCP in non-HIV patients, and treatment might be better targeted through a multicomponent algorithm including both clinical/radiological parameters and qPCR results.
PMCID: PMC4313164  PMID: 25009050
21.  Adjunctive corticosteroids for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia in patients with HIV infection: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 
The objective of this study was to review the effects of adjunctive corticosteroids on overall mortality and the need for mechanical ventilation in HIV-infected patients with Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) and substantial hypoxemia (arterial oxygen partial pressure <70 mmHg or alveolar-arterial gradient >35 mmHg on room air).
We conducted a systematic search of the literature for randomised trials published up to December 2004. Selected trials compared adjunctive corticosteroids with placebo or usual care in HIV-infected patients with PCP and reported mortality data. Two teams of reviewers independently evaluated the methodology and extracted data from each primary study.
Six studies were included in the meta-analysis. Risk ratios for overall mortality for adjunctive corticosteroids were 0.54 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38–0.79) at 1 month and 0.67 (95% CI, 0.49–0.93) at 3–4 months of follow-up. Numbers needed to treat, to prevent 1 death, are 9 patients in a setting without highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) available and 22 patients with HAART available. Only the 3 largest trials provided data on the need for mechanical ventilation with a risk ratio of 0.37 (95% CI, 0.20–0.70) in favour of adjunctive corticosteroids.
The number and size of trials investigating adjunctive corticosteroids for HIV-infected patients with PCP is small, but our results suggest a beneficial effect for patients with substantial hypoxemia.
PMCID: PMC1309617  PMID: 16271157
22.  Influenza-Related Mortality Among Adults Aged 25–54 Years With AIDS in South Africa and the United States of America 
In the absence of highly active therapy antiretroviral (HAART), adults with AIDS experience substantially elevated influenza-associated mortality in South Africa and the United States. This elevated mortality risk declined with widespread HAART introduction in the United States but did not disappear entirely. These data support increased access to HAART and influenza vaccination for human immunodeficiency virus–infected adults globally.
Background. Data are limited on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–associated influenza burden in sub-Saharan Africa and the impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We compared influenza-related mortality in adults with AIDS in South Africa and the United States in the pre-HAART era and evaluated mortality trends after HAART introduction in the United States.
Methods. Monthly all-cause and pneumonia and influenza (P&I) mortality rates were compiled for adults with AIDS aged 25–54 years in South Africa (1998–2005) and the United States (pre-HAART era, 1987–1994; HAART era, 1997–2005). We estimated influenza-related deaths as excess mortality above a model baseline during influenza epidemic periods. Influenza-related mortality rates in adults with AIDS were compared with rates for age peers in the general population and adults ≥65 years old.
Results. In the United States before HAART, influenza-related mortality rates in adults with AIDS were 150 (95% confidence interval [CI], 49–460) and 208 (95% CI, 74–583) times greater than in the general population for all-cause and P&I deaths, respectively, and 2.5 (95% CI, 0.9–7.2) and 4.1 (95% CI, 1.4–13) times higher than in elderly adults. After HAART introduction , influenza-related mortality in adults with AIDS dropped 3–6-fold but remained elevated compared with the general population (all-cause relative risk [RR], 44 [95% CI, 16–121]); P&I RR, 73 [95% CI, 47–113]). Influenza-related mortality in South African adults with AIDS in recent years was similar to that in the United States in the pre-HAART era.
Conclusions. Adults with AIDS experience substantially elevated influenza-associated mortality, which declines with widespread HAART introduction but does not disappear. These data support increased access to HAART and influenza vaccination for HIV-infected adults.
PMCID: PMC3657519  PMID: 22715173
23.  Low Prevalence of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) but High Prevalence of Pneumocystis dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) Gene Mutations in HIV-Infected Persons in Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49991.
Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) is an important opportunistic infection in patients infected with HIV, but its burden is incompletely characterized in those areas of sub-Saharan Africa where HIV is prevalent. We explored the prevalence of both PCP in HIV-infected adults admitted with pneumonia to a tertiary-care hospital in Uganda and of putative P. jirovecii drug resistance by mutations in fungal dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) and dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr). In 129 consecutive patients with sputum smears negative for mycobacteria, 5 (3.9%) were diagnosed with PCP by microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Concordance was 100% between Giemsa stain and PCR (dhps and dhfr). PCP was more prevalent in patients newly-diagnosed with HIV (11.4%) than in patients with known HIV (1.1%; p = 0.007). Mortality at 2 months after discharge was 29% overall: 28% among PCP-negative patients, and 60% (3 of 5) among PCP-positive patients. In these 5 fungal isolates and an additional 8 from consecutive cases of PCP, all strains harbored mutant dhps haplotypes; all 13 isolates harbored the P57S mutation in dhps, and 3 (23%) also harbored the T55A mutation. No non-synonymous dhfr mutations were detected. PCP is an important cause of pneumonia in patients newly-diagnosed with HIV in Uganda, is associated with high mortality, and putative molecular evidence of drug resistance is prevalent. Given the reliability of field diagnosis in our cohort, future studies in sub-Saharan Africa can investigate the clinical impact of these genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3500344  PMID: 23166805
24.  The impact of HAART initiation timing on HIV-TB co-infected patients, a retrospective cohort study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:304.
Optimal timing for initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV-TB coinfected patients is challenging for clinicians. We aim to evaluate the impact of different timing of HAART initiation on TB outcome of HIV-infected adults in Taiwan.
A population-based retrospective cohort study was conducted through linking the HIV and TB registries of Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) during 1997 to 2006. Clinical data of HIV-TB co-infected patients, including the presence of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), was collected through medical records review. The outcome of interest was all-cause mortality within 1 year following TB diagnosis. The Cox proportional hazard model was used to explore the probability of death and IRIS after TB diagnosis by adjusting for confounding factors and factors of interest. The probability of survival and TB IRIS were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method and compared between different HAART initiation timing groups by the log-rank test.
There were 229 HIV-TB co-infected patients included for analysis and 60 cases (26.2%) died within one year. Besides decreasing age and increasing CD4 lymphocyte count, having started HAART during TB treatment was significantly associated with better survival (adjusted Hazard Ratio was 0.11, 95% CI 0.06–0.21). As to the timing of HAART initiation, there was only non-significant benefit on survival among cases initiating HAART within 15 days, at 16–30 days and at 31–60 days of TB treatment than initiating after 60 days. Cases with HAART initiated after 30 days had lower risk in developing IRIS than cases with HAART initiated earlier. Cases with IRIS had significantly higher rate of re-hospitalization (49% vs. 4%, p < 0.001) and prolonged hospitalization (28 days vs. 18.5 days, p < 0.01).
The present study found that starting HAART during TB treatment is associated with better one-year survival, although earlier initiation within 60 days of TB treatment did not show statistical differences in survival than later initiation. Initiation of HAART within 30 days appeared to increase the risk of IRIS. Deferring HAART to 31–60 days of TB treatment might be optimal after considering the risks and benefits.
PMCID: PMC4058447  PMID: 24897928
Tuberculosis; HIV; Mortality; HAART
25.  Highly active antiretroviral therapy and hospital readmission: comparison of a matched cohort 
Despite the known efficacy of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), a large proportion of potentially-eligible HIV-infected patients do not access, and may stand to benefit from this treatment. In order to quantify these benefits in terms of reductions in hospitalizations and hospitalization costs, we sought to determine the impact of HAART on hospital readmission among HIV-infected patients hospitalized at St. Paul's Hospital (SPH) in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
All patients admitted to a specialized HIV/AIDS ward at SPH (Apr. 1997 – Oct. 2002) were selected and classified as being on HAART or not on HAART based upon their initial admission. Patients were then matched by their propensity scores, which were calculated based on patients' sociodemographics such as age, gender, injection drug use (IDU) status, and AIDS indication, and followed up for one year. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the difference in the odds of hospital readmission between patients on and not on HAART.
Out of a total 1084 patients admitted to the HIV/AIDS ward between 1997 and 2002, 662 were matched according to their propensity score; 331 patients each on and not on HAART. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that patients on HAART had lower odds of AIDS hospital readmission (OR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.42 – 0.89) compared to patients not on HAART. Odds of readmission among patients on HAART were also significantly lower for non-IDU related readmission (OR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.53 – 0.99) and overall readmission (OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.53 – 0.98).
Propensity score matching allowed us to reliably estimate the association between exposure (on or not on HAART) and outcome (readmitted to hospital). We found that HIV-infected patients who were potentially eligible for, but not on HAART had higher odds of being readmitted to hospital compared to those on HAART. Given the low level of uptake (31%) of HAART observed in our pre-matched hospitalized cohort, a large potential to achieve clinical benefits, reduce hospitalization costs and possibly slow disease progression from improved HAART uptake still exists.
PMCID: PMC1617096  PMID: 17022826

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