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1.  Geographic and Temporal Trends in the Molecular Epidemiology and Genetic Mechanisms of Transmitted HIV-1 Drug Resistance: An Individual-Patient- and Sequence-Level Meta-Analysis 
Rhee, Soo-Yon | Blanco, Jose Luis | Jordan, Michael R. | Taylor, Jonathan | Lemey, Philippe | Varghese, Vici | Hamers, Raph L. | Bertagnolio, Silvia | de Wit, Tobias F. Rinke | Aghokeng, Avelin F. | Albert, Jan | Avi, Radko | Avila-Rios, Santiago | Bessong, Pascal O. | Brooks, James I. | Boucher, Charles A. B. | Brumme, Zabrina L. | Busch, Michael P. | Bussmann, Hermann | Chaix, Marie-Laure | Chin, Bum Sik | D’Aquin, Toni T. | De Gascun, Cillian F. | Derache, Anne | Descamps, Diane | Deshpande, Alaka K. | Djoko, Cyrille F. | Eshleman, Susan H. | Fleury, Herve | Frange, Pierre | Fujisaki, Seiichiro | Harrigan, P. Richard | Hattori, Junko | Holguin, Africa | Hunt, Gillian M. | Ichimura, Hiroshi | Kaleebu, Pontiano | Katzenstein, David | Kiertiburanakul, Sasisopin | Kim, Jerome H. | Kim, Sung Soon | Li, Yanpeng | Lutsar, Irja | Morris, Lynn | Ndembi, Nicaise | NG, Kee Peng | Paranjape, Ramesh S. | Peeters, Martine | Poljak, Mario | Price, Matt A. | Ragonnet-Cronin, Manon L. | Reyes-Terán, Gustavo | Rolland, Morgane | Sirivichayakul, Sunee | Smith, Davey M. | Soares, Marcelo A. | Soriano, Vincent V. | Ssemwanga, Deogratius | Stanojevic, Maja | Stefani, Mariane A. | Sugiura, Wataru | Sungkanuparph, Somnuek | Tanuri, Amilcar | Tee, Kok Keng | Truong, Hong-Ha M. | van de Vijver, David A. M. C. | Vidal, Nicole | Yang, Chunfu | Yang, Rongge | Yebra, Gonzalo | Ioannidis, John P. A. | Vandamme, Anne-Mieke | Shafer, Robert W.
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(4):e1001810.
Regional and subtype-specific mutational patterns of HIV-1 transmitted drug resistance (TDR) are essential for informing first-line antiretroviral (ARV) therapy guidelines and designing diagnostic assays for use in regions where standard genotypic resistance testing is not affordable. We sought to understand the molecular epidemiology of TDR and to identify the HIV-1 drug-resistance mutations responsible for TDR in different regions and virus subtypes.
Methods and Findings
We reviewed all GenBank submissions of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase sequences with or without protease and identified 287 studies published between March 1, 2000, and December 31, 2013, with more than 25 recently or chronically infected ARV-naïve individuals. These studies comprised 50,870 individuals from 111 countries. Each set of study sequences was analyzed for phylogenetic clustering and the presence of 93 surveillance drug-resistance mutations (SDRMs). The median overall TDR prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), south/southeast Asia (SSEA), upper-income Asian countries, Latin America/Caribbean, Europe, and North America was 2.8%, 2.9%, 5.6%, 7.6%, 9.4%, and 11.5%, respectively. In SSA, there was a yearly 1.09-fold (95% CI: 1.05–1.14) increase in odds of TDR since national ARV scale-up attributable to an increase in non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance. The odds of NNRTI-associated TDR also increased in Latin America/Caribbean (odds ratio [OR] = 1.16; 95% CI: 1.06–1.25), North America (OR = 1.19; 95% CI: 1.12–1.26), Europe (OR = 1.07; 95% CI: 1.01–1.13), and upper-income Asian countries (OR = 1.33; 95% CI: 1.12–1.55). In SSEA, there was no significant change in the odds of TDR since national ARV scale-up (OR = 0.97; 95% CI: 0.92–1.02). An analysis limited to sequences with mixtures at less than 0.5% of their nucleotide positions—a proxy for recent infection—yielded trends comparable to those obtained using the complete dataset. Four NNRTI SDRMs—K101E, K103N, Y181C, and G190A—accounted for >80% of NNRTI-associated TDR in all regions and subtypes. Sixteen nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) SDRMs accounted for >69% of NRTI-associated TDR in all regions and subtypes. In SSA and SSEA, 89% of NNRTI SDRMs were associated with high-level resistance to nevirapine or efavirenz, whereas only 27% of NRTI SDRMs were associated with high-level resistance to zidovudine, lamivudine, tenofovir, or abacavir. Of 763 viruses with TDR in SSA and SSEA, 725 (95%) were genetically dissimilar; 38 (5%) formed 19 sequence pairs. Inherent limitations of this study are that some cohorts may not represent the broader regional population and that studies were heterogeneous with respect to duration of infection prior to sampling.
Most TDR strains in SSA and SSEA arose independently, suggesting that ARV regimens with a high genetic barrier to resistance combined with improved patient adherence may mitigate TDR increases by reducing the generation of new ARV-resistant strains. A small number of NNRTI-resistance mutations were responsible for most cases of high-level resistance, suggesting that inexpensive point-mutation assays to detect these mutations may be useful for pre-therapy screening in regions with high levels of TDR. In the context of a public health approach to ARV therapy, a reliable point-of-care genotypic resistance test could identify which patients should receive standard first-line therapy and which should receive a protease-inhibitor-containing regimen.
In this individual patient and sequence-level meta-analysis, Soo-Yon Rhee and colleagues measure regional trends in HIV-1 transmitted drug resistance prevalence and investigate the specific mutations responsible for TDR in different regions and in different virus subtypes.
Editors' Summary
About 35 million people are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS by destroying immune system cells and leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-infected individuals died within ten years of infection. Then, in 1996, effective antiretroviral (ARV) therapy—drug combinations that suppress HIV replication by inhibiting reverse transcriptase and other essential viral enzymes—became available. For people living in affluent countries, HIV/AIDS became a chronic condition, but because ARV therapy was expensive, HIV/AIDS remained fatal in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In 2003, the international community began to work towards achieving universal access to ARV therapy. Now, more than 10 million HIV-positive individuals in LMICs receive ARV therapy, usually as a fixed-dose combination of two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), such as tenofovir and lamivudine, plus a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), such as efavirenz or nevirapine.
Why Was This Study Done?
The global scale-up of ARV therapy has reduced deaths from HIV/AIDS and the incidence of HIV infection in LMICs, but the development of resistance to ARV therapy is threatening these advances. HIV rapidly accumulates genetic changes (mutations), some of which make HIV resistant to ARV therapy. Up to 30% of patients receiving a fixed-dose NRTI/NNRTI combination develop virological failure, and a high proportion of these patients develop mutations associated with resistance to the ARVs in their regimen. Moreover, the proportion of newly infected, ARV-naïve individuals with transmitted drug resistance (TDR) is also increasing. Organizations involved in HIV/AIDS control need to understand the regional and temporal mutational patterns of TDR to inform the development of guidelines for first-line ARV therapy and of inexpensive resistance mutation assays for use in LMICs. Here, using a statistical approach called meta-analysis to combine information from individual patients about the resistance mutations they carry, the researchers investigate the molecular epidemiology of TDR (the patterns of molecular changes underlying TDR in populations) and identify the HIV drug-resistance mutations most responsible for TDR in different world regions.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 287 studies published between 2000 and 2013 from 111 countries that included the reverse transcriptase sequences of HIV viruses from 50,870 ARV-naïve, HIV-positive individuals. The researchers analyzed each virus sequence for the presence of 93 surveillance drug-resistance mutations (SDRMs) previously shown to be specific indicators of TDR. Meta-analysis of these data indicated that the average overall prevalence of TDR (the proportion of ARV-naïve, HIV-positive individuals infected with a virus carrying one or more SDRMs) ranged from 2.8% in sub-Saharan Africa to 11.5% in North America. In sub-Saharan Africa, the odds (chance) of TDR increased 1.09-fold per year following national ARV scale-up; this increase was attributable to an increase in NRTI- and NNRTI-associated resistance. By contrast, in LMICs in south/southeast Asia, the odds of TDR remained unchanged following ARV scale-up. In Latin America/Caribbean, North America, Europe, and upper-income Asian countries, the odds of TDR have increased by around 1.10-fold per year since 1995, mainly as a result of increased NNRTI resistance. Four NNRTI-associated and 16 NRTI-associated SDRMs accounted for most NNRTI- and NRTI-associated TDR, respectively, in all regions. Notably, in sub-Saharan Africa and south/southeast Asia, most of the NNRTI-associated SDRMs detected were associated with high-level resistance to nevirapine or efavirenz. Finally, the researchers report that 95% of TDR viruses in sub-Saharan Africa and south/southeast Asia were unrelated and had therefore arisen independently.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Because many drug-resistance mutations reduce HIV’s fitness and tend to be lost rapidly in individuals not exposed to ARV therapy, differences among the datasets used in this meta-analysis with respect to how long each ARV-naïve patient had been infected with HIV before virus sampling may limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, the finding that most of the TDR strains detected in sub-Saharan Africa and south/southeast Asia arose independently suggests that improved patient adherence to ARV therapy and the use of ARV regimens that contain drugs to which HIV rarely develops resistance (regimens with a high genetic barrier to resistance) should reduce the generation of new ARV-resistant strains and mitigate TDR increases. In addition, the finding that a few NNRTI-resistance mutations were responsible for most cases of transmitted high-level resistance suggests that an inexpensive assay that detects these specific mutations may be useful for pre-therapy screening in LMICs with high TDR levels.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on antiretroviral drugs and on universal access to ARV therapy; Avert also provides personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS
The World Health Organization provides information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS (in several languages), including its guidelines on the use of antiretroviral therapy for treating and preventing HIV infection
The UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report 2014 provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it, including progress towards universal access to antiretroviral therapy
The Stanford University HIV Drug Resistance Database includes information about surveillance drug-resistant mutations (SDRMs) and an interactive map displaying HIV drug resistance in ARV-naïve populations
PMCID: PMC4388826  PMID: 25849352
2.  Religion and HIV in Tanzania: influence of religious beliefs on HIV stigma, disclosure, and treatment attitudes 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:75.
Religion shapes everyday beliefs and activities, but few studies have examined its associations with attitudes about HIV. This exploratory study in Tanzania probed associations between religious beliefs and HIV stigma, disclosure, and attitudes toward antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.
A self-administered survey was distributed to a convenience sample of parishioners (n = 438) attending Catholic, Lutheran, and Pentecostal churches in both urban and rural areas. The survey included questions about religious beliefs, opinions about HIV, and knowledge and attitudes about ARVs. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to assess how religion was associated with perceptions about HIV, HIV treatment, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Results indicate that shame-related HIV stigma is strongly associated with religious beliefs such as the belief that HIV is a punishment from God (p < 0.01) or that people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) have not followed the Word of God (p < 0.001). Most participants (84.2%) said that they would disclose their HIV status to their pastor or congregation if they became infected. Although the majority of respondents (80.8%) believed that prayer could cure HIV, almost all (93.7%) said that they would begin ARV treatment if they became HIV-infected. The multivariate analysis found that respondents' hypothetical willingness to begin ARV treatme was not significantly associated with the belief that prayer could cure HIV or with other religious factors. Refusal of ARV treatment was instead correlated with lack of secondary schooling and lack of knowledge about ARVs.
The decision to start ARVs hinged primarily on education-level and knowledge about ARVs rather than on religious factors. Research results highlight the influence of religious beliefs on HIV-related stigma and willingness to disclose, and should help to inform HIV-education outreach for religious groups.
PMCID: PMC2656538  PMID: 19261186
3.  Self-initiation of antiretroviral therapy in the developing world: the involvement of private pharmacies in an HIV program 
Self-initiation to antiretroviral treatment (ART) exposes the patient to the risk of drug toxicity, poor adherence to treatment, and escalates the development of drug resistance.
To determine the sources of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs by unregistered human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients and the extent of ARV self-medication.
Simulated clients were used to investigate availability and ARV dispensing practice in the private pharmacies in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. A total of 480 HIV-infected patients qualifying to start ART were interviewed to find out their previous use of ARV drugs prior to visiting the HIV clinics. Venous blood (2 mL) was collected from each patient who indicated not to have used ARVs in the past (n = 450). Blood samples were analyzed for the presence and levels of nevirapine (NVP).
Only 5.1% (23/451) of pharmacies were found stocking ARVs drugs, among which 4.0% were retail. Drug dispensers in nearly all (15/18) retail pharmacies which stocked ARVs were willing to sell ARVs without prescription. Out of 450 enrolled patients, only 2.7% (12) stated that they had been receiving ARV drugs from HIV clinics but interrupted the ART treatment due to various reasons. From 450 patients, only 10% had quantifiable NVP concentrations in the blood, despite stating in an interview that they had not recently used ARVs.
Prior use of ARV drugs outside HIV clinics was rare among patients attending those centers. However, the results show that some patients could access and use ARV drugs from private pharmacies without undergoing ART eligibility assessment in HIV clinics.
PMCID: PMC3345878  PMID: 22570571
ART naïve patients; antiretroviral drugs; dispensing practices
4.  Evolution of Antiretroviral Drug Costs in Brazil in the Context of Free and Universal Access to AIDS Treatment  
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(11):e305.
Little is known about the long-term drug costs associated with treating AIDS in developing countries. Brazil's AIDS treatment program has been cited widely as the developing world's largest and most successful AIDS treatment program. The program guarantees free access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for all people living with HIV/AIDS in need of treatment. Brazil produces non-patented generic antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), procures many patented ARVs with negotiated price reductions, and recently issued a compulsory license to import one patented ARV. In this study, we investigate the drivers of recent ARV cost trends in Brazil through analysis of drug-specific prices and expenditures between 2001 and 2005.
Methods and Findings
We compared Brazil's ARV prices to those in other low- and middle-income countries. We analyzed trends in drug expenditures for HAART in Brazil from 2001 to 2005 on the basis of cost data disaggregated by each ARV purchased by the Brazilian program. We decomposed the overall changes in expenditures to compare the relative impacts of changes in drug prices and drug purchase quantities. We also estimated the excess costs attributable to the difference between prices for generics in Brazil and the lowest global prices for these drugs. Finally, we estimated the savings attributable to Brazil's reduced prices for patented drugs. Negotiated drug prices in Brazil are lowest for patented ARVs for which generic competition is emerging. In recent years, the prices for efavirenz and lopinavir–ritonavir (lopinavir/r) have been lower in Brazil than in other middle-income countries. In contrast, the price of tenofovir is US$200 higher per patient per year than that reported in other middle-income countries. Despite precipitous price declines for four patented ARVs, total Brazilian drug expenditures doubled, to reach US$414 million in 2005. We find that the major driver of cost increases was increased purchase quantities of six specific drugs: patented lopinavir/r, efavirenz, tenofovir, atazanavir, enfuvirtide, and a locally produced generic, fixed-dose combination of zidovudine and lamivudine (AZT/3TC). Because prices declined for many of the patented drugs that constitute the largest share of drug costs, nearly the entire increase in overall drug expenditures between 2001 and 2005 is attributable to increases in drug quantities. Had all drug quantities been held constant from 2001 until 2005 (or for those drugs entering treatment guidelines after 2001, held constant between the year of introduction and 2005), total costs would have increased by only an estimated US$7 million. We estimate that in the absence of price declines for patented drugs, Brazil would have spent a cumulative total of US$2 billion on drugs for HAART between 2001 and 2005, implying a savings of US$1.2 billion from price declines. Finally, in comparing Brazilian prices for locally produced generic ARVs to the lowest international prices meeting global pharmaceutical quality standards, we find that current prices for Brazil's locally produced generics are generally much higher than corresponding global prices, and note that these prices have risen in Brazil while declining globally. We estimate the excess costs of Brazil's locally produced generics totaled US$110 million from 2001 to 2005.
Despite Brazil's more costly generic ARVs, the net result of ARV price changes has been a cost savings of approximately US$1 billion since 2001. HAART costs have nevertheless risen steeply as Brazil has scaled up treatment. These trends may foreshadow future AIDS treatment cost trends in other developing countries as more people start treatment, AIDS patients live longer and move from first-line to second and third-line treatment, AIDS treatment becomes more complex, generic competition emerges, and newer patented drugs become available. The specific application of the Brazilian model to other countries will depend, however, on the strength of their health systems, intellectual property regulations, epidemiological profiles, AIDS treatment guidelines, and differing capacities to produce drugs locally.
Amy Nunn and colleagues analyze the cost of antiretroviral drugs in Brazil between 2001 and 2005 and discuss the implications for HIV treatment in other developing countries.
Editors' Summary
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed 29 million people since the first case occurred in 1981 and an estimated 40 million people live with HIV/AIDS today. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which destroys the immune system. Infected individuals are consequently very susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-positive individuals died within a few years of becoming infected. Then, in 1996, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)—a cocktail of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs)—was developed. For people who could afford HAART (which holds HIV infections in check), AIDS became a chronic disease. People who start HAART must keep taking it or their illness will progress.
Unfortunately, few people in low- and middle-income countries could afford these expensive drugs. In 2001, ARV prices fell in developing countries as AIDS activists and developing country governments challenged pharmaceutical companies about ARV prices, pharmaceutical companies set tiered prices for the low- and middle-income countries and more generic (inexpensive copies of brand-named drugs) ARVs became available. In 2003, the lack of access to HIV/AIDS treatment was declared a global health emergency. Governments, international organizations, and funding bodies began to set targets and provide funds to increase access to HAART in developing countries. By 2007, over 2 million people in low- and middle-income countries had access to HAART, but another 5 million remain in urgent need of drugs for treatment.
Why Was This Study Done?
In 1995, many countries in the world signed the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement, which requires countries to acknowledge intellectual property rights for many products, including pharmaceuticals. In 1996, Brazil became the first developing country to commit to and implement policies to provide free and universal access to HAART. Since then, Brazil's successful AIDS treatment program has become a model for the developing world, and 180,000 Brazilians were receiving HAART at the end of 2006. However, as a WTO member that signed on to the TRIPS agreement, Brazil was required to recognize the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical companies' patented ARVs. As Brazil scaled up treatment in the late 1990s, the cost of treating AIDS patients rose quickly and the country took controversial public policy steps to reduce the cost of providing HAART to people living with HIV/AIDS. Brazil produces several non-patented ARVs locally, and since 2001 has challenged multinational pharmaceutical companies about the prices of patented ARVs. To induce price reductions for patented ARVs, Brazil has threatened to issue compulsory licenses (which under WTO terms allow countries facing a health emergency to produce patented drugs without consent of the company holding the patent). Brazil also recently issued a compulsory license for one ARV.
Although world leaders have set a target of universal access to HAART by 2010, little is known about the long-term costs of AIDS treatment in developing countries. In this study, the researchers have investigated how and why the costs of ARVs changed in Brazil between 2001 and 2005 and discuss the relevance of the Brazilian model for AIDS treatment for other resource-limited settings.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed the prices for each ARV recommended in Brazil's therapeutic guidelines for adults and estimated the changes in purchase quantities for each between 2001 and 2005. These changes likely stem from the growing number of options in Brazil's treatment guidelines, the steadily rising number of patients commencing treatment, and patients' shifts to second- and third-line treatments when their HIV infection became resistant to first-line drugs or they developed side effects. The researchers report that the generic drugs produced in Brazil were generally more expensive than similar drugs made elsewhere, but Brazil's negotiated drug prices for many patented ARVs were lower than elsewhere. Overall, total annual drug expenditure on ARVs doubled between 2001 and 2005, reaching US$414 million in 2005. Because many drug prices fell sharply as a result of declining patented drug prices over the study period, this increase was mainly attributable to increases in drug quantities purchased. If these quantities had stayed constant, the total annual cost would have increased by only $7 million, to $211 million. Conversely, without the decrease in the price of patented drugs, Brazil would have spent $952 million annually by 2005. If Brazil had enjoyed the lowest global prices for generic medicines, the total costs per year in 2005 would have been $367 million, or nearly $50 million less than the costs Brazil actually realized.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings tease out the many factors—clinical, commercial, and political—that affected the total costs of the Brazilian AIDS treatment program between 2001 and 2005.
Brazil's ability to produce generic drugs facilitated Brazil's price negotiations for patented drugs. Although Brazil saved approximately US$1 billion over the study period as a result of declining prices for patented medicines, the cost of producing generic drugs locally has risen while the prices for generic drugs have fallen elsewhere. Brazil's recent decision to import a generic ARV using a compulsory license suggests that the Brazilian model for AIDS treatment continues to evolve.
Questions remain about the precise causes of year-to-year cost trends in Brazil because, for example, the researchers did not have full data on when patients switched from first-line to second- or third-line drugs. The observed steep rise in costs from 2004 to 2005 in particular warrants further analysis. In addition, the findings may not be generalizable to countries with different policies on HIV/AIDS treatment, different access to generic drugs, or different bargaining power with multinational drug companies. Nevertheless, the trends this study highlights provide important information about how AIDS treatment costs are likely to evolve in other developing countries as efforts are made to provide universal access to life-saving ARVs.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
Information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on global HIV/AIDS topics (in English and Spanish)
HIV InSite, comprehensive and up-to-date information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS from the University of California San Francisco
Information from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on HIV and AIDS in Brazil and on HIV/AIDS treatment and care, including universal access to ARVs
Progress towards universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, the latest report from the World Health Organization (available in several languages)
The National STD and AIDS Program of Brazil
PMCID: PMC2071936  PMID: 18001145
5.  Self-report of current and prior antiretroviral drug use in comparison to the medical record among HIV-infected patients receiving primary HIV care 
Patient antiretroviral (ARV) therapy knowledge is essential for regimen adherence, successful therapeutic response, and minimization of resistance evolution. Moreover, a complete and accurate patient ARV history is needed to construct efficacious and tolerable future regimens. In this study we assessed the ability of HIV-infected patients receiving care in a university infectious diseases clinic to accurately recall current and past ARVs.
A convenience sample (n = 205) of UNC HIV Clinical Cohort participants (n = 1840) completed a comprehensive in-person interview. Patients were asked about current and ever ARV use and were provided proprietary and generic ARV names and photographs. Self-reported sensitivity for current and ever ARV use (proportion that correctly identified all recorded ARVs), was calculated using the medical record as the gold standard.
One hundred and eighty-five patients had received ARVs at some point after enrollment in the cohort study (ever users). For current ARV use (n = 138), self-reported sensitivity was 63% (95% CI: 54–71). For ever use (n = 185), sensitivity was 18% (95% CI: 13–24).
Self-reported cumulative ARV use is not accurate. Since HIV-infected patients are prescribed a number of medications over their treatment course, it is necessary to develop new medication reconciliation techniques that are not dependent on patient memory or knowledge in order to improve patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3118653  PMID: 21294218
HIV infection; antiretroviral therapy; patient education; patient non-adherence
6.  Rates and Predictors of Non-Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy among HIV-Positive Individuals in Kenya: Results from the Second Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey, 2012 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(12):e0167465.
Understanding the levels and associated factors of non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is crucial in designing interventions to improve adherence and health outcomes of ART. We assessed non-adherence to ART among HIV-infected persons reporting ART use in a nationally representative survey in Kenya.
The Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey 2012 was a population-based, household survey of persons aged 18 months-64 years conducted in 2012–2013. Self-reported information was collected on demographics, sexual behaviour, HIV status, and ART use. Blood was collected for HIV testing, and if HIV infected, CD4 and viral load testing. HIV-positive specimens were tested for the presence of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs using a qualitative ARV assay using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. HIV-positive persons who reported receiving ART but did not have the ARV biomarker present were defined as being non-adherent to their ARV medication. We restricted our analysis to HIV-infected persons aged 15–64 years who reported receiving ART and had laboratory-confirmed results from ARV testing. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify variables associated with non-adherence.
A total of 648 (5.6%; CI 4.9–6.3) tested HIV-positive of whom 559 (86.3%) had sufficient volume of blood to be tested for ARV drugs. Of those, 271 (47.7%; CI 41.8–53.6) self-reported HIV-positive status during the interview and 186 (69.1%; CI 62.2–76.0) of those reported taking ART. The ARV biomarker was absent in 18 of 186 individuals (9.4%; CI 4.9–13.8) who thus were defined as being non-adherent to ART. Non-adherence was associated with being aged 15–29 years (AOR 8.39; CI 2.26–31.22, p = 0.002) compared to aged 30–64 years, rural residence (AOR 5.87; CI 1.39–25.61, p = 0.016) compared with urban residence and taking recreational drugs in the past 30 days (AOR 5.89; CI 1.30–26.70, p = 0.022).
Overall, less than 10% of Kenyans aged 15–64 years on ART were not adhering to their HIV medication, highlighting the success of the Kenyan national ART program. Our findings, however, point to the need for targeted interventions particularly for young persons, those in rural areas to improve adherence outcomes, as well as delivery of treatment programs that include psychosocial support as a preventative measure to minimize substance abuse and the risk of treatment failure.
PMCID: PMC5131960  PMID: 27907114
7.  Psychosocial Factors Affecting Medication Adherence Among HIV-1 Infected Adults Receiving Combination Antiretroviral Therapy (cART) in Botswana 
As increasing numbers of persons are placed on potentially life-saving combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in sub-Saharan Africa, it is imperative to identify the psychosocial and social factors that may influence antiretroviral (ARV) medication adherence. Using an 87 question survey, the following data were collected from patients on cART in Botswana: demographics, performance (Karnofsky) score, perceived stigma and level of HIV disclosure, attitudes and beliefs concerning HIV/AIDS, substance and/or drug use, depression, and pharmacy and healthcare provider-related factors. Overall adherence rates were determined by patient self-report, institutional adherence, and a culturally modified Morisky scale. Three hundred adult patients were recruited between April and May 2005. The overall cART adherence rate was 81.3% based on 4 day and 1 month patient recall and on clinic attendance for ARV medication refills during the previous 3 months. Adults receiving cART for 1–6 months were the least adherent (77%) followed by those receiving cART for greater than 12 months (79%). Alcohol use, depression, and nondisclosure of positive HIV status to their partner were predictive of poor adherence rates (p value <0.02). A significant proportion (81.3%) of cART-treated adults were adherent to their prescribed treatment, with rates superior to those reported in resource-rich settings. Adherence rates were poorest among those just starting cART, most likely due to the presence of ARV-related toxicity. Adherence was lower among those who have been treated for longer periods of time (greater than 1 year), suggesting complacency, which may become a significant problem, especially among these long-term cART-treated patients who return to improved physical and mental functioning and may be less motivated to adhere to their ARV medications. Healthcare providers should encourage HIV disclosure to “at-risk” partners and provide ongoing counseling and education to help patients recognize and overcome HIV-associated stigma, alcohol abuse, and depression.
PMCID: PMC4056458  PMID: 20518649
8.  The constraints of antiretroviral uptake in rural areas: the case of Thamaga and surrounding villages, Botswana 
Sahara J  2014;11(1):167-177.
This article examines the constraints of antiretroviral (ARV) uptake in the villages of Thamaga, Kumakwane, Mankgodi and Gakgatla which are in the Kweneng District of Botswana. The social interactionist approach and theories of health behaviour provided the theoretical basis of the study. Data were obtained by using interviewer-administered questionnaires which were applied to a sample of 145 respondents and 61 people living with HIV/AIDS in the four villages. The results of the study showed that people aged 30–39 years represented the highest proportion of the persons on ARV treatment in the villages. Some of the people living with HIV believed that ARV therapy could better their lives during the initial stages of introduction, but with time, they lost hope and gave up the treatment. Culturally, parents and children in the villages do not discuss sexual matters at home and it was found in the study that there was little communication between parents and children on AIDS and ARV issues. Some churches in the area discouraged the use of ARV. There were also traditional doctors who made their patients mix traditional herbs treatment with ARV treatment. Distance, travel costs, cultural beliefs, stigma and discrimination among others were found to be important socio-economic factors inhibiting ARV uptake. Even though there were constraints on ARV uptake in the villages, efforts were being made by Government and non-governmental organizations to overcome them. The Ministry of Health provided information and education to the public using its strategy known as Information, Education and Communication. Nurses, doctors and chiefs taught people at kgotlas (traditional courts) in the villages about the dangers of the epidemic. Free HIV testing, ARVs and condoms were provided to the villagers. The outlook for ARV uptake looks generally promising for the future. However, if HIV/AIDS is to be contained, sexual behaviour of people in the villages needs to change.
PMCID: PMC4272138  PMID: 25365702
rural areas; HIV/AIDS; ARV uptake; Masa programme; Zones rurales; VIH/SIDA; prise des ARV; programme Masa
9.  A comparison of HIV/AIDS-related stigma in four countries: Negative attitudes and perceived acts of discrimination towards people living with HIV/AIDS☆ 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2009;68(12):2279-2287.
HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination have a substantial impact on people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA). The objectives of this study were: (1) to determine the associations of two constructs of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination (negative attitudes towards PLHA and perceived acts of discrimination towards PLHA) with previous history of HIV testing, knowledge of antiretroviral therapies (ARVs) and communication regarding HIV/AIDS and (2) to compare these two constructs across the five research sites with respect to differing levels of HIV prevalence and ARV coverage, using data presented from the baseline survey of U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Project Accept, a four-country HIV prevention trial in Sub-Saharan Africa (Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa) and northern Thailand. A household probability sample of 14,203 participants completed a survey including a scale measuring HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination. Logistic regression models determined the associations between negative attitudes and perceived discrimination with individual history of HIV testing, knowledge of ARVs and communication regarding HIV/AIDS. Spearman's correlation coefficients determined the relationships between negative attitudes and perceived discrimination and HIV prevalence and ARV coverage at the site-level. Negative attitudes were related to never having tested for HIV, lacking knowledge of ARVs, and never having discussed HIV/AIDS. More negative attitudes were found in sites with the lowest HIV prevalence (i.e., Tanzania and Thailand) and more perceived discrimination against PLHA was found in sites with the lowest ARV coverage (i.e., Tanzania and Zimbabwe). Programs that promote widespread HIV testing and discussion of HIV/AIDS, as well as education regarding and universal access to ARVs, may reduce HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.
PMCID: PMC4029331  PMID: 19427086
Sub-Saharan Africa; Thailand; HIV/AIDS; Stigma; Discrimination; Tanzania; Zimbabwe; South Africa
10.  Patent Pooling for Promoting Access to Antiretroviral Drugs (ARVs) – A Strategic Option for India 
The Open AIDS Journal  2010;4:41-53.
The current HIV/AIDS scenario in India is quite grim with an estimated 2.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) in 2008, just behind South Africa and Nigeria. The anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) remain the main stay of global HIV/AIDS treatment. Over 30 ARVs (single and FDCs) available under six categories viz., NRTIs (nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors), NNRTIs (non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors), Protease inhibitors, the new Fusion inhibitors, Entry inhibitors-CCR5 co-receptor antagonists and HIV integrase strand transfer inhibitors. The major originator companies for these ARVs are: Abbott, Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Merck, Pfizer, Roche, and Tibotec. Beginning with zidovidine in 1987, all the drugs are available in the developed countries. In India, about 30 ARVs are available as generics manufactured by Aurobindo, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh; Cipla Limited, Goa; Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Pune, Maharashtra; Hetero Drugs, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh; Macleods Pharmaceuticals, Daman; Matrix Laboratories, Nashik, Maharashtra; Ranbaxy, Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh; and Strides Arcolab, Bangalore, Karnataka. The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) set up in 1992 by the Govt. of India provides free ARVs to HIV positive patients in India since 2004. The drugs available in India include both single drugs and FDCs covering both first line and second line ARVs. Even while there are claims of stabilization of the disease load, there is still huge gap of those who require ARVs as only about 150,000 PLHA receive the ARVs from the Govt. and other sources. Access to ARVs therefore is still a cause of serious concern ever since India became fully Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)-complaint in 2005. Therefore, the Indian pharmaceutical companies cannot make generics for those for drugs introduced post-2005 due to product patent regime. Other concerns include heat stable, other better formulations and second line ARVs for adults and more drugs and formulations for paediatric groups, that are still to be widely available in India and other developing countries. To examine whether strong intellectual property (IP) protection systems are to be considered important barriers for the limited or lack of access to ARVs, we studied the patent profile of the ARVs of the originator companies within and outside India. We could record 93 patents in the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The originator companies have been also aggressively filing and enforcing patents in India. There have been a few efforts by companies like Gilead and GSK to grant licenses to generic manufacturers in developing countries, ostensibly to promote access to ARVs through lower (two-tier) pricing. These steps are considered as too little and too late. There is an urgent need to look for alternative strategies to promote access to ARVs both linked to and independent of IPRs. Patent pooling as a viable strategy mooted by the UNITAID should be seriously explored to promote access to ARVs. India is ideally suited for trying out the patent pool strategy as most of the global requirement of affordable ARV drugs for HIV/AIDS treatment is sourced from Indian generic companies.
PMCID: PMC2819698  PMID: 20148091
11.  The Impact of Taking or Not Taking ARVs on HIV Stigma as Reported by Persons Living with HIV Infection in Five African Countries 
AIDS care  2009;21(11):1357-1362.
This study examined the impact of taking or not taking antiretroviral (ARV) medications on stigma, as reported by people living with HIV infection in five African countries.
A two group (taking or not taking ARVs) by three (time) repeated measures analysis of variance examined change in reported stigma in a cohort sample of 1,454 persons living with HIV infection in Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, and Tanzania. Participants self-reported taking ARV medications and completed a standardized stigma scale validated in the African context. Data were collected at three points in time, from January 2006 to March 2007. Participants taking ARV medications self-reported a mean CD4 count of 273 and those not taking ARV self-reported a mean CD4 count of 418.
Both groups reported significant decreases in total HIV stigma over time; however, people taking ARVs reported significantly higher stigma at Time 3 compared to those not taking ARVs.
This study documents that this sample of 1,454 HIV infected persons in five countries in Africa reported significantly less HIV stigma over time. In addition, those participants taking ARV medications experienced significantly higher HIV stigma over time compared to those not taking ARVs. This finding contradicts some authors’ opinions that when clients enroll in ARV medication treatment it signifies that they are experiencing less stigma. This work provides caution to health care providers to alert clients new to ARV treatment that they may experience more stigma from their families and communities when they learn they are taking ARV medications.
PMCID: PMC2797125  PMID: 20024711
HIV/AIDS; stigma; antiretrovirals; Africa
12.  Incident HIV during Pregnancy and Postpartum and Risk of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(2):e1001608.
Alison Drake and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate maternal HIV incidence during pregnancy and the postpartum period and to compare mother-to-child HIV transmission risk among women with incident versus chronic infection.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Women may have persistent risk of HIV acquisition during pregnancy and postpartum. Estimating risk of HIV during these periods is important to inform optimal prevention approaches. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate maternal HIV incidence during pregnancy/postpartum and to compare mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) risk among women with incident versus chronic infection.
Methods and Findings
We searched PubMed, Embase, and AIDS-related conference abstracts between January 1, 1980, and October 31, 2013, for articles and abstracts describing HIV acquisition during pregnancy/postpartum. The inclusion criterion was studies with data on recent HIV during pregnancy/postpartum. Random effects models were constructed to pool HIV incidence rates, cumulative HIV incidence, hazard ratios (HRs), or odds ratios (ORs) summarizing the association between pregnancy/postpartum status and HIV incidence, and MTCT risk and rates. Overall, 1,176 studies met the search criteria, of which 78 met the inclusion criterion, and 47 contributed data. Using data from 19 cohorts representing 22,803 total person-years, the pooled HIV incidence rate during pregnancy/postpartum was 3.8/100 person-years (95% CI 3.0–4.6): 4.7/100 person-years during pregnancy and 2.9/100 person-years postpartum (p = 0.18). Pooled cumulative HIV incidence was significantly higher in African than non-African countries (3.6% versus 0.3%, respectively; p<0.001). Risk of HIV was not significantly higher among pregnant (HR 1.3, 95% CI 0.5–2.1) or postpartum women (HR 1.1, 95% CI 0.6–1.6) than among non-pregnant/non-postpartum women in five studies with available data. In African cohorts, MTCT risk was significantly higher among women with incident versus chronic HIV infection in the postpartum period (OR 2.9, 95% CI 2.2–3.9) or in pregnancy/postpartum periods combined (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2–4.4). However, the small number of studies limited power to detect associations and sources of heterogeneity.
Pregnancy and the postpartum period are times of persistent HIV risk, at rates similar to “high risk” cohorts. MTCT risk was elevated among women with incident infections. Detection and prevention of incident HIV in pregnancy/postpartum should be prioritized, and is critical to decrease MTCT.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Worldwide, about 3.4 million children younger than 15 years old (mostly living in sub-Saharan Africa) are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS by gradually destroying immune system cells, thereby leaving infected individuals susceptible to other serious infections. In 2012 alone, 230,000 children (more than 700 every day) were newly infected with HIV. Most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. The rate of MTCT (and deaths among HIV-positive pregnant women from complications related to HIV infection) can be greatly reduced by testing women for HIV infection during pregnancy (antenatal HIV testing), treating HIV-positive women with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs, powerful drugs that control HIV replication and allow the immune system to recover) during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding, and giving ARVs to their newborn babies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have developed a global plan that aims to move towards eliminating new HIV infections among children by 2015 and towards keeping their mothers alive. To ensure the plan's success, the incidence of HIV (the number of new infections) among women and the rate of MTCT must be reduced by increasing ARV uptake by mothers and their infants for the prevention of MTCT. However, the risk of HIV infection among pregnant women and among women who have recently given birth (postpartum women) is poorly understood because, although guidelines recommend repeat HIV testing during late pregnancy or at delivery in settings where HIV infection is common, pregnant women are often tested only once for HIV infection. The lack of retesting represents a missed opportunity to identify pregnant and postpartum women who have recently acquired HIV and to prevent MTCT by initiating ARV therapy. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic) and meta-analysis (a study that uses statistical methods to combine the results of several studies), the researchers estimate maternal HIV incidence during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and compare the risk of MTCT among women with incident (new) and chronic (long-standing) HIV infection.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 47 studies (35 undertaken in Africa) that examined recent HIV acquisition by women during pregnancy and the 12-month postpartum period. They used random effects statistical models to estimate the pooled HIV incidence rate and cumulative HIV incidence (the number of new infections per number of people at risk), and the association between pregnancy/postpartum status and HIV incidence and MTCT risk and rates. The pooled HIV incidence rate among pregnant/postpartum women estimated from 19 studies (all from sub-Saharan Africa) that reported HIV incidence rates was 3.8/100 person-years. The pooled cumulative HIV incidence was significantly higher in African countries than in non-African countries (3.6% and 0.3%, respectively; a “significant” difference is one that is unlikely to arise by chance). In the five studies that provided suitable data, the risk of HIV acquisition was similar in pregnant, postpartum, and non-pregnant/non-postpartum women. Finally, among African women, the risk of MTCT was 2.9-fold higher during the postpartum period among those who had recently acquired HIV than among those with chronic HIV infection, and 2.3-fold higher during the pregnancy/postpartum periods combined.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that women living in regions where HIV infection is common are at high risk of acquiring HIV infection during pregnancy and the postpartum period and that mothers who acquire HIV during pregnancy or postpartum are more likely to pass the infection on to their offspring than mothers with chronic HIV infections. However, the small number of studies included in this meta-analysis and the use of heterogeneous research methodologies in these studies may limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings have important implications for the global plan to eliminate HIV infections in children. First, they suggest that women living in regions where HIV infection is common should be offered repeat HIV testing (using sensitive methods to enhance early detection of infection) during pregnancy and in the postpartum period to detect incident HIV infections, and should be promptly referred to HIV care and treatment. Second, they suggest that prevention of HIV transmission during pregnancy and postpartum should be prioritized, for example, by counseling women about the need to use condoms to prevent transmission during this period of their lives.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children and HIV/AIDS and on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
The 2013 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report provides information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it; the 2013 UNAIDS Progress Report on the Global Plan provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections among children; the UNAIDS Believe it. Do it website provides information about the campaign to support the UNAIDS global plan
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, NAM/aidsmap, and Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3934828  PMID: 24586123
13.  Acceptability and confidence in antiretroviral generics of physicians and HIV-infected patients in France 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19608.
Switching brand name medications to generics is recommended in France in the interest of cost effectiveness but patients and physicians are sometimes not convinced that switching is appropriate. Some antiretroviral (ARV) generics (ZDV, 3TC, NVP) have been marketed in France since 2013.
Materials and Methods
A multicentric cross-sectional survey was performed in September 2013 to evaluate the perception of generics overall and ARV generics in physicians and HIV-infected patients and factors associated to their acceptability. Adult HIV outpatients were asked to complete a self-questionnaire on their perception of generics. Physicians completed a questionnaire on the acceptability of generics and ARV generics. Socio-demographic data, medical history and HIV history were collected.
116 physicians in 33 clinics (68% in University Hospital) included 556 patients (France-native 77%, active employment 59%, covered by social Insurance 100%, homosexual/bisexual contamination 47%, median HIV duration 13 years, hepatitis coinfection 16%, on ARV therapy 95%). Overall, patients accepted and had confidence in generics in 76% and 55% of the cases, respectively. Switching ARVs for generics was accepted by 44% of the patients but only by 17% if the pill burden was going to increase. 75% of the physicians would prescribe generics, but this decreased to only 26% if the combo had to be broken. The main reasons for non-prescription of generics were previous brand name ARV-induced side effects (35%), refusal of generics overall (37%), lack of understanding of generics (26%), risk of non-observance of treatment (44%), anxiety (47%) and depressive symptoms (25%). In multivariate analysis, factors associated with the acceptability of ARV generics in patients were the use of generics overall (p<0.001) and in physicians, the absence of concern regarding the drug efficacy (p<0.001) and being aware that the patient would accept generics overall (p=0.03) and ARV generics (p=0.04). No factors related to sociodemographic conditions, HIV status or comorbidities had a constrictive influence on the use of ARV generics.
Acceptability of ARV generics in this French population is mostly dictated by the patient's and physician's knowledge and use of generics overall. Switching ARV brand name to a generic would be better accepted if the pill burden remained unchanged.
PMCID: PMC4224798  PMID: 25394112
14.  Adherence in the treatment of patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV in South Africa: A prospective cohort study 
Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB)/HIV co-infection is difficult to treat with frequent adverse drug reactions, and high mortality. Adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ARV) and second-line TB medications may reduce mortality, prevent amplification of drug-resistance, and improve outcomes.
Prospective cohort study of XDR-TB patients on treatment in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Adherence to ARV and TB medications was assessed separately at baseline and monthly. Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs (KAB) were assessed at baseline. Optimal adherence was defined as self-report of taking all pills in the previous 7 days; missing any pills was defined as suboptimal adherence. Primary outcome was optimal adherence 6 months after initiation of XDR-TB treatment to TB medications, ARV, and both (‘dual-adherence’).
104 XDR-TB patients (79.8% HIV co-infected, 84.3% on ARV at enrollment) were enrolled and followed monthly (median 8 visits; IQR 4–12). Six-month optimal adherence was higher for ARV (88.2%) than TB medications (67.7%) (p<0.001). Low educational attainment, male gender, and year of enrollment were independently associated with dual suboptimal adherence. At baseline participants indicated that XDR-TB was curable (76.0%), HIV and TB were linked (81.7%), and ARV improves TB outcomes (72.1%). Baseline KAB did not predict subsequent adherence.
Medication adherence was significantly higher for ARV than for TB medications in this cohort. Short course treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB with lower pill burden may increase adherence and improve outcomes in XDR-TB/HIV. Programmatic support for dual-adherence is critical in the treatment of drug-resistant TB and HIV.
PMCID: PMC4410008  PMID: 24872138
Extensively Drug-resistant Tuberculosis; HIV/AIDS; Adherence; Knowledge; Attitudes and Beliefs
15.  Antiretroviral Treatment and Prevention of Peripartum and Postnatal HIV Transmission in West Africa: Evaluation of a Two-Tiered Approach 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(8):e257.
Highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) has only been recently recommended for HIV-infected pregnant women requiring treatment for their own health in resource-limited settings. However, there are few documented experiences from African countries. We evaluated the short-term (4 wk) and long-term (12 mo) effectiveness of a two-tiered strategy of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in Africa: women meeting the eligibility criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO) received HAART, and women with less advanced HIV disease received short-course antiretroviral (scARV) PMTCT regimens.
Methods and Findings
The MTCT-Plus Initiative is a multi-country, family-centred HIV care and treatment program for pregnant and postpartum women and their families. Pregnant women enrolled in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire received either HAART for their own health or short-course antiretroviral (scARV) PMTCT regimens according to their clinical and immunological status. Plasma HIV-RNA viral load (VL) was measured to diagnose peripartum infection when infants were 4 wk of age, and HIV final status was documented either by rapid antibody testing when infants were aged ≥ 12 mo or by plasma VL earlier. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate the rate of HIV transmission and HIV-free survival. Between August 2003 and June 2005, 107 women began HAART at a median of 30 wk of gestation, 102 of them with zidovudine (ZDV), lamivudine (3TC), and nevirapine (NVP) and they continued treatment postpartum; 143 other women received scARV for PMTCT, 103 of them with sc(ZDV+3TC) with single-dose NVP during labour. Most (75%) of the infants were breast-fed for a median of 5 mo. Overall, the rate of peripartum HIV transmission was 2.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.3%–4.2%) and the cumulative rate at 12 mo was 5.7% (95% CI 2.5%–9.0%). The overall probability of infant death or infection with HIV was 4.3% (95% CI 1.7%–7.0%) at age week 4 wk and 11.7% (95% CI 7.5%–15.9%) at 12 mo.
This two-tiered strategy appears to be safe and highly effective for short- and long-term PMTCT in resource-constrained settings. These results indicate a further benefit of access to HAART for pregnant women who need treatment for their own health.
In an observational cohort study from Côte d'Ivoire, François Dabis and colleagues report on prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission among women receiving antiretroviral therapy according to World Health Organization recommendations.
Editors' Summary
Effective treatments are available to prevent AIDS in people who are infected with HIV, but not everyone with HIV needs to take medication. Usually, anti-HIV medication is recommended only for those whose immune systems have been significantly affected by the virus, as evidenced by symptoms or by the results of a blood test, the CD4 lymphocyte (“T cell”) count. Treating HIV usually requires a combination of three or more medications. These combinations (called HAART) must be taken every day, can cause complications, and can be expensive.
Worldwide, more than half a million children became infected with HIV each year. Most of these children acquire HIV from their mothers during pregnancy or around the time of birth. If a pregnant woman with HIV takes HAART, her chances of passing HIV to the baby are greatly reduced, but the possible side effects of HAART on the baby are not known. Also, most transmission of HIV from mothers to babies occurs in poor countries where supplies of HAART are limited. For these reasons, World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend that every pregnant woman receive HAART to prevent HIV transmission to the baby, unless the woman needs HAART for her own health (for example if her T cells are low or she has severe symptoms of HIV infection). For pregnant women with HIV who do not need to take HAART for their own health, less complicated treatments, involving a short course of one or two HIV drugs, can be used to reduce the risk of passing HIV to the baby.
Why Was This Study Done?
The WHO recommendations for HAART in pregnancy are based on the best available evidence, but it is important to know how well they work in actual practice. The authors of this study were providing HIV treatment to pregnant women with HIV in West Africa through an established clinic program in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, and wanted to see how well the WHO recommendations for HAART or short-course treatments, depending on the mother's condition, were working to protect babies from HIV infection.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers studied 250 HIV-infected pregnant women who received HIV medications in the Abidjan program between mid-2003 and mid-2005. In accordance with WHO guidelines, 107 women began HAART for their own health during pregnancy, and 143 women did not qualify for HAART but received other short course treatments (scARV) to prevent HIV transmission to their babies. The authors monitored mothers and babies for treatment side effects and tested the babies for HIV infection up to age 1 y.
They found that HAART was relatively safe during pregnancy, although babies born to women on HAART were more likely (26.3%) to have low birth weight than babies born to women who received scARV (12.4%). Also, 7.5% of women on HAART developed side effects requiring a change in their medications. Combining the results from HAART and scART groups, the chance of HIV transmission around the time of birth was 2.2%, increasing to 5.7% at age 1 y. (Three-quarters of the infants were breast-fed; safe water for mixing formula was not reliably available.) The study found no difference in risk of HIV infection between babies whose mothers received HAART and those whose mothers received scARV according to guidelines.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results support the safety and effectiveness of the WHO two-tiered approach for preventing mother-to-child transmission. This study was not designed to compare HAART to scART directly, because the women who received HAART were the ones with more advanced HIV infection, which might have affected their babies in many ways.
Compared to earlier pregnancy studies of HAART in rich countries, this study of the WHO approach in West Africa showed similar success in protecting infants from HIV infection around the time of birth. Unfortunately, because formula feeding was not generally available in resource-limited settings, protection declined over the first year of life with breast-feeding, but some protection remained.
This study confirms that close monitoring of pregnant women on HAART is necessary, so that drugs can be changed if side effects develop. The study does not tell us whether using scARV in pregnancy might change the virus in ways that would make it more difficult to treat the same women with HAART later if they needed it. The reason for low birth weight in some babies born to mothers on HAART is unclear. It may be because the women who needed HAART had more severe health problems from their HIV, or it may be a result of the HAART itself.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
World Health Organization has a page on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
“Women, Children, and HIV” is a resource site from the François Xavier Bagnoud Center and UCSF
The MTCT-Plus initiative at Columbia University supports the programs in Abidjan
PMCID: PMC1949842  PMID: 17713983
16.  Projected Uptake of New Antiretroviral (ARV) Medicines in Adults in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Forecast Analysis 2015-2025 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(10):e0164619.
With anti-retroviral treatment (ART) scale-up set to continue over the next few years it is of key importance that manufacturers and planners in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic are able to anticipate and respond to future changes to treatment regimens, generics pipeline and demand, in order to secure continued access to all ARV medicines required. We did a forecast analysis, using secondary WHO and UNAIDS data sources, to estimate the number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and the market share and demand for a range of new and existing ARV drugs in LMICs up to 2025. UNAIDS estimates 24.7 million person-years of ART in 2020 and 28.5 million person-years of ART in 2025 (24.3 million on first-line treatment, 3.5 million on second-line treatment, and 0.6 million on third-line treatment). Our analysis showed that TAF and DTG will be major players in the ART regimen by 2025, with 8 million and 15 million patients using these ARVs respectively. However, as safety and efficacy of dolutegravir (DTG) and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) during pregnancy and among TB/HIV co-infected patients using rifampicin is still under debate, and ART scale-up is predicted to increase considerably, there also remains a clear need for continuous supplies of existing ARVs including TDF and EFV, which 16 million and 10 million patients—respectively—are predicted to be using in 2025. It will be important to ensure that the existing capacities of generics manufacturers, which are geared towards ARVs of higher doses (such as TDF 300mg and EFV 600mg), will not be adversely impacted due to the introduction of lower dose ARVs such as TAF 25mg and DTG 50mg. With increased access to viral load testing, more patients would be using protease inhibitors containing regimens in second-line, with 1 million patients on LPV/r and 2.3 million on ATV/r by 2025. However, it will remain important to continue monitoring the evolution of ARV market in LMICs to guarantee the availability of these medicines.
PMCID: PMC5063297  PMID: 27736953
17.  Triple-Antiretroviral Prophylaxis to Prevent Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission through Breastfeeding—The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study, Kenya: A Clinical Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1001015.
Timothy Thomas and colleagues report the results of the Kisumu breastfeeding study (Kenya), a single-arm trial that assessed the feasibility and safety of a triple-antiretroviral regimen to suppress maternal HIV load in late pregnancy.
Effective strategies are needed for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) in resource-limited settings. The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study was a single-arm open label trial conducted between July 2003 and February 2009. The overall aim was to investigate whether a maternal triple-antiretroviral regimen that was designed to maximally suppress viral load in late pregnancy and the first 6 mo of lactation was a safe, well-tolerated, and effective PMTCT intervention.
Methods and Findings
HIV-infected pregnant women took zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir from 34–36 weeks' gestation to 6 mo post partum. Infants received single-dose nevirapine at birth. Women were advised to breastfeed exclusively and wean rapidly just before 6 mo. Using Kaplan-Meier methods we estimated HIV-transmission and death rates from delivery to 24 mo. We compared HIV-transmission rates among subgroups defined by maternal risk factors, including baseline CD4 cell count and viral load.
Among 487 live-born, singleton, or first-born infants, cumulative HIV-transmission rates at birth, 6 weeks, and 6, 12, and 24 mo were 2.5%, 4.2%, 5.0%, 5.7%, and 7.0%, respectively. The 24-mo HIV-transmission rates stratified by baseline maternal CD4 cell count <500 and ≥500 cells/mm3 were 8.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.8%–12.0%) and 4.1% (1.8%–8.8%), respectively (p = 0.06); the corresponding rates stratified by baseline maternal viral load <10,000 and ≥10,000 copies/ml were 3.0% (1.1%–7.8%) and 8.7% (6.1%–12.3%), respectively (p = 0.01). None of the 12 maternal and 51 infant deaths (including two second-born infants) were attributed to antiretrovirals. The cumulative HIV-transmission or death rate at 24 mo was 15.7% (95% CI 12.7%–19.4%).
This trial shows that a maternal triple-antiretroviral regimen from late pregnancy through 6 months of breastfeeding for PMTCT is safe and feasible in a resource-limited setting. These findings are consistent with those from other trials using maternal triple-antiretroviral regimens during breastfeeding in comparable settings.
Trial registration NCT00146380
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year, about half a million children become infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Nearly all these newly infected children live in resource-limited countries and most acquire HIV from their mother, so-called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Without intervention, 25%–50% of babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. This infection rate can be reduced by treating mother and child with antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. A single dose of nevirapine (a “non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor” or NNRTI) given to the mother at the start of labor and to her baby soon after birth nearly halves the risk of MTCT. Further reductions in risk can be achieved by giving mother and baby three ARVs—an NNRTI and two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs such as zidovudine and lamivudine)—during pregnancy and perinatally (around the time of birth).
Why Was This Study Done?
Breastfeeding is crucial for child survival in poor countries but it is also responsible for up to half of MTCT. Consequently, many researchers are investigating how various ARV regimens given to mothers and/or their infants during the first few months of life as well as during pregnancy and perinatally affect MTCT. In this single-arm trial, the researchers assess the feasibility and safety of using a triple-ARV regimen to suppress the maternal HIV load (amount of virus in the blood) from late pregnancy though 6 months of breastfeeding among HIV-positive women in Kisumu, Kenya, and ask whether this approach achieves a lower HIV transmission rate than other ARV regimens that have been tested in resource-limited settings. In a single-arm trial, all the participants are given the same treatment. By contrast, in a “randomized controlled” trial, half the participants chosen at random are given the treatment under investigation and the rest are given a control treatment. A randomized controlled trial provides a better comparison of treatments than a single-arm trial but is more costly.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), HIV-infected pregnant women took a triple-ARV regimen containing zidovudine and lamivudine and either nevirapine or the protease inhibitor nelfinavir from 34–36 weeks of pregnancy to 6 months after delivery. They were advised to breastfeed their babies (who received single-dose nevirapine at birth), and to wean them rapidly just before 6 months. The researchers then used Kaplan-Meier statistical methods to estimate HIV transmission and death rates among 487 live-born infants from delivery to 24 months. The cumulative HIV transmission rate rose from 2.5% at birth to 7.0% at 24 months. The cumulative HIV transmission or death rate at 24 months was 15.7%; no infant deaths were attributed to ARVs. At 24 months, 3.0% of babies born to mothers with a low viral load were HIV positive compared to 8.7% of babies born to mothers with a high viral load, a statistically significant difference. Similarly, at 24 months, 8.4% of babies born to mothers with low baseline CD4 cell counts (CD4 cells are immune system cells that are killed by HIV; CD4 cell counts indicate the level of HIV-inflicted immune system damage) were HIV positive compared to 4.1% of babies born to mothers with high baseline CD4 cell counts, although this difference did not achieve statistical significance.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although these findings are limited by the single-arm design, they support the idea that giving breastfeeding women a triple-ARV regimen from late pregnancy to 6 months is a safe, feasible way to reduce MTCT in resource-limited settings. The HIV transmission rates in this study are comparable to those recorded in similar trials in other resource-limited settings and are lower than MTCT rates observed previously in Kisumu in a study in which no ARVs were used. Importantly, the KiBS mothers took most of the ARVs they were prescribed and most stopped breastfeeding by 6 months as advised. The intense follow-up employed in KiBS may be partly responsible for this good adherence to the trial protocol and thus this study's findings may not be generalizable to all resource-limited settings. Nevertheless, they suggest that a simple triple-ARV regimen given to HIV-positive pregnant women regardless of their baseline CD4 cell count can reduce MTCT during pregnancy and breastfeeding in resource-limited setting.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The accompanying PLoS Medicine Research article by Zeh and colleagues describes the emergence of resistance to ARVs in KiBS
Information on HIV and AIDS is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children, HIV, and AIDS and on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
UNICEF also has information about children and HIV and AIDS (in several languages)
The World Health organization has information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in several languages)
PMCID: PMC3066129  PMID: 21468300
18.  One-, Two-, and Three-Class Resistance among HIV-Infected Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy in Private Care Clinics: Mumbai, India 
HIV-infected patients receiving antiretroviral (ARV) therapy (ART) in India are not all adequately virally suppressed. We analyzed ARV drug resistance in adults receiving ART in three private clinics in Mumbai, India. HIV viral load was measured in 200 patients with the Roche AMPLICOR HIV-1 Monitor Test, v1.5. HIV genotyping was performed with the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System for 61 participants who had HIV-1 RNA >1000 copies/ml. Genotyping results were obtained for 51 samples. The participants with resistance results were on ART for a median of 24 months and were on their current regimen for a median of 12 months (median CD4 cell count: 217 cells/mm3; median HIV viral load: 28,200 copies/ml). ARV regimens included nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based regimens (n = 27), dual nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs, n = 19), protease inhibitor (PI)-based regimens (n = 3), and other regimens (n = 2). Twenty-six participants (51.0%) were on their first ARV regimen and 24 (47%) reported >95% adherence. Forty-nine participants (96.1%) had resistance to at least one ARV drug; 47 (92.2%) had NRTI resistance, 32 (62.7%) had NNRTI resistance, and four (7.8%) had PI resistance. Thirty (58.8%) had two-class resistance and three (5.9%) had three-class resistance. Four (8%) had three or more resistance mutations associated with etravirine resistance and two (4%) had two mutations associated with reduced darunavir susceptibility. Almost all patients with HIV-1 RNA >1000 copies/ml had NRTI resistance and nearly two-thirds had NNRTI resistance; PI resistance was uncommon. Nearly 60% and 6% had two- and three-class resistance, respectively. This emphasizes the need for greater viral load and resistance monitoring, use of optimal ART combinations, and increased availability of second- and third-line agents for patients with ARV resistance.
PMCID: PMC2858895  PMID: 20063995
19.  HIV-1 Drug Resistance Emergence among Breastfeeding Infants Born to HIV-Infected Mothers during a Single-Arm Trial of Triple-Antiretroviral Prophylaxis for Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission: A Secondary Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000430.
Analysis of a substudy of the Kisumu breastfeeding trial by Clement Zeh and colleagues reveals the emergence of HIV drug resistance in HIV-positive infants born to HIV-infected mothers treated with antiretroviral drugs.
Nevirapine and lamivudine given to mothers are transmitted to infants via breastfeeding in quantities sufficient to have biologic effects on the virus; this may lead to an increased risk of a breastfed infant's development of resistance to maternal antiretrovirals. The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), a single-arm open-label prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) trial, assessed the safety and efficacy of zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir given to HIV-infected women from 34 wk gestation through 6 mo of breastfeeding. Here, we present findings from a KiBS trial secondary analysis that evaluated the emergence of maternal ARV-associated resistance among 32 HIV-infected breastfed infants.
Methods and Findings
All infants in the cohort were tested for HIV infection using DNA PCR at multiple study visits during the 24 mo of the study, and plasma RNA viral load for all HIV-PCR–positive infants was evaluated retrospectively. Specimens from mothers and infants with viral load >1,000 copies/ml were tested for HIV drug resistance mutations. Overall, 32 infants were HIV infected by 24 mo of age, and of this group, 24 (75%) infants were HIV infected by 6 mo of age. Of the 24 infants infected by 6 mo, nine were born to mothers on a nelfinavir-based regimen, whereas the remaining 15 were born to mothers on a nevirapine-based regimen. All infants were also given single-dose nevirapine within 48 hours of birth. We detected genotypic resistance mutations in none of eight infants who were HIV-PCR positive by 2 wk of age (specimens from six infants were not amplifiable), for 30% (6/20) at 6 wk, 63% (14/22) positive at 14 wk, and 67% (16/24) at 6 mo post partum. Among the 16 infants with resistance mutations by 6 mo post partum, the common mutations were M184V and K103N, conferring resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine, respectively. Genotypic resistance was detected among 9/9 (100%) and 7/15 (47%) infected infants whose mothers were on nelfinavir and nevirapine, respectively. No mutations were detected among the eight infants infected after the breastfeeding period (age 6 mo).
Emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants occurred between 2 wk and 6 mo post partum, most likely because of exposure to maternal ARV drugs through breast milk. Our findings may impact the choice of regimen for ARV treatment of HIV-infected breastfeeding mothers and their infected infants.
Trial Registration NCT00146380
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Globally, more than 2 million children are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and half a million children are newly infected every year. These infections are mainly the result of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or through breastfeeding. MTCT can be greatly reduced by treating HIV-positive mothers and their babies with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Without ARVs, up to half of babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV. This rate of transmission falls to below 5% if a combination of three ARVs is given to the mother throughout pregnancy. Unfortunately, this triple-ARV therapy is too expensive for use in the resource-limited countries where most MTCT occurs. Instead, many such countries have introduced simpler, shorter ARV regimens such as a daily dose of zidovudine (a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NRTI) given to HIV-positive women during late pregnancy coupled with single-dose nevirapine (a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NNRTI) at the onset of labor, zidovudine and lamivudine (another NRTI) during labor and delivery, and single-dose nevirapine given to the baby at birth.
Why Was This Study Done?
More than 95% of HIV-exposed children are born in resource-limited settings where breastfeeding is the norm and is crucial for child survival even though it poses a risk of HIV transmission. Consequently, several recent studies have investigated whether MTCT can be further reduced by giving the mother ARVs while she is breastfeeding. In the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), for example, researchers assessed the effects of giving zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir (a protease inhibitor) to HIV-infected women from 34 weeks of pregnancy through 6 months of breastfeeding. The results of KiBS indicate that this approach might be a safe, feasible way to reduce MTCT (see the accompanying paper by Thomas and colleagues). However, low amounts of nevirapine and lamivudine are transferred from mother to infant in breast milk and this exposure to ARVs could induce the development of resistance to ARVs among HIV-infected infants. In this KiBS substudy, the researchers investigate whether HIV drug resistance emerged in any of the HIV-positive infants in the parent study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In KiBS, 32 infants were HIV-positive at 24 months old; 24 were HIV-positive at 6 months old when their mothers stopped taking ARVs and when breastfeeding was supposed to stop. The researchers analyzed blood samples taken from these infants at various ages and from their mothers for the presence of HIV drug resistance mutations (DNA changes that make HIV resistant to killing by ARVs). They detected no resistance mutations in samples taken from 2-week old HIV-positive infants or from the infants who became infected after the age of 6 months. However, they found resistance mutations in a third and two-thirds of samples taken from 6-week and 6-month old HIV-positive infants, respectively. The commonest mutations conferred resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine. Moreover, resistance mutations were present in samples taken from all the HIV-positive infants whose mothers who had received nelfinavir but in only half those taken from infants whose mothers who had received nevirapine. Finally, most of the mothers of HIV-positive infants had no HIV drug resistance mutations, and only one mother-infant pair had an overlapping pattern of HIV drug resistance mutations.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in this KiBS substudy, the emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants whose mothers were receiving ARVs occurred between 2 weeks and 6 months after birth. The pattern of mutations suggests that drug resistance most likely arose through exposure of the infants to low levels of ARVs in breast milk rather than through MTCT of drug-resistant virus. These findings need confirming but suggest that infants exposed to ARVs through breast milk—a situation that may become increasingly common given the reduction in MTCT seen in KiBS and other similar trials—should be carefully monitored for HIV infection. Providers should consider the mothers' regimen when choosing treatment for infants who are found to be HIV-infected despite maternal triple drug prophylaxis. Infants exposed to a maternal regimen with NNRTI drugs should receive first-line therapy with lopinavir/ritonavir, a protease inhibitor. The significance of the NRTI mutations such as M184V with regard to response to therapy needs further evaluation. The M184V mutation may result in hypersensitization to other NRTI drugs and delay or reverse zidovudine resistance. Given the limited availability of alternative drugs for infants in resource-limited settings, provision of the standard WHO-recommended first-line NRTI backbone, which includes 3TC, with enhanced monitoring of the infant to ensure virologic suppression, could be considered. Such an approach should reduce both illness and morbidity among infants who become HIV positive through breastfeeding.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000430.
The accompanying PLoS Medicine Research article by Thomas and colleagues describes the primary findings of the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children, HIV, and AIDS and on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
UNICEF also has information about children and HIV and AIDS (in several languages)
The World Health organization has information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in several languages), and guidance on the use of ARVs for preventing MTCT
PMCID: PMC3066134  PMID: 21468304
20.  HIV/AIDS related commodities supply chain management in public health facilities of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: a cross-sectional survey 
A wide range of pharmaceutical products are needed for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of HIV/AIDS. However, interrupted supplies and stock-outs are the major challenges in the supply chain of ARV medicines and related commodities. The aim of this study was to assess the supply chain management of HIV/AIDS related commodities in public health facilities of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A descriptive cross-sectional survey complemented by qualitative method was conducted in 24 public health facilities (4 hospitals and 20 health centers). A semi-structured questionnaire and observation check list were used to collect data on HIV/AIDS related service, reporting and ordering; receiving, transportation and storage condition of ARV medicines and test kits; and supportive supervision and logistics management information system. In addition, in-depth interview with flexible probing techniques was used to complement the quantitative data with emphasis to the storage condition of ARV medicines and test kits. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS version-20. Analysis of qualitative data involved rigorous reading of transcripts in order to identify key themes and data was analyzed using thematic approach.
The study revealed that 16 health centers and one hospital had recorded and reported patient medication record. Six months prior to the study, 14 health centers and 2 hospitals had stopped VCT services for one time or more. Three hospitals and 18 health centers claimed to have been able to submit the requisition and report concerning ARV medicines to Pharmaceutical Fund and Supply Agency according to the specific reporting period. More than three-fourth of the health centers had one or more emergency order of ARV medicines on the day of visit, while all of hospitals had emergency order more than 3 times within 6 months prior to the study. All of the hospitals and nearly half of the health centers had an emergency order of test kits more than 3 times in the past 6 months. Overall, nearly 3/4th of the health facilities faced stock-out of one or more ARV medicines and test kits on the day of visit.
There was no adequate data on patient medication record and stock status of HIV/AIDS related commodities. Moreover there were frequent stock-outs of ARV medicines and HIV test kits, which was an indicator of the weak supply chain management. Hospitals and health centers, therefore, should devise a system to capture and make use of patient medication record and stock status information so as to ensure continuous supply of the commodities.
PMCID: PMC4818507  PMID: 27042314
HIV/AIDS; ARV medicines; HIV test kits; Supply chain management; Pharmaceutical logistic; Ethiopia
21.  First sexual experience and current sexual behavior among older Thai men and women 
Sexual health  2009;6(3):195-202.
The focus of most of studies of sexual behavior has been on younger adults and adolescents because they are perceived as having higher levels of sexual activity than older persons and a consequently higher risk of HIV infection. Much less attention has been paid to the sexual behavior of men and women in their forties and fifties. Using a life course framework, the objective of this study is to examine AIDS knowledge, HIV testing and sexual risk behaviors among Thai men and women age 40–59 in the 2006 Thai National Survey of Sexual Behavior. The study also examines the influence of initial sexual experiences on later sexual behavior. The results indicate that older Thai men and women were well informed about methods of HIV transmission, but many were unaware of antiretroviral medications (ARV). Older adults were also less accepting of HIV positive persons than were younger adults. Fewer than half of the older adults had undergone HIV testing, with testing associated with medical checkups or undertaken before operations. Reported condom use was very low with regular partners, moderate with casual partners, and high with sex workers. While the age at first sex has not changed markedly, the type of partner has changed over time. Fewer men have their first sex with a commercial partner and . In general, first sex with someone with strong ties to the respondent was related to lower levels of risk behavior in late adulthood. Areas of concern for AIDS prevention programs include condom use with casual partners and paid partners, knowledge of ARV, and attitudes toward persons living with AIDS.
PMCID: PMC2877196  PMID: 19653955
sexuality; Thailand; AIDS
22.  Access to syringes for HIV prevention for injection drug users in St. Petersburg, Russia: syringe purchase test study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:183.
The HIV epidemic in Russia is concentrated among injection drug users (IDUs). This is especially true for St. Petersburg where high HIV incidence persists among the city’s estimated 80,000 IDUs. Although sterile syringes are legally available, access for IDUs may be hampered. To explore the feasibility of using pharmacies to expand syringe access and provide other prevention services to IDUs, we investigated the current access to sterile syringes at the pharmacies and the correlation between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence in St. Petersburg.
965 pharmacies citywide were mapped, classified by ownership type, and the association between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence at the district level was tested. We selected two districts among the 18 districts – one central and one peripheral – that represented two major types of city districts and contacted all operating pharmacies by phone to inquire if they stocked syringes and obtained details about their stock. Qualitative interviews with 26 IDUs provided data regarding syringe access in pharmacies and were used to formulate hypotheses for the pharmacy syringe purchase test wherein research staff attempted to purchase syringes in all pharmacies in the two districts.
No correlation was found between the density of pharmacies and HIV prevalence at the district level. Of 108 operating pharmacies, 38 (35%) did not sell syringes of the types used by IDUs; of these, half stocked but refused to sell syringes to research staff, and the other half did not stock syringes at all. Overall 70 (65%) of the pharmacies did sell syringes; of these, 49 pharmacies sold single syringes without any restrictions and 21 offered packages of ten.
Trainings for pharmacists need to be conducted to reduce negative attitudes towards IDUs and increase pharmacists’ willingness to sell syringes. At a structural level, access to safe injection supplies for IDUs could be increased by including syringes in the federal list of mandatory medical products sold by pharmacies.
PMCID: PMC3616994  PMID: 23452390
Injection drug use; HIV prevention; Syringe access; Pharmacy
23.  ART access-related barriers faced by HIV-positive persons linked to care in southern Ghana: a mixed method study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2016;16:738.
Timely and enduring access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) by HIV-infected individuals has been shown to substantially reduce HIV transmission risk, HIV-related morbidity and mortality. However, there is evidence that in addition to limited supply of antiretrovirals (ARVs) and linkage to ART in many low-income countries, HIV+ persons often encounter barriers in accessing ART-related services even in contexts where these services are freely available. In Ghana, limited research evidence exists regarding the barriers HIV+ persons already linked to ART face. This paper explores ART access–related barriers that HIV+ persons linked to care in southern Ghana face.
A mixed method study design, involving a cross-sectional survey and qualitative in-depth interviews, was conducted to collect data from four healthcare providers and a total of 540 adult HIV+ persons receiving ART at four treatment centres in Ghana. We used univariate analysis to generate descriptive tabulations for key variables from the survey. Data from qualitative in-depth interviews were thematically analysed. Results from the survey and in-depth interviews were brought together to illuminate the challenges of the HIV+ persons.
All (100%) the HIV+ persons interviewed were ARV-exposed and linked to ART. Reasons for taking ARVs ranged from beliefs that they will suppress the HIV virus, desire to maintain good health and prolong life, and desire to prevent infection in unborn children, desire both to avoid death and to become good therapeutic citizens (abide by doctors’ advice). Despite this, more than half of the study participants (63.3%) reported seven major factors as barriers hindering access to ART. These were high financial costs associated with accessing and receiving ART (26%), delays associated with receiving care from treatment centres (24%), shortage of drugs and other commodities (23%), stigma (8.8%), fear of side effects of taking ARVs (7.9%), job insecurity arising from regular leave of absence to receive ART (5.3%), and long distance to treatment centres (4.9%).
The results in this study suggest that efforts to provide and scale-up ART to all HIV+ persons must be accompanied by interventions that address structural and individual level access barriers.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12879-016-2075-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5142337  PMID: 27927183
HIV; AIDS; PLH; Antiretrovirals; Antiretroviral therapy; Access; Barriers; Ghana
24.  Evaluation of the occurrence and type of antiretroviral and opportunistic infection medication errors within the inpatient setting 
Pharmacy Practice  2015;13(1):512.
Previous data reports inpatient antiretroviral (ARV) and opportunistic infection (OI) medication errors in as many as 86% of patients, with averages ranging from 1.16-2.7 errors/patient.
To determine the occurrence and type of inpatient ARV and OI medication errors at our institution.
A retrospective, observational, electronic medical chart review of patients with HIV/AIDS admitted between February 15, 2011- May 22, 2012 was conducted to assess the occurrence and type of ARV and OI medication errors. Secondary outcomes included assessing each medication with an error and evaluating its potential for a medication error, calculating a medication error rate per patient, evaluating whether a non-formulary (NF) medication impacted the error potential, determining whether a clinical pharmacist on service decreased the medication error rate, and assessing whether patients who experienced an error were more likely to have a longer length of stay (LOS). Analysis included descriptive statistics, averages, and Spearmen rank correlation.
There were 344 patients included in this analysis, 132 (38%) experienced 190 medication errors (1.44 errors/patient). An omitted order was the most frequent ARV error and accounted for 30% (n=57) of total errors. There were 166 patients requiring OI medications, 37 patients experienced 39 medication errors. Omitting OI prophylaxis accounted for 31 errors. Only 45 of 190 (24%) errors were corrected prior to discharge. Being prescribed at least 1 NF medication was correlated with increased errors (n=193 patients “on NF medication”, p<0.025, r=0.12). Coverage of a service by a clinical pharmacist did not affect the number of errors. Patients experiencing an error had a longer LOS (p=0.02).
Errors relating to ARV and OI medications are frequent in HIV-infected inpatients. More errors occurred in patients receiving NF medications. Suggested interventions include formulary revision, education, and training. Dedicated HIV clinicians with adequate training and credentialing may improve the management of this specialized disease state.
PMCID: PMC4384265  PMID: 25883687
Medication Errors; Anti-Retroviral Agents; HIV Infections; Inpatients; United States
25.  Challenges in infant and young child nutrition in the context of HIV 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(0 2):S169-S177.
There is consensus on the benefits for all infants of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and introduction of appropriate complementary foods at 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding. However, guidelines on infant and young child feeding (IYCF) for HIV-positive mothers have changed continually since 2000. This article explores issues and evidence related to IYCF for the prevention and care of paediatric HIV in resource-limited settings in light of new HIV treatment guidelines, implementation challenges and knowledge gaps.
In 2010 the impact of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) on reducing the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV moved WHO to urge countries to endorse either avoidance of all breastfeeding or exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months while taking ARVs, depending on which strategy could give their infants the greatest chance of HIV-free survival. Implementation of the 2010 recommendations is challenged by lack of healthcare provider training, weak clinic–community linkages to support mother/infant pairs and lack of national monitoring and reporting on infant feeding indicators.
More evidence is needed to inform prevention and treatment of malnutrition among HIV-exposed and HIV-infected children. Knowledge gaps include the effects of prolonged ARV exposure, the cause of HIV-associated growth faltering, the effects of early infant testing on continuation of breastfeeding and specific nutrition interventions needed for HIV-infected children.
Significant progress has been made toward keeping mothers alive and reducing paediatric HIV infection, but sustained political, financial and scientific commitment are required to ensure meaningful interventions to eliminate postnatal transmission and meet the nutritional needs of HIV-exposed and HIV-infected children.
PMCID: PMC4122793  PMID: 24361626
antiretroviral drugs; breastfeeding; HIV; infant feeding options; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; resource-limited settings

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