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1.  Cost-Effectiveness of Pooled Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing for Acute HIV Infection after Third-Generation HIV Antibody Screening and Rapid Testing in the United States: A Comparison of Three Public Health Settings 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(9):e1000342.
Angela Hutchinson and colleagues conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of pooled nucleic acid amplification testing following HIV testing and show that it is not cost-effective at recommended antibody testing intervals for high-risk persons except in very high-incidence settings.
Background
Detection of acute HIV infection (AHI) with pooled nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) following HIV testing is feasible. However, cost-effectiveness analyses to guide policy around AHI screening are lacking; particularly after more sensitive third-generation antibody screening and rapid testing.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of pooled NAAT screening that assessed the prevention benefits of identification and notification of persons with AHI and cases averted compared with repeat antibody testing at different intervals. Effectiveness data were derived from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention AHI study conducted in three settings: municipal sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics, a community clinic serving a population of men who have sex with men, and HIV counseling and testing sites. Our analysis included a micro-costing study of NAAT and a mathematical model of HIV transmission. Cost-effectiveness ratios are reported as costs per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained in US dollars from the societal perspective. Sensitivity analyses were conducted on key variables, including AHI positivity rates, antibody testing frequency, symptomatic detection of AHI, and costs. Pooled NAAT for AHI screening following annual antibody testing had cost-effectiveness ratios exceeding US$200,000 per QALY gained for the municipal STD clinics and HIV counseling and testing sites and was cost saving for the community clinic. Cost-effectiveness ratios increased substantially if the antibody testing interval decreased to every 6 months and decreased to cost-saving if the testing interval increased to every 5 years. NAAT was cost saving in the community clinic in all situations. Results were particularly sensitive to AHI screening yield.
Conclusions
Pooled NAAT screening for AHI following negative third-generation antibody or rapid tests is not cost-effective at recommended antibody testing intervals for high-risk persons except in very high-incidence settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Since 1981, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed about 25 million people and about 30 million people are now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. HIV, which is most often transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner or injection drug use, infects and kills immune system cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infectious diseases. The first, often undiagnosed stage of HIV infection—acute HIV infection (AHI)—lasts a few weeks and sometimes involves a flu-like illness. During AHI, the immune system responds to HIV by beginning to make antibodies that recognize the virus but seroconversion—the appearance of detectable amounts of antibody in the blood—takes 6–12 weeks. During the second, symptom-free stage of HIV infection, which can last many years, the virus gradually destroys the immune system so that by the third stage of infection unusual infections (for example, persistent yeast infections) begin to occur. The final stage of infection (AIDS) is characterized by multiple severe infections and by the development of unusual cancers.
Why Was This Study Done?
Antiretroviral drugs control HIV infections but don't cure them. It is very important, therefore, to prevent HIV transmission by avoiding HIV risk behaviors that increase the risk of HIV infection such as having sex without a condom or with many partners. Individuals with AHI in particular need to avoid high-risk behaviors because these people are extremely infectious. However, routine tests for HIV infection that measure antibodies in the blood often give false-negative results in people with AHI because of the time lag between infection and seroconversion. Nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT), which detects HIV genetic material in the blood, is a more accurate way to diagnose AHI but is expensive. In this study, the researchers investigate whether pooled NAAT screening (specimens are pooled before testing to reduce costs) for AHI in clinic settings after third-generation antibody testing is a cost-effective HIV prevention strategy. That is, does the gain in quality-adjusted life years (QALY, a measure of the quantity and quality of life generated by healthcare interventions) achieved by averting new HIV infections outweigh the costs of pooled NAAT screening?
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers combined effectiveness data from a US study in which AHI was detected using pooled NAAT in three settings (sexually transmitted disease [STD] clinics, a community clinic serving men who have sex with men [MSM], and HIV counseling/testing sites) with a “micro-costing” study of NAAT and a mathematical model of HIV transmission. They then calculated the costs per QALY gained (the cost-effectiveness ratio) as a result of HIV prevention by identification and notification of people with AHI through pooled NAAT screening compared with repeat antibody testing. Pooled NAAT for AHI screening following annual antibody testing (the recommended testing interval for high-risk individuals), they estimate, would cost US$372,300 and US$484,400 per QALY gained for the counseling/testing sites and STD clinics, respectively, whereas pooled NAAT for AHI screening was cost-saving for the community clinic serving MSM. The cost-effectiveness ratio increased for the counseling/testing sites and STD clinics when the antibody testing interval was decreased to 6 months but remained cost-saving for the community clinic. With an antibody testing interval of 5 years, pooled NAAT was cost-saving in all three settings.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Cost-effectiveness ratios of US$100,000–US$200,000 are considered acceptable in the US. These results suggest therefore, that the cost of pooled NAAT screening for AHI following negative third-generation antibody testing is not acceptable at the recommended testing interval for high-risk individuals except in settings where HIV infection is very common such as clinics serving MSM. The researchers reach a similar conclusion in a separate cost-effectiveness analysis of pooled NAAT screening following a negative rapid HIV test. Although the accuracy of these results depends on numerous assumptions made in the cost-effectiveness analyses (for example, the degree to which awareness of HIV status affects the behavior of people with AHI), sensitivity analyses (investigations of the effect of altering key assumptions) show that these findings are not greatly affected by changes in many of these assumptions. Thus, the researchers conclude, NAAT screening should be reserved for settings that serve populations in which there are very high levels of new HIV infection.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000342.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on HIV infection and AIDS and on HIV testing and diagnosis
HIV InSite has information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit organization on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including HIV testing (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus has links to further resources on AIDS (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence has a page on measuring effectiveness and cost-effectiveness
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000342
PMCID: PMC2946951  PMID: 20927354
2.  Polysomnography in Patients With Obstructive Sleep Apnea 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this health technology policy assessment was to evaluate the clinical utility and cost-effectiveness of sleep studies in Ontario.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Sleep disorders are common and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the predominant type. Obstructive sleep apnea is the repetitive complete obstruction (apnea) or partial obstruction (hypopnea) of the collapsible part of the upper airway during sleep. The syndrome is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness or chronic fatigue. Several studies have shown that OSA is associated with hypertension, stroke, and other cardiovascular disorders; many researchers believe that these cardiovascular disorders are consequences of OSA. This has generated increasing interest in recent years in sleep studies.
The Technology Being Reviewed
There is no ‘gold standard’ for the diagnosis of OSA, which makes it difficult to calibrate any test for diagnosis. Traditionally, polysomnography (PSG) in an attended setting (sleep laboratory) has been used as a reference standard for the diagnosis of OSA. Polysomnography measures several sleep variables, one of which is the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) or respiratory disturbance index (RDI). The AHI is defined as the sum of apneas and hypopneas per hour of sleep; apnea is defined as the absence of airflow for ≥ 10 seconds; and hypopnea is defined as reduction in respiratory effort with ≥ 4% oxygen desaturation. The RDI is defined as the sum of apneas, hypopneas, and abnormal respiratory events per hour of sleep. Often the two terms are used interchangeably. The AHI has been widely used to diagnose OSA, although with different cut-off levels, the basis for which are often unclear or arbitrarily determined. Generally, an AHI of more than five events per hour of sleep is considered abnormal and the patient is considered to have a sleep disorder. An abnormal AHI accompanied by excessive daytime sleepiness is the hallmark for OSA diagnosis. For patients diagnosed with OSA, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the treatment of choice. Polysomnography may also used for titrating CPAP to individual needs.
In January 2005, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario published the second edition of Independent Health Facilities: Clinical Practice Parameters and Facility Standards: Sleep Medicine, commonly known as “The Sleep Book.” The Sleep Book states that OSA is the most common primary respiratory sleep disorder and a full overnight sleep study is considered the current standard test for individuals in whom OSA is suspected (based on clinical signs and symptoms), particularly if CPAP or surgical therapy is being considered.
Polysomnography in a sleep laboratory is time-consuming and expensive. With the evolution of technology, portable devices have emerged that measure more or less the same sleep variables in sleep laboratories as in the home. Newer CPAP devices also have auto-titration features and can record sleep variables including AHI. These devices, if equally accurate, may reduce the dependency on sleep laboratories for the diagnosis of OSA and the titration of CPAP, and thus may be more cost-effective.
Difficulties arise, however, when trying to assess and compare the diagnostic efficacy of in-home PSG versus in-lab. The AHI measured from portable devices in-home is the sum of apneas and hypopneas per hour of time in bed, rather than of sleep, and the absolute diagnostic efficacy of in-lab PSG is unknown. To compare in-home PSG with in-lab PSG, several researchers have used correlation coefficients or sensitivity and specificity, while others have used Bland-Altman plots or receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves. All these approaches, however, have potential pitfalls. Correlation coefficients do not measure agreement; sensitivity and specificity are not helpful when the true disease status is unknown; and Bland-Altman plots measure agreement (but are helpful when the range of clinical equivalence is known). Lastly, receiver operating characteristics curves are generated using logistic regression with the true disease status as the dependent variable and test values as the independent variable. Thus, each value of the test is used as a cut-point to measure sensitivity and specificity, which are then plotted on an x-y plane. The cut-point that maximizes both sensitivity and specificity is chosen as the cut-off level to discriminate between disease and no-disease states. In the absence of a gold standard to determine the true disease status, ROC curves are of minimal value.
At the request of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC), MAS has thus reviewed the literature on PSG published over the last two years to examine new developments.
Methods
Review Strategy
There is a large body of literature on sleep studies and several reviews have been conducted. Two large cohort studies, the Sleep Heart Health Study and the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, are the main sources of evidence on sleep literature.
To examine new developments on PSG published in the past two years, MEDLINE, EMBASE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Cochrane CENTRAL, INAHTA, and websites of other health technology assessment agencies were searched. Any study that reported results of in-home or in-lab PSG was included. All articles that reported findings from the Sleep Heart Health Study and the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study were also reviewed.
Diffusion of Sleep Laboratories
To estimate the diffusion of sleep laboratories, a list of sleep laboratories licensed under the Independent Health Facility Act was obtained. The annual number of sleep studies per 100,000 individuals in Ontario from 2000 to 2004 was also estimated using administrative databases.
Summary of Findings
Literature Review
A total of 315 articles were identified that were published in the past two years; 227 were excluded after reviewing titles and abstracts. A total of 59 articles were identified that reported findings of the Sleep Heart Health Study and the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study.
Prevalence
Based on cross-sectional data from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study of 602 men and women aged 30 to 60 years, it is estimated that the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing is 9% in women and 24% in men, on the basis of more than five AHI events per hour of sleep. Among the women with sleep disorder breathing, 22.6% had daytime sleepiness and among the men, 15.5% had daytime sleepiness. Based on this, the prevalence of OSA in the middle-aged adult population is estimated to be 2% in women and 4% in men.
Snoring is present in 94% of OSA patients, but not all snorers have OSA. Women report daytime sleepiness less often compared with their male counterparts (of similar age, body mass index [BMI], and AHI). Prevalence of OSA tends to be higher in older age groups compared with younger age groups.
Diagnostic Value of Polysomnography
It is believed that PSG in the sleep laboratory is more accurate than in-home PSG. In the absence of a gold standard, however, claims of accuracy cannot be substantiated. In general, there is poor correlation between PSG variables and clinical variables. A variety of cut-off points of AHI (> 5, > 10, and > 15) are arbitrarily used to diagnose and categorize severity of OSA, though the clinical importance of these cut-off points has not been determined.
Recently, a study of the use of a therapeutic trial of CPAP to diagnose OSA was reported. The authors studied habitual snorers with daytime sleepiness in the absence of other medical or psychiatric disorders. Using PSG as the reference standard, the authors calculated the sensitivity of this test to be 80% and its specificity to be 97%. Further, they concluded that PSG could be avoided in 46% of this population.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Obesity
Obstructive sleep apnea is strongly associated with obesity. Obese individuals (BMI >30 kg/m2) are at higher risk for OSA compared with non-obese individuals and up to 75% of OSA patients are obese. It is hypothesized that obese individuals have large deposits of fat in the neck that cause the upper airway to collapse in the supine position during sleep. The observations reported from several studies support the hypothesis that AHIs (or RDIs) are significantly reduced with weight loss in obese individuals.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Diseases
Associations have been shown between OSA and comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension, which are known risk factors for myocardial infarction and stroke. Patients with more severe forms of OSA (based on AHI) report poorer quality of life and increased health care utilization compared with patients with milder forms of OSA. From animal models, it is hypothesized that sleep fragmentation results in glucose intolerance and hypertension. There is, however, no evidence from prospective studies in humans to establish a causal link between OSA and hypertension or diabetes mellitus. It is also not clear that the associations between OSA and other diseases are independent of obesity; in most of these studies, patients with higher values of AHI had higher values of BMI compared with patients with lower AHI values.
A recent meta-analysis of bariatric surgery has shown that weight loss in obese individuals (mean BMI = 46.8 kg/m2; range = 32.30–68.80) significantly improved their health profile. Diabetes was resolved in 76.8% of patients, hypertension was resolved in 61.7% of patients, hyperlipidemia improved in 70% of patients, and OSA resolved in 85.7% of patients. This suggests that obesity leads to OSA, diabetes, and hypertension, rather than OSA independently causing diabetes and hypertension.
Health Technology Assessments, Guidelines, and Recommendations
In April 2005, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the United States published its decision and review regarding in-home and in-lab sleep studies for the diagnosis and treatment of OSA with CPAP. In order to cover CPAP, CMS requires that a diagnosis of OSA be established using PSG in a sleep laboratory. After reviewing the literature, CMS concluded that the evidence was not adequate to determine that unattended portable sleep study was reasonable and necessary in the diagnosis of OSA.
In May 2005, the Canadian Coordinating Office of Health Technology Assessment (CCOHTA) published a review of guidelines for referral of patients to sleep laboratories. The review included 37 guidelines and associated reviews that covered 18 applications of sleep laboratory studies. The CCOHTA reported that the level of evidence for many applications was of limited quality, that some cited studies were not relevant to the recommendations made, that many recommendations reflect consensus positions only, and that there was a need for more good quality studies of many sleep laboratory applications.
Diffusion
As of the time of writing, there are 97 licensed sleep laboratories in Ontario. In 2000, the number of sleep studies performed in Ontario was 376/100,000 people. There was a steady rise in sleep studies in the following years such that in 2004, 769 sleep studies per 100,000 people were performed, for a total of 96,134 sleep studies. Based on prevalence estimates of the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, it was estimated that 927,105 people aged 30 to 60 years have sleep-disordered breathing. Thus, there may be a 10-fold rise in the rate of sleep tests in the next few years.
Economic Analysis
In 2004, approximately 96,000 sleep studies were conducted in Ontario at a total cost of ~$47 million (Cdn). Since obesity is associated with sleep disordered breathing, MAS compared the costs of sleep studies to the cost of bariatric surgery. The cost of bariatric surgery is $17,350 per patient. In 2004, Ontario spent $4.7 million per year for 270 patients to undergo bariatric surgery in the province, and $8.2 million for 225 patients to seek out-of-country treatment. Using a Markov model, it was concluded that shifting costs from sleep studies to bariatric surgery would benefit more patients with OSA and may also prevent health consequences related to diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. It is estimated that the annual cost of treating comorbid conditions in morbidly obese patients often exceeds $10,000 per patient. Thus, the downstream cost savings could be substantial.
Considerations for Policy Development
Weight loss is associated with a decrease in OSA severity. Treating and preventing obesity would also substantially reduce the economic burden associated with diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and OSA. Promotion of healthy weights may be achieved by a multisectorial approach as recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario. Bariatric surgery has the potential to help morbidly obese individuals (BMI > 35 kg/m2 with an accompanying comorbid condition, or BMI > 40 kg/m2) lose weight. In January 2005, MAS completed an assessment of bariatric surgery, based on which OHTAC recommended an improvement in access to these surgeries for morbidly obese patients in Ontario.
Habitual snorers with excessive daytime sleepiness have a high pretest probability of having OSA. These patients could be offered a therapeutic trial of CPAP to diagnose OSA, rather than a PSG. A majority of these patients are also obese and may benefit from weight loss. Individualized weight loss programs should, therefore, be offered and patients who are morbidly obese should be offered bariatric surgery.
That said, and in view of the still evolving understanding of the causes, consequences and optimal treatment of OSA, further research is warranted to identify which patients should be screened for OSA.
PMCID: PMC3379160  PMID: 23074483
3.  Acute HIV-1 infection is as common as malaria in young febrile adults seeking care in coastal Kenya 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(9):1357-1363.
Background:
Febrile adults are usually not tested for acute HIV-1 infection (AHI) in Africa. We assessed a strategy to diagnose AHI among young adult patients seeking care.
Methods:
Young adults (<30 years) who met predefined AHI criteria at care seeking, including fever, sexually transmitted disease symptoms, diarrhoea, body pains or multiple partners were referred from five pharmacies and screened at five health facilities. Prevalent HIV-1 was diagnosed by nationally recommended serial rapid HIV-1 testing. Willing HIV-1-negative patients were evaluated for AHI, defined as a positive p24 antigen test, and subsequent seroconversion or RNA detection. Febrile patients evaluated for AHI were also screened for malaria using a rapid test, with PCR confirmation of positives.
Results:
In 3602 adults seeking care, overall HIV-1 prevalence was 3.9%: 7.6% (68/897) among patients meeting AHI criteria vs. 2.6% (71/2705) among those who did not (P < 0.001). AHI was diagnosed in five of 506 HIV-1-negative or discordant patients who met AHI risk criteria and were completely evaluated [prevalence 1.0%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.3–2.3%]. Of these five AHI cases, four were diagnosed among the 241 patients with fever (prevalence 1.7%, 95% CI 0.5–4.2%), vs. one among 265 non-febrile patients (prevalence 0.4%, 95% CI 0.0–2.0%, P = 0.1). Malaria was confirmed by PCR in four (1.7%) of the 241 febrile patients.
Conclusion:
AHI was as common as confirmed malaria in young febrile adults seeking care. An AHI detection strategy targeting young febrile adults seeking care at pharmacies and health facilities is feasible and should be considered as an HIV-prevention strategy in high-transmission settings.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0000000000000245
PMCID: PMC4032215  PMID: 24556872
acute HIV-1 infection; Africa; clinical algorithm; provider initiated testing and counselling; treatment as prevention
4.  Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Risk of Cardiovascular Events and All-Cause Mortality: A Decade-Long Historical Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(2):e1001599.
Tetyana Kendzerska and colleagues explore the association between physiological measures of obstructive sleep apnea other than the apnea-hypopnea index and the risk of cardiovascular events.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been reported to be a risk factor for cardiovascular (CV) disease. Although the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) is the most commonly used measure of OSA, other less well studied OSA-related variables may be more pathophysiologically relevant and offer better prediction. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between OSA-related variables and risk of CV events.
Methods and Findings
A historical cohort study was conducted using clinical database and health administrative data. Adults referred for suspected OSA who underwent diagnostic polysomnography at the sleep laboratory at St Michael's Hospital (Toronto, Canada) between 1994 and 2010 were followed through provincial health administrative data (Ontario, Canada) until May 2011 to examine the occurrence of a composite outcome (myocardial infarction, stroke, congestive heart failure, revascularization procedures, or death from any cause). Cox regression models were used to investigate the association between baseline OSA-related variables and composite outcome controlling for traditional risk factors. The results were expressed as hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs; for continuous variables, HRs compare the 75th and 25th percentiles. Over a median follow-up of 68 months, 1,172 (11.5%) of 10,149 participants experienced our composite outcome. In a fully adjusted model, other than AHI OSA-related variables were significant independent predictors: time spent with oxygen saturation <90% (9 minutes versus 0; HR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.25–1.79), sleep time (4.9 versus 6.4 hours; HR = 1.20, 95% CI 1.12–1.27), awakenings (35 versus 18; HR = 1.06, 95% CI 1.02–1.10), periodic leg movements (13 versus 0/hour; HR = 1.05, 95% CI 1.03–1.07), heart rate (70 versus 56 beats per minute [bpm]; HR = 1.28, 95% CI 1.19–1.37), and daytime sleepiness (HR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.01–1.28).The main study limitation was lack of information about continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) adherence.
Conclusion
OSA-related factors other than AHI were shown as important predictors of composite CV outcome and should be considered in future studies and clinical practice.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep-related breathing disorder, particularly among middle-aged and elderly people. It is characterized by apnea—a brief interruption in breathing that lasts at least 10 seconds—and hypopnea—a decrease of more than 50% in the amplitude of breathing that lasts at least 10 seconds or clear but smaller decrease in amplitude associated with either oxygen desaturation or an arousal. Patients with OSA experience numerous episodes of apnea and hypopnea during the night; severe OSA is defined as having 30 or more episodes per hour (an apnea-hypopnea index [AHI] of >30). These breathing interruptions occur when relaxation of the upper airway muscles decreases the airflow, which lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood. As a result, affected individuals frequently wake from deep sleep as they struggle to breathe. Symptoms of OSA include loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Treatments include lifestyle changes such as losing weight (excess fat around the neck increases airway collapse) and smoking cessation. For severe OSA, doctors recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a machine blows pressurized air through a face mask into the airway to keep it open.
Why Was This Study Done?
OSA can be life-threatening. Most directly, daytime sleepiness can cause accidents, but OSA is also associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD, disease that affects the heart and the circulation). To date, studies that have investigated the association between OSA and the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), congestive heart failure, stroke, and other CVDs have used the AHI to diagnose and categorize the severity of OSA. However, by focussing on AHI, clinicians and researchers may be missing opportunities to improve their ability to predict which patients are at the highest risk of CVD. In this historical cohort study, the researchers investigate the association between other OSA-related variables (for example, blood oxygen saturation and sleep fragmentation) and the risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality (death). A historical cohort study examines the medical records of groups of individuals who have different characteristics at baseline for the subsequent occurrence of specific outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used administrative data (including hospitalization records and physicians' claims for services supplied to patients) to follow up adults referred for suspected OSA who underwent diagnostic polysomnography (a sleep study) at a single Canadian hospital between 1994 and 2010. A database of the polysomnography results provided information on OSA-related variables for all the study participants. Over an average follow-up of about 6 years, 11.5% of the 10,149 participants were hospitalized for a myocardial infarction, stroke, or congestive heart failure, underwent a revascularization procedure (an intervention that restores the blood supply to an organ or tissue after CVD has blocked a blood vessel), or had died from any cause. After adjusting for multiple established risk factors for CVD such as smoking and age in Cox regression models (a statistical approach that examines associations between patient variables and outcomes), several OSA-related variables (but not AHI) were significant predictors of CVD. The strongest OSA-related predictor of cardiovascular events or all-cause mortality was total sleep time spent with oxygen saturation below 90%, which increased the risk of a cardiovascular event or death by 50%. Other statistically significant OSA-related predictors (predictors that were unlikely to be associated with the outcome through chance) of cardiovascular events or death included total sleep time, number of awakenings, frequency of periodic leg movements, heart rate, and daytime sleepiness.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that OSA-related factors other than AHI are important predictors of the composite outcome of a cardiovascular event or all-cause mortality. Indeed, although AHI was significantly associated with the researchers' composite outcome in an analysis that did not consider other established risk factors for CVD (“confounders”), the association became non-significant after controlling for potential confounders. The accuracy of these findings, which need to be confirmed in other settings, is likely to be limited by the lack of information available about the use of CPAP by study participants and by the lack of adjustment for some important confounders. Importantly, however, these findings suggest that OSA-related factors other than AHI should be considered as predictors of CVD in future studies and in clinical practice.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001599.
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has information (including several videos) about obstructive sleep apnea (in English and Spanish), sleep studies, heart disease, and other cardiovascular diseases (some information in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including personal stories) about sleep apnea and about cardiovascular disease
The not-for-profit American Sleep Apnea Association provides detailed information about sleep apnea for patients and health-care professionals, including personal stories about the condition
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on obstructive sleep apnea and on polysomnography; MedlinePlus provides links to further information and advice about obstructive sleep apnea, heart diseases, and vascular diseases (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001599
PMCID: PMC3913558  PMID: 24503600
5.  Major Article Knowledge of Acute HIV Infection Among Gay and Bisexual Male College Students 
Objective
To examine HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in at-risk college men who have sex with men (MSM), focusing on knowledge about acute HIV infection (AHI).
Participants and Methods
A one-time anonymous survey was administered to college students attending a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) conference in February 2012. This paper reports on a study sub-sample of MSM.
Results
A total of 100 MSM completed the survey. Participants had an average age of 20.4 years. Sixty-six percent reported condom use the last time they had sex. Only 46% had ever heard of symptoms related to AHI. Forty-two percent would likely seek medical care when showing acute symptoms in a setting consistent with AHI.
Conclusion
Despite having multiple risk factors for HIV infection, many MSM college students are unaware of AHI. HIV prevention programs should target this population and include information about signs, symptoms, and diagnosis of AHI.
doi:10.1080/07448481.2013.781027
PMCID: PMC3676891  PMID: 23663127
clinical medicine; community health; health education
6.  Lack of Understanding of Acute HIV Infection among Newly-Infected Persons – Implications for Prevention and Public Health. The NIMH Multisite Acute HIV Infection Study: II 
AIDS and behavior  2009;13(6):1046-1053.
Acute/early HIV infection is a period of high HIV transmission. Consequently, early detection of HIV infection and targeted HIV prevention could prevent a significant proportion of new transmissions. As part of an NIMH-funded multisite study, we used in-depth interviews to explore understandings of acute HIV infection (AHI) among 34 individuals diagnosed with acute/early HIV infection in six U.S. cities. We found a marked lack of awareness of AHI-related acute retroviral symptoms and a lack of clarity about AHI testing methods. Most participants knew little about the meaning and/or consequences of AHI, particularly that it is a period of elevated infectiousness. Over time and after the acute stage of infection, many participants acquired understanding of AHI from varied sources, including the Internet, HIV-infected friends, and health clinic employees. There is a need to promote targeted education about AHI to reduce the rapid spread of HIV associated with acute/early infection within communities at risk for HIV.
doi:10.1007/s10461-009-9581-7
PMCID: PMC2787764  PMID: 19533323
HIV/AIDS; Awareness; Acute HIV; HIV prevention
7.  Acute HIV-1 Infection in the Southeastern United States: A Cohort Study 
Abstract
In 1998 a collaboration between Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) was founded to enhance identification of persons with acute HIV-1 infection (AHI). The Duke-UNC AHI Research Consortium Cohort consists of patients ≥18 years old with a positive nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) and either a negative enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test or a positive EIA with a negative/indeterminate Western blot. Patients were referred to the cohort from acute care settings and state-funded HIV testing sites that use NAAT testing on pooled HIV-1 antibody-negative samples. Between 1998 and 2010, 155 patients with AHI were enrolled: 81 (52%) African-Americans, 63 (41%) white, non-Hispanics, 137 (88%) males, 108 (70%) men who have sex with men (MSM), and 18 (12%) females. The median age was 27 years (IQR 22–38). Most (n=138/155) reported symptoms with a median duration of 17.5 days. The median nadir CD4 count was 408 cells/mm3 (IQR 289–563); the median observed peak HIV-1 level was 726,859 copies/ml (IQR 167,585–3,565,728). The emergency department was the most frequent site of initial presentation (n=55/152; 3 missing data). AHI diagnosis was made at time of first contact in 62/137 (45%; 18 missing data) patients. This prospectively enrolled cohort is the largest group of patients with AHI reported from the Southeastern United States. The demographics reflect the epidemic of this geographic area with a high proportion of African-Americans, including young black MSM. Highlighting the challenges of diagnosing AHI, less than half of the patients were diagnosed at the first healthcare visit. Women made up a small proportion despite increasing numbers in our clinics.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0064
PMCID: PMC3537297  PMID: 22839749
8.  Improved detection of acute HIV-1 infection in sub-Saharan Africa: development of a risk score algorithm 
AIDS (London, England)  2007;21(16):2237-2242.
Objective
Individuals with acute (preseroconversion) HIV infection (AHI) are important in the spread of HIV. The identification of AHI requires the detection of viral proteins or nucleic acids with techniques that are often unaffordable for routine use. To facilitate the efficient use of these tests, we sought to develop a risk score algorithm for identifying likely AHI cases and targeting the tests towards those individuals.
Design
A cross-sectional study of 1448 adults attending a sexually transmitted infections (STI) clinic in Malawi.
Methods
Using logistic regression, we identified risk behaviors, symptoms, HIV rapid test results, and STI syndromes that were predictive of AHI. We assigned a model-based score to each predictor and calculated a risk score for each participant.
Results
Twenty-one participants (1.45%) had AHI, 588 had established HIV infection, and 839 were HIV-negative. AHI was strongly associated with discordant rapid HIV tests and genital ulcer disease (GUD). The algorithm also included diarrhea, more than one sexual partner in 2 months, body ache, and fever. Corresponding predictor scores were 1 for fever, body ache, and more than one partner; 2 for diarrhea and GUD; and 4 for discordant rapid tests. A risk score of 2 or greater was 95.2% sensitive and 60.5% specific in detecting AHI.
Conclusion
Using this algorithm, we could identify 95% of AHI cases by performing nucleic acid or protein tests in only 40% of patients. Risk score algorithms could enable rapid, reliable AHI detection in resource-limited settings.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3282f08b4d
PMCID: PMC2673577  PMID: 18090052
acute HIV infection; detection; diagnosis; risk score algorithm; screening
9.  Incident sexually transmitted infection as a biomarker for high risk sexual behavior following diagnosis with acute HIV 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2014;41(7):447-452.
Background
Sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis following diagnosis of acute HIV infection (AHI) indicates ongoing high-risk sexual behavior and possible risk of HIV transmission. We assessed predictors of STI acquisition and the effect of time since care entry on STI incidence in AHI patients in care and receiving consistent risk-reduction messaging.
Methods
Data on incident gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, primary/secondary syphilis, demographic, and clinical risk factors were abstracted from medical charts for patients diagnosed with AHI and engaged in care. Poisson regression models using generalized estimating equations were fit to estimate incidence rates (IR), incidence rate ratios (IRR), and robust 95% confidence intervals (CI).
Results
Among 185 AHI patients, 26 (14%) were diagnosed with ≥1 incident STI over 709.4 person-years; 46 STIs were diagnosed during follow-up (IR=6.8/100 person-years). The median time from HIV care entry to first STI diagnosis was 609 days (range=168–1681). Men who have sex with men (MSM) (p=0.03), a shorter time between presentation to medical care and AHI diagnosis (p=0.06), and STI diagnosis prior to AHI diagnosis (p=0.0003) were predictors of incident STI. STI IR >1 year after entering care was double that of patients in care ≤1 year (IRR=2.0 95% CI 0.8–4.9). HIV viral load was above the limits of detection within 1 month of 11 STI diagnoses in 6 patients (23.1%) (median=15,898 copies/mL, range=244–152,000 copies/mL).
Conclusions
Despite regular HIV care, STI incidence was high among this primarily young, MSM AHI cohort. Early antiretroviral initiation may decrease HIV transmission given ongoing risk behaviors despite risk-reduction messaging.
doi:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000147
PMCID: PMC4191902  PMID: 24922104
acute HIV infection; sexually transmitted infection; incidence; antiretroviral therapy; HIV care
10.  Spatial Epidemiology of Recently Acquired HIV Infections across Rural and Urban Areas of North Carolina 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88512.
Transmission of HIV continues in the United States (US), despite prevention efforts aimed at education and treatment. Concurrently, drug resistance in HIV, particularly in patients being infected with HIV for the first time, poses a threat to the continued success of treatment for HIV positive individuals. In North Carolina, nearly one in five individuals with acute HIV infection (AHI) is infected with a drug-resistant strain, a phenomenon known as transmitted drug resistance (TDR). Few studies of AHI or TDR take into account both the spatial aspects of residence at time of infection and the genetic characteristics of the viruses, and questions remain about how viruses are transmitted across space and the rural-urban divide. Using AHI strains from North Carolina, we examined whether differences exist in the spatial patterns of AHI versus AHI with TDR, as well as whether the genetic characteristics of these HIV infections vary by rural-urban status and across Health Service Areas. The highest amounts of TDR were detected in persons under age 30, African Americans, and men who have sex with men (MSM) - similar to the populations where the highest numbers of AHI without TDR are observed. Nearly a quarter of patients reside in rural areas, and there are no significant differences between rural and urban residence among individuals infected with drug resistant or drug susceptible viruses. We observe similar levels of genetic distance between HIV found in rural and urban areas, indicating that viruses are shared across the rural-urban divide. Genetic differences are observed, however, across Health Service Areas, suggesting that local areas are sites of genetic differentiation in viruses being transmitted to newly infected individuals. These results indicate that future efforts to prevent HIV transmission need to be spatially targeted, focusing on local-level transmission in risky populations, in addition to statewide anti- HIV efforts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088512
PMCID: PMC3919766  PMID: 24520392
11.  Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(8):e1000132.
In a cohort of 6,441 volunteers followed over an average of 8.2 years, Naresh Punjabi and colleagues find sleep-disordered breathing to be independently associated with mortality and identify predictive characteristics.
Background
Sleep-disordered breathing is a common condition associated with adverse health outcomes including hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The overall objective of this study was to determine whether sleep-disordered breathing and its sequelae of intermittent hypoxemia and recurrent arousals are associated with mortality in a community sample of adults aged 40 years or older.
Methods and Findings
We prospectively examined whether sleep-disordered breathing was associated with an increased risk of death from any cause in 6,441 men and women participating in the Sleep Heart Health Study. Sleep-disordered breathing was assessed with the apnea–hypopnea index (AHI) based on an in-home polysomnogram. Survival analysis and proportional hazards regression models were used to calculate hazard ratios for mortality after adjusting for age, sex, race, smoking status, body mass index, and prevalent medical conditions. The average follow-up period for the cohort was 8.2 y during which 1,047 participants (587 men and 460 women) died. Compared to those without sleep-disordered breathing (AHI: <5 events/h), the fully adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality in those with mild (AHI: 5.0–14.9 events/h), moderate (AHI: 15.0–29.9 events/h), and severe (AHI: ≥30.0 events/h) sleep-disordered breathing were 0.93 (95% CI: 0.80–1.08), 1.17 (95% CI: 0.97–1.42), and 1.46 (95% CI: 1.14–1.86), respectively. Stratified analyses by sex and age showed that the increased risk of death associated with severe sleep-disordered breathing was statistically significant in men aged 40–70 y (hazard ratio: 2.09; 95% CI: 1.31–3.33). Measures of sleep-related intermittent hypoxemia, but not sleep fragmentation, were independently associated with all-cause mortality. Coronary artery disease–related mortality associated with sleep-disordered breathing showed a pattern of association similar to all-cause mortality.
Conclusions
Sleep-disordered breathing is associated with all-cause mortality and specifically that due to coronary artery disease, particularly in men aged 40–70 y with severe sleep-disordered breathing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 1 in 10 women and 1 in 4 men have a chronic condition called sleep-disordered breathing although most are unaware of their problem. Sleep-disordered breathing, which is commonest in middle-aged and elderly people, is characterized by numerous, brief (10 second or so) interruptions of breathing during sleep. These interruptions, which usually occur when relaxation of the upper airway muscles decreases airflow, lower the level of oxygen in the blood and, as a result, affected individuals are frequently aroused from deep sleep as they struggle to breathe. Symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing include loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Treatments include lifestyle changes such as losing weight (excess fat around the neck increases airway collapse) and smoking cessation. Affected people can also use special devices to prevent them sleeping on their backs, but for severe sleep-disordered breathing, doctors often recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a machine that pressurizes the upper airway through a face mask to keep it open.
Why Was This Study Done?
Sleep-disordered breathing is a serious condition. It is associated with several adverse health conditions including coronary artery disease (narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart, a condition that can cause a heart attack) and daytime sleepiness that can affect an individual's driving ability. In addition, several clinic- and community-based studies suggest that sleep-disordered sleeping may increase a person's risk of dying. However, because these studies have been small and have often failed to allow for other conditions and characteristics that affect an individual's risk of dying (“confounding factors”), they provide inconsistent or incomplete information about the potential association between sleep-disordered breathing and the risk of death. In this prospective cohort study (part of the Sleep Heart Health Study, which is researching the effects of sleep-disordered breathing on cardiovascular health), the researchers examine whether sleep-disordered breathing is associated with all-cause mortality (death from any cause) in a large community sample of adults. A prospective cohort study is one in which a group of participants is enrolled and then followed forward in time (in this case for several years) to see what happens to them.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
At enrollment, the study participants—more than 6,000 people aged 40 years or older, none of whom were being treated for sleep-disordered breathing—had a health examination. Their night-time breathing, sleep patterns, and blood oxygen levels were also assessed and these data used to calculate each participant's apnea-hypopnea index (AHI)—the number of apneas and hypopneas per hour. During the study follow-up period, 1,047 participants died. Compared to participants without sleep-disordered sleeping, participants with severe sleep-disordered breathing (an AHI of ≥30) were about one and a half times as likely to die from any cause after adjustment for potential confounding factors. People with milder sleep-disordered breathing did not have a statistically significant increased risk of dying. After dividing the participants into subgroups according to their age and sex, men aged 40–70 years with severe sleep-disordered breathing had a statistically increased risk of dying from any cause (twice the risk of men of a similar age without sleep-disordered breathing). Finally, death from coronary artery disease was also associated with sleep-disordered breathing in men but not in women.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that sleep-disordered breathing is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in men aged 40–70 years, even after allowing for known confounding factors. They also suggest that the increased risk of death is specifically associated with coronary artery disease although further studies are needed to confirm this finding because it was based on the analysis of a small subgroup of study participants. Although this study is much larger than previous investigations into the association between sleep-disordered breathing and all-cause mortality, it has several limitations including its reliance on a single night's measurements for the diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that clinical trials should now be started to assess whether treatment can reduce the increased risk of death that seems to be associated with this common disorder.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000132.
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has information (including a video) about sleep-disordered breathing (sleep apnea) (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Heath Service also provides information for patients about sleep apnea
MedlinePlus provides links to further information and advice about sleep-disordered breathing (in English and Spanish)
More information on the Sleep Heart Health Study is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000132
PMCID: PMC2722083  PMID: 19688045
12.  Uptake of Home-Based Voluntary HIV Testing in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(12):e1001351.
Kalpana Sabapathy and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the acceptability of home-based voluntary counseling and testing for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa with some encouraging results.
Introduction
Improving access to HIV testing is a key priority in scaling up HIV treatment and prevention services. Home-based voluntary counselling and testing (HBT) as an approach to delivering wide-scale HIV testing is explored here.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review and random-effects meta-analysis of studies published between 1 January 2000 and 24 September 2012 that reported on uptake of HBT in sub-Saharan Africa, to assess the proportion of individuals accepting HBT and receiving their test result.
Our initial search yielded 1,199 articles; 114 were reviewed as full-text articles, and 19 publications involving 21 studies (n = 524,867 individuals offered HBT) were included for final review and meta-analysis. The studies came from five countries: Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia.
The proportion of people who accepted HBT (n = 474,377) ranged from 58.1% to 99.8%, with a pooled proportion of 83.3% (95% CI: 80.4%–86.1%). Heterogeneity was high (τ2 = 0.11). Sixteen studies reported on the number of people who received the result of HBT (n = 432,835). The proportion of individuals receiving their results out of all those offered testing ranged from 24.9% to 99.7%, with a pooled proportion of 76.7% (95% CI: 73.4%–80.0%) (τ2 = 0.12). HIV prevalence ranged from 2.9% to 36.5%. New diagnosis of HIV following HBT ranged from 40% to 79% of those testing positive. Forty-eight percent of the individuals offered testing were men, and they were just as likely to accept HBT as women (pooled odds ratio = 0.84; 95% CI: 0.56–1.26) (τ2 = 0.33). The proportion of individuals previously tested for HIV among those offered a test ranged from 5% to 66%. Studies in which <30% of individuals had been previously tested, local HIV prevalence was <10%, incentives were provided, or HBT was offered to household members of HIV-positive individuals showed higher uptake of testing. No evidence was reported of negative consequences of HBT.
Conclusions
HBT could substantially increase awareness of HIV status in previously undiagnosed individuals in sub-Saharan Africa, with over three-quarters of the studies in this review reporting >70% uptake. It could be a valuable tool for treatment and prevention efforts.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Knowledge of HIV status is crucial for both the prevention and treatment of HIV. However, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (the UN agency responsible for HIV/AIDS), in low-and-middle-income countries only ten percent of those who need voluntary counseling and testing, because they may have been exposed to HIV infection, have access to this service. Even in health care settings in which voluntary counseling and HIV testing is routinely offered, such as to pregnant women, the number of people who use these services is low. This situation is partly because of the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV, which makes people reluctant to volunteer to come forward to be tested for HIV. To help overcome this problem, one important strategy in encouraging people to be tested for HIV is to offer them the opportunity to be counseled and tested at home—home-based voluntary counseling and testing (HBT). Using the HBT approach, people are visited in their home by health workers regardless of their perceived risk of HIV. HBT has obvious advantages and upholds the “3 Cs” principles of HIV testing: that testing is confidential, accompanied by counseling, and conducted only with informed consent.
Why Was This Study Done?
The HBT approach has received widespread international support, and the World Health Organization has recently published guidance to service providers and policy makers about the delivery of HBT. However, the acceptability of HBT, that is, whether those offered HBT actually take up the offer and are tested, remains unknown, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, the world region with the highest prevalence of HIV. So, in this study, the researchers systematically compiled all of the available studies on this topic from sub-Saharan Africa to determine the acceptability of HBT and also to and identify any factors associated with the uptake of HBT.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers searched several databases to identify suitable peer-reviewed studies from Africa published between January 2000 and September 2012. The researchers included studies that described any intervention to provide HIV testing at home and also reported the proportions of participants accepting HIV testing out of all individuals offered a home-based HIV test. Because different types of studies were included (such as randomized controlled trials, observational cohort studies, and cross-sectional surveys), the researchers tested the quality of included studies. Then they pooled all of the studies together to calculate the overall proportion of people who accepted HIV testing at home and the proportion who received their result.
Using these methods, the researchers included 21 studies from five African countries: Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia, comprising a total of 524,867 people. Overall, the proportion of people who accepted HBT ranged from 58.1% to 99.7%, with a pooled proportion of 83.3% accepting HBT (474,377 people). In the eight studies that separated data by gender, men were as likely as women to accept testing (78.5% versus 81.5%). Over three-quarters of everyone who accepted HBT received their result (77% in 16 studies reporting on this), and, importantly, the proportion of people with previously undiagnosed HIV was high (40%–79% of those diagnosed HIV-positive), emphasizing the value of HBT. The researchers also found that providing incentives, local HIV prevalence being less than 10%, and targeting HBT to household members of HIV-positive individuals may be factors associated with increased uptake of HBT, but further research is needed to verify the results of this subgroup analysis.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that voluntary counseling and testing for HIV at home is highly acceptable in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with the majority of those tested receiving their test result, highlighting the importance of this approach in the diagnosis of HIV. Therefore, by increasing uptake of testing, HBT may provide an effective tool for governments and health service providers to increase access to HIV treatment and prevention. However, testing is just the first step in the management of HIV, and this study does not address the follow-up of those who tested positive using the home-based approach, such as access to treatment, as well as repeated HBT for ongoing knowledge of HIV status. The option of self-testing was examined in only one of the studies included in this review, but the researchers identify that self-testing at home with the support HBT staff is an important area of future research. Overall, HBT has the potential to substantially increase awareness of HIV status in previously undiagnosed men and women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001351.
The World Health Organization provides extensive information on HIV testing and counseling, and the World Health Organization's guidance on home-based testing mentioned in this summary is also available
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS gives the latest facts and figures about the global status of HIV and about reducing stigma and discrimination around HIV
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001351
PMCID: PMC3514284  PMID: 23226107
13.  Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001649.
Rashida Ferrand and colleagues combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate HIV prevalence among older children receiving primary care in Harare, Zimbabwe, and reasons why providers did not pursue testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
There is a substantial burden of HIV infection among older children in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are diagnosed after presentation with advanced disease. We investigated the provision and uptake of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) among children in primary health care facilities, and explored health care worker (HCW) perspectives on providing HIV testing to children.
Methods and Findings
Children aged 6 to 15 y attending six primary care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe, were offered PITC, with guardian consent and child assent. The reasons why testing did not occur in eligible children were recorded, and factors associated with HCWs offering and children/guardians refusing HIV testing were investigated using multivariable logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinic nurses and counsellors to explore these factors. Among 2,831 eligible children, 2,151 (76%) were offered PITC, of whom 1,534 (54.2%) consented to HIV testing. The main reasons HCWs gave for not offering PITC were the perceived unsuitability of the accompanying guardian to provide consent for HIV testing on behalf of the child and lack of availability of staff or HIV testing kits. Children who were asymptomatic, older, or attending with a male or a younger guardian had significantly lower odds of being offered HIV testing. Male guardians were less likely to consent to their child being tested. 82 (5.3%) children tested HIV-positive, with 95% linking to care. Of the 940 guardians who tested with the child, 186 (19.8%) were HIV-positive.
Conclusions
The HIV prevalence among children tested was high, highlighting the need for PITC. For PITC to be successfully implemented, clear legislation about consent and guardianship needs to be developed, and structural issues addressed. HCWs require training on counselling children and guardians, particularly male guardians, who are less likely to engage with health care services. Increased awareness of the risk of HIV infection in asymptomatic older children is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Over 3 million children globally are estimated to be living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). While HIV infection is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission can be prevented by administering antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding, and to their newborn babies. According to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS published in 2012, 92% of pregnant women with HIV were living in sub-Saharan Africa and just under 60% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children infected with HIV live.
Why Was This Study Done?
If an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth is missed, diagnosis of HIV infection in a child or adolescent is likely to depend on HIV testing in health care facilities. Health care provider–initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) for children is important in areas where HIV infection is common because earlier diagnosis allows children to benefit from care that can prevent the development of advanced HIV disease. Even if a child or adolescent appears to be in good health, access to care and antiretroviral therapy provides a health benefit to the individual over the long term. The administration of HIV testing (and counselling) to children relies not only on health care workers (HCWs) offering HIV testing but also on parents or guardians consenting for a child to be tested. However, more than 30% of children in countries with severe HIV epidemics are AIDS orphans, and economic conditions in these countries cause many adults to migrate for work, leaving children under the care of extended families. This study aimed to investigate the reasons for acceptance and rejection of PITC in primary health care settings in Harare, Zimbabwe. By exploring HCW perspectives on providing HIV testing to children and adolescents, the study also sought to gain insight into factors that could be hindering implementation of testing procedures.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified all children aged 6 to 15 years old at six primary care clinics in Harare, who were offered HIV testing as part of routine care between 22 January and 31 May 2013. Study fieldworkers collected data on numbers of child attendances, numbers offered testing, numbers who underwent HIV testing, and reasons why HIV testing did not occur. During the study 2,831 children attending the health clinics were eligible for PITC, and just over half (1,534, 54.2%) underwent HIV testing. Eighty-two children tested HIV-positive, and nearly all of them received counselling, medication, and follow-up care. HCWs offered the test to around 75% of those eligible. The most frequent explanation given by HCWs for a diagnostic test not being offered was that the child was accompanied by a guardian not appropriate for providing consent (401 occasions, 59%); Other reasons given were a lack of available counsellors or test kits and counsellors refusing to conduct the test. The likelihood of being offered the test was lower for children not exhibiting symptoms (such as persistent skin problems), older children, or those attending with a male or a younger guardian. In addition, over 100 guardians or parents provided consent but left before the child could be tested.
The researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 clinic nurses and counsellors (two from each clinic) to explore challenges to implementation of PITC. The researchers recorded the factors associated with testing not taking place, either when offered to eligible children or when HCWs declined to offer the test. The interviewees identified the frequent absence or unavailability of parents or legal guardians as an obstacle, and showed uncertainty or misconceptions around whether testing of the guardian was mandatory (versus recommended) and whether specifically a parent (if one was living) must provide consent. The interviews also revealed HCW concerns about the availability of adequate counselling and child services, and fears that a child might experience maltreatment if he or she tested positive. HCWs also noted long waiting times and test kits being out of stock as practical hindrances to testing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Prevalence of HIV was high among the children tested, validating the need for PITC in sub-Saharan health care settings. Although 76% of eligible attendees were offered testing, the authors note that this is likely higher than in routine settings because the researchers were actively recording reasons for not offering testing and counselling, which may have encouraged heath care staff to offer PITC more often than usual. The researchers outline strategies that may improve PITC rates and testing acceptance for Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan settings. These strategies include developing clear laws and guidance concerning guardianship and proxy consent when testing older children for HIV, training HCWs around these policies, strengthening legislation to address discrimination, and increasing public awareness about HIV infection in older children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Davies and Kalk
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS publishes an annual report on the global AIDS epidemic, which provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization's website also has information about treatment for children living with HIV
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649
PMCID: PMC4035250  PMID: 24866209
14.  The Role of Acute and Early HIV Infection in the Sexual Transmission of HIV 
Current opinion in HIV and AIDS  2010;5(4):277-282.
Purpose of Review
Acute HIV infection (AHI), the earliest period after HIV acquisition, is only a few weeks in duration. In this brief period, the concentration of HIV in blood and genital secretions is extremely high, increasing the probability of HIV transmission. Although a substantial role of AHI in the sexual transmission of HIV is biologically plausible, the significance of AHI in the epidemiological spread of HIV remains uncertain.
Recent Findings
AHI is diagnosed by detecting viral RNA or antigen in the blood of persons who are HIV seronegative. Depending on the setting, persons with AHI represent between 1% and 10% of persons with newly diagnosed HIV infection. The high concentration of virus during AHI leads to increased infectiousness, possibly as much as 26 times greater than during chronic infection. In mathematical models, the estimated proportion of transmission attributed to AHI has varied considerably, depending on model structure, model parameters and the population. Key determinants include the stage of the HIV epidemic and the sexual risk profile of the population.
Summary
Despite its brief duration, AHI plays a disproportionate role in the sexual transmission of HIV infection. Detection of persons with AHI may provide an important opportunity for transmission prevention.
doi:10.1097/COH.0b013e32833a0d3a
PMCID: PMC3130067  PMID: 20543601
acute HIV infection; mathematical models; HIV transmission
15.  Continued High Risk Sexual Behavior Following Diagnosis with Acute HIV Infection in South Africa and Malawi: Implications for Prevention 
AIDS and behavior  2011;15(6):1243-1250.
Understanding sexual behavior following diagnosis of acute HIV infection (AHI) is key to developing prevention programs targeting individuals diagnosed with AHI. We conducted separate qualitative and quantitative interviews with individuals newly diagnosed (n = 19) with AHI at 1-, 4- and 12-weeks post-diagnosis and one qualitative interview with individuals who had previously been diagnosed with AHI (n = 18) in Lilongwe, Malawi and Johannesburg, South Africa between October 2007 and June 2008. The majority of participants reported engaging in sexual activity following diagnosis with AHI with a significant minority reporting unprotected sex during this time. Most participants perceived to have changed their behavior following diagnosis. However, participants reported barriers to condom use and abstinence, in particular, long term relationships and the need for disclosure of sero-status. Understanding of increased infectiousness during AHI was limited. Participants reported a desire for a behavioral intervention at the time of AHI diagnosis, however, there were differences by country in the types of interventions participants found acceptable. Studies are underway to determine the feasibility, acceptability and potential effectiveness of interventions designed for individuals with AHI.
doi:10.1007/s10461-010-9839-0
PMCID: PMC3530889  PMID: 20978833
HIV; Africa; Sexual behavior; Condom use
16.  Risk Factors and Outcomes for Late Presentation for HIV-Positive Persons in Europe: Results from the Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research Europe Study (COHERE) 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001510.
Amanda Mocroft and colleagues investigate risk factors and health outcomes associated with diagnosis at a late stage of infection in individuals across Europe.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Few studies have monitored late presentation (LP) of HIV infection over the European continent, including Eastern Europe. Study objectives were to explore the impact of LP on AIDS and mortality.
Methods and Findings
LP was defined in Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research Europe (COHERE) as HIV diagnosis with a CD4 count <350/mm3 or an AIDS diagnosis within 6 months of HIV diagnosis among persons presenting for care between 1 January 2000 and 30 June 2011. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with LP and Poisson regression to explore the impact on AIDS/death. 84,524 individuals from 23 cohorts in 35 countries contributed data; 45,488 were LP (53.8%). LP was highest in heterosexual males (66.1%), Southern European countries (57.0%), and persons originating from Africa (65.1%). LP decreased from 57.3% in 2000 to 51.7% in 2010/2011 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.96; 95% CI 0.95–0.97). LP decreased over time in both Central and Northern Europe among homosexual men, and male and female heterosexuals, but increased over time for female heterosexuals and male intravenous drug users (IDUs) from Southern Europe and in male and female IDUs from Eastern Europe. 8,187 AIDS/deaths occurred during 327,003 person-years of follow-up. In the first year after HIV diagnosis, LP was associated with over a 13-fold increased incidence of AIDS/death in Southern Europe (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR] 13.02; 95% CI 8.19–20.70) and over a 6-fold increased rate in Eastern Europe (aIRR 6.64; 95% CI 3.55–12.43).
Conclusions
LP has decreased over time across Europe, but remains a significant issue in the region in all HIV exposure groups. LP increased in male IDUs and female heterosexuals from Southern Europe and IDUs in Eastern Europe. LP was associated with an increased rate of AIDS/deaths, particularly in the first year after HIV diagnosis, with significant variation across Europe. Earlier and more widespread testing, timely referrals after testing positive, and improved retention in care strategies are required to further reduce the incidence of LP.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year about 2.5 million people become newly infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner, from an HIV-positive mother to her unborn baby, or through injection of drugs. Most people do not become ill immediately after infection with HIV although some develop a short influenza-like illness. The next stage of the HIV infection, which may last up to 10 years, also has no major symptoms but, during this stage, HIV slowly destroys immune system cells, including CD4 cells, a type of lymphocyte. Eventually, when the immune system is unable to fight off infections by other disease-causing organisms, HIV-positive people develop AIDS-defining conditions—unusual viral, bacterial, and fungal infections and unusual tumors. Progression to AIDS occurs when any severe AIDS-defining condition is diagnosed, when the CD4 count in the blood falls below 200 cells/mm3, or when CD4 cells account for fewer than 15% of lymphocytes.
Why Was This Study Done?
People need to know they are HIV positive as soon as possible after they become infected because antiretroviral therapy, which controls but does not cure HIV infection, works best if it is initiated when people still have a relatively high CD4 count. Early diagnosis also reduces the risk of onward HIV transmission. However, 40%–60% of HIV-positive individuals in developed countries are not diagnosed until they have a low CD4 count or an AIDS-defining illness. Reasons for such late presentation include fear of discrimination or stigmatization, limited knowledge about HIV risk factors, testing, and treatment together with missed opportunities to offer an HIV test. Policy makers involved in national and international HIV control programs need detailed information about patterns of late presentation before they can make informed decisions about how to reduce this problem. In this study, therefore, the researchers use data collected by the Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research in Europe (COHERE) to analyze trends in late presentation over time across Europe and in different groups of people at risk of HIV infection and to investigate the clinical consequences of late presentation.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data collected from 84,524 individuals participating in more than 20 observational studies that were undertaken in 35 European countries and that investigated outcomes among HIV-positive people. Nearly 54% of the participants were late presenters—individuals who had a CD4 count of less than 350 cells/mm3 or an AIDS-defining illness within 6 months of HIV diagnosis. Late presentation was highest among heterosexual males, in Southern European countries, and among people originating in Africa. Overall, late presentation decreased from 57.3% in 2000 to 51.7% in 2010/11. However, whereas late presentation decreased over time among men having sex with men in Central and Northern Europe, for example, it increased over time among female heterosexuals in Southern Europe. Finally, among the 8,000 individuals who developed a new AIDS-defining illness or died during follow-up, compared to non-late presentation, late presentation was associated with an increased incidence of AIDS/death in all regions of Europe during the first and second year after HIV diagnosis (but not in later years); the largest increase in incidence (13-fold) occurred during the first year after diagnosis in Southern Europe.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, although late presentation with HIV infection has decreased in recent years, it remains an important issue across Europe and in all groups of people at risk of HIV infection. They also show that individuals presenting late have a worse clinical outlook, particularly in the first and second year after diagnosis compared to non-late presenters. Several aspects of the study design may affect the accuracy and usefulness of these findings, however. For example, some of the study participants recorded as late presenters may have been people who were aware of their HIV status but who chose not to seek care for HIV infection, or may have been seen in the health care system prior to HIV diagnosis without being offered an HIV test. Delayed entry into care and late presentation are likely to have different risk factors, a possibility that needs to be studied further. Despite this and other study limitations, these findings nevertheless suggest that HIV testing strategies that encourage early testing in all populations at risk, that ensure timely referrals, and that improve retention in care are required to further reduce the incidence of late presentation with HIV infection in Europe.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001510.
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 detailed information on the stages of HIV infection and on HIV and AIDS in Europe (in English and Spanish)
The HIV in Europe Initiative has information about strategies to improve earlier diagnosis and access to care in Europe
Information about COHERE, which was established in 2005 to conduct epidemiological research on the prognosis and outcome of HIV-infected people from across Europe, is available; more information on the consensus definition of late presentation used in this study is available through the HIV in Europe initiative
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert and through the nonprofit website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001510
PMCID: PMC3796947  PMID: 24137103
17.  Evaluating New Definitions of Acute and Early HIV Infection from HIV Surveillance Data 
The Open AIDS Journal  2014;8:45-49.
Background :
The U.S. HIV staging system is being revised to more comprehensively track early and acute HIV infection (AHI). We evaluated our ability to identify known cases of AHI using King County (KC) HIV surveillance data.
Methodology :
AHI cases were men who have sex with men (MSM) with negative antibody and positive pooled nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) tests identified through KC testing sites. We used KC surveillance data to calculate inter-test intervals (ITI, time from last negative to first positive test) and the serologic algorithm for recent HIV seroconversion (STARHS). For surveillance data, AHI was defined as an ITI of ≤ 30 days and early infection as an ITI ≤ 180 days or STARHS recent result. Dates of last negative HIV tests were obtained from lab reports in the HIV surveillance system or data collected for HIV Incidence Surveillance.
Results :
Between 2005 and 2011, 47 MSM with AHI were identified by pooled NAAT. Of the 47 cases, 36% had ITI < 1 day, 60% had an ITI < 30 days, and 70% (95% CI=55-82%) had an ITI ≤ 6 months and would have been identified as early HIV infection. Of the 47, 38% had STARHS testing and 94% were STARHS recent.
Conclusion :
MSM with known AHI were not identified by proposed definitions of AHI and early infection. These known AHI cases were frequently missed by HIV surveillance because concurrent negative antibody tests were not reported. Successful implementation of the revisions to the HIV staging system will require more comprehensive reporting.
doi:10.2174/1874613601408010045
PMCID: PMC4192836  PMID: 25317222
Acute HIV infection; surveillance.
18.  Lessons Learned about Behavioral Science and Acute/Early HIV Infection. The NIMH Multisite Acute HIV Infection Study: V 
AIDS and behavior  2009;13(6):1068-1074.
Acute/early HIV infection is a period of heightened HIV transmission and a window of opportunity for intervention to prevent onward disease transmission. The NIMH Multisite Acute HIV Infection (AHI) Study was an exploratory initiative aimed at determining the feasibility of recruiting persons with AHI into research, assessing their psychosocial and behavioral characteristics, and examining short-term changes in these characteristics. This paper reports on lessons learned in the study, including: (1) the need to establish the cost-effectiveness of AHI testing; (2) challenges to identifying persons with AHI; (3) the need to increase awareness of acute-phase HIV transmission risks; (4) determining the goals of behavioral interventions following AHI diagnosis; and (5) the need for “rapid response” public health systems that can move quickly enough to intervene while persons are still in the AHI stage. There are untapped opportunities for behavioral and medical science collaborations in these areas that could reduce the incidence of HIV infection.
doi:10.1007/s10461-009-9579-1
PMCID: PMC2787956  PMID: 19504179
Acute HIV infection; HIV prevention; Public health
19.  Screening Acute HIV Infections among Chinese Men Who Have Sex with Men from Voluntary Counseling & Testing Centers 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28792.
Background
Recent studies have shown the public health importance of identifying acute HIV infection (AHI) in the men who have sex with men (MSM) of China, which has a much higher risk of HIV transmission. However, cost-utility analyses to guide policy around AHI screening are lacking.
Methodology/Principal Findings
An open prospective cohort was recruited among MSM living in Liaoning Province, Northeast China. Blood samples and epidemiological information were collected every 10 weeks. Third-generation ELISA and rapid test were used for HIV antibody screening, western blot assay (WB) served for assay validation. Antibody negative specimens were tested with 24 mini-pool nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT). Specimens with positive ELISA but negative or indeterminate WB results were tested with NAAT individually without mixing. A cost-utility analysis of NAAT screening was assessed. Among the 5,344 follow-up visits of 1,765 MSM in 22 months, HIV antibody tests detected 114 HIV chronic infections, 24 seroconverters and 21 antibody indeterminate cases. 29 acute HIV infections were detected with NAAT from 21 antibody indeterminate and 1,606 antibody negative cases. The HIV-1 prevalence and incidence density were 6.6% (95% CI: 5.5–7.9) and 7.1 (95% CI: 5.4–9.2)/100 person-years, respectively. With pooled NAAT and individual NAAT strategy, the cost of an HIV transmission averted was $1,480. The addition of NAAT after HIV antibody tests had a cost-utility ratio of $3,366 per gained quality-adjusted life year (QALY). The input-output ratio of NAAT was about 1∶16.9.
Conclusions/Significance
The HIV infections among MSM continue to rise at alarming rates. Despite the rising cost, adding pooled NAAT to the HIV antibody screening significantly increases the identification of acute HIV infections in MSM. Early treatment and target-oriented publicity and education programs can be strengthened to decrease the risk of HIV transmission and to save medical resources in the long run.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028792
PMCID: PMC3237549  PMID: 22194914
20.  Targeting screening and social marketing to increase detection of acute HIV infection in men who have sex with men in Vancouver, British Columbia 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(16):2649-2654.
Objectives:
The contribution of acute HIV infection (AHI) to transmission is widely recognized, and increasing AHI diagnosis capacity can enhance HIV prevention through subsequent behavior change or intervention. We examined the impact of targeted pooled nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) and social marketing to increase AHI diagnosis among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Vancouver.
Design:
Observational study.
Methods:
We implemented pooled NAAT following negative third-generation enzyme immunoassay (EIA) testing for males above 18 years in six clinics accessed by MSM, accompanied by two social marketing campaigns developed by a community gay men's health organization. We compared test volume and diagnosis rates for pre-implementation (April 2006–March 2009) and post-implementation (April 2009–March 2012) periods. After implementation, we used linear regression to examine quarterly trends and calculated diagnostic yield.
Results:
After implementation, the AHI diagnosis rate significantly increased from 1.03 to 1.84 per 1000 tests, as did quarterly HIV test volumes and acute to non-acute diagnosis ratio. Of the 217 new HIV diagnoses after implementation, 54 (24.9%) were AHIs (25 detected by pooled NAAT only) for an increased diagnostic yield of 11.5%. The average number of prior negative HIV tests (past 2 years) increased significantly for newly diagnosed MSM at the six study clinics compared to other newly diagnosed MSM in British Columbia, per quarter.
Conclusion:
Targeted implementation of pooled NAAT at clinics accessed by MSM is effective in increasing AHI diagnoses compared to third-generation EIA testing. Social marketing campaigns accompanying pooled NAAT implementation may contribute to increasing AHI diagnoses and frequency of HIV testing.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0000000000000001
PMCID: PMC3814625  PMID: 23921608
acute disease; HIV infections; homosexuality; male; nucleic acid amplification techniques; public health; social marketing
21.  Participation in Research Involving Novel Sampling and Study Designs to Identify Acute HIV-1 Infection among Minority Men Who Have Sex with Men 
AIDS care  2013;25(7):828-834.
HIV-1 infection disproportionally affects African American and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) and their inclusion in biomedical and behavioral research is critical to understanding and addressing HIV vulnerability. Using focus groups, we sought to understand the perceptions related to participating in biomedical research of acute/recent HIV-1 infection (AHI) using complex sampling and data collection methods to reach this hidden group at highest risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV. Given the potential impact of AHI on transmission in MSM, it is important to understand this intersection for HIV prevention, care and treatment purposes. The aim of this study was to understand how recruitment and data collection methods affect AHI research participation willingness particularly among MSM of color. Findings suggest that major barriers to research participation with complex sampling to identify AHI and intensive risk behavior collection such as diary methods are lack of anonymity, partner disclosure, and study fatigue. The authors explore implications for future study designs and development based on these findings.
doi:10.1080/09540121.2012.748164
PMCID: PMC3688680  PMID: 23305688
MSM; HIV; Hidden Populations; Sampling; qualitative study
22.  HPTN 062: A feasibility and acceptability pilot intervention to reduce HIV transmission risk behaviors among individuals with acute and early HIV infection in Lilongwe, Malawi 
AIDS and behavior  2014;18(9):1785-1800.
Acute HIV infection (AHI) is a relatively brief period when individuals are highly infectious and the opportunity to intervene to prevent forward transmission is extremely limited. HPTN 062 partnered with CHAVI 001 to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a motivational interviewing (MI)-based counseling intervention to reduce HIV-transmission risk behaviors among individuals with acute and early HIV infection in Lilongwe, Malawi. Participants were randomized to receive either (1) brief education sessions about HIV and AHI; or (2) the same brief education sessions plus an MI-based counseling intervention called Uphungu Wanga. Although Uphungu Wanga was determined to be feasible and acceptable, few major differences existed between the two arms with regard to acceptability, feasibility, and self-reported sexual behaviors. We therefore conclude that an additional MI-based counseling intervention may not be needed during the short period of AHI. Instead, we recommend that individuals with AHI receive frequent, but brief, counseling immediately after diagnosis and then transition to receiving counseling at less frequent intervals until they can initiate antiretroviral therapy. Other recommendations are provided.
doi:10.1007/s10461-014-0707-1
PMCID: PMC4183128  PMID: 24523007
Acute HIV infection; HIV prevention; Motivational Interviewing; counseling; Malawi
23.  Acute HIV Infection in Pregnancy: The Case for Third Trimester Rescreening 
Combination testing with anti-HIV Elisa and Western blot is both sensitive and specific for diagnosis of established HIV-1 infection but could not detect acute HIV infection (AHI). AHI is a time of extremely high viral load, which may correlate to increased risk of horizontal or vertical transmission. Thus, early identification of AHI could allow for interventions to decrease transmission. However, recognition of AHI can be challenging as symptoms could be absent or nonspecific, therefore, AHI is often not detected, particularly in pregnancy. We present a case report of AHI in a pregnant woman who presented with headache and fever. She tested negative for HIV in the first trimester and at time of AHI at 26 3/7 weeks by anti-HIV Elisa, but was diagnosed with AHI based on an HIV RNA viral load of 434,000 copies/mL. This report presents a case for improved awareness of AHI in pregnancy, and the need for repeat HIV testing in late pregnancy, and highlighted that early detection of AHI might be possible with adding HIV RNA testing at time of standard anti-HIV Elisa screening test in pregnancy. Novel laboratory approaches including pooling of sera for HIV RNA could reduce the cost of HIV RNA testing.
doi:10.1155/2011/340817
PMCID: PMC3336240  PMID: 22567467
24.  Diagnosis of Acute HIV Infection in Connecticut 
Connecticut medicine  2009;73(6):325-331.
Acute HIV infection (AHI) is the earliest stage of HIV disease, when plasma HIV viremia, but not HIV antibodies, can be detected. Acute HIV infection often presents as a nonspecific viral syndrome. However, its diagnosis, which enables linkage to early medical care and limits further HIV transmission, is seldom made. We describe the experience of Yale's Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS with AHI diagnosis in Connecticut, as a participating center in the National Institute of Mental Health Multisite AHI Study. We sought to identify AHI cases by clinical referrals and by screening for AHI at two substance abuse care facilities and an STD clinic: We identified one case by referral and one through screening of 590 persons. Screening for AHI is feasible and probably cost effective. Primary care providers should include AHI in the differential diagnosis when patients present with a nonspecific viral syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3072267  PMID: 19637661
25.  Acute HIV infection (AHI) in a specialized clinical setting: case-finding, description of virological, epidemiological and clinical characteristics 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19676.
Introduction
Diagnosis of HIV infection during early stages is mandatory to catch up with the challenge of limiting HIV viral replication and reservoirs formation, as well as decreasing HIV transmissions by immediate cART initiation.
Objectives
Aims were to describe (a) virological characteristics of AHI identified, (b) epidemiological and clinical factors associated with being diagnosed with AHI.
Methods
Cross-sectional, retrospective study. All individuals diagnosed with AHI according to Fiebig's staging between Jan 2013 and Mar 2014 at the INMI “L. Spallanzani” were included. Serum samples reactive to a fourth generation HIV-1/2 assay (Architect HIV Ag/Ab Combo, Abbott) were retested with another fourth generation assay (VIDAS DUO HIV Ultra, Biomérieux) and underwent confirmation with HIV-1 WB (New Lav I Bio-Rad) and/or with Geenius confirmatory assay (Bio-Rad). WHO criteria (two env products reactivity) were used to establish positivity of confirmatory assays. In case of clinically suspected AHI, HIV-1 RNA (Real time, Abbott) and p24 assay (VIDAS HIV P24 Bio-Rad) were also performed. Avidity test was carried out, on confirmed positive samples lacking p31 reactivity, to discriminate between recent (true Fiebig V phase) and late infections; to avoid possible misclassifications, clinical data were also used. Demographic, epidemiological, clinical and laboratory data are routinely, and anonymously recorded in the SENDIH and SIREA studies.
Results
During the study period, we observed 483 newly HIV diagnosed individuals, of whom 40 were identified as AHI (8.3%). Fiebig classification showed: 7 stage II/III, 13 stage IV, 20 stage V. Demographic, epidemiological, and clinical characteristics of patients are shown in the Table. Overall, the study population had a median S/Co ratio at fourth generation EIA (Architect) of 49.50 (IQR, 23.54–98.05): values were significantly lower in Fiebig II-IV than in Fiebig V (38.68 [IQR, 20.08–54.84] vs 75.72 [IQR, 42.66–249.80], p=0.01). Overall, median HIV-1 RNA was 5.44 log copies/mL (IQR, 4.29–6.18) and the value observed in Fiebig phase II-IV was higher than that found in Fiebig stage V (6.10 [IQR, 5.49–7.00] vs 4.69 [3.71–5.44], p<0.001). Median CD4+ cell count was 596/mmc (IQR, 410–737). cART was started in 26 patients: TDF/FTC/DRV/r/RAL=18; TDF/FTC/DRV/r=2; TDF/FTC/ATV/r=2; TDF+FTC+EFV=2; TDF/FTC/RAL=1; DRV/r+RAL=1.
Conclusions
Integration of careful epidemiological investigation, partner notification, and technical advances in virological testing are key elements in AHI case-finding. Significant differences were found between Fiebig stages II–IV and Fiebig V with regard to virological exams.
doi:10.7448/IAS.17.4.19676
PMCID: PMC4225400  PMID: 25397426

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