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1.  Incident Pregnancy and Time to Death or AIDS among HIV-Positive Women Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58117.
Little is known about the impact of pregnancy on response to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in sub-Saharan Africa. We examined the effect of incident pregnancy after HAART initiation on clinical response to HAART.
We evaluated a prospective clinical cohort of adult women initiating HAART in Johannesburg, South Africa between 1 April 2004 and 31 March 2011, and followed up until an event, transfer, drop-out, or administrative end of follow-up on 30 September 2011. Women over age 45 and women who were pregnant at HAART initiation were excluded from the study. Main exposure was having experienced pregnancy after HAART initiation; main outcome was death and (separately) death or new AIDS event. We calculated adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence limits (CL) using marginal structural Cox proportional hazards models.
The study included 7,534 women, and 20,813 person-years of follow-up; 918 women had at least one recognized pregnancy during follow-up. For death alone, the weighted (adjusted) HR was 0.84 (95% CL 0.44, 1.60). Sensitivity analyses confirmed main results, and results were similar for analysis of death or new AIDS event. Incident pregnancy was associated with a substantially reduced hazard of drop-out (HR = 0.62, 95% CL 0.51, 0.75).
Recognized incident pregnancy after HAART initiation was not associated with increases in hazard of clinical events, but was associated with a decreased hazard of drop-out. High rates of pregnancy after initiation of HAART may point to a need to better integrate family planning services into clinical care for HIV-infected women.
PMCID: PMC3592862  PMID: 23520489
2.  Pregnancy and Virologic Response to Antiretroviral Therapy in South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e22778.
Although women of reproductive age are the largest group of HIV-infected individuals in sub-Saharan Africa, little is known about the impact of pregnancy on response to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in that setting. We examined the effect of incident pregnancy after HAART initiation on virologic response to HAART.
Methods and Findings
We evaluated a prospective clinical cohort of adult women who initiated HAART in Johannesburg, South Africa between 1 April 2004 and 30 September 2009, and followed up until an event, death, transfer, drop-out, or administrative end of follow-up on 31 March 2010. Women over age 45 and women who were pregnant at HAART initiation were excluded from the study; final sample size for analysis was 5,494 women. Main exposure was incident pregnancy, experienced by 541 women; main outcome was virologic failure, defined as a failure to suppress virus to ≤400 copies/ml by six months or virologic rebound >400 copies/ml thereafter. We calculated adjusted hazard ratios using marginal structural Cox proportional hazards models and weighted lifetable analysis to calculate adjusted five-year risk differences. The weighted hazard ratio for the effect of pregnancy on time to virologic failure was 1.34 (95% confidence limit [CL] 1.02, 1.78). Sensitivity analyses generally confirmed these main results.
Incident pregnancy after HAART initiation was associated with modest increases in both relative and absolute risks of virologic failure, although uncontrolled confounding cannot be ruled out. Nonetheless, these results reinforce that family planning is an essential part of care for HIV-positive women in sub-Saharan Africa. More work is needed to confirm these findings and to explore specific etiologic pathways by which such effects may operate.
PMCID: PMC3149058  PMID: 21829650
3.  Highly active antiretroviral therapy and cervical dysplasia in HIV-positive women in South Africa 
The risk of squamous intra-epithelial lesions (SIL) is higher in HIV-positive women. As these women begin to live longer due to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), their risk of cervical cancer may increase. Few data exist regarding the effect of HAART on the incidence and progression of SIL in HIV-positive African women. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of HAART on the incidence and progression of SIL in HIV-positive women in South Africa.
A prospective observational study of HIV-seropositive women was conducted over 5 years in an HIV treatment clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. The participants consisted of 601 women on and off HAART who had repeat Pap smears greater than 6 months apart. The effect of HAART use on incidence and progression rates of SIL was determined using multivariate Poisson regression to obtain incidence rate ratios (IRRs), adjusted for age, CD4 count and other potential confounders.
Median follow-up time was 445 days (inter-quartile range 383, 671). The crude rate of incidence of any SIL was 15.9 episodes (95% confidence limit (CL) 12.7, 19.9) per 100 person-years; the crude rate of all progression of cervical dysplasia among women was 13.5 episodes (95% CL 11.3, 16.1) per 100 person-years. HAART use was associated with a robust reduction in the rate of incidence and progression of cervical lesions, adjusted IRR=0.55 (95% CL 0.37, 0.80). Sensitivity analyses confirmed this main association held for incidence and progression when they were considered separately, and that the result was not dependent on the length of HAART exposure.
HAART use was associated with a reduction in the rate of both incidence and progression of cervical lesions among HIV-positive women.
PMCID: PMC3499783  PMID: 22713259
HAART effect; cervical dysplasia; HIV-positive women; South Africa
4.  High Incidence of Unplanned Pregnancy after Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation: Findings from a Prospective Cohort Study in South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36039.
Increased fertility rates in HIV-infected women receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) have been attributed to improved immunological function; it is unknown to what extent the rise in pregnancy rates is due to unintended pregnancies.
Non-pregnant women ages 18–35 from four public-sector ART clinics in Johannesburg, South Africa, were enrolled into a prospective cohort and followed from August 2009–March 2011. Fertility intentions, contraception and pregnancy status were measured longitudinally at participants' routine ART clinic visits.
Of the 850 women enrolled, 822 (97%) had at least one follow-up visit and contributed 745.2 person-years (PY) at-risk for incident pregnancy. Overall, 170 pregnancies were detected in 161 women (incidence rate [IR]: 21.6/100 PY [95% confidence interval (CI): 18.5–25.2]). Of the 170 pregnancies, 105 (62%) were unplanned. Unmet need for contraception was 50% higher in women initiating ART in the past year as compared to women on ART>1 year (prevalence ratio 1.5 [95% CI: 1.1–2.0]); by two years post-ART initiation, nearly one quarter of women had at least one unplanned pregnancy. Cumulative incidence of pregnancy was equally high among recent ART initiators and ART experienced participants: 23.9% [95% CI: 16.4–34.1], 15.9% [12.0–20.8], and 21.0% [16.8–26.1] for women on ART 0–1 yr, >1 yr–2 yrs, and >2 yrs respectively (log-rank, p = 0.54). Eight hormonal contraceptive failures were detected [IR: 4.4 [95% CI: 2.2–8.9], 7/8 among women using injectable methods. Overall 47% (80/170) of pregnancies were not carried to term.
Rates of unintended pregnancies among women on ART are high, including women recently initiating ART with lower CD4 counts and higher viral loads. A substantial burden of pregnancy loss was observed. Integration of contraceptive services and counselling into ART care is necessary to reduce maternal and child health risks related to mistimed and unwanted pregnancies. Further research into injectable contraceptive failures on ART is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3338622  PMID: 22558319
5.  Birth outcomes in South African women receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy: a retrospective observational study 
Use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), a triple-drug combination, in HIV-infected pregnant women markedly reduces mother to child transmission of HIV and decreases maternal morbidity. However, there remains uncertainty about the effects of in utero exposure to HAART on foetal development.
Our objectives were to investigate whether in utero exposure to HAART is associated with low birth weight and/or preterm birth in a population of South African women with advanced HIV disease. A retrospective observational study was performed on women with CD4 counts ≤250 cells/mm3 attending antenatal antiretroviral clinics in Johannesburg between October 2004 and March 2007. Low birth weight (<2.5 kg) and preterm birth rates (<37 weeks) were compared between those exposed and unexposed to HAART during pregnancy. Effects of different HAART regimen and duration were assessed.
Among HAART-unexposed infants, 27% (60/224) were low birth weight compared with 23% (90/388) of early HAART-exposed (exposed <28 weeks gestation) and 19% (76/407) of late HAART-exposed (exposed ≥28 weeks) infants (p = 0.05). In the early HAART group, a higher CD4 cell count was protective against low birth weight (AOR 0.57 per 50 cells/mm3 increase, 95% CI 0.45-0.71, p < 0.001) and preterm birth (AOR 0.68 per 50 cells/mm3 increase, 95% CI 0.55-0.85, p = 0.001). HAART exposure was associated with an increased preterm birth rate (15%, or 138 of 946, versus 5%, or seven of 147, in unexposed infants, p = 0.001), with early nevirapine and efavirenz-based regimens having the strongest associations with preterm birth (AOR 5.4, 95% CI 2.1-13.7, p < 0.001, and AOR 5.6, 95% CI 2.1-15.2, p = 0.001, respectively).
In this immunocompromised cohort, in utero HAART exposure was not associated with low birth weight. An association between NNRTI-based HAART and preterm birth was detected, but residual confounding is plausible. More advanced immunosuppression was a risk factor for low birth weight and preterm birth, highlighting the importance of earlier HAART initiation in women to optimize maternal health and improve infant outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3163172  PMID: 21843356
6.  Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation Before, During, or After Pregnancy in HIV-1-Infected Women: Maternal Virologic, Immunologic, and Clinical Response 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(9):e6961.
Pregnancy has been associated with a decreased risk of HIV disease progression in the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era. The effect of timing of HAART initiation relative to pregnancy on maternal virologic, immunologic and clinical outcomes has not been assessed.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study from 1997–2005 among 112 pregnant HIV-infected women who started HAART before (N = 12), during (N = 70) or after pregnancy (N = 30).
Women initiating HAART before pregnancy had lower CD4+ nadir and higher baseline HIV-1 RNA. Women initiating HAART after pregnancy were more likely to receive triple-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Multivariable analyses adjusted for baseline CD4+ lymphocytes, baseline HIV-1 RNA, age, race, CD4+ lymphocyte count nadir, history of ADE, prior use of non-HAART ART, type of HAART regimen, prior pregnancies, and date of HAART start. In these models, women initiating HAART during pregnancy had better 6-month HIV-1 RNA and CD4+ changes than those initiating HAART after pregnancy (−0.35 vs. 0.10 log10 copies/mL, P = 0.03 and 183.8 vs. −70.8 cells/mm3, P = 0.03, respectively) but similar to those initiating HAART before pregnancy (−0.32 log10 copies/mL, P = 0.96 and 155.8 cells/mm3, P = 0.81, respectively). There were 3 (25%) AIDS-defining events or deaths in women initiating HAART before pregnancy, 3 (4%) in those initiating HAART during pregnancy, and 5 (17%) in those initiating after pregnancy (P = 0.01). There were no statistical differences in rates of HIV disease progression between groups.
HAART initiation during pregnancy was associated with better immunologic and virologic responses than initiation after pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC2734183  PMID: 19742315
7.  Isoniazid preventive therapy, HAART and tuberculosis risk in HIV-infected adults in South Africa: a prospective cohort 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(5):631-636.
The World Health Organization recommends isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) for preventing tuberculosis in HIV-infected adults, although few countries have instituted this policy. Both IPT and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) used separately result in reductions in tuberculosis risk. There is less information on the combined effect of IPT and HAART. We assessed the effect of IPT, HAART or both IPT and HAART on tuberculosis incidence in HIV-infected adults in South Africa.
Two clinical cohorts of HIV-infected patients were studied. Primary exposures were receipt of IPT and/or HAART and the primary outcome was incident tuberculosis. Crude incident rates and incident rate ratios were calculated and Cox proportional hazards models investigated associations with tuberculosis risk.
Among 2778 HIV-infected patients followed for 4287 person-years, 267 incident tuberculosis cases were diagnosed [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 6.2/100 person-years; 95% CI 5.5–7.0]. For person-time without IPT or HAART, the IRR was 7.1/100 person-years (95% CI 6.2–8.2); for person-time receiving HAART but without IPT, the IRR was 4.6/100 person-years (95% CI 3.4–6.2); for person-time after IPT but prior to HAART, the IRR was 5.2/100 person-years (95% CI 3.4–7.8); during follow-up in patients treated with HAART after receiving IPT the IRR was 1.1/100 person-years (95% CI 0.02–7.6). Compared to treatment-naive patients, HAART-only patients had a 64% decreased hazard for tuberculosis [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 0.36; 95% CI 0.25–0.51], and patients receiving HAART after IPT had a 89% reduced hazard (aHR = 0.11; 95% CI 0.02–0.78).
Tuberculosis risk is significantly reduced by IPT in HAART-treated adults in a high-incidence operational setting in South Africa. IPT is an inexpensive and cost-effective strategy and our data strengthen calls for the implementation of IPT in conjunction with the roll-out of HAART.
PMCID: PMC3063949  PMID: 19525621
HAART; isoniazid; preventive treatment; sub-Saharan Africa; tuberculosis
8.  Prevalent pregnancy, biological sex, and virologic response to antiretroviral therapy 
Pregnancy is a common indication for initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in sub-Saharan Africa. Our objective was to evaluate how pregnancy at treatment initiation predicts virologic response to HAART.
We evaluated an open cohort of 9,173 patients who initiated HAART between April 2004 and September 2009 in the Themba Lethu Clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. Risk ratios were estimated using log-binomial regression; hazard ratios were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models; time ratios were estimated using accelerated failure time models. We controlled for calendar date, age, ethnicity, employment status, history of smoking, tuberculosis, WHO stage, weight, body mass index, hemoglobin, CD4 count and CD4 percent, and whether clinical care was free. Extensive sensitivity and secondary analyses were performed.
During follow-up, 822 non-pregnant women and 70 pregnant women experienced virologic failure. In adjusted analyses, pregnancy at baseline was associated with reduced risk of virologic failure by six months (risk ratio 0.66, 95% confidence limits [CL] 0.35, 1.22) and with reduced hazard of virologic failure over follow-up (hazard ratio 0.69, 95% CL 0.50, 0.95). The adjusted time ratio for failure was 1.44 (95% CL 1.13, 1.84), indicating 44% longer time to event among women pregnant at baseline. Sensitivity analyses generally confirmed main findings.
Pregnancy at HAART initiation is not associated with increased risk of virologic failure at six months or during longer follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3404188  PMID: 22487586
Pregnancy; HIV; highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART); South Africa
9.  The Impact of Revised PMTCT Guidelines: A View From a Public Sector ARV Clinic in Cape Town, South Africa 
In April 2010, revised Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission guidelines were implemented in South Africa, advising fast-tracked lifelong highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) initiation at a higher CD4 count (≤350 cells per microliter). This study describes the impact of these changes on the management of pregnant women who initiated HAART at Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town.
We conducted a retrospective review of all women who initiated HAART in pregnancy at the Tygerberg Hospital between January 2008 and December 2010. Year cohorts were compared.
Two hundred and fifty HIV-infected women were included in the study and stratified by HAART initiation year: 2008:N = 82, 2009:N = 71, 2010:N = 97. There were no differences between the groups in age or parity. Median booking CD4 count was 155 cells per microliter [interquartile range (IQR) 107–187], 157 cells per microliter (IQR 104–206) and 208 cells per microliter (IQR 138–270), respectively (P < 0.001). Median gestation at HAART initiation was 31 weeks (IQR 27–35), 30 weeks (IQR 26–34), and 25 weeks (IQR 21–31; P < 0.001). HIV transmission rates were 3/65 (4.6%), 4/57 (7.0%), and 0/90 (0.0%; P = 0.021). Women <8 weeks on HAART before delivery were more likely to transmit than women ≥8 weeks [odds ratio 9.69; 95% confidence interval 1.66 to 56.58; P = 0.017]. Ninety-four (37.6%) women were lost to follow-up, 18.4% within 28 days of delivery.
The positive impact of the new Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission program is evident. A longer duration of HAART before delivery was associated with less transmission. However, the lost to follow-up rates remain concerning. Further research is needed to better understand the reasons for nonadherence and mechanisms to improve support for these women.
PMCID: PMC3707566  PMID: 23422849
HIV; antenatal; antiretroviral therapy; mother-to-child transmission; South Africa
10.  Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome among HIV-infected South African infants initiating antiretroviral therapy 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(9):1097-1107.
To determine the incidence, clinical manifestations and risk factors for immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) in young children initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
A prospective cohort of antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected children less than 24 months of age enrolled in a treatment strategies trial in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Among 169 HIV-infected children initiating HAART, April 2005 to November 2006, the records of 83 children suspected to have IRIS within 6 months of starting treatment were reviewed to determine whether they met criteria for IRIS. Seven were excluded due to incomplete follow-up. Pretreatment and post-treatment characteristics of children with and without IRIS were compared.
Overall, 34/162 (21%) children developed IRIS at a median of 16 days (range 7–115 days) post-HAART initiation. Bacille Calmette-Guérin reaction was most common occurring in 24/34 (71%) children, primarily injection site lesions and/or ipsilateral axillary lymphadenitis with abscess. Other IRIS conditions (not mutually exclusive) included Mycobacterium tuberculosis (n = 12), cytomegalovirus pneumonia (n = 1), Streptococcus pneumonia sepsis (n = 1), and severe seborrheic dermatitis (n = 1). Children with IRIS were younger (median age 7 vs. 10 months, P = 0.007) with a lower CD4 cell percentage (median 13.9 vs. 19.2, P = 0.009) at HAART initiation than controls. After 24 weeks on HAART, 62% of IRIS cases vs. 28% of controls had HIV RNA more than 400 copies/ml (P = 0.001), odds ratio = 2.88 (95% confidence interval = 1.14–7.29) after adjusting for baseline factors.
Infants and young children with advanced HIV disease initiating HAART are at high risk for developing IRIS, leading to additional morbidity and possibly impairing virologic response to antiretroviral treatment.
PMCID: PMC2810152  PMID: 19417581
immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome; pediatric HAART; pediatric HIV
11.  Tuberculosis treatment and risk of stavudine substitution in first line antiretroviral therapy 
Treatment for tuberculosis (TB) is common among individuals receiving stavudine-containing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), but the effect of TB treatment on stavudine toxicity has received little attention. We estimated the effect of TB treatment on risk of stavudine substitution among individuals receiving first-line HAART.
We evaluated a cohort of 7,066 patients who initiated HAART between April 2004 and March 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Three exposure categories were considered: ongoing TB treatment at HAART initiation; concurrent initiation of TB treatment and HAART; incident TB treatment after HAART initiation. The outcome was single-drug stavudine substitution. Adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) were estimated using marginal structural models to control for confounding, loss to follow-up, and competing risks.
Individuals with ongoing and concurrent TB treatment were at increased risk of stavudine substitution, irrespective of stavudine dose. For ongoing TB treatment, aHR was 3.18 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.82-5.56) in the first two months of HAART, 2.51 (95% CI 1.77-3.54) in months 3-6, and 1.19 (95% CI 0.94-1.52) thereafter. For concurrent TB treatment, aHR was 6.60 (95% CI 3.03-14.37) in the first two months,1.88 (95% CI 0.87-4.09) in months 3-6, and 1.07 (95% CI 0.65-1.76) thereafter. There was no effect of incident TB on stavudine substitution risk.
Risk of stavudine substitution was increased among patients receiving TB treatment, especially soon after HAART initiation. In settings where alternative antiretroviral drugs are available, initiation of stavudine in patients receiving TB treatment may need to be reconsidered.
PMCID: PMC2787193  PMID: 19385733
Tuberculosis treatment; HIV; stavudine; highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART); drug interactions
12.  Efavirenz Conceptions and Regimen Management in a Prospective Cohort of Women on Antiretroviral Therapy 
Use of the antiretroviral drug efavirenz (EFV) is not recommended by the WHO or South African HIV treatment guidelines during the first trimester of pregnancy due to potential fetal teratogenicity; there is little evidence of how clinicians manage EFV-related fertility concerns. Women on antiretroviral therapy (ART) were enrolled into a prospective cohort in four public clinics in Johannesburg, South Africa. Fertility intentions, ART regimens, and pregnancy testing were routinely assessed during visits. Women reporting that they were trying to conceive while on EFV were referred for regimen changes. Kaplan-Meier estimators were used to assess incidence across ART regimens. From the 822 women with followup visits between August 2009–March 2011, 170 pregnancies were detected during study followup, including 56 EFV conceptions. Pregnancy incidence rates were comparable across EFV, nevirapine, and lopinavir/ritonavir person-years (95% 100/users (P = 0.25)); incidence rates on EFV were 18.6 Confidence Interval: 14.2–24.2). Treatment substitution from EFV was made for 57 women, due to pregnancy intentions or actual pregnancy; however, regimen changes were not systematically applied across women. High rates of pregnancy on EFV and inconsistencies in treatment management suggest that clearer guidelines are needed regarding how to manage fertility-related issues in. women on EFV-based regimens.
PMCID: PMC3384948  PMID: 22778534
13.  Antiretroviral therapy at a district hospital in Ethiopia prevents death and tuberculosis in a cohort of HIV patients 
Although highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) reduces mortality in the developed world, it remains undocumented in resource-poor settings. We assessed the effect of HAART on patient mortality and tuberculosis incidence rate under routine clinical care conditions in Ethiopia. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of HAART on patient mortality and tuberculosis incidence rate under routine clinical care conditions in a resource-limited setting in south Ethiopia. Starting in January 2003, we followed all consecutive adult HIV infected patients who visited the HIV clinic. Since August 2003, we treated patients with HAART. Only basic laboratory services were available.
We followed 185 patients in the pre-HAART cohort and 180 patients in the HAART cohort. The mortality rate was 15.4 per 100 person-years of observation (PYO) in the HAART group and tuberculosis incidence rate was 3.7 per 100 PYO. In the pre-HAART group, the mortality rate was 58.1 per 100 PYO and the tuberculosis incidence rate was 11.1 per 100 PYO. HAART resulted in a 65% decline in mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [95%CI] = 0.35 [0.19–0.63]; P < 0.001). Tuberculosis incidence rate was lower in the HAART group (adjusted hazard ratio [95%CI] = 0.11 [0.03–0.48]; P < 0.01). Most of the deaths occurred during the first three months of treatment.
HAART improved survival and decreased tuberculosis incidence to a level similar to that achieved in the developed countries during the early years of HAART. However, both the mortality and the tuberculosis incidence rate were much higher in terms of absolute figures in this resource-limited setting. Attention should be paid to the early weeks of treatment when mortality is high. The high tuberculosis incidence rate, when coupled with the improved survival, may lead to increased tuberculosis transmission. This highlights the need for strengthening tuberculosis prevention efforts with the scale-up of treatment programmes
PMCID: PMC1475602  PMID: 16600050
14.  Preliminary outcomes of a paediatric highly active antiretroviral therapy cohort from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 
BMC Pediatrics  2007;7:13.
Few studies address the use of paediatric highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in Africa.
We performed a retrospective cohort study to investigate preliminary outcomes of all children eligible for HAART at Sinikithemba HIV/AIDS clinic in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Immunologic, virologic, clinical, mortality, primary caregiver, and psychosocial variables were collected and analyzed.
From August 31, 2003 until October 31, 2005, 151 children initiated HAART. The median age at HAART initiation was 5.7 years (range 0.3–15.4). Median follow-up time of the cohort after HAART initiation was 8 months (IQR 3.5–13.5). The median change in CD4% from baseline (p < 0.001) was 10.2 (IQR 5.0–13.8) at 6 months (n = 90), and 16.2 (IQR 9.6–20.3) at 12 months (n = 59). Viral loads (VLs) were available for 100 children at 6 months of which 84% had HIV-1 RNA levels ≤ 50 copies/mL. At 12 months, 80.3% (n = 61) had undetectable VLs. Sixty-five out of 88 children (73.8%) reported a significant increase (p < 0.001) in weight after the first month. Eighty-nine percent of the cohort (n = 132) reported ≤ 2 missed doses during any given treatment month (> 95%adherence). Seventeen patients (11.3%) had a regimen change; two (1.3%) were due to antiretroviral toxicity. The Kaplan-Meier one year survival estimate was 90.9% (95%confidence interval (CI) 84.8–94.6). Thirteen children died during follow-up (8.6%), one changed service provider, and no children were lost to follow-up. All 13 deaths occurred in children with advanced HIV disease within 5 months of treatment initiation. In multivariate analysis of baseline variables against mortality using Cox proportional-hazards model, chronic gastroenteritis was associated with death [hazard ratio (HR), 12.34; 95%CI, 1.27–119.71) and an HIV-positive primary caregiver was found to be protective against mortality [HR, 0.12; 95%CI, 0.02–0.88). Age, orphanhood, baseline CD4%, and hemoglobin were not predicators of mortality in our cohort. Fifty-two percent of the cohort had at least one HIV-positive primary caregiver, and 38.4% had at least one primary caregiver also on HAART at Sinikithemba clinic.
This report suggests that paediatric HAART can be effective despite the challenges of a resource-limited setting.
PMCID: PMC1847430  PMID: 17367540
15.  Integration of Antiretroviral Therapy Services into Antenatal Care Increases Treatment Initiation during Pregnancy: A Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63328.
Initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) during pregnancy is critical to promote maternal health and prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT). The separation of services for antenatal care (ANC) and ART may hinder antenatal ART initiation. We evaluated ART initiation during pregnancy under different service delivery models in Cape Town, South Africa.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted using routinely collected clinic data. Three models for ART initiation in pregnancy were evaluated ART ‘integrated’ into ANC, ART located ‘proximal’ to ANC, and ART located some distance away from ANC (‘distal’). Kaplan-Meier methods and Poisson regression were used to examine the association between service delivery model and antenatal ART initiation.
Among 14 617 women seeking antenatal care in the three services, 30% were HIV-infected and 17% were eligible for ART based on CD4 cell count <200 cells/µL. A higher proportion of women started ART antenatally in the integrated model compared to the proximal or distal models (55% vs 38% vs 45%, respectively, global p = 0.003). After adjusting for age and gestation at first ANC visit, women who at the integrated service were significantly more likely to initiate ART antenatally (rate ratio 1.33; 95% confidence interval: 1.09–1.64) compared to women attending the distal model; there was no difference between the proximal and distal models in antenatal ART initiation however (p = 0.704).
Integration of ART initiation into ANC is associated with higher levels of ART initiation in pregnancy. This and other forms of service integration may represent a valuable intervention to enhance PMTCT and maternal health.
PMCID: PMC3656005  PMID: 23696814
16.  Impact of gender on response to highly active antiretroviral therapy in HIV-1 infected patients: a nationwide population-based cohort study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:293.
Impact of gender on time to initiation, response to and risk of modification of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV-1 infected individuals is still controversial.
From a nationwide cohort of Danish HIV infected individuals we identified all heterosexually infected women (N=587) and heterosexually infected men (N=583) with no record of Hepatitis C infection diagnosed with HIV after 1 January 1997. Among these subjects, 473 women (81%) and 435 men (75%) initiated HAART from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2009. We used Cox regression to calculate hazard ratio (HR) for time to initiation of HAART, Poisson regression to assess incidence rate ratios (IRR) of risk of treatment modification the first year, logistic regression to estimate differences in the proportion with an undetectable viral load, and linear regression to detect differences in CD4 count at year 1, 3 and 6 after start of HAART.
At initiation of HAART, women were younger, predominantly of Black ethnicity and had a higher CD4 count (adjusted p=0.026) and lower viral load (adjusted p=0.0003). When repeating the analysis excluding pregnant women no difference was seen in CD4 counts (adjusted p=0.21). We observed no delay in time to initiation of HAART in women compared to men (HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.79-1.06). There were no gender differences in risk of treatment modification of the original HAART regimen during the first year of therapy for either toxicity (IRR 0.97 95% CI 0.66-1.44) or other/unknown reasons (IRR 1.18 95% CI 0.76-1.82). Finally, CD4 counts and the risk of having a detectable viral load at 1, 3 and 6 years did not differ between genders.
In a setting with free access to healthcare and HAART, gender does neither affect time from eligibility to HAART, modification of therapy nor virological and immunological response to HAART. Differences observed between genders are mainly attributable to initiation of HAART in pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC3532129  PMID: 23140254
HIV; Gender differences; Modification; HAART; Viral suppression
17.  Effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy and its adherence on herpes zoster incidence: a longitudinal cohort study 
Herpes zoster (HZ) is common among HIV-infected individuals, but the impacts of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and HAART adherence on HZ risk have not been well studied.
The effects of HAART and HAART adherence on HZ incidence were evaluated by comparing HIV-infected women on HAART (HAART use group) with the HIV-infected women remaining HAART naïve (HAART naïve group) in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). A 1:1 matching with propensity score for predicting HAART initiation was conducted to balance background covariates at index visit, including HIV disease stage. Kaplan-Meier method was used to compare the risk of HZ development between the matched pairs. Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the effects of HAART and HAART adherence on HZ incidence.
Through propensity score matching, 389 pairs of participants were identified and they contributed 3,909 person years after matching. The background covariates were similar between the matched pairs at the index visit. The participants had a mean age around 39 years old, and about 61% of them were Black and 22% were Latina. No significant difference in HZ risk was observed between the HAART use group and the HAART naïve group during the first year of follow-up in any analyses. In the univariate analysis, the HAART use group had marginally lower HZ risk (Hazard Ratio (HR): 0.72; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.48-1.1) over the entire follow-up period. However, women with a HAART adherence level of ≥95% had significantly lower HZ risk (HR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.31, 0.94) compared to the HAART naïve women. The association remained significant after adjusting for quality of life score and acyclovir use, but it attenuated and was no longer statistically significant after adjusting for an intermediate variable, either CD4+ T cell counts or HIV viral load.
Among adult women, we observed a significant preventive effect of long-term HAART use on HZ incidence when a HAART adherence level of ≥95% was attained, and this effect was mediated through reduction of HIV viral load and improvement of CD4+ T cell counts.
PMCID: PMC3904465  PMID: 24373482
HAART; Adherence; Herpes zoster; Incidence; Propensity score
18.  Gender-Based Differences in Treatment and Outcome among HIV Patients in South India 
Journal of Women's Health  2008;17(9):1471-1475.
To describe gender-based differences in disease progression, treatment, and outcome among patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in South India.
Therapy-naïve patients initiating HAART between February 1996 and June 2006 at a tertiary HIV referral center in Chennai, South India, were analyzed using the YRG CARE HIV Observational Database. Patients with 1 year of follow-up after initiating HAART were examined to investigate immunological and clinical outcomes, including the development of adverse events to therapy and opportunistic infections.
All previously therapy-naïve patients who initiated HAART with at least 1 year of follow-up (n = 1972) were analyzed. At enrollment into care, women had higher CD4 counts, lower hemoglobin, and higher body mass index (BMI) than their male counterparts (p < 0.05). At the time of initiating therapy, women had higher CD4 counts and lower hemoglobin (p < 0.05); women continued to have higher CD4 counts at 12 months (p < 0.05). After 1 year following HAART initiation, significantly more men developed tuberculosis and Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (p < 0.05), more women experienced lactic acidosis and nausea, and more men developed immune reconstitution syndrome (p < 0.05).
Significant physiological, immunological, and clinical differences exist between men and women initiating HAART in a resource-limited setting in South India. Future studies should examine whether clinical management strategies should be different for men and women in resource-limited settings.
PMCID: PMC2945934  PMID: 18954236
19.  Effects of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Duration and Regimen on Risk for Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Johannesburg, South Africa 
Limited information exists about effects of different highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimens and duration of regimens on mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV among women in Africa who start treatment for advanced immunosuppression.
Between January 2004 to August 2008, 1,142 women were followed at antenatal antiretroviral clinics in Johannesburg. Predictors of MTCT (positive infant HIV DNA PCR at 4-6 weeks) were assessed with multivariate logistic regression.
Mean age was 30.2 years (SD=5.0) and median baseline CD4 count was 161 cells/mm3 (SD=84.3). HAART duration at time of delivery was a mean 10.7 weeks (SD=7.4) for the 85% of women who initiated treatment during pregnancy and 93.4 weeks (SD=37.7) for those who became pregnant on HAART. Overall MTCT rate was 4.9% (43/874), with no differences detected between HAART regimens. MTCT rates were lower in women who became pregnant on HAART than those initiating HAART during pregnancy (0.7% versus 5.7%; p=0.01). In the latter group, each additional week of treatment reduced odds of transmission by 8% (95% CI: 0.87-0.99, p=0.02).
Late initiation of HAART is associated with increased risk of MTCT. Strategies are needed to facilitate earlier identification of HIV-infected women.
PMCID: PMC2880466  PMID: 20216425
HIV/AIDS; pregnancy; highly active antiretroviral therapy; mother-to-child transmission; integration; South Africa
20.  Antiretroviral therapy using zidovudine, lamivudine, and efavirenz in South Africa: tolerability and clinical events 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(1):67-74.
To describe the safety and tolerability of zidovudine, lamivudine, and efavirenz in a low-income setting.
We conducted a prospective cohort study in a workplace HAART programme in South Africa, which uses a first-line regimen of efavirenz, zidovudine, and lamivudine and provides routine clinical and laboratory monitoring 6-monthly pre-HAART and at 2, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 weeks during HAART.
We assessed the incidence of specified clinical and laboratory events (AIDS Clinical Trials Group grade 3 or higher) and associated regimen changes, hospitalizations, and deaths one year before HAART initiation and one year on-HAART using person-year analysis.
Between November 2002 and October 2005, 853 subjects (98% male, median age 40 years, and median CD4 cell count at HAART initiation 186 cells/μl) met enrollment criteria. The incidence of events on-HAART was higher than pre-HAART for neutropenia and nausea/vomiting. Dizziness was common early after HAART initiation (not evaluated pre-HAART). Of those with neutropenia, 88% had no apparent clinical consequences. The incidence of anemia, hepatotoxicity, peripheral neuropathy, and rash was similar or higher pre-HAART than on-HAART. Mean hemoglobin rose during the time on-HAART and was higher at 24 and 48 weeks than at baseline (P < 0.001).
This regimen was well tolerated with a short-term increase in neutropenia, nausea, and probably neurocerebellar events. Most significantly, in contrast to reports from high-income countries, we observed a long-term improvement in the hemoglobin concentration.
PMCID: PMC3724474  PMID: 18090393
21.  Incidence and risk factors for verrucae in women 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(10):1213-1219.
To describe the incidence and risk factors for verrucae in HIV-infected and uninfected women.
Design and Methods
A prospective study of 1,790 HIV-infected and 772 uninfected women. Skin examinations and interviews were performed every six months over an 8-year study period. Data collected at each visit included antiretroviral therapy use since the prior visit, CD4 counts, HIV RNA loads, and location, description, and diagnosis of verrucae. Incidence rates of cutaneous and anogenital warts were determined.
Unadjusted cumulative incidence of cutaneous warts for HIV-uninfected women was 6.6%, 6.7% for HIV-infected women who initiated HAART, and 8.4% for HIV-infected, HAART-naïve women. The unadjusted cumulative incidence of anogenital verrucae for HIV-uninfected women was 9.3%, 28.4% for HIV-infected women who initiated HAART, and 25.1% for HIV-infected women who were HAART-naïve. Multivariate proportional hazard models revealed the following significant factors for the development of cutaneous verrucae among HIV-infected women: Black race (RH=0.50) and Hispanic ethnicity (RH=0.38), compared to White race. Risk factors for anogenital verrucae were: more recent recruitment (RH=0.63), HPV infection at baseline (RH=1.85), decade of age (RH=0.82), current smoker (RH=1.40), lowest CD4 count (per 100 cells/mm3) in the past 4 years (RH=0.85), and log10 higher HIV viral load at the prior visit (RH=1.34).
HIV-infected women had a significantly increased cumulative incidence of anogenital verrucae compared to HIV-uninfected women. Although HAART did not alter the risk of developing skin or anogenital warts, those with higher CD4 cell counts and lower HIV RNA had a lower risk of developing anogenital warts.
PMCID: PMC2615554  PMID: 18525267
HAART; HIV infection; incidence; risk factors; verrucae; women
22.  Aboriginal status is a prognostic factor for mortality among antiretroviral naïve HIV-positive individuals first initiating HAART 
Although the impact of Aboriginal status on HIV incidence, HIV disease progression, and access to treatment has been investigated previously, little is known about the relationship between Aboriginal ethnicity and outcomes associated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We undertook the present analysis to determine if Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal persons respond differently to HAART by measuring HIV plasma viral load response, CD4 cell response and time to all-cause mortality.
A population-based analysis of a cohort of antiretroviral therapy naïve HIV-positive Aboriginal men and women 18 years or older in British Columbia, Canada. Participants were antiretroviral therapy naïve, initiated triple combination therapy between August 1, 1996 and September 30, 1999. Participants had to complete a baseline questionnaire as well as have at least two follow-up CD4 and HIV plasma viral load measures. The primary endpoints were CD4 and HIV plasma viral load response and all cause mortality. Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine the association between Aboriginal status and CD4 cell response, HIV plasma viral load response and all-cause mortality while controlling for several confounder variables.
A total of 622 participants met the study criteria. Aboriginal status was significantly associated with no AIDS diagnosis at baseline (p = 0.0296), having protease inhibitor in the first therapy (p = 0.0209), lower baseline HIV plasma viral load (p < 0.001), less experienced HIV physicians (P = 0.0133), history of IDU (p < 0.001), not completing high school (p = 0.0046), and an income of less than $10,000 per year (p = 0.0115). Cox proportional hazards models controlling for clinical characteristics found that Aboriginal status had an increased hazard of mortality (HR = 3.12, 95% CI: 1.77–5.48) but did not with HIV plasma viral load response (HR = 1.15, 95% CI: 0.89–1.48) or CD4 cell response (HR = 0.95, 95% CI: 0.73–1.23).
Our study demonstrates that HIV-infected Aboriginal persons accessing HAART had similar HIV treatment response as non-Aboriginal persons but have a shorter survival. This study highlights the need for continued research on medical interventions and behavioural changes among HIV-infected Aboriginal and other marginalized populations.
PMCID: PMC1538994  PMID: 16723028
23.  Clinical, demographic and laboratory parameters at HAART initiation associated with decreased post-HAART survival in a U.S. military prospective HIV cohort 
Although highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has improved HIV survival, some patients receiving therapy are still dying. This analysis was conducted to identify factors associated with increased risk of post-HAART mortality.
We evaluated baseline (prior to HAART initiation) clinical, demographic and laboratory factors (including CD4+ count and HIV RNA level) for associations with subsequent mortality in 1,600 patients who began HAART in a prospective observational cohort of HIV-infected U.S. military personnel.
Cumulative mortality was 5%, 10% and 18% at 4, 8 and 12 years post-HAART. Mortality was highest (6.23 deaths/100 person-years [PY]) in those with ≤ 50 CD4+ cells/mm3 before HAART initiation, and became progressively lower as CD4+ counts increased (0.70/100 PY with ≥ 500 CD4+ cells/mm3). In multivariate analysis, factors significantly (p < 0.05) associated with post-HAART mortality included: increasing age among those ≥ 40 years (Hazard ratio [HR] = 1.32 per 5 year increase), clinical AIDS events before HAART (HR = 1.93), ≤ 50 CD4+ cells/mm3 (vs. CD4+ ≥ 500, HR = 2.97), greater HIV RNA level (HR = 1.36 per one log10 increase), hepatitis C antibody or chronic hepatitis B (HR = 1.96), and HIV diagnosis before 1996 (HR = 2.44). Baseline CD4+ = 51-200 cells (HR = 1.74, p = 0.06), and hemoglobin < 12 gm/dL for women or < 13.5 for men (HR = 1.36, p = 0.07) were borderline significant.
Although treatment has improved HIV survival, defining those at greatest risk for death after HAART initiation, including demographic, clinical and laboratory correlates of poorer prognoses, can help identify a subset of patients for whom more intensive monitoring, counseling, and care interventions may improve clinical outcomes and post-HAART survival.
PMCID: PMC3320559  PMID: 22339893
Highly active antiretroviral therapy; mortality; CD4+ lymphocyte count
24.  Long term outcomes of antiretroviral therapy in a large HIV/AIDS care clinic in urban South Africa: a prospective cohort study 
Clinical, immunologic and virologic outcomes at large HIV/AIDS care clinics in resource poor settings are poorly described beyond the first year of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART). We aimed to prospectively evaluate long-term treatment outcomes at a large scale HIV/AIDS care clinic in South Africa.
Cohort study of patients initiating HAART between April 1, 2004 and March 13, 2007, and followed up until April 1, 2008 at a public HIV/AIDS care clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. We performed time to event analysis on key treatment outcomes and program impact parameters including mortality, retention in care, CD4 count gain, virologic success and first line regimen durability.
7583 HIV-infected patients initiated care and contributed to 161,000 person months follow up. Overall mortality rate was low (2.9 deaths per 100 person years, 95% CI 2.6-3.2), but high in the first three months of HAART (8.4 per 100 person years, 95% CI 7.2-9.9). Long-term on-site retention in care was relatively high (74.4% at 4 years, 95%CI 73.2-75.6). CD4 count was above 200 cells/mm3 after 6 months of treatment in almost all patients. By the fourth year of HAART, the majority (59.6%, 95%CI 57.8-61.4) of patients had at least one first line drug (mainly stavudine) substituted. Women were twice as likely to experience drug substitution (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.80-2.16). By 6 months of HAART, 90.8% suppressed virus below 400 copies. Among those with initial viral suppression, 9.4% (95% CI 8.5-10.3%) had viral rebound within one year of viral suppression, 16.8% (95% CI 15.5-18.1) within 2 years, and 20.6% (95% CI 18.9-22.4) within 3 years of initial suppression. Only 10% of women and 13% of men initiated second line HAART.
Despite advanced disease presentation and a very large-scale program, high quality care was achieved as indicated by good long-term clinical, immunologic and virologic outcomes and a low rate of second line HAART initiation. High rates of single drug substitution suggest that the public health approach to HAART could be further improved by the use of a more durable first line regimen.
PMCID: PMC2811100  PMID: 20017918
25.  Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Children in Peru 
Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) after initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has not been widely studied in children, especially in resource-poor settings.
Retrospective cohort study of HIV-infected children initiating HAART between 2001 and 2006 at a tertiary pediatric hospital in Lima, Peru. Charts were reviewed for 1 year after HAART initiation. IRIS was defined as a HAART-associated adverse event caused by an infectious or inflammatory condition in patients with documented virologic or immunologic success.
Ninety-one children (52% female) received HAART for at least 1 year. Median age at initiation was 5.7 years; 91% were ART naive and 73% had CDC stage C disease. The incidence of IRIS was 19.8 events per 100 person years (95% CI: 11.5–28.0). Median time to IRIS was 6.6 weeks after HAART initiation (range: 2–32 weeks). There were 18 IRIS events, 11 unmasking and 7 paradoxical. These included associations with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 4 cases, Bacillus Calmette Guerin lymphadenitis in 1 case, varicella zoster virus in 6 cases and herpes simplex labialis in 6 cases. Children who developed IRIS had a higher baseline HIV viral load (P = 0.02) and an indicator of malnutrition (P = 0.007) before HAART initiation.
IRIS occurred in 20% of HIV-infected children starting HAART in Peru and was associated with more advanced disease and malnutrition. Future research is needed to examine specific risk factors associated with pediatric IRIS to allow prompt identification and treatment of IRIS.
PMCID: PMC3514443  PMID: 19687769
immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome; HIV; AIDS; HAART; children

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