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1.  Resistance to tenofovir-based regimens during treatment failure of subtype C HIV-1 in South Africa 
Antiviral therapy  2013;18(7):915-920.
Background
Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) is increasingly available for patients infected with subtype C HIV-1. This subtype is reported to develop the principle TDF resistance mutation in the HIV reverse transcriptase, K65R, with greater propensity than other subtypes. We sought to describe K65R development during TDF use in a cohort of patients infected with subtype C HIV.
Methods
Using a prospectively followed cohort with 6 monthly HIV RNA assays, we identified virologic failure (defined as an HIV RNA >1000 c/mL) during treatment that included TDF. Residual serum, stored at the time of the HIV RNA assay, was used for consensus sequencing and allele-specific PCR. We assessed prevalence of resistance at failure during TDF-containing treatment and associated factors.
Results
Among 1,682 patients on a TDF-containing regimen, 270 developed failure of which 40 were assessed for resistance. By sequencing, the K65R was identified in 5 (12%), major NNRTI mutations in 24 (57%), and the M184V/I in 12 (28%) patients. The K65R was associated with lower HIV RNA at failure (HIV RNA log10 3.3 versus 4.2 c/mL) and prior stavudine exposure. An additional 5 patients had minority K65R populations identified by allele-specific PCR.
Conclusions
These data suggest that the K65R prevalence at virologic failure is moderately higher in our subtype C population than some non-subtype C HIV cohorts. However, we did not find that the K65R was highly selected in HIV-1 subtype C infected patients with up to 6 months of failure of a TDF-containing regimen.
doi:10.3851/IMP2652
PMCID: PMC4046272  PMID: 23751421
2.  Maternal hepatitis B and infant infection among pregnant women living with HIV in South Africa 
Introduction
Globally, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the leading cause of liver-related mortality. Newborn vaccination, maternal antiviral therapy and administering hepatitis B immune globulin shortly after birth can greatly reduce the risk of perinatal and infant infection. However, evidence-based policy regarding these interventions in Africa is hampered by gaps in knowledge of HBV epidemiology. We describe maternal chronic hepatitis B (CHB) prevalence and infant infection during the first year of life within a cohort of women living with HIV.
Methods
We recruited and prospectively followed pregnant women living with HIV and their infants from prenatal clinics in an urban area of South Africa. Hepatitis B surface antigen, anti-hepatitis B surface antibodies and HBV DNA were assessed in all women. Hepatitis B testing was also performed at 6 and 52 weeks for all infants born to mothers with either positive surface antigen or detectable HBV DNA.
Results
We enrolled 189 women with a median age of 29 years and median CD4 count of 348 cells/mm3. Fourteen had a positive surface antigen (7.4%), of which six were positive for “e” antigen. An additional three had detectable HBV DNA without positive surface antigen. One infant developed CHB and three others had evidence of transmission based on positive HBV DNA assays. HBV vaccinations were delivered at six weeks of life to all infants.
Conclusions
Our findings highlight the risk of peripartum HBV transmission in this setting. Approaches to reducing this transmission should be considered.
doi:10.7448/IAS.17.1.18871
PMCID: PMC4032505  PMID: 24855985
HIV; HBV; peripartum; transmission; vaccination; Africa; occult HBV
3.  Changing predictors of mortality over time from cART start: implications for care 
Objective
To determine predictors of mortality and changes in those predictors over time on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in South Africa.
Design
A cohort study.
Methods
Using routine clinic data with up to 4 years follow-up after ART initiation and with death ascertainment from a national vital statistics register, we used proportional hazards modeling to assess baseline and time-updated predictors of mortality, and changes in strength of those predictors over time on cART. Furthermore, we compared CD4 count among individuals who died by duration on cART.
Results
15,060 subjects (64% men, median CD4 count 127 cells/mm3) started antiretroviral therapy between January 2003 and January 2008. Over a median follow-up of 1.8 years, 2,658 subjects died. The baseline characteristics of WHO stage, haemoglobin, CD4 count, HIV RNA level, and symptoms were all associated with mortality during the first 12 months of cART but lost association thereafter. However time updated factors of CD4 count, body mass index, symptoms, anemia, and HIV RNA suppression remained strong predictors of death. Most recent CD4 count prior to death rose from 71 during the first 3 months of cART to 175 cells/mm3 after >3 years of cART.
Conclusion
Over 4 years of cART, risk of death declined and associations with mortality changed. An increase in CD4 count at death and changing associations with mortality may suggest a shift in causes of death, possibly from opportunistic infections to other infections and chronic illnesses.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31823219d1
PMCID: PMC4009722  PMID: 21876447
mortality; HIV; resource limited setting; Africa; antiretroviral therapy; proportional hazards
4.  Mortality associated with delays between clinic entry and ART initiation in resource-limited-settings: results of a transition-state model 
Objective
Estimate the mortality impact of delay in antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation from the time of entry-into-care.
Design
A state-transition Markov process model. This technique allows for assessing mortality before and after ART initiation associated with delays in ART initiation among a general population of ART eligible patients without conducting a randomized trial.
Methods
We used patient-level data from three South African cohorts to determine transition probabilities for pre-ART CD4 count changes and pre-ART and on-ART mortality. For each parameter we generated probabilities and distributions for Monte Carlo simulations with one week cycles to estimate mortality 52 weeks from clinic entry.
Results
We estimated an increase in mortality from 11.0% to 14.7% (relative increase of 34%) with a 10 week delay in ART for patients entering care with our pre-ART cohort CD4 distribution. When we examined low CD4 ranges, the relative increase in mortality delays remained similar; however, the absolute increase in mortality rose. For example, among patients entering with CD4 count 50–99 cells/mm3, 12 month mortality increased from 13.3% with no delay compared to 17.0% with a 10 week delay and 22.9% with a 6 month delay.
Conclusions
Delays in ART initiation, common in routine HIV programs, can lead to important increases in mortality. Prompt ART initiation for patients entering clinical care and eligible for ART, especially those with lower CD4 counts, could be a relatively low cost approach with a potential marked impact on mortality.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182893fb4
PMCID: PMC3647455  PMID: 23392457
ART delay; Africa; CD4 count; mortality; state-transition model
5.  CD4 count slope and mortality in HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy: multi-cohort analysis from South Africa 
Background
In many resource-limited settings monitoring of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) is based on the current CD4 count, with limited access to HIV RNA tests or laboratory diagnostics. We examined whether the CD4 count slope over 6 months could provide additional prognostic information.
Methods
We analyzed data from a large multi-cohort study in South Africa, where HIV RNA is routinely monitored. Adult HIV-positive patients initiating cART between 2003 and 2010 were included. Mortality was analyzed in Cox models; CD4 count slope by HIV RNA level was assessed using linear mixed models.
Results
44,829 patients (median age 35 years, 58% female, median CD4 count at cART initiation 116 cells/mm3) were followed-up for a median of 1.9 years, with 3,706 deaths. Mean CD4 count slopes per week ranged from 1.4 (95% CI: 1.2, 1.6) cells/mm3 when HIV RNA was <400 copies/mL to −0.32 (95% CI: −0.47, −0.18) cells/mm3 with >100,000 copies/mL. The association of CD4 slope with mortality depended on current CD4 count: the adjusted hazard ratio (aHRs) comparing a >25% increase over 6 months with a >25% decrease was 0.68 (95% CI 0.58-0.79) at <100 cells/mm3 but 1.11 (95% CI 0.78-1.58) at 201-350 cells/mm3. In contrast, the aHR for current CD4 count, comparing >350 with <100 cells/mm3, was 0.10 (95% CI 0.05-0.20).
Conclusions
Absolute CD4 count remains a strong risk for mortality with a stable effect size over the first four years of cART. However, CD4 count slope and HIV RNA provide independently added to the model.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318287c1fe
PMCID: PMC3655761  PMID: 23344547
6.  Cotrimoxazole Prophylaxis and Tuberculosis Risk among People Living with HIV 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83750.
Objectives
Many randomized and cohort studies have reported a survival benefit with cotrimoxazole prophylaxis without detecting a difference in tuberculosis (TB) incidence by cotrimoxazole status. However, several in vitro studies have reported that cotrimoxazole possesses anti-TB activity. We sought to compare TB incidence and TB diagnostic yield by cotrimoxazole use among participants in a well characterized cohort of HIV-infected adults living in a high TB prevalence region.
Methods
We analyzed prospective data from a long-term longitudinal cohort of adults receiving HIV care and TB investigations in Soweto, South Africa. Using longitudinal analysis, we compared total and laboratory confirmed TB incidence by cotrimoxazole status as well as all-cause mortality. In addition, we compared TB culture results by cotrimoxazole status.
Results
In a multivariable analysis, adjusted for sex, body mass index, WHO clinical stage, time-updated CD4 count, and antiretroviral therapy status, we observed an association between cotrimoxazole and an increase in TB incidence (hazard ratio 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.2). However, when restricted to laboratory-confirmed TB, there was no association between cotrimoxazole and TB incidence (hazard ratio: 0.97, 95% CI: 0.39, 2.4). In TB cases, we found no difference in the proportion of positive sputum cultures or days to culture positivity by cotrimoxazole status. Cotrimoxazole was associated with a reduction in mortality.
Conclusions
In this cohort with a mortality benefit from cotrimoxazole, we found an increased risk of all TB among individuals using cotrimoxazole, likely a result of residual confounding, but no association between use of cotrimoxazole and laboratory-confirmed TB. Cotrimoxazole did not compromise TB diagnosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083750
PMCID: PMC3885446  PMID: 24421903
7.  Prevalence and Associations with Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infection Amongst HIV-infected Adults in South Africa 
International journal of STD & AIDS  2012;23(10):e10-e13.
We assessed prevalence and factors associated with hepatitis B in a cross-section of HIV-infected primary care and anti-natal clinic patients in South Africa and evaluated a rapid hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) assay. We enrolled 998 patients; 88% were women, median age was 29 years, and median CD4 count was 354 cells/mm3. HBsAg ELISA, anti-hepatitis B core (HBc) antibodies, and hepatitis C virus antibody were positive among 4.2%, 37%, and 0.1% of subjects, respectively. Univariate and multivariate associations were assessed using logistic regression. Anti-HBc antibodies were associated with alcohol use, traditional medicines, and higher CD4. HBsAg positivity was associated with lower CD4. Compared to the HBsAg ELISA, a rapid HBsAg test had a sensitivity of 75.0% and specificity of 99.6%. In conclusion, we identified a moderate prevalence of both HBsAg and anti-HBc. Importantly, we found subjects with HBsAg positivity had lower CD4 counts.
doi:10.1258/ijsa.2009.009340
PMCID: PMC3724418  PMID: 23104758
HIV/AIDS; HBV; HBsAg; HCV; rapid test; Africa
8.  Tenofovir in second-line ART in Zambia and South Africa: Collaborative analysis of cohort studies 
Objectives
Tenofovir (TDF) is increasingly used in second-line antiretroviral treatment (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa. We compared outcomes of second-line ART containing and not containing TDF in cohort studies from Zambia and the Republic of South Africa (RSA).
Methods
Patients aged ≥ 16 years starting protease inhibitor-based second-line ART in Zambia (1 cohort) and RSA (5 cohorts) were included. We compared mortality, immunological failure (all cohorts) and virological failure (RSA only) between patients receiving and not receiving TDF. Competing risk models and Cox models adjusted for age, sex, CD4 count, time on first-line ART and calendar year were used to analyse mortality and treatment failure, respectively. Hazard ratios (HRs) were combined in fixed-effects meta-analysis.
Findings
1,687 patients from Zambia and 1,556 patients from RSA, including 1,350 (80.0%) and 206 (13.2%) patients starting TDF, were followed over 4,471 person-years. Patients on TDF were more likely to have started second-line ART in recent years, and had slightly higher baseline CD4 counts than patients not on TDF. Overall 127 patients died, 532 were lost to follow-up and 240 patients developed immunological failure. In RSA 94 patients had virologic failure. Combined HRs comparing tenofovir with other regimens were 0.60 (95% CI 0.41–0.87) for immunologic failure and 0.63 (0.38–1.05) for mortality. The HR for virologic failure in RSA was 0.28 (0.09–0.90).
Conclusions
In this observational study patients on TDF-containing second-line ART were less likely to develop treatment failure than patients on other regimens. TDF seems to be an effective component of second-line ART in southern Africa.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182632540
PMCID: PMC3432418  PMID: 22743595
Tenofovir; second-line antiretroviral therapy; southern Africa; treatment failure; mortality
9.  A novel HIV treatment model using private practitioners in South Africa 
Sexually transmitted infections  2012;88(2):136-140.
Objectives
The extent of the HIV epidemic in South Africa may render the public sector capacity inadequate to manage all patients requiring antiretroviral therapy (ART). Private practitioners are an underutilised resource that could be utilized to ease this challenge.
Methods
We developed a model of care using 72 private practitioners in five provinces in urban and rural areas of South Africa with centralised clinical support, training, pharmacy control and data management. We describe the programme, its quality control measures and patient outcomes using a cohort analysis.
Results
Between January 2005 and December 2008, 9,102 individuals were started on ART, 63% female, mean age 35 years, median viral load 50,655 copies/ml and median baseline CD4 count 123 cells/μl. Retention (alive and in care) in those who started on ART after 12 months was 63% (5,743/9,102) in the 2005 cohort and did not change by calendar year. After 36 months, retention was 50% and 59%, for those enrolled in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The percentage virally suppressed remained similar over the cohorts at 6 months, 82% vs. 84%, 84% and 85% from 2005 - 2008, p=0.66; but improved slightly at 12 months, 78% vs. 83%, 83% and 84% from 2005 - 2008, p=0.05.
Conclusions
The results show that a well-managed private practitioner-based model can achieve comparable results to public service programmes, although long-term retention needs further evaluation. This model of ART delivery can be used to expand access to ART in areas where the public sector is unable to meet the demand.
doi:10.1136/sextrans-2011-050194
PMCID: PMC3724420  PMID: 22345028
10.  Antiretroviral therapy using zidovudine, lamivudine, and efavirenz in South Africa: tolerability and clinical events 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(1):67-74.
Objective
To describe the safety and tolerability of zidovudine, lamivudine, and efavirenz in a low-income setting.
Design
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Discussion
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.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3282f2306e
PMCID: PMC3724474  PMID: 18090393
11.  High Prevalence of Pulmonary Tuberculosis but Low Sensitivity of Symptom Screening among HIV-Infected Pregnant Women in South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62211.
Symptom screening is a recommended component of intensified case-finding (ICF) for pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) among HIV-infected individuals. Symptomatic individuals are further investigated to either exclude or diagnose pulmonary TB, thus reducing the number of individuals requiring costly laboratory investigation. Those with laboratory evaluations negative for pulmonary TB or who lack symptoms may be eligible for antiretroviral therapy (ART) and/or TB isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT). A four-part symptom screen has been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for identifying TB suspects and those unlikely to have TB. A meta-analysis of studies among HIV-infected individuals calculated a sensitivity of 90.1% for the four-part symptoms screen - of any of cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss - among patients in clinical care, making it an effective tool for identifying most patients with TB. An important population for intensified case-finding not included in that meta-analysis was HIV-infected pregnant women. We undertook a cross-sectional survey among HIV-infected pregnant women receiving prenatal care at community clinics in South Africa. We obtained a four-symptom review and sputum smear microscopy and mycobacterial culture on all participants. Among 1415 women, 226 (16%) had a positive symptom screen, and 35 (2.5%) were newly diagnosed with culture-positive TB. Twelve were on TB treatment at the time of screening, yielding 47 (3.3%) women with prevalent TB. Symptom screening among women without known TB had a sensitivity of 28% and specificity of 84%. The poor performance of symptom screening to identify women with TB suggests that other approaches may be needed for intensified case-finding to be effective for this population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062211
PMCID: PMC3629105  PMID: 23614037
12.  Life Expectancies of South African Adults Starting Antiretroviral Treatment: Collaborative Analysis of Cohort Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(4):e1001418.
Leigh Johnson and colleagues estimate the life expectancies of HIV positive South African adults who are taking antiretroviral therapy by using information from 6 programmes between 2001 and 2010.
Background
Few estimates exist of the life expectancy of HIV-positive adults receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) in low- and middle-income countries. We aimed to estimate the life expectancy of patients starting ART in South Africa and compare it with that of HIV-negative adults.
Methods and Findings
Data were collected from six South African ART cohorts. Analysis was restricted to 37,740 HIV-positive adults starting ART for the first time. Estimates of mortality were obtained by linking patient records to the national population register. Relative survival models were used to estimate the excess mortality attributable to HIV by age, for different baseline CD4 categories and different durations. Non-HIV mortality was estimated using a South African demographic model. The average life expectancy of men starting ART varied between 27.6 y (95% CI: 25.2–30.2) at age 20 y and 10.1 y (95% CI: 9.3–10.8) at age 60 y, while estimates for women at the same ages were substantially higher, at 36.8 y (95% CI: 34.0–39.7) and 14.4 y (95% CI: 13.3–15.3), respectively. The life expectancy of a 20-y-old woman was 43.1 y (95% CI: 40.1–46.0) if her baseline CD4 count was ≥200 cells/µl, compared to 29.5 y (95% CI: 26.2–33.0) if her baseline CD4 count was <50 cells/µl. Life expectancies of patients with baseline CD4 counts ≥200 cells/µl were between 70% and 86% of those in HIV-negative adults of the same age and sex, and life expectancies were increased by 15%–20% in patients who had survived 2 y after starting ART. However, the analysis was limited by a lack of mortality data at longer durations.
Conclusions
South African HIV-positive adults can have a near-normal life expectancy, provided that they start ART before their CD4 count drops below 200 cells/µl. These findings demonstrate that the near-normal life expectancies of HIV-positive individuals receiving ART in high-income countries can apply to low- and middle-income countries as well.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
According to the latest figures, more than 34 million people worldwide currently live with HIV/AIDS. In 2011, an estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV, and in the same year 1.7 million people died from AIDS. Since the beginning of the epidemic in the 1980s, more than 60 million people have contracted HIV and nearly 30 million have died of HIV-related causes. Despite the stark statistics, the life expectancy for people infected with the AIDS virus has dramatically improved over the past decade since the introduction of an effective combination of antiretroviral drugs. In high-income countries, people who are HIV-positive can expect a near-normal life expectancy if they take these drugs (as antiretroviral treatment—ART) throughout their life.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recent studies investigating the life expectancy of people living with HIV have mostly focused on the situation in high-income settings. The situation in low- and middle-income countries is vastly different. People who are diagnosed with HIV are often late in starting treatment, treatments regimes are sometimes interrupted, and a large proportion of patients are lost to follow-up. It is important to gain a realistic estimate of life expectancy in low- and middle-income countries so patients can be given the best information. So in this study the researchers used a model to estimate the life expectancy of patients starting ART in South Africa, using data from several ART programs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used data collected from six programs in South Africa based in Western Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal between 2001 and 2010. The researchers calculated the observation time from the time of ART initiation to the date of death or to the end of the study. Then the researchers used a relative survival approach to model the excess mortality attributable to HIV, relative to non-HIV mortality rates in South Africa, over different periods from ART initiation.
Using these methods, the researchers found that over the time period, 37,740 adults started ART and 2,066 deaths were recorded in patient record systems. Of the 16,250 patients who were lost to follow-up, the researchers identified 2,947 further deaths in the population register. When they inputted these figures into their model, the researchers estimated that the mortality rate was 83.2 per 1,000 person-years of observation (PYO), and was higher in males (99.8 per 1,000 PYO) than in females (72.6 per 1,000 PYO). The researchers also found that the most significant factor determining the life expectancy of treated patients was their age at ART initiation: the average life expectancy of men starting ART varied between 27.6 years at age 20 and 10.1 years at age 60, while corresponding estimates in women were 36.8 and 14.4, respectively. Life expectancies were also significantly influenced by baseline CD4 counts; life expectancies in patients with baseline CD4 counts ≥200 cells/µl were between 70% and 86% of those of HIV-negative adults of the same age and sex, while patients starting ART with CD4 counts of <50 cells/µl had life expectancies that were between 48% and 61% of those of HIV-negative adults. Importantly, the researchers found that life expectancies were also 15%–20% higher in patients who survived their first 24 months after starting ART than in patients of the same age who had just started therapy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that in South Africa, patients starting ART have life expectancies around 80% of normal life expectancy, provided that they start treatment before their CD4 count drops below 200 cells/µl. Although these results are encouraging, this study highlights that health services must overcome major challenges, such as dealing with late diagnosis, low uptake of CD4 testing, loss from pre-ART care, and delayed ART initiation, if near-normal life expectancies are to be achieved for the majority of HIV-positive South Africans. With the anticipated increase in the fraction of patients starting ART at higher CD4 counts in the future, long-term survival can be expected to increase even further. It is therefore critical that appropriate funding systems and innovative ways to reduce costs are put in place, to ensure the long-term sustainability of ART delivery in low- and middle-income countries.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001418.
The International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS has more statistical information from world regions
amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, works with health care workers and AIDS organizations in developing countries to create and implement effective HIV research, treatment, prevention, and education strategies
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001418
PMCID: PMC3621664  PMID: 23585736
13.  Gender Differences in Survival among Adult Patients Starting Antiretroviral Therapy in South Africa: A Multicentre Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(9):e1001304.
Morna Cornell and colleagues investigate differences in mortality for HIV-positive men and women on antiretroviral therapy in South Africa.
Background
Increased mortality among men on antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been documented but remains poorly understood. We examined the magnitude of and risk factors for gender differences in mortality on ART.
Methods and Findings
Analyses included 46,201 ART-naïve adults starting ART between January 2002 and December 2009 in eight ART programmes across South Africa (SA). Patients were followed from initiation of ART to outcome or analysis closure. The primary outcome was mortality; secondary outcomes were loss to follow-up (LTF), virologic suppression, and CD4+ cell count responses. Survival analyses were used to examine the hazard of death on ART by gender. Sensitivity analyses were limited to patients who were virologically suppressed and patients whose CD4+ cell count reached >200 cells/µl. We compared gender differences in mortality among HIV+ patients on ART with mortality in an age-standardised HIV-negative population.
Among 46,201 adults (65% female, median age 35 years), during 77,578 person-years of follow-up, men had lower median CD4+ cell counts than women (85 versus 110 cells/µl, p<0.001), were more likely to be classified WHO stage III/IV (86 versus 77%, p<0.001), and had higher mortality in crude (8.5 versus 5.7 deaths/100 person-years, p<0.001) and adjusted analyses (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] 1.31, 95% CI 1.22–1.41). After 36 months on ART, men were more likely than women to be truly LTF (AHR 1.20, 95% CI 1.12–1.28) but not to die after LTF (AHR 1.04, 95% CI 0.86–1.25). Findings were consistent across all eight programmes. Virologic suppression was similar by gender; women had slightly better immunologic responses than men. Notably, the observed gender differences in mortality on ART were smaller than gender differences in age-standardised death rates in the HIV-negative South African population. Over time, non-HIV mortality appeared to account for an increasing proportion of observed mortality. The analysis was limited by missing data on baseline HIV disease characteristics, and we did not observe directly mortality in HIV-negative populations where the participating cohorts were located.
Conclusions
HIV-infected men have higher mortality on ART than women in South African programmes, but these differences are only partly explained by more advanced HIV disease at the time of ART initiation, differential LTF and subsequent mortality, and differences in responses to treatment. The observed differences in mortality on ART may be best explained by background differences in mortality between men and women in the South African population unrelated to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
Background
About 34 million people (most living in low- and middle-income countries) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV destroys CD4 lymphocytes and other immune system cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-infected people died within 10 years of becoming infected. Then, in 1996, antiretroviral therapy (ART)—cocktails of drugs that keep HIV in check—became available. For people living in affluent countries, HIV/AIDS became a chronic condition. However, ART was expensive and, for people living in poorer countries, HIV/AIDS remained a fatal illness. In 2003, this situation was declared a global emergency, and governments and international agencies began to implement plans to increase ART coverage in resource-limited countries. Since then, ART programs in these countries have grown rapidly. In South Africa, for example, about 52% of the 3.14 million adults in need of ART were receiving an ART regimen recommended by the World Health Organization by the end of 2010.
Why Was This Study Done?
The outcomes of ART programs in resource-limited countries need to be evaluated thoroughly so that these programs can be optimized. One area of concern to ART providers is that of gender differences in survival among patients receiving treatment. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, men are more likely to die than women while receiving ART. This gender difference in mortality may arise because men initiating ART in many African ART programs have more advanced HIV disease than women (early ART initiation is associated with better outcomes than late initiation) or because men are more likely to be lost to follow-up than women (failure to continue treatment is associated with death). Other possible explanations for gender differentials in mortality on ART include gender differences in immunologic and virologic responses to treatment (increased numbers of immune system cells and reduced amounts of virus in the blood, respectively). In this multicenter cohort study, the researchers examine the size of, and risk factors for, gender differences in mortality on ART in South Africa by examining data collected from adults starting ART at International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS South Africa (IeDEA-SA) collaboration sites.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data collected from 46,201 ART-naïve adults who started ART between 2002 and 2009 in eight IeDEA-SA ART programs. At ART initiation, men had a lower CD4 count on average and were more likely to have advanced HIV disease than women. During the study, after allowing for factors likely to affect mortality such as HIV disease stage at initiation, men on ART had a 31% higher risk of dying than women. Men were more likely to be lost to follow-up than women, but men and women who were lost to follow-up were equally likely to die. Women had a slightly better immunological response to ART than men but virologic suppression was similar in both genders. Importantly, in analyses of mortality limited to individuals who were virologically suppressed at 12 months and to patients who had a good immunological response to ART, men still had a higher risk of death than women. However, the gender differences in mortality on ART were smaller than the gender differences in age-standardized mortality in the HIV-negative South African population.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These analyses show that among South African patients initiating ART between 2002 and 2009, men were more likely to die than women but that this gender difference in mortality on ART cannot be completely explained by gender differences in baseline characteristics, loss to follow-up, or virologic and/or immunologic responses. Instead, the observed gender differences in mortality can best be explained by background gender differences in mortality in the whole South African population. Because substantial amounts of data were missing in this study (for example, HIV disease stage was not available for all the patients), these findings need to be interpreted cautiously. Moreover, similar studies need to be done in other settings to investigate whether they are generalizable to the South African national ART program and to other countries. If confirmed, however, these findings suggest that the root causes of gender differences in mortality on ART may be unrelated to HIV/AIDS or to the characteristics of ART programs.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001304.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
Information on the treatment of HIV/AIDS in South Africa is available from the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV/AIDS treatment and care, and on HIV/AIDS in South Africa (in English and Spanish)
WHO provides information about universal access to AIDS treatment (in several languages); its 2010 ART guidelines can be downloaded
Information about the IeDEA-SA collaboration is available
The Treatment Action Campaign provides information on antiretroviral therapy and South African HIV statistics
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert; the nonprofit website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV, including stories about taking anti-HIV drugs and the challenges of anti-HIV drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001304
PMCID: PMC3433409  PMID: 22973181
14.  Epidemiology of Tuberculosis and HIV 
Although tuberculosis (TB) continues to cause enormous suffering and overwhelm health care systems in areas with high HIV prevalence, there have been a number of recent significant advances in knowledge regarding the epidemiology, management, and control of HIV-related TB. TB remains the most common serious opportunistic infection in people with HIV infection and the leading cause of death. However, there is some reason for optimism. First, two trials addressing when to start antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV-infected adults with newly diagnosed TB have shown that earlier initiation of ART reduces mortality significantly. Second, there is trial evidence of efficacy in giving long-term isoniazid preventive treatment (IPT) to HIV-infected adults in high HIV–prevalence settings where TB reinfection is frequent (much like cotrimoxazole). Third, the search for an inexpensive, rapid, sensitive, and specific TB diagnostic that is able to replace smear and delayed mycobacterial culture has yielded promising results. Responding to massive TB epidemics in high HIV–prevalence settings, the World Health Organization has supplemented its directly observed treatment short-course strategy with one called the 3I's to actively screen and diagnose TB cases (intensified case finding), prevent new cases of TB with IPT, and prevent transmission of TB in congregate settings such as hospitals and clinics (infection control). Combating TB in high HIV–prevalence settings requires rapid and massive implementation of the 3I's with initiation of antiretrovirals and more effective efforts to prevent new HIV infections.
doi:10.1513/pats.201010-064WR
PMCID: PMC3132787  PMID: 21653530
preventive treatment; antiretroviral therapy; Xpert MTB Rif; intensified case finding
16.  Hepatitis B and long-term HIV outcomes in co-infected HAART recipients 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(14):1881-1889.
Chronic hepatitis B (CH-B) is common among HIV-infected individuals and increases liver-related mortality in the absence of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The impact of CH-B on long-term HAART outcomes has not been fully characterized.
Methods
To address this question, HAART initiators enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) were retrospectively analyzed. Subjects were classified by hepatitis B category based on serology at the time of HAART initiation. The association of CH-B with mortality, AIDS defining illnesses, CD4 rise, and HIV suppression was assessed using regression analysis.
Results
Of 816 men followed for a median of 7 years on HAART, 350 were never HBV infected, 357 had past infection, 45 had CH-B, and 64 were only core-antibody positive. Despite HAART, AIDS-related mortality was the most common cause of death (8.3/1000 person-years (PYs)). It was highest in those with CH-B (17/1000 PYs, 95% CI 7.3, 42) and lowest among never HBV infected (2.9/1000 PYs, 95% CI 1.4, 6.4). In a multivariable model, patients with CH-B had a 2.7-fold higher incidence of AIDS-related mortality compared to those never infected (P=0.08). Non-AIDS-related mortality was also highest among those with CH-B (22/1000 PYs), primarily due to liver disease (compared to never infected, adjusted HR 4.1, p=0.04). There was no significant difference in AIDS defining events, HIV RNA suppression, and CD4 increase.
Conclusion
In HIV-infected patients receiving long-term HAART, HBV status did not influence HIV suppression or CD4 increase. However, mortality was highest among those with CH-B and was mostly due to liver disease despite HBV-active HAART.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32832e463a
PMCID: PMC2861825  PMID: 19550291
hepatitis B; HIV; HAART; CD4; mortality; isolated core hepatitis B
17.  Incidence and Risk Factors for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Following Solid Organ Transplantation1 
Transplantation  2008;86(6):784-790.
Background
Solid organ transplant recipients commonly are infected with hepatitis viruses, are immunosuppressed, and have other potential hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk factors.
Methods
We studied de novo HCC incidence arising after transplant using U.S. registry data (223,660 recipients, 1987–2005). We used proportional hazards regression to identify HCC risk factors and calculated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) to compare HCC risk to that in the general population.
Results
Based on 74 cases reported by transplant centers to the registry, HCC incidence was 6.5 per 100,000 person-years among kidney, heart, and lung (non-liver) recipients and 25 per 100,000 person-years among liver recipients. HCC incidence among non-liver recipients was independently associated with hepatitis B surface antigenemia (HBsAg) (hazard ratio [HR] 9.7, 95%CI 2.8–33), hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (HR 6.9, 95%CI 2.5–19), and diabetes mellitus (HR 2.8, 1.2–6.6). Among liver recipients, HCC incidence was associated with advancing age (p<0.001), male sex (HR 4.6, 95%CI 1.4–16), HCV infection (HR 3.1, 1.3–7.2), and diabetes mellitus (HR 2.7, 1.2–6.2). Among non-liver recipients, overall HCC incidence was similar to the general population (SIR 0.8) but elevated among those with HCV (3.4) or HBsAg (6.5). HCC incidence among liver transplant recipients was elevated overall (SIR 3.4) and especially among those with HCV (5.0) or diabetes mellitus (6.2).
Conclusions
HCC incidence is elevated among liver transplant recipients and subsets of non-liver recipients. These risk factors indicate the need for improved control of viral hepatitis following solid organ transplantation.
doi:10.1097/TP.0b013e3181837761
PMCID: PMC2714173  PMID: 18813102
solid organ transplantation; hepatocellular carcinoma; immunosuppression; hepatitis C virus; hepatitis B virus
18.  Hepatitis B Virus Infection and Response to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in a South African ART Program 
Background
Coinfection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is common in Africa; however, the impact of HBV infection on the outcomes of antiretroviral therapy programs is unclear. We evaluated the impact of chronic hepatitis B on HIV virologic response, changes in CD4 cell count, hepatotoxicity, and mortality among Africans receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
Methods
We conducted a retrospective cohort study involving a workplace HAART program in South Africa. Participants received HAART according to a protocol and were followed up for up to 72 weeks. On the basis of pre-HAART serum assays, patients were classified as being hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) negative, HBsAg positive with a low HBV DNA level (≤1 × 104 copies/mL), and HBsAg positive with a high HBV DNA level (>1 × 104 copies/mL). The relationships between HBV status and HIV RNA suppression, change in CD4 cell count, mortality, and hepatotoxicity were assessed with use of regression techniques.
Results
Five hundred thirty-seven individuals fulfilled the inclusion criteria; 431 (80.3%) of these patients were HBsAg negative, 60 (11.2%) were HBsAg positive with a low HBV DNA level, and 46 (8.6%) were HBsAg positive with a high HBV DNA level. All groups had similar rates of HIV RNA suppression (P =.61), CD4 cell count increases (P =.75), and mortality (17 total deaths; P =.11) for up to 72 weeks after the initiation of HAART. Baseline transaminase levels were highest in the group with high HBV DNA levels (P =.004). Hepatotoxicity was similar between the HBsAg-negative group and the group with low HBV DNA levels but was higher in the group with high HBV DNA levels (incidence rate ratio, 4.4).
Conclusions
We revealed that HBV status does not affect HIV RNA suppression, CD4 cell count response, or mortality during the first 72 weeks of HAART in an African setting. The risk of HBV-associated hepatotoxicity, however, is associated with the baseline HBV DNA level.
doi:10.1086/593104
PMCID: PMC2670447  PMID: 18937580
19.  Neurocysticercosis in Oregon, 1995–2000 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(3):508-510.
The unexpected death of a teenager from neurocysticercosis prompted an investigation of this disease in Oregon. We found 89 hospitalizations, 43 newly diagnosed cases, and 6 deaths from 1995 to 2000. At least five cases occurred in persons who had not traveled or lived outside the United States. Enhanced surveillance for neurocysticercosis is warranted.
doi:10.3201/eid1003.030542
PMCID: PMC3322801  PMID: 15109424
Neurocysticercosis; Taenia solium; parasitic diseases; hydrocephalus
20.  Comparison of Tenofovir, Zidovudine, or Stavudine as Part of First-Line Antiretroviral Therapy in a Resource-Limited-Setting: A Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64459.
Background
Tenofovir (TDF) is part of the WHO recommended first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART); however, there are limited data comparing TDF to other nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors in resource-limited-settings. Using a routine workplace and community-based ART cohort in South Africa, we assessed single drug substitution, HIV RNA suppression, CD4 count increase, loss-from-care, and mortality between TDF, stavudine (d4T) 30 mg dose, and zidovudine (AZT).
Methods
In a prospective cohort study we included ART naïve patients aged ≥17 years-old who initiated ART containing TDF, d4T, or AZT between 2007 and 2009. For analysis of single drug substitutions we used a competing-risks time-to-event analysis; for loss-from-care, mixed-effect Poisson modeling; for HIV RNA suppression, competing-risks logistic regression; for CD4 count slope, mixed-effects linear regression; and for mortality, proportional hazards modeling.
Results
Of 6,196 patients, the initial drug was TDF for 665 (11%), d4T for 4,179 (68%), and AZT for 1,352 (22%). During the first 6 months of ART, the adjusted hazard ratio for a single drug substitution was 2.3 for d4T (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.27, 19) and 5.2 for AZT (95% CI: 1.1, 23), compared to TDF; whereas, after 6 months, it was 10 (95% CI: 5.8, 18) and 4.4 (95% CI: 2.5, 7.8) for d4T and AZT, respectively. Virologic suppression was similar by agent; however, CD4 count rise was lowest for AZT. The adjusted hazard ratio for loss-from-care, when compared to TDF, was 1.5 (95% CI: 1.1, 1.9) for d4T and 1.2 (95% CI: 1.1, 1.4) for AZT. The adjusted hazard ratio for mortality, when compared to TDF, was 2.7 (95% CI: 2.0, 3.5) and 1.4 (95% CI: 1.3, 1.5) and for d4T and AZT, respectively.
Discussion
In routine care, TDF appeared to perform better than either d4T or AZT, most notably with less drug substitution and mortality than for either other agent.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064459
PMCID: PMC3653880  PMID: 23691224

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