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author:("Jani, flesh V")
1.  High Rates of HIV Seroconversion in Pregnant Women and Low Reported Levels of HIV Testing among Male Partners in Southern Mozambique: Results from a Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115014.
Prevention of acute HIV infections in pregnancy is required to achieve elimination of pediatric HIV. Identification and support for HIV negative pregnant women and their partners, particularly serodiscordant couples, are critical. A mixed method study done in Southern Mozambique estimated HIV incidence during pregnancy, associated risk factors and factors influencing partner's HIV testing.
Between April 2008 and November 2011, a prospective cohort of 1230 HIV negative pregnant women was followed during pregnancy. A structured questionnaire, HIV testing, and collection of dried blood spots were done at 2–3 scheduled visits. HIV incidence rates were calculated by repeat HIV testing and risk factors assessed by Poisson regression. A qualitative study including 37 individual interviews with men, women, and nurses and 11 focus group discussions (n = 94) with men, women and grandmothers explored motivators and barriers to uptake of male HIV testing.
HIV incidence rate was estimated at 4.28/100 women-years (95%CI: 2.33–7.16). Significant risk factors for HIV acquisition were early sexual debut (RR 3.79, 95%CI: 1.04–13.78, p = 0.04) and living in Maputo Province (RR 4.35, 95%CI: 0.97–19.45, p = 0.05). Nineteen percent of women reported that their partner had tested for HIV (93% knew the result with 8/213 indicating an HIV positive partner), 56% said their partner had not tested and 19% did not know their partner test status. Of the 14 seroconversions, only one reported being in a serodiscordant relationship. Fear of discrimination or stigma was reported as a key barrier to male HIV testing, while knowing the importance of getting tested and receiving care was the main motivator.
HIV incidence during pregnancy is high in Southern Mozambique, but knowledge of partners' HIV status remains low. Knowledge of both partners' HIV status is critical for maximal effectiveness of prevention and treatment services to reach elimination of pediatric HIV/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC4277288  PMID: 25542035
2.  Nevirapine or efavirenz for tuberculosis and HIV coinfected patients: exposure and virological failure relationship 
We describe nevirapine and efavirenz exposure on and off tuberculosis treatment and consequences for virological efficacy and tolerance in patients included in the ANRS 12146/12214-CARINEMO trial.
Participants were randomly selected to receive either nevirapine at 200 mg twice daily (n = 256) or efavirenz at 600 mg daily (n = 270), both combined with two nucleoside analogues. Blood samples were drawn 12 h after nevirapine or efavirenz administration, while on tuberculosis treatment and after tuberculosis treatment discontinuation. In 62 participants, samples taken 12 h after drug administration were drawn weekly for the first month of ART. Sixteen participants participated in an extensive pharmacokinetic study of nevirapine. Concentrations were compared with the therapeutic ranges of 3000–8000 ng/mL for nevirapine and 1000–4000 ng/mL for efavirenz.
Nevirapine concentrations at the end of the first week of treatment (on antituberculosis drugs) did not differ from concentrations off tuberculosis treatment, but declined thereafter. Concentrations at steady-state were 4111 ng/mL at week 12 versus 6095 ng/mL at week 48 (P < 0.0001). Nevirapine concentrations <3000 ng/mL were found to be a risk factor for virological failure. Efavirenz concentrations were higher on than off tuberculosis treatment (2700 versus 2450 ng/mL, P < 0.0001).
The omission of the 2 week lead-in dose of nevirapine prevented low concentrations at treatment initiation but did not prevent the risk of virological failure. Results support the WHO recommendation to use efavirenz at 600 mg daily in patients on rifampicin-based antituberculosis therapy.
PMCID: PMC4267502  PMID: 25239466
TB/HIV coinfection; nevirapine; efavirenz; drug–drug interactions
3.  The Clinical and Economic Impact of Point-of-Care CD4 Testing in Mozambique and Other Resource-Limited Settings: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(9):e1001725.
Emily Hyle and colleagues conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis to estimate the clinical and economic impact of point-of-care CD4 testing compared to laboratory-based tests in Mozambique.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Point-of-care CD4 tests at HIV diagnosis could improve linkage to care in resource-limited settings. Our objective is to evaluate the clinical and economic impact of point-of-care CD4 tests compared to laboratory-based tests in Mozambique.
Methods and Findings
We use a validated model of HIV testing, linkage, and treatment (CEPAC-International) to examine two strategies of immunological staging in Mozambique: (1) laboratory-based CD4 testing (LAB-CD4) and (2) point-of-care CD4 testing (POC-CD4). Model outcomes include 5-y survival, life expectancy, lifetime costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). Input parameters include linkage to care (LAB-CD4, 34%; POC-CD4, 61%), probability of correctly detecting antiretroviral therapy (ART) eligibility (sensitivity: LAB-CD4, 100%; POC-CD4, 90%) or ART ineligibility (specificity: LAB-CD4, 100%; POC-CD4, 85%), and test cost (LAB-CD4, US$10; POC-CD4, US$24). In sensitivity analyses, we vary POC-CD4-specific parameters, as well as cohort and setting parameters to reflect a range of scenarios in sub-Saharan Africa. We consider ICERs less than three times the per capita gross domestic product in Mozambique (US$570) to be cost-effective, and ICERs less than one times the per capita gross domestic product in Mozambique to be very cost-effective. Projected 5-y survival in HIV-infected persons with LAB-CD4 is 60.9% (95% CI, 60.9%–61.0%), increasing to 65.0% (95% CI, 64.9%–65.1%) with POC-CD4. Discounted life expectancy and per person lifetime costs with LAB-CD4 are 9.6 y (95% CI, 9.6–9.6 y) and US$2,440 (95% CI, US$2,440–US$2,450) and increase with POC-CD4 to 10.3 y (95% CI, 10.3–10.3 y) and US$2,800 (95% CI, US$2,790–US$2,800); the ICER of POC-CD4 compared to LAB-CD4 is US$500/year of life saved (YLS) (95% CI, US$480–US$520/YLS). POC-CD4 improves clinical outcomes and remains near the very cost-effective threshold in sensitivity analyses, even if point-of-care CD4 tests have lower sensitivity/specificity and higher cost than published values. In other resource-limited settings with fewer opportunities to access care, POC-CD4 has a greater impact on clinical outcomes and remains cost-effective compared to LAB-CD4. Limitations of the analysis include the uncertainty around input parameters, which is examined in sensitivity analyses. The potential added benefits due to decreased transmission are excluded; their inclusion would likely further increase the value of POC-CD4 compared to LAB-CD4.
POC-CD4 at the time of HIV diagnosis could improve survival and be cost-effective compared to LAB-CD4 in Mozambique, if it improves linkage to care. POC-CD4 could have the greatest impact on mortality in settings where resources for HIV testing and linkage are most limited.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
AIDS has already killed about 36 million people, and a similar number of people (mostly living in low- and middle-income countries) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV destroys immune system cells (including CD4 cells, a type of lymphocyte), leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, HIV-infected individuals usually died within ten years of infection. After effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) became available in 1996, HIV infection became a chronic condition for people living in high-income countries, but because ART was expensive, HIV/AIDS remained a fatal disease in low- and middle-income countries. In 2003, the international community began to work towards achieving universal ART coverage, and by the end of 2012, 61% of HIV-positive people (nearly 10 million individuals) living low- and middle-income countries who were eligible for treatment—because their CD4 cell count had fallen below 350 cells/mm3 of blood or they had developed an AIDS-defining condition—were receiving treatment.
Why Was This Study Done?
In sub-Saharan Africa nearly 50% of HIV-infected people eligible for treatment remain untreated, in part because of poor linkage between HIV diagnosis and clinical care. After patients receive a diagnosis of HIV infection, their eligibility for ART initiation is determined by sending a blood sample away to a laboratory for a CD4 cell count (the current threshold for treatment is a CD4 count below 500/mm3, although low- and middle-income countries have yet to update their national guidelines from the threshold CD4 count below 350/mm3). Patients have to return to the clinic to receive their test results and to initiate ART if they are eligible for treatment. Unfortunately, many patients are “lost” during this multistep process in resource-limited settings. Point-of-care CD4 tests at HIV diagnosis—tests that are done on the spot and provide results the same day—might help to improve linkage to care in such settings. Here, the researchers use a mathematical model to assess the clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of point-of-care CD4 testing at the time of HIV diagnosis compared to laboratory-based testing in Mozambique, where about 1.5 million HIV-positive individuals live.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a validated model of HIV testing, linkage, and treatment called the Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications–International (CEPAC-I) model to compare the clinical impact, costs, and cost-effectiveness of point-of-care and laboratory CD4 testing in newly diagnosed HIV-infected patients in Mozambique. They used published data to estimate realistic values for various model input parameters, including the probability of linkage to care following the use of each test, the accuracy of the tests, and the cost of each test. At a CD4 threshold for treatment of 250/mm3, the model predicted that 60.9% of newly diagnosed HIV-infected people would survive five years if their immunological status was assessed using the laboratory-based CD4 test, whereas 65% would survive five years if the point-of-care test was used. Predicted life expectancies were 9.6 and 10.3 years with the laboratory-based and point-of-care tests, respectively, and the per person lifetime costs (which mainly reflect treatment costs) associated with the two tests were US$2,440 and $US2,800, respectively. Finally, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio—calculated as the incremental costs of one therapeutic intervention compared to another divided by the incremental benefits—was US$500 per year of life saved, when comparing use of the point-of-care test with a laboratory-based test.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, compared to laboratory-based CD4 testing, point-of-care testing at HIV diagnosis could improve survival for HIV-infected individuals in Mozambique. Because the per capita gross domestic product in Mozambique is US$570, these findings also indicate that point-of-care testing would be very cost-effective compared to laboratory-based testing (an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio less than one times the per capita gross domestic product is regarded as very cost-effective). As with all modeling studies, the accuracy of these findings depends on the assumptions built into the model and on the accuracy of the input parameters. However, the point-of-care strategy averted deaths and was estimated to be cost-effective compared to the laboratory-based test over a wide range of input parameter values reflecting Mozambique and several other resource-limited settings that the researchers modeled. Importantly, these “sensitivity analyses” suggest that point-of-care CD4 testing is likely to have the greatest impact on HIV-related deaths and be economically efficient in settings in sub-Saharan Africa with the most limited health care resources, provided point-of-care CD4 testing improves the linkage to care for HIV-infected people.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS (in several languages); its “Consolidated Guidelines on the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs for Treating and Preventing HIV Infections: Recommendations for a Public Health Approach”, which highlights the potential of point-of-care tests to improve the linkage of newly diagnosed HIV-infected patients to care, is available
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment; it has a fact sheet on CD4 testing
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on starting, monitoring, and switching treatment and on HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa (in English and Spanish)
The “UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2013” provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, Nam/aidsmap, and Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC4165752  PMID: 25225800
4.  High HIV incidence in the postpartum period sustains vertical transmission in settings with generalized epidemics: a cohort study in Southern Mozambique 
Acute infection with HIV in the postpartum period results in a high risk of vertical transmission through breastfeeding. A study was done to determine the HIV incidence rate and associated risk factors among postpartum women in Southern Mozambique, where HIV prevalence among pregnant women is 21%.
A prospective cohort study was conducted in six rural health facilities in Gaza and Maputo provinces from March 2008 to July 2011. A total of 1221 women who were HIV-negative on testing at delivery or within two months postpartum were recruited and followed until 18 months postpartum. HIV testing, collection of dried blood spot samples and administration of a structured questionnaire to women were performed every three months. Infant testing by DNA-PCR was done as soon as possible after identification of a new infection in women. HIV incidence was estimated, and potential risk factors at baseline were compared using Poisson regression.
Data from 957 women were analyzed with follow-up after the enrolment visit, with a median follow-up of 18.2 months. The HIV incidence in postpartum women is estimated at 3.20/100 women-years (95% CI: 2.30–4.46), with the highest rate among 18- to 19-year-olds (4.92 per 100 women-years; 95% CI: 2.65–9.15). Of the new infections, 14 (34%) were identified during the first six months postpartum, 11 (27%) between 6 and 12 months and 16 (39%) between 12 and 18 months postpartum. Risk factors for incident HIV infection include young age, low number of children, higher education level of the woman's partner and having had sex with someone other than one's partner. The vertical transmission was 21% (95% CI: 5–36) among newly infected women.
Incidence of HIV is high among breastfeeding women in Southern Mozambique, contributing to increasing numbers of HIV-infected infants. Comprehensive primary prevention strategies targeting women of reproductive age, particularly pregnant and postpartum women and their partners, will be crucial for the elimination of paediatric AIDS in Africa.
PMCID: PMC3946505  PMID: 24629842
PMTCT; breastfeeding; incidence; HIV; elimination paediatric HIV; Mozambique
6.  Incidence of Paradoxical Tuberculosis-Associated Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome and Impact on Patient Outcome 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84585.
Objectives and Design
We used data from a randomized trial of HIV-tuberculosis co-infected patients in Mozambique to determine the incidence and predictors of paradoxical tuberculosis-associated immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) occurring within 12 weeks of starting antiretroviral therapy, and to evaluate its association with patient outcome at 48 weeks.
HIV-tuberculosis co-infected and antiretroviral therapy-naïve adults with less than 250 CD4/mm3 were randomized to a nevirapine or efavirenz-based antiretroviral therapy initiated 4 to 6 weeks after starting tuberculosis treatment, and were then followed for 48 weeks. Tuberculosis cases were diagnosed using WHO guidelines, and tuberculosis-IRIS by case definitions of the International Network for the Study of HIV-associated IRIS.
The 573 HIV-tuberculosis co-infected patients who initiated antiretroviral therapy had a median CD4 count of 92 cells/mm3 and HIV-1 RNA of 5.6 log10 copies/mL. Mortality at week 48 was 6.1% (35/573). Fifty-three (9.2%) patients presented a tuberculosis-IRIS within 12 weeks of starting antiretroviral therapy. Being female and having a low CD4 count, high HIV-1 RNA load, low body mass index and smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis were independently associated with tuberculosis-IRIS. After adjustment for baseline body mass index, CD4 count and hemoglobin, occurrence of tuberculosis-IRIS was independently associated with 48-week mortality (aOR 2.72 95%CI 1.14-6.54). Immunological and HIV-1 virological responses and tuberculosis treatment outcomes were not different between patients with and without tuberculosis-IRIS.
In this large prospective cohort, tuberculosis-IRIS occurrence within 12 weeks of starting antiretroviral therapy was independently associated with the mortality of HIV-tuberculosis co-infected patients at 48 weeks post antiretroviral therapy initiation.
PMCID: PMC3867516  PMID: 24367678
7.  Genetic Diversity and Naturally Polymorphisms in HIV Type 1 Integrase Isolates from Maputo, Mozambique: Implications for Integrase Inhibitors 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(12):1788-1792.
HIV proviral DNA integration into the host chromosome is carried out by integrase becoming an important target antiretroviral therapy. Raltegravir was the first integrase inhibitor approved for use in HIV therapy and elvitegravir is in the late phase of clinical development; both show good results in monotherapy studies and may be used worldwide for rescue therapy. In this work we analyzed 57 integrase sequences obtained from samples from drug-naive and first line regime-failing patients from Maputo, Mozambique, to evaluate the presence of natural polymorphisms and resistance mutations associated with raltegravir and elvitegravir. No major mutations conferring resistance to integrase inhibitors were found and polymorphic accessory mutations were solely observed in low frequency among subtype C sequences—L74M (3.4%), T97A (1.8%), and E157Q (1.8%)—suggesting that this new antiretroviral drug class will be effective in Mozambique providing a good perspective to the introduction of this class of drugs in that country.
PMCID: PMC3505052  PMID: 22497664
8.  Impact of asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia on the imunohematological indices among school children and adolescents in a rural area highly endemic for Malaria in southern Mozambique 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:244.
Asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia (APFP) has been reported to be highly prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region heavily burdened by malaria, yet, the impact of APFP on the immunological reference values have not yet been established. This study was aimed at i) determine the prevalence of APFP in children and adolescents living in a region highly endemic for malaria in southern Mozambique and its impact on the immuno-hematological indices and ii) determine the factors independently associated with APFP.
A cross sectional study was conducted in a rural area highly endemic for Malaria in southern Mozambique during the dry season. Apparently healthy children and adolescents were selected for the study.
Blood samples were collected from 348 participants. Plasmodium falciparum was detected in 56.5% (194/343) of study subjects. APFP was more frequent in males and was associated with lower values of hemoglobin and platelets measurements. Parasitized and not parasitized individuals were similar in terms of lymphocyte counts, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells counts. Platelet count was the parameter with strongest association with APFP (OR: 0.991, p= 0.000) in children and its performance in guiding clinical suspicion was moderate (AUC: 0.70, p=0.000). Contrarily, in adolescents, the predictive value of platelets counts was low (AUC: 0.55).
Overall, our finding demonstrated that APFP is highly prevalent in regions endemic for malaria in southern Mozambique and was associated with lower hematological parameters but unaltered lymphocyte counts, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells counts. Platelets count was of moderate performance in guiding clinical suspicion of APFP in children but not in adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3765874  PMID: 23710648
9.  Opportunities and Challenges for Cost-Efficient Implementation of New Point-of-Care Diagnostics for HIV and Tuberculosis 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;205(Suppl 2):S169-S180.
Stakeholders agree that supporting high-quality diagnostics is essential if we are to continue to make strides in the fight against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis. Despite the need to strengthen existing laboratory infrastructure, which includes expanding and developing new laboratories, there are clear diagnostic needs where conventional laboratory support is insufficient. Regarding HIV, rapid point-of-care (POC) testing for initial HIV diagnosis has been successful, but several needs remain. For tuberculosis, several new diagnostic tests have recently been endorsed by the World Health Organization, but a POC test remains elusive. Human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculosis are coendemic in many high prevalence locations, making parallel diagnosis of these conditions an important consideration. Despite its clear advantages, POC testing has important limitations, and laboratory-based testing will continue to be an important component of future diagnostic networks. Ideally, a strategic deployment plan should be used to define where and how POC technologies can be most efficiently and cost effectively integrated into diagnostic algorithms and existing test networks prior to widespread scale-up. In this fashion, the global community can best harness the tremendous capacity of novel diagnostics in fighting these 2 scourges.
PMCID: PMC3334507  PMID: 22457286
10.  Routine data from prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) HIV testing not yet ready for HIV surveillance in Mozambique: a retrospective analysis of matched test results 
Opt-out HIV testing is offered at 70% of antenatal care (ANC) clinics in Mozambique through the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program. If routine data from this program were of sufficient quality, their heightened coverage and continuous availability could complement or even replace biannual sentinel serosurveys that currently serve as the primary HIV surveillance system in Mozambique.
We assessed the efficacy of routine HIV testing data from prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs for estimating the prevalence of HIV infection among pregnant women. The PMTCT program uses sequential point-of-care rapid tests conducted on site while ANC surveillance surveys use dried blood spots tested sequentially for HIV-1/2 antibodies at a central laboratory. We compared matched routine PMTCT and ANC surveillance test results collected during 2007 and 2009 ANC surveillance surveys from 36 sentinel sites.
After excluding 659 women without PMTCT data, including 83 who refused rapid testing, test results from a total of 20,563 women were available. Pooling the data from both years indicated HIV prevalence from routine PMTCT testing was 14.4% versus 15.2% from surveillance testing (relative difference -5.1%; absolute difference -0.78%). Positive percent agreement (PPA) of PMTCT versus surveillance tests was 88.5% (95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 85.7-91.3%), with 19 sites having PPA below 90%; Negative percent agreement (NPA) was 98.9% (CI: 98.5-99.2%). No significant difference was found among three regions (North, Center and South), however both PPA and NPA were significantly higher in 2009 than 2007 (p < 0.05).
We found low PPA of PMTCT test results compared to surveillance data which is indicative either of testing errors or data reporting problems. Nonetheless, PPA improved significantly from 2007 to 2009, a possible positive trend that should be investigated further. Although use of PMTCT test results would not dramatically change HIV prevalence estimates among pregnant women, the impact of site-level differences on surveillance models should be evaluated before these data are used to replace or complement ANC surveillance surveys.
PMCID: PMC3598230  PMID: 23432847
HIV prevalence; HIV program data; HIV surveillance; Prevention of mother-to-child transmission; HIV diagnostic tests; Sentinel surveillance; Mozambique
11.  Evaluating Operational Specifications of Point-of-Care Diagnostic Tests: A Standardized Scorecard 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47459.
The expansion of HIV antiretroviral therapy into decentralized rural settings will increasingly require simple point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests that can be used without laboratory infrastructure and technical skills. New POC test devices are becoming available but decisions around which technologies to deploy may be biased without systematic assessment of their suitability for decentralized healthcare settings. To address this, we developed a standardized, quantitative scorecard tool to objectively evaluate the operational characteristics of POC diagnostic devices. The tool scores devices on a scale of 1–5 across 30 weighted characteristics such as ease of use, quality control, electrical requirements, shelf life, portability, cost and service, and provides a cumulative score that ranks products against a set of ideal POC characteristics. The scorecard was tested on 19 devices for POC CD4 T-lymphocyte cell counting, clinical chemistry or hematology testing. Single and multi-parameter devices were assessed in each of test categories. The scores across all devices ranged from 2.78 to 4.40 out of 5. The tool effectively ranked devices within each category (p<0.01) except the CD4 and multi-parameter hematology products. The tool also enabled comparison of different characteristics between products. Agreement across the four scorers for each product was high (intra-class correlation >0.80; p<0.001). Use of this tool enables the systematic evaluation of diagnostic tests to facilitate product selection and investment in appropriate technology. It is particularly relevant for countries and testing programs considering the adoption of new POC diagnostic tests.
PMCID: PMC3485252  PMID: 23118871
12.  Evaluation of a High-Throughput Diagnostic System for Detection of HIV-1 in Dried Blood Spot Samples from Infants in Mozambique 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(4):1458-1460.
We performed a comparative analysis between Roche Amplicor HIV-1 DNA test and CAPTAQ assay for the detection of HIV in 830 dried blood spot (DBS) pediatric samples collected in Mozambique. Our results demonstrated no statistical difference between these assays. The CAPTAQ assay approached nearly 100% repeatability/accuracy. The increased throughput of testing with minimal operator interference in performing the CAPTAQ assay clearly demonstrated that this method is an improvement over the Roche Amplicor HIV-1 DNA test, version 1.5.
PMCID: PMC3318546  PMID: 22278838
14.  Performance of the PointCare NOW System for CD4 Counting in HIV Patients Based on Five Independent Evaluations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e41166.
Point-of-care (POC) CD4 testing can improve access to treatment by enabling decentralization and reducing patient loss-to-follow-up. As new POC CD4 technologies become available, their performance should be assessed before widespread deployment. This study reports the findings of five independent evaluations of the PointCare NOW CD4 system.
Evaluations were conducted in Southern Africa (Mozambique, South Africa) and North America (Canada, USA). 492 blood samples (55 from HIV-negative blood donors and 437 from HIV-infected patients, including 20 children aged between 12 and 59 months) were tested with both the PointCare NOW and reference flow cytometry instruments. Assessment of bias, precision and levels of clinical misclassification for absolute and percent CD4 count was conducted.
PointCare NOW significantly overestimated CD4 absolute counts with a mean relative bias of +35.0%. Bias was greater in samples with CD4 counts below ≤350cells/µl (+51.3%) than in the CD4 >350cells/µl stratum (15.1%). Bias in CD4% had a similar trend with an overall relative mean bias of +25.6% and a larger bias for low CD4 stratum (+40.2%) than the higher CD4 stratum (+5.8%). Relative bias for CD4% in children was −6.8%. In terms of repeatability, PointCare NOW had a coefficient of variation of 11%. Using a threshold of 350cells/µl, only 47% of patients who qualified for antiretroviral therapy with reference CD4 testing, would have been eligible for treatment with PointCare NOW test results. This was 39% using a 200cells/µl threshold. Agreement with infant samples was higher, with 90% qualifying at a 25% eligibility threshold.
The performance of the PointCare NOW instrument for absolute and percent CD4 enumeration was inadequate for HIV clinical management in adults. In children, the small sample size was not large enough to draw a conclusion. This study also highlights the importance of independent evaluation of new diagnostic technology platforms before deployment.
PMCID: PMC3415398  PMID: 22912668
15.  Frequency of human immunodeficiency virus type-2 in hiv infected patients in Maputo City, Mozambique 
Virology Journal  2011;8:408.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic is primarily caused by HIV-1. Another virus type, HIV-2, is found mainly in West African countries. We hypothesized that population migration and mobility in Africa may have facilitated the introduction and spreading of HIV-2 in Mozambique. The presence of HIV-2 has important implications for diagnosis and choice of treatment of HIV infection. Hence, the aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of HIV-2 infection and its genotype in Maputo, Mozambique.
HIV-infected individuals (N = 1,200) were consecutively enrolled and screened for IgG antibodies against HIV-1 gp41 and HIV-2 gp36 using peptide-based enzyme immunoassays (pepEIA). Specimens showing reactivity on the HIV-2 pepEIA were further tested using the INNO-LIA immunoblot assay and HIV-2 PCR targeting RT and PR genes. Subtype analysis of HIV-2 was based on the protease gene.
After screening with HIV-2 pepEIA 1,168 were non-reactive and 32 were reactive to HIV-2 gp36 peptide. Of this total, 30 specimens were simultaneously reactive to gp41 and gp36 pepEIA while two samples reacted solely to gp36 peptide. Only three specimens containing antibodies against gp36 and gp105 on the INNO-LIA immunoblot assay were found to be positive by PCR to HIV-2 subtype A.
The proportion of HIV-2 in Maputo City was 0.25% (90%CI 0.01-0.49). The HIV epidemic in Southern Mozambique is driven by HIV-1, with HIV-2 also circulating at a marginal rate. Surveillance program need to improve HIV-2 diagnosis and consider periodical survey aiming to monitor HIV-2 prevalence in the country.
PMCID: PMC3179751  PMID: 21849066
HIV-2; laboratory diagnosis; sub-Saharan Africa; Mozambique
16.  Genetic Characterization of Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 in Mozambique: Transcontinental Lineages Drive the HTLV-1 Endemic 
Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) is the etiological agent of adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). It has been estimated that 10–20 million people are infected worldwide, but no successful treatment is available. Recently, the epidemiology of this virus was addressed in blood donors from Maputo, showing rates from 0.9 to 1.2%. However, the origin and impact of HTLV endemic in this population is unknown.
To assess the HTLV-1 molecular epidemiology in Mozambique and to investigate their relationship with HTLV-1 lineages circulating worldwide.
Blood donors and HIV patients were screened for HTLV antibodies by using enzyme immunoassay, followed by Western Blot. PCR and sequencing of HTLV-1 LTR region were applied and genetic HTLV-1 subtypes were assigned by the neighbor-joining method. The mean genetic distance of Mozambican HTLV-1 lineages among the genetic clusters were determined. Human mitochondrial (mt) DNA analysis was performed and individuals classified in mtDNA haplogroups.
LTR HTLV-1 analysis demonstrated that all isolates belong to the Transcontinental subgroup of the Cosmopolitan subtype. Mozambican HTLV-1 sequences had a high inter-strain genetic distance, reflecting in three major clusters. One cluster is associated with the South Africa sequences, one is related with Middle East and India strains and the third is a specific Mozambican cluster. Interestingly, 83.3% of HIV/HTLV-1 co-infection was observed in the Mozambican cluster. The human mtDNA haplotypes revealed that all belong to the African macrohaplogroup L with frequencies representatives of the country.
The Mozambican HTLV-1 genetic diversity detected in this study reveals that although the strains belong to the most prevalent and worldwide distributed Transcontinental subgroup of the Cosmopolitan subtype, there is a high HTLV diversity that could be correlated with at least 3 different HTLV-1 introductions in the country. The significant rate of HTLV-1a/HIV-1C co-infection, particularly in the Mozambican cluster, has important implications for the controls programs of both viruses.
Author Summary
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the causative agent of Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (ATL), the Tropical Spastic Paraparesis/HTLV-1-associated Myelopathy (TSP/HAM) and other inflammatory diseases, including dermatitis, uveitis, and myositis. It is estimated that 2–8% of the infected persons will develop a HTLV-1-associated disease during their lifetimes, frequently TSP/HAM. Thus far, there is not a specific treatment to this progressive and chronic disease. HTLV-1 has means of three transmission: (i) from mother to child during prolonged breastfeeding, (ii) between sexual partners and (iii) through blood transfusion. HTLV-1 has been characterized in 7 subtypes and the geographical distribution and the clinical impact of this infection is not well known, mainly in African population. HTLV-1 is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Mozambique is a country of southeastern Africa where TSP/HAM cases were reported. Recently, our group estimated the HTLV prevalence among Mozambican blood donors as 0.9%. In this work we performed a genetic analysis of HTLV-1 in blood donors and HIV/HTLV co-infected patients from Maputo, Mozambique. Our results showed the presence of three HTLV-1 clusters within the Cosmopolitan/Transcontinental subtype/subgroup. The differential rates of HIV-1/HTLV-1 co-infection in the three HTLV-1 clusters demonstrated the dynamic of the two viruses and the need for implementation of control measures focusing on both retroviruses.
PMCID: PMC3075232  PMID: 21532745
17.  Co-infection by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1): does immune activation lead to a faster progression to AIDS? 
Recent data have shown that HTLV-1 is prevalent among HIV positive patients in Mozambique, although the impact of HTLV-1 infection on HIV disease progression remains controversial. Our aim was to determine the phenotypic profile of T lymphocytes subsets among Mozambican patients co-infected by HIV and HTLV-1.
We enrolled 29 patients co-infected by HTLV-1 and HIV (co-infected), 59 patients mono-infected by HIV (HIV) and 16 healthy controls (HC), respectively.
For phenotypic analysis, cells were stained with the following fluorochrome-labeled anti-human monoclonal antibodies CD4-APC, CD8-PerCP, CD25-PE, CD62L-FITC, CD45RA-FITC. CD45RO-PE, CD38-PE; being analysed by four-colour flow cytometry.
We initially found that CD4+ T cell counts were significantly higher in co-infected, as compared to HIV groups. Moreover, CD4+ T Lymphocytes from co-infected patients presented significantly higher levels of CD45RO and CD25, but lower levels of CD45RA and CD62L, strongly indicating that CD4+ T cells are more activated under HTLV-1 plus HIV co-infection.
Our data indicate that HTLV-1/HIV co-infected patients progress with higher CD4+ T cell counts and higher levels of activation markers. In this context, it is conceivable that in co-infected individuals, these higher levels of activation may account for a faster progression to AIDS.
PMCID: PMC2813852  PMID: 20028500
18.  Assessment of measles immunity among infants in Maputo City, Mozambique 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:386.
The optimum age for measles vaccination varies from country to country and thus a standardized vaccination schedule is controversial. While the increase in measles vaccination coverage has produced significant changes in the epidemiology of infection, vaccination schedules have not been adjusted. Instead, measures to cut wild-type virus transmission through mass vaccination campaigns have been instituted. This study estimates the presence of measles antibodies among six- and nine-month-old children and assesses the current vaccination seroconversion by using a non invasive method in Maputo City, Mozambique.
Six- and nine-month old children and their mothers were screened in a cross-sectional study for measles-specific antibodies in oral fluid. All vaccinated children were invited for a follow-up visit 15 days after immunization to assess seroconversion.
82.4% of the children lost maternal antibodies by six months. Most children were antibody-positive post-vaccination at nine months, although 30.5 % of nine month old children had antibodies in oral fluid before vaccination. We suggest that these pre-vaccination antibodies are due to contact with wild-type of measles virus. The observed seroconversion rate after vaccination was 84.2%.
These data indicate a need to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the measles immunization policy in the current epidemiological scenario.
PMCID: PMC2630948  PMID: 19014485
19.  Risk factors for incomplete vaccination and missed opportunity for immunization in rural Mozambique 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:161.
Inadequate levels of immunization against childhood diseases remain a significant public health problem in resource-poor areas of the globe. Nonetheless, the reasons for incomplete vaccination and non-uptake of immunization services are poorly understood. This study aimed at finding out the reasons for non-vaccination and the magnitude of missed opportunities for vaccination in children less than two years of age in a rural area in southern Mozambique.
Mothers of children under two years of age (N = 668) were interviewed in a cross-sectional study. The Road-to-Health card was utilized to check for completeness and correctness of vaccination schedule as well as for identifying the appropriate use of all available opportunities for vaccination. The chi-square test and the logistic regression were used for statistical analysis.
We found that 28.2% of the children had not completed the vaccination program by two years of age, 25.7% had experienced a missed opportunity for vaccination and 14.9% were incorrectly vaccinated. Reasons for incomplete vaccination were associated with accessibility to the vaccination sites, no schooling of mothers and children born at home or outside Mozambique.
Efforts to increase vaccination coverage should take into account factors that contribute to the incomplete vaccination status of children. Missed opportunities for vaccination and incorrect vaccination need to be avoided in order to increase the vaccine coverage for those clients that reach the health facility, specially in those countries where health services do not have 100% of coverage.
PMCID: PMC2405792  PMID: 18485194
20.  Assessment of routine surveillance data as a tool to investigate measles outbreaks in Mozambique 
Measles remains a major public health problem in Mozambique despite significant efforts to control the disease. Currently, health authorities base their outbreak control on data from the routine surveillance system while vaccine coverage and efficacy are calculated based on mathematical projections of the target population. The aim of this work was to assess the quality of the measles reporting system during two outbreaks that occurred in Maputo City (1998) and in Manica Province (2002).
Retrospectively, we collected data from the routine surveillance system, i.e. register books at health facilities and weekly provincial and national epidemiological reports. To test whether the provinces registered an outbreak, the distribution of measles cases was compared to an endemic level established based on cases reported in previous years.
There was a significant under-notification of measles cases from the health facilities to the province and national level. Register books, the primary sources of information for the measles surveillance system, were found to be incomplete for two main variables: "age" and "vaccination status".
The Mozambican surveillance system is based on poor quality records, receives the notification of only a fraction of the total number of measles in the country and may result in failures do detect epidemics. The measles reporting system does not provide the data needed by Expanded Program on Immunisation managers to make evidence-based decisions, nor does it allow in-depth analysis to monitor measles epidemiology in the country. The progress of Mozambique to the next stage of measles elimination will require an improvement of the routine surveillance system and a stronger Health Information System.
PMCID: PMC1388222  PMID: 16504049
21.  Affordable CD4+-T-Cell Counting by Flow Cytometry: CD45 Gating for Volumetric Analysis 
The flow cytometers that are currently supported by industry provide accurate CD4+-T-cell counts for monitoring human immunodeficiency virus disease but remain unaffordable for routine service work under resource-poor conditions. We therefore combined volumetric flow cytometry (measuring absolute lymphocyte counts in unit volumes of blood) and simpler protocols with generic monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to increase cost efficiency. Volumetric absolute counts were generated using CD45/CD4 and CD45/CD8 MAb combinations in two parallel tubes. The percentage values for the various subsets were also determined within the leukocyte and lymphocyte populations utilizing a fully automated protocol. The levels of agreement between the newly developed method and the present industry standards, including both volumetric and bead-based systems using a full MAb panel for subset analysis, were tested by Bland-Altman analyses. The limits of agreement for CD4 counts generated by the volumetric methods using either CD45/CD4 (in a single tube) or the full Trio MAb panel (in three tubes) on the CytoronAbsolute flow cytometer were between −29 and +46 cells/mm3 with very little bias for CD4 counts (in favor of the Trio method: +8 CD4+ lymphocytes/mm3; 0.38% of lymphocytes). The limits of agreement for absolute CD4 counts yielded by the volumetric CD45/CD4 method and the bead-based method were between −118 and +98 cells/mm3, again with a negligible bias (−10 CD4+ lymphocytes/mm3). In the volumetric method using CD45/CD8, the strongly CD8+ cells were gated and the levels of agreement with the full Trio showed a minor bias (in favor of the Trio; +40 CD8+ cells/mm3; 5.2% of lymphocytes) without a significant influence on CD4/CD8 ratios. One trained flow cytometrist was able to process 300 to 400 stained tubes per day. This workload extrapolates to a throughput of >30,000 samples per year if both CD45/CD4 and CD45/CD8 stainings are performed for each patient or a throughput of >60,000 samples if only CD45/CD4 counts are tested in a single tube. Thus, on the basis of the high efficiency and excellent agreement with the present industry standards, volumetric flow cytometers with automated gating protocols and autobiosamplers, complemented by generic CD45, CD4, and CD8 MAbs used in two-color immunofluorescence, represent the most suitable arrangements for large regional laboratories in resource-poor settings.
PMCID: PMC120051  PMID: 12204964

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