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2.  An analysis of volumes, prices and pricing trends of the pediatric antiretroviral market in developing countries from 2004 to 2012 
BMC Pediatrics  2016;16:41.
The pediatric antiretroviral (ARV) market is poorly described in the literature, resulting in gaps in understanding treatment access. We analyzed the pediatric ARV market from 2004 to 2012 and assessed pricing trends and associated factors.
Data on donor funded procurements of pediatric ARV formulations reported to the Global Price Reporting Mechanism database from 2004 to 2012 were analyzed.
Outcomes of interest were the volume and mean price per patient-year ARV formulation based on WHO ARV dosing recommendations for a 10 kg child. Factors associated with the price of formulations were assessed using linear regression; potential predictors included: country income classification, geographical region, market segment (originator versus generic ARVs), and number of manufacturers per formulation. All analyses were adjusted for type of formulations (single, dual or triple fixed-dose combinations (FDCs))
Data from 111 countries from 2004 to 2012 were included, with procurement of 33 formulations at a total value of USD 204 million. Use of dual and triple FDC formulations increased substantially over time, but with limited changes in price. Upon multivariate analysis, prices of originator formulations were found to be on average 72 % higher than generics (p < 0.001). A 10 % increase in procurement volume was associated with a 1 % decrease (p < 0.001) in both originator and generic prices. The entry of one additional manufacturer producing a formulation was associated with a decrease in prices of 2 % (p < 0.001) and 8 % (p < 0.001) for originator and generic formulations, respectively. The mean generic ARV price did not differ by country income level. Prices of originator ARVs were 48 % (p < 0.001) and 14 % (p < 0.001) higher in upper-middle income and lower-middle income countries compared to low income countries respectively, with the exception of South Africa, which had lower prices despite being an upper-middle income country.
The donor funded pediatric ARV market as represented by the GPRM database is small, and lacks price competition. It is dominated by generic drugs due to the lower prices offered and the practicality of FDC formulations. This market requires continued donor support and the current initiatives to protect it are important to ensure market viability, especially if new formulations are to be introduced in the future.
PMCID: PMC4793558  PMID: 26979974
Pediatrics antiretroviral market; Pediatric antiretroviral prices; Global Price Reporting Mechanism; Price trends; Pediatric antiretroviral procurement
3.  Impact of body weight and missed doses on lopinavir concentrations with standard and increased lopinavir/ritonavir doses during late pregnancy 
To assess the influence of body weight and missed doses on lopinavir pharmacokinetics with standard and increased doses of lopinavir/ritonavir melt extrusion tablets during late pregnancy.
Patients and methods
Lopinavir concentration data during the third trimester of pregnancy were pooled from clinical trials in Thailand (NCT00409591) and the USA (NCT00042289). A total of 154 HIV-infected pregnant women receiving either 400/100 mg (standard) or 600/150 mg (increased) twice daily had lopinavir plasma concentration data available. Population parameters were estimated using non-linear mixed-effects regression models. Monte Carlo simulations were performed to estimate the probability of achieving target lopinavir trough concentrations (>1.0 mg/L) with standard and increased doses of lopinavir/ritonavir during pregnancy.
The median (range) age, weight and gestational age were 28 years (18–43), 62 kg (45–123) and 33 weeks (29–38), respectively. Body weight influenced lopinavir oral clearance (CL/F) and volume of distribution (V/F). Population estimates of lopinavir CL/F and V/F were 6.21 L/h/70 kg and 52.6 L/70 kg, respectively. Based on simulations, the highest risk of subtherapeutic trough concentrations was for women weighing >100 kg using the standard dose (∼7%), while the risk was <2% with the 600/150 mg dose for women weighing 40–130 kg. After a missed dose, 61% of women have lopinavir concentrations below target prior to the next dose with the standard dose compared with 42% with the increased dose.
Standard dosing provides adequate lopinavir trough concentrations for the majority of pregnant women but increased doses may be preferable for women weighing >100 kg and with a history of lopinavir/ritonavir use and/or adherence issues.
PMCID: PMC4267507  PMID: 25261418
HIV; pharmacokinetics; Thailand; USA
4.  Optimizing drugs to reach treatment targets for children and adolescents living with HIV 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2015;18(7Suppl 6):20270.
As the global community makes progress towards the 90-90-90 targets by 2020, a key challenge is ensuring that antiretroviral drugs for children and adolescents are suitable to the context of resource-limited settings. Drug optimization aims to support the expanded use of more simplified, less toxic drug regimens with high barriers to drug resistance that require minimal clinical monitoring while maintaining therapeutic efficacy. This manuscript summarizes the progress made and outlines further critical steps required to ensure that the right drugs are available to start children and adolescents on treatment and to keep them virologically suppressed.
Building upon previous work in drug optimization, several important steps were taken in 2014 to ensure alignment between WHO dosing recommendations and the requirements of regulatory bodies, to accelerate drug development, to reduce intellectual property barriers to generic production of combined formulations and rationalize drug selection in countries. The priority for the future is to improve access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the two ends of the paediatric age spectrum – infants and adolescents – where the treatment gap is greatest, and optimize drug sequencing with better use of available medicines for second- and third-line ART. Future efforts in this area will require continuous collaboration and coordination, and the promotion of innovative approaches to accelerate access to new drugs and formulations.
While significant progress has been made, additional efforts are needed to ensure that treatment targets are reached by 2020.
PMCID: PMC4670841  PMID: 26639117
antiretrovirals; treatment; children; ART; optimization; formulations; HIV
7.  Maternal neutralizing antibodies against a CRF01_AE primary isolate are associated with a low rate of intrapartum HIV-1 transmission 
Virology  2009;387(2):388-394.
Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1 provides a model for studying the role of passively acquired antibodies in preventing HIV infection. We determined the titers of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against six primary isolates of clades B and CRF01_AE in sera from 45 transmitting and 45 nontransmitting mothers matched for the main independent factors associated with MTCT in Thailand. A lower risk of MTCT, particularly for intrapartum transmission, was associated only with higher NAb titers against the CRF01_AE strain, MBA. The envelope glycoprotein of this strain showed an unusually long V2 domain of 63 amino acids, encoding six potential N-linked glycosylation sites. We provided experimental data indicating that the extended V2 domain contributed to the higher level of resistance to neutralization by mothers' sera in this strain. Taken together the data suggest that some primary isolates with specific properties may be useful indicators for identifying protective antibodies.
PMCID: PMC4468066  PMID: 19303619
HIV; mother-to-child transmission; neutralizing antibodies
8.  Modeling of In-Utero and Intra-Partum Transmissions to Evaluate the Efficacy of Interventions for the Prevention of Perinatal HIV 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126647.
Antiretroviral treatments decrease HIV mother-to-child transmission through pre/post exposure prophylaxis and reduction of maternal viral load. We modeled in-utero and intra-partum HIV transmissions to investigate the preventive role of various antiretroviral treatments interventions.
We analysed data from 3,759 women-infant pairs enrolled in 3 randomized clinical trials evaluating (1) zidovudine monotherapy, (2) zidovudine plus perinatal single-dose nevirapine or (3) zidovudine plus lopinavir/ritonavir for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Thailand. All infants were formula-fed. Non-linear mixed effect modeling was used to express the viral load evolution under antiretroviral treatments and the probability of transmission.
Median viral load was 4 log10 copies/mL (Interquartile range: 3.36–4.56) before antiretroviral treatments initiation. An Emax model described the viral load time-course during pregnancy. Half of the maximum effect of zidovudine (28% decrease) and lopinavir/ritonavir (72% decrease) were achieved after 98 and 12 days, respectively. Adjusted on viral load at baseline (Odds ratio = 1.50 [95% confidence interval: 1.34, 1.68] per log10 copies/mL increment), antiretroviral treatments duration (OR = 0.80 [0.75, 0.84] per week increment) but not the nature of antiretroviral treatments were associated with in-utero transmission. Adjusted on gestational age at delivery (<37 weeks, OR = 2.37 [1.37, 4.10]), baseline CD4 (Odds ratio = 0.79 [0.72, 0.88] per 100 cells/mm3 increment) and predicted viral load at delivery (OR = 1.47 [1.25, 1.64] per log10 copies/mL increment), single-dose nevirapine considerably reduced intra-partum transmission (OR = 0.32 [0.2, 0.51]).
These models determined the respective contributions of various antiretroviral strategies on prevention of mother-to-child transmission. This can help predict the efficacy of new antiretroviral treatments and/or prevention of mother-to-child transmission strategies particularly for women with no or late antenatal care who are at high risk of transmitting HIV to their offspring.
Trial Registration
This analysis is based on secondary data obtained from three clinical trials. NCT00386230, NCT00398684, NCT00409591.
PMCID: PMC4438074  PMID: 25992639
9.  Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor Resistance Mutations Associated with First-Line Stavudine-Containing Antiretroviral Therapy: Programmatic Implications for Countries Phasing Out Stavudine 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;207(Suppl 2):S70-S77.
The World Health Organization Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines recommend phasing-out stavudine because of its risk of long-term toxicity. There are two mutational pathways of stavudine resistance with different implications for zidovudine and tenofovir cross-resistance, the primary candidates for replacing stavudine. However, because resistance testing is rarely available in resource-limited settings, it is critical to identify the cross-resistance patterns associated with first-line stavudine failure.
We analyzed HIV-1 resistance mutations following first-line stavudine failure from 35 publications comprising 1,825 individuals. We also assessed the influence of concomitant nevirapine vs. efavirenz, therapy duration, and HIV-1 subtype on the proportions of mutations associated with zidovudine vs. tenofovir cross-resistance.
Mutations with preferential zidovudine activity, K65R or K70E, occurred in 5.3% of individuals. Mutations with preferential tenofovir activity, ≥two thymidine analog mutations (TAMs) or Q151M, occurred in 22% of individuals. Nevirapine increased the risk of TAMs, K65R, and Q151M. Longer therapy increased the risk of TAMs and Q151M but not K65R. Subtype C and CRF01_AE increased the risk of K65R, but only CRF01_AE increased the risk of K65R without Q151M.
Regardless of concomitant nevirapine vs. efavirenz, therapy duration, or subtype, tenofovir was more likely than zidovudine to retain antiviral activity following first-line d4T therapy.
PMCID: PMC3657117  PMID: 23687292
HIV-1; drug resistance; mutations; nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor; NRTI; stavudine; d4T; zidovudine; AZT; tenofovir; TDF; subtypes
10.  Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Impact of Isolated Antibody to Hepatitis B Core Antigen and Occult Hepatitis B Virus Infection in HIV-1–Infected Pregnant Women 
Among hepatitis B (HB) surface antigen–negative/human immunodeficiency virus–infected pregnant women in Thailand, 14% had isolated antibody to HB core antigen (anti-HBc); of whom 24% had occult HB virus (HBV) infection with low HBV DNA levels. None transmitted HBV to their infants.
Background. Prevalence and risk factors for isolated antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) and occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection are not well known in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)–infected pregnant women. It is unclear if women with occult infections are at risk of transmitting HBV to their infants.
Methods. HIV-1–infected and HBV surface antigen (HBsAg)–negative pregnant women were tested for antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBs) and anti-HBc using enzyme immunoassay. Women with isolated anti-HBc were assessed for occult HBV infection, defined as HBV DNA levels >15 IU/mL, using the Abbott RealTime HBV DNA assay. Infants born to women with isolated anti-HBc and detectable HBV DNA were tested at 4 months of age for HBV DNA. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with isolated anti-HBc and occult HBV infection.
Results. Among 1812 HIV-infected pregnant women, 1682 were HBsAg negative. Fourteen percent (95% confidence interval [CI], 12%–15%) of HBsAg-negative women had an isolated anti-HBc that was independently associated with low CD4 count, age >35 years, birth in northern Thailand, and positive anti–hepatitis C virus serology. Occult HBV infection was identified in 24% (95% CI, 18%–30%) of women with isolated anti-HBc, representing 2.6% (95% CI, 1.9%–3.5%) of HIV-1–infected pregnant women, and was inversely associated with HIV RNA levels. None of the women with isolated anti-HBc and occult HBV infection transmitted HBV to their infants.
Conclusions. HIV-1–infected pregnant women with isolated anti-HBc and occult HBV infection have very low HBV DNA levels and are thus at very low risk to transmit HBV to their infants.
PMCID: PMC3707427  PMID: 23487379
HIV-1–infected pregnant women; isolated anti-HBc; occult HBV infection; perinatal transmission
11.  Estimating the Timing of Mother-to-Child Transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Using a Viral Molecular Evolution Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e90421.
Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) is responsible for most pediatric HIV-1 infections worldwide. It can occur during pregnancy, labor, or breastfeeding. Numerous studies have used coalescent and molecular clock methods to understand the epidemic history of HIV-1, but the timing of vertical transmission has not been studied using these methods. Taking advantage of the constant accumulation of HIV genetic variation over time and using longitudinally sampled viral sequences, we used a coalescent approach to investigate the timing of MTCT.
Materials and Methods
Six-hundred and twenty-two clonal env sequences from the RNA and DNA viral population were longitudinally sampled from nine HIV-1 infected mother-and-child pairs [range: 277–1034 days]. For each transmission pair, timing of MTCT was determined using a coalescent-based model within a Bayesian statistical framework. Results were compared with available estimates of MTCT timing obtained with the classic biomedical approach based on serial HIV DNA detection by PCR assays.
Four children were infected during pregnancy, whereas the remaining five children were infected at time of delivery. For eight out of nine pairs, results were consistent with the transmission periods assessed by standard PCR-based assay. The discordance in the remaining case was likely confused by co-infection, with simultaneous introduction of multiple maternal viral variants at the time of delivery.
The study provided the opportunity to validate the Bayesian coalescent approach that determines the timing of MTCT of HIV-1. It illustrates the power of population genetics approaches to reliably estimate the timing of transmission events and deepens our knowledge about the dynamics of viral evolution in HIV-infected children, accounting for the complexity of multiple transmission events.
PMCID: PMC3981669  PMID: 24717647
12.  Cost-Effectiveness of Early Infant HIV Diagnosis of HIV-Exposed Infants and Immediate Antiretroviral Therapy in HIV-Infected Children under 24 Months in Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91004.
HIV-infected infants have high risk of death in the first two years of life if untreated. WHO guidelines recommend early infant HIV diagnosis (EID) of all HIV-exposed infants and immediate antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV-infected children under 24-months. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of this strategy in HIV-exposed non-breastfed children in Thailand.
A decision analytic model of HIV diagnosis and disease progression compared: EID using DNA PCR with immediate ART (Early-Early); or EID with deferred ART based on immune/clinical criteria (Early-Late); vs. clinical/serology based diagnosis and deferred ART (Reference). The model was populated with survival and cost data from a Thai observational cohort and the literature. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio per life-year gained (LYG) was compared against the Reference strategy. Costs and outcomes were discounted at 3%.
Mean discounted life expectancy of HIV-infected children increased from 13.3 years in the Reference strategy to 14.3 in the Early-Late and 17.8 years in Early-Early strategies. The mean discounted lifetime cost was $17,335, $22,583 and $29,108, respectively. The cost-effectiveness ratio of Early-Late and Early-Early strategies was $5,149 and $2,615 per LYG, respectively as compared to the Reference strategy. The Early-Early strategy was most cost-effective at approximately half the domestic product per capita per LYG ($4,420 in Thailand 2011). The results were robust in deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses including varying perinatal transmission rates.
In Thailand, EID and immediate ART would lead to major survival benefits and is cost- effective. These findings strongly support the adoption of WHO recommendations as routine care.
PMCID: PMC3954590  PMID: 24632750
13.  Analysis of residual perinatal transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and of genetic variants in human immunodeficiency virus and HBV co-infected women and their offspring 
Despite implementation of universal infant hepatitis B (HB) vaccination, mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of hepatitis B virus (HBV) still occurs. Limited data are available on the residual MTCT of HBV in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-HBV co-infected women.
We assessed the prevalence of HBV infection among HIV-infected pregnant women and the rate of residual MTCT of HBV from HIV-HBV co-infected women and analyzed the viral determinants in mothers and their HBV-infected children.
Study design
HIV-1 infected pregnant women enrolled in two nationwide perinatal HIV prevention trials in Thailand were screened for HB surface antigen (HBsAg) and tested for HBeAg and HBV DNA load. Infants born to HBsAg-positive women had HBsAg and HBV DNA tested at 4–6 months. HBV diversity within each HBV-infected mother-infant pair was analyzed by direct sequencing of amplified HBsAg-encoding gene and cloning of amplified products.
Among 3,312 HIV-1 infected pregnant women, 245 (7.4%) were HBsAg-positive, of whom 125 were HBeAg-positive. Of 230 evaluable infants born to HBsAg-positive women, 11 (4.8%) were found HBsAg and HBV DNA positive at 4–6 months; 8 were born to HBeAg-positive mothers. HBV genetic analysis was performed in 9 mother-infant pairs and showed that 5 infants were infected with maternal HBV variants harboring mutations within the HBsAg “a” determinant, and four were infected with wild-type HBV present in highly viremic mothers.
HBV-MTCT still occurs when women have high HBV DNA load and/or are infected with HBV variants. Additional interventions targeting highly viremic women are thus needed to reduce further HBV-MTCT.
PMCID: PMC3872003  PMID: 23916828
HBs antigen variants; Hepatitis B vaccine failure; HIV pregnant women; mother-to-child transmission; Thailand
14.  Switching HIV Treatment in Adults Based on CD4 Count Versus Viral Load Monitoring: A Randomized, Non-Inferiority Trial in Thailand 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(8):e1001494.
Using a randomized controlled trial, Marc Lallemant and colleagues ask if a CD4-based monitoring and treatment switching strategy provides a similar clinical outcome compared to the standard viral load-based strategy for adults with HIV in Thailand.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Viral load (VL) is recommended for monitoring the response to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) but is not routinely available in most low- and middle-income countries. The purpose of the study was to determine whether a CD4-based monitoring and switching strategy would provide a similar clinical outcome compared to the standard VL-based strategy in Thailand.
Methods and Findings
The Programs for HIV Prevention and Treatment (PHPT-3) non-inferiority randomized clinical trial compared a treatment switching strategy based on CD4-only (CD4) monitoring versus viral-load (VL). Consenting participants were antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected adults (CD4 count 50–250/mm3) initiating non-nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based therapy. Randomization, stratified by site (21 public hospitals), was performed centrally after enrollment. Clinicians were unaware of the VL values of patients randomized to the CD4 arm. Participants switched to second-line combination with confirmed CD4 decline >30% from peak (within 200 cells from baseline) in the CD4 arm, or confirmed VL >400 copies/ml in the VL arm. Primary endpoint was clinical failure at 3 years, defined as death, new AIDS-defining event, or CD4 <50 cells/mm3. The 3-year Kaplan-Meier cumulative risks of clinical failure were compared for non-inferiority with a margin of 7.4%. In the intent to treat analysis, data were censored at the date of death or at last visit. The secondary endpoints were difference in future-drug-option (FDO) score, a measure of resistance profiles, virologic and immunologic responses, and the safety and tolerance of HAART. 716 participants were randomized, 356 to VL monitoring and 360 to CD4 monitoring. At 3 years, 319 participants (90%) in VL and 326 (91%) in CD4 were alive and on follow-up. The cumulative risk of clinical failure was 8.0% (95% CI 5.6–11.4) in VL versus 7.4% (5.1–10.7) in CD4, and the upper-limit of the one-sided 95% CI of the difference was 3.4%, meeting the pre-determined non-inferiority criterion. Probability of switch for study criteria was 5.2% (3.2–8.4) in VL versus 7.5% (5.0–11.1) in CD4 (p = 0.097). Median time from treatment initiation to switch was 11.7 months (7.7–19.4) in VL and 24.7 months (15.9–35.0) in CD4 (p = 0.001). The median duration of viremia >400 copies/ml at switch was 7.2 months (5.8–8.0) in VL versus 15.8 months (8.5–20.4) in CD4 (p = 0.002). FDO scores were not significantly different at time of switch. No adverse events related to the monitoring strategy were reported.
The 3-year rates of clinical failure and loss of treatment options did not differ between strategies although the longer-term consequences of CD4 monitoring would need to be investigated. These results provide reassurance to treatment programs currently based on CD4 monitoring as VL measurement becomes more affordable and feasible in resource-limited settings.
Trial registration NCT00162682
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 34 million people (most of them living in low-and middle-income countries) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV infection leads to the destruction of immune system cells (including CD4 cells, a type of white blood cell), leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-infected individuals died within 10 years of infection. Then, in 1996, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)—combined drugs regimens that suppress viral replication and allow restoration of the immune system—became available. For people living in affluent countries, HIV/AIDS became a chronic condition but, because HAART was expensive, HIV/AIDS remained a fatal illness for people living in resource-limited countries. In 2003, the international community declared HIV/AIDS a global health emergency and, in 2006, it set the target of achieving universal global access to HAART by 2010. By the end of 2011, 8 million of the estimated 14.8 million people in need of HAART in low- and middle-income countries were receiving treatment.
Why Was This Study Done?
At the time this trial was conceived, national and international recommendations were that HIV-positive individuals should start HAART when their CD4 count fell below 200 cells/mm3 and should have their CD4 count regularly monitored to optimize HAART. In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations were updated to promote expanded eligibility for HAART with a CD4 of 500 cells/mm3 or less for adults, adolescents, and older children although priority is given to individuals with CD4 count of 350 cells/mm3 or less. Because HIV often becomes resistant to first-line antiretroviral drugs, WHO also recommends that viral load—the amount of virus in the blood—should be monitored so that suspected treatment failures can be confirmed and patients switched to second-line drugs in a timely manner. This monitoring and switching strategy is widely used in resource-rich settings, but is still very difficult to implement for low- and middle-income countries where resources for monitoring are limited and access to costly second-line drugs is restricted. In this randomized non-inferiority trial, the researchers compare the performance of a CD4-based treatment monitoring and switching strategy with the standard viral load-based strategy among HIV-positive adults in Thailand. In a randomized trial, individuals are assigned different interventions by the play of chance and followed up to compare the effects of these interventions; a non-inferiority trial investigates whether one treatment is not worse than another.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers assigned about 700 HIV-positive adults who were beginning HAART for the first time to have their CD4 count (CD4 arm) or their CD4 count and viral load (VL arm) determined every 3 months. Participants were switched to a second-line therapy if their CD4 count declined by more than 30% from their peak CD4 count (CD4 arm) or if a viral load of more than 400 copies/ml was recorded (VL arm). The 3-year cumulative risk of clinical failure (defined as death, a new AIDS-defining event, or a CD4 count of less than 50 cells/mm3) was 8% in the VL arm and 7.4% in the CD4 arm. This difference in clinical failure risk met the researchers' predefined criterion for non-inferiority. The probability of a treatment switch was similar in the two arms, but the average time from treatment initiation to treatment switch and the average duration of a high viral load after treatment switch were both longer in the CD4 arm than in the VL arm. Finally, the future-drug-option score, a measure of viral drug resistance profiles, was similar in the two arms at the time of treatment switch.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, in Thailand, a CD4 switching strategy is non-inferior in terms of clinical outcomes among HIV-positive adults 3 years after beginning HAART when compared to the recommended viral load-based switching strategy and that there is no difference between the strategies in terms of viral suppression and immune restoration after 3-years follow-up. Importantly, however, even though patients in the CD4 arm spent longer with a high viral load than patients in the VL arm, the emergence of HIV mutants resistant to antiretroviral drugs was similar in the two arms. Although these findings provide no information about the long-term outcomes of the two monitoring strategies and may not be generalizable to routine care settings, they nevertheless provide reassurance that using CD4 counts alone to monitor HAART in HIV treatment programs in resource-limited settings is an appropriate strategy to use as viral load measurement becomes more affordable and feasible in these settings.
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 2010 recommendations for antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection in adults and adolescents are available as well as the June 2013 Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection: recommendations for a public health approach
The 2012 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, on HIV and AIDS in Thailand, on universal access to AIDS treatment, and on starting, monitoring and switching HIV treatment (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including personal stories) about HIV and AIDS
More information about this trial (the PHPT-3 trial) is available
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 HIV treatment
PMCID: PMC3735458  PMID: 23940461
15.  Plasma Drug Concentrations and Virologic Evaluations after Stopping Treatment with Nonnucleoside Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitors in HIV Type 1–Infected Children 
The optimum strategy for stopping treatment with drugs that have different half-lives in a combination regimen to minimize the risk of selecting drug-resistant viruses remains unknown. We evaluated drug concentrations in plasma, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) load, and development of drug resistance after a planned treatment interruption of a nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)–containing regimen in HIV type 1–infected children.
Children with viral loads <50 copies/mL and CD4 cell percentages ≥30% (for children aged 2–6 years) or CD4 cell percentages ≥25% and CD4 cell counts ≥500 cells/μL (for children aged 7–15 years) were randomized to either a planned treatment interruption or to continuous therapy. In the planned treatment interruption arm, either (1) treatment with nevirapine or efavirenz was stopped, and treatment with the remaining drugs was continued for 7–14 days, or (2) nevirapine or efavirenz were replaced by a protease inhibitor, and all drugs were stopped after 7–14 days. Sampling for determination of plasma drug concentrations, measurement of viral load, and drug resistance testing was scheduled at day 0, day 7 (drug concentrations only), day 14, and day 28 after interruption of treatment with an NNRTI.
Treatment with an NNRTI was interrupted for 35 children (20 were receiving nevirapine, and 15 were receiving efavirenz). Median time from NNRTI cessation to stopping all drugs was 9 days (range, 6–15 days) for nevirapine and 14 days (range, 6–18 days) for efavirenz. At 7 days, 1 (5%) of 19 and 4 (50%) of 8 children had detectable nevirapine and efavirenz concentrations, respectively; efavirenz remained detectable in 3 (25%) of 12 children at 14 days. At 14 days, viral load was ≥50 copies/mL in 6 of 16 children interrupting treatment with nevirapine (range, 52–7000 copies/mL) and in 2 of 12 children interrupting treatment with efavirenz (range, 120–1600 copies/mL). No new NNRTI mutations were observed.
In children with virological suppression who experienced interruption of treatment with an NNRTI, staggered or replacement stopping strategies for a median of 9 days for nevirapine and 14 days for efavirenz were not associated with the selection of NNRTI resistance mutations.
PMCID: PMC3597130  PMID: 18419497
16.  Laboratory and Clinical Predictors of Disease Progression following Initiation of Combination Therapy in HIV-Infected Adults in Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43375.
Data on determinants of long-term disease progression in HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) are limited in low and middle-income settings.
Effects of current CD4 count, viral load and haemoglobin and diagnosis of AIDS-defining events (ADEs) after start of combination ART (cART) on death and new ADEs were assessed using Poisson regression, in patient aged ≥18 years within a multi-centre cohort in Thailand.
Among 1,572 patients, median follow-up from cART initiation was 4.4 (IQR 3.6–6.3) years. The analysis of death was based on 60 events during 6,573 person-years; 30/50 (60%) deaths with underlying cause ascertained were attributable to infections. Analysis of new ADE included 192 events during 5,865 person-years; TB and Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia were the most commonly presented first new ADE (35% and 20% of cases, respectively). In multivariable analyses, low current CD4 count after starting cART was the strongest predictor of death and of new ADE. Even at CD4 above 200 cells/mm3, survival improved steadily with CD4, with mortality rare at ≥500 cells/mm3 (rate 1.1 per 1,000 person-years). Haemoglobin had a strong independent effect, while viral load was weakly predictive with poorer prognosis only observed at ≥100,000 copies/ml. Mortality risk increased following diagnosis of ADEs during cART. The decline in mortality rate with duration on cART (from 21.3 per 1,000 person-years within first 6 months to 4.7 per 1,000 person-years at ≥36 months) was accounted for by current CD4 count.
Patients with low CD4 count or haemoglobin require more intensive diagnostic and treatment of underlying causes. Maintaining CD4≥500 cells/mm3 minimizes mortality. However, patient monitoring could potentially be relaxed at high CD4 count if resources are limited. Optimal ART monitoring strategies in low-income settings remain a research priority. Better understanding of the aetiology of anaemia in patients on ART could guide prevention and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3419679  PMID: 22905264
17.  Long-Term Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Response to Lamivudine-Containing Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in HIV-HBV Co-Infected Patients in Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e42184.
Approximately 4 million of people are co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis B virus (HBV). In resource-limited settings, the majority of HIV-infected patients initiate first-line highly active antiretroviral therapy containing lamivudine (3TC-containing-HAART) and long-term virological response of HBV to lamivudine-containing HAART in co-infected patients is not well known.
Methodology/Principal Finding
HIV-HBV co-infected patients enrolled in the PHPT cohort ( NCT00433030) and initiating a 3TC-containing-HAART regimen were included. HBV-DNA, HIV-RNA, CD4+ T-cell counts and alanine transaminase were measured at baseline, 3 months, 12 months and then every 6 months up to 5 years. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to estimate the cumulative rates of patients who achieved and maintained HBV-DNA suppression. Of 30 co-infected patients, 19 were positive for HBe antigen (HBeAg). At initiation of 3TC-containing-HAART, median HBV DNA and HIV RNA levels were 7.35 log10 IU/mL and 4.47 log10 copies/mL, respectively. At 12 months, 67% of patients achieved HBV DNA suppression: 100% of HBeAg-negative patients and 47% of HBeAg-positive. Seventy-three percent of patients had HIV RNA below 50 copies/mL. The cumulative rates of maintained HBV-DNA suppression among the 23 patients who achieved HBV-DNA suppression were 91%, 87%, and 80% at 1, 2, and 4 years respectively. Of 17 patients who maintained HBV-DNA suppression while still on 3TC, 4 (24%) lost HBsAg and 7 of 8 (88%) HBeAg-positive patients lost HBeAg at their last visit (median duration, 59 months). HBV breakthrough was observed only in HBeAg-positive patients and 6 of 7 patients presenting HBV breakthrough had the rtM204I/V mutations associated with 3TC resistance along with rtL180M and/or rtV173L.
All HBeAg-negative patients and 63% of HBeAg-positive HIV-HBV co-infected patients achieved long-term HBV DNA suppression while on 3TC-containing-HAART. This study provides information useful for the management of co-infected patients in resource-limited countries where the vast majority of co-infected patients are currently receiving 3TC.
PMCID: PMC3409123  PMID: 22860080
18.  Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy and Acceptability of Planned Treatment Interruptions in HIV-Infected Children 
AIDS and Behavior  2012;17(1):193-202.
There have been no paediatric randomised trials describing the effect of planned treatment interruptions (PTIs) of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on adherence, or evaluating acceptability of such a strategy. In PENTA 11, HIV-infected children were randomised to CD4-guided PTIs (n = 53) or continuous therapy (CT, n = 56). Carers, and children if appropriate, completed questionnaires on adherence to ART and acceptability of PTIs. There was no difference in reported adherence on ART between CT and PTI groups; non-adherence (reporting missed doses over the last 3 days or marking <100 % adherence since the last clinical visit on a visual analogue scale) was 18 % (20/111) and 14 % (12/83) on carer questionnaires in the CT and PTI groups respectively (odds ratios, OR (95 % CI) = 1.04 (0.20, 5.41), χ2 (1) = 0.003, p = 0.96). Carers in Europe/USA reported non-adherence more often (31/121, 26 %) than in Thailand (1/73, 1 %; OR (95 % CI) = 54.65 (3.68, 810.55), χ2 (1) = 8.45, p = 0.004). The majority of families indicated they were happy to have further PTIs (carer: 23/36, 64 %; children: 8/13, 62 %), however many reported more clinic visits during PTI were a problem (carer: 15/36, 42 %; children: 6/12, 50 %).
PMCID: PMC3548111  PMID: 22584916
Adherence; Acceptability; Planned treatment interruptions; HIV; Children
19.  Influence of body weight on achieving indinavir concentrations within its therapeutic window in HIV-infected Thai patients receiving indinavir boosted with ritonavir 
Therapeutic drug monitoring  2011;33(1):25-31.
Indinavir boosted with ritonavir (IDV/r) dosing with 400/100 mg, twice daily, is preferred in Thai adults, but this dose can lead to concentrations close to the boundaries of its therapeutic window. The objectives of this analysis were to validate a population pharmacokinetic model to describe IDV/r concentrations in HIV-infected Thai patients and to investigate the impact of patient characteristics on achieving adequate IDV concentrations. IDV/r concentration data from 513 plasma samples were available. Population means and variances of pharmacokinetic parameters were estimated using a non-linear mixed effects regression model (NONMEM Version VI). Monte Carlo simulations were performed to estimate the probability of achieving IDV concentrations within its therapeutic window. IDV/r pharmacokinetics was best described by a one compartment model coupled with a single transit compartment absorption model. Body weight influenced indinavir apparent oral clearance (CL/F) and volume of distribution (Vd/F) and allometric scaling significantly reduced the interindividual variability. Final population estimates (interindividual variability in percentage) of indinavir CL/F and Vd/F were 21.3 L/h/70kg (30%) and 90.7 L/70kg (22%), respectively. Based on model simulations, the probability of achieving an IDV trough concentration > 0.1 mg/L was >99% for 600/100 mg and >98% for 400/100 mg, twice daily, in patients 40–80 kg. However, the probability of achieving IDV concentrations associated with an increased risk of drug toxicity (>10.0 mg/L), increased from 1% to 10% with 600/100 mg, compared to <1% with 400/100 mg when body weight decreased from 80 to 40 kg. The validated model developed predicts that 400/100 mg of IDV/r, twice daily, provides indinavir concentrations within the recommended therapeutic window for the majority of patients. The risk of toxic drug concentrations increases rapidly with IDV/r dose of 600/100 mg for patients <50 kg and therapeutic drug monitoring of IDV concentrations would help to reduce the risk of IDV-induced nephrotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC3058116  PMID: 21233689
HIV-1; Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy; Indinavir; Thai patient population; therapeutic drug monitoring
20.  Long-Term Survival of HIV-Infected Children Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy in Thailand: A 5-Year Observational Cohort Study 
Background. There are scarce data on the long-termsurvival of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—infected children receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in lower-middle income countries beyond 2 years of follow-up.
Methods. Previously untreated children who initiated ART on meeting immunological and/or clinical criteria were followed in a prospective cohort in Thailand. The probability of survival up to 5 years from initiation was estimated using Kaplan-Meier methods, and factors associated with mortality were assessed using Cox regression analyses.
Results. Five hundred seventy-eight children received ART; of these, 111 (19.2%) were followed since birth. At start of ART (baseline), the median age was 6.7 years, 128 children (22%) were aged <2 years, and the median CD4 cell percentage was 7%. Median duration of follow-up was 53 months; 42 children (7%) died, and 38 (7%) were lost to follow-up. Age <12 months, low CD4 cell percentage, and low weight-for-height z score at ART initiation were independently associated with mortality (P < .001). The probability of survival among infants aged <12 months at baseline was 84.3% at 1 year and 76.7% at 5 years of ART, compared with 95.7% and 94.8%, respectively, among children aged ⩾1 year. Low CD4 cell percentage and wasting at baseline had a strong association with mortality among older children but weak or no association among infants.
Conclusions. Children who initiated ART as infants after meeting immunological and/or clinical criteria had a high risk of mortality which persisted beyond the first year of therapy. Among older children, those with severe wasting or low CD4 cell percentage at treatment initiation were at high risk of mortality during the first 6 months of therapy. These findings support the scale-up of early HIV diagnosis and immediate treatment in infants, before advanced disease progression in older children.
PMCID: PMC3106246  PMID: 21054181
21.  The interrelated transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and cytomegalovirus during gestation and delivery in the offspring of HIV-infected mothers 
Our objective was to analyze, in formula-fed infants, correlates of HIV mother-to-child transmission, including cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection.
HIV-infected infants were matched with HIV-uninfected by maternal HIV RNA in a case-control design. Infant CMV infection was determined by CMV-IgG at 18 months and timed by earlier CMV-IgM or -DNA. Correlations were assessed using logistic regression.
In utero HIV infection was independently associated with congenital CMV infection (P=0.01), intrapartum HIV infection with congenital-plus-intrapartum/neonatal CMV infection (P=0.01), and overall HIV with overall CMV infection (P=0.001), as well as prematurity (P=0.004).
Congenital and acquired CMV infections are strong independent correlates of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
PMCID: PMC3237680  PMID: 21792064
22.  Resistance Patterns Selected by Nevirapine vs. Efavirenz in HIV-Infected Patients Failing First-Line Antiretroviral Treatment: A Bayesian Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27427.
WHO recommends starting therapy with a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) and two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), i.e. nevirapine or efavirenz, with lamivudine or emtricitabine, plus zidovudine or tenofovir. Few studies have compared resistance patterns induced by efavirenz and nevirapine in patients infected with the CRF01_AE Southeast Asian HIV-subtype. We compared patterns of NNRTI- and NRTI-associated mutations in Thai adults failing first-line nevirapine- and efavirenz -based combinations, using Bayesian statistics to optimize use of data.
Methods and Findings
In a treatment cohort of HIV-infected adults on NNRTI-based regimens, 119 experienced virologic failure (>500 copies/mL), with resistance mutations detected by consensus sequencing. Mutations were analyzed in relation to demographic, clinical, and laboratory variables at time of genotyping. The Geno2Pheno system was used to evaluate second-line drug options. Eighty-nine subjects were on nevirapine and 30 on efavirenz. The NRTI backbone consisted of lamivudine or emtricitabine plus either zidovudine (37), stavudine (65), or tenofovir (19). The K103N mutation was detected in 83% of patients on efavirenz vs. 28% on nevirapine, whereas Y181C was detected in 56% on nevirapine vs. 20% efavirenz. M184V was more common with nevirapine (87%) than efavirenz (63%). Nevirapine favored TAM-2 resistance pathways whereas efavirenz selected both TAM-2 and TAM-1 pathways. Emergence of TAM-2 mutations increased with the duration of virologic replication (OR 1.25–1.87 per month increment). In zidovudine-containing regimens, the overall risk of resistance across all drugs was lower with nevirapine than with efavirenz, whereas in tenofovir-containing regimen the opposite was true.
TAM-2 was the major NRTI resistance pathway for CRF01_AE, particularly with nevirapine; it appeared late after virological failure. In patients who failed, there appeared to be more second-line drug options when zidovudine was combined with nevirapine or tenofovir with efavirenz than with alternative combinations.
PMCID: PMC3223170  PMID: 22132100
23.  Hematological Safety of Perinatal Exposure to Zidovudine in Uninfected Infants Born to HIV Type 1-Infected Women in Thailand 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2010;26(10):1163-1166.
The evolution of hematological parameters in HIV-1-exposed uninfected infants according to various durations of perinatal zidovudine exposure was studied. We used data prospectively collected among 1122 HIV-uninfected formula-fed infants born to HIV-infected mothers who participated in a clinical trial to prevent perinatal transmission in Thailand (PHPT-1). Infants were exposed to different durations of zidovudine both in utero and after birth. Hemoglobin level and leukocyte, absolute neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts were measured at birth and at 6 weeks of age. The association between hematological parameters at birth and the duration of zidovudine exposure in utero was studied using a linear regression model, and changes between birth and 6 weeks of age and the duration of postnatal zidovudine exposure using mixed effects models. At birth, the hemoglobin level was lower in newborns exposed to zidovudine for more than 7.5 weeks in utero (adjusted regression coefficient: −0.6 g/dl; 95% confidence interval: −1.1 to −0.1). Six weeks after birth, the hemoglobin level had decreased faster in infants administered zidovudine for more than 4 weeks (adjusted regression coefficient: −0.1 g/dl; 95% confidence interval: −0.2 to −0.1). The duration of perinatal zidovudine exposure was not associated with the evolution of leukocyte, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts. Despite the differences in hemoglobin levels, grade 3 or 4 anemia did not significantly differ by maternal or infant zidovudine duration. The clinical impact appeared modest, but longer exposure may warrant close monitoring.
PMCID: PMC2982712  PMID: 20854205
24.  Pharmacokinetics and virologic response of zidovudine/lopinavir/ritonavir initiated during the third trimester of pregnancy 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(14):2193-2200.
To evaluate the pharmacokinetics and HIV viral load (VL) response following initiation during the third trimester of pregnancy of zidovudine (ZDV) plus standard dose lopinavir boosted with ritonavir (LPV/r), twice daily, until delivery for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT).
Prospective study nested within a multicenter, three arm, randomised, phase III PMTCT trial in Thailand (PHPT-5, Identifier: NCT00409591).
Women randomized to receive 300 mg ZDV and 400/100 mg LPV/r twice daily from 28 weeks’ gestation, or as soon as possible thereafter, until delivery had intensive steady-state 12-hour blood sampling performed. LPV/r pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated using non-compartmental analysis. Rules were defined a priori for a LPV/r dose escalation based on the proportion of women with an LPV AUC < 52 (10th percentile for LPV AUC in non-pregnant adults). HIV-1 RNA response was assessed during the third trimester.
Thirty-eight women were evaluable; at entry median (range) gestational age was 29 weeks (28–36), weight 59.5 kg (45.0–91.6), CD4 cell count 442 cells/mm3 (260–1327) and HIV-1 RNA viral load 7,818 copies/mL (<40–402,015). Geometric mean (90% confidence interval) LPV AUC, Cmax and Cmin were 64.6 (59.7–69.8), 8.1 mcg/mL, (7.5–8.7) and 2.7 mcg/ml (2.4–3.0), respectively. 31 of 38 (81%) women had an LPV AUC above the AUC target. All women had a HIV-1 viral load less than 400 copies/mL at the time of delivery.
A short course of ZDV plus standard dose LPV/r initiated during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy achieved adequate LPV exposure and virologic response.
PMCID: PMC3070207  PMID: 20625263
lopinavir; pregnancy; pharmacokinetics; viral load; prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
25.  Human immunodeficiency virus–hepatitis C virus co-infection in pregnant women and perinatal transmission to infants in Thailand 
The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence and factors associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and -uninfected Thai pregnant women and the rate of HCV transmission to their infants.
Patients and methods
Study subjects included 1435 HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants, enrolled in a perinatal HIV prevention trial, and a control group of 448 HIV-uninfected pregnant women. Women were screened for HCV antibodies with an enzyme immunoassay. Positive results were confirmed by recombinant immunoblot and HCV RNA quantification. Infants were tested for HCV antibodies at 18 months or for HCV RNA at between 6 weeks and 6 months.
Of the HIV-infected women, 2.9% were HCV-infected compared to 0.5% of HIV-uninfected women (p = 0.001). Only history of intravenous drug use was associated with HCV infection in HIV-infected women. Ten percent of infants born to co-infected mothers acquired HCV. The risk of transmission was associated with a high maternal HCV RNA (p = 0.012), but not with HIV-1 load or CD4 count.
Acquisition of HCV through intravenous drug use partially explains the higher rate of HCV infection in HIV-infected Thai women than in HIV-uninfected controls. Perinatal transmission occurred in 10% of infants of HIV–HCV-co-infected mothers and was associated with high maternal HCV RNA.
PMCID: PMC2886172  PMID: 20047847
HIV; HCV; Risk factors; Perinatal transmission; Intravenous drug use; Thailand

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