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1.  Individualizing the WHO HIV and Infant Feeding Guidelines: Optimal breastfeeding duration to maximize infant HIV-free survival 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(0 3):S287-S299.
To determine how infant feeding recommendations can maximize HIV-free survival (HFS) among HIV-exposed, uninfected African infants, balancing risks of breastmilk-associated HIV infection with setting-specific risks of illness and death associated with replacement feeding.
Validated mathematical model of HIV-exposed, uninfected infants, with published data from Africa.
We projected 24-month HFS using combinations of: 1) maternal CD4, 2) antiretroviral (ARV) availability, and 3) relative risk of mortality among replacement-fed compared to breastfed infants (“RR-RF,” range: 1.0–6.0). For each combination, we identified the “optimal” breastfeeding duration (0–24 months) maximizing HFS. We compared HFS under an “individualized” approach, based on the above parameters, to the World Health Organization (WHO) “public health approach” (12 months’ breastfeeding for all HIV-infected women).
Projected HFS was 65–93%. When RR-RF=1.0, replacement feeding from birth maximized HFS. At a commonly reported RR-RF value (2.0), optimal breastfeeding duration was 3–12 months, depending on maternal CD4 and ARV availability. As RR-RF increased, optimal breastfeeding duration increased. Compared to the public health approach, an individualized approach improved absolute HFS by <1% if RR-RF=2.0–4.0, by 3% if RR-RF=1.0 or 6.0, and by greater amounts if access to ARVs was limited.
Tailoring breastfeeding duration to maternal CD4, ARV availability, and local replacement feeding safety can optimize HFS among HIV-exposed infants. An individualized approach leads to moderate gains in HFS, but only when mortality risks from replacement feeding are very low or very high, or ARV availability is limited. The WHO public health approach is beneficial in most resource-limited settings.
PMCID: PMC4098721  PMID: 24991902
HIV; mother-to-child transmission; PMTCT; infant feeding; breastfeeding
2.  Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in HIV-Infected Women Following Initiation of Lopinavir/ritonavir- and Nevirapine-based Antiretroviral Therapy in Sub-Saharan Africa: A5208 (“OCTANE”) 
Limited comparative, prospective data exist regarding cardiovascular risk factors in HIV-infected women starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Africa.
In 7 African countries, 741 women with CD4<200 cells/mm3 were randomized to tenofovir/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) plus either nevirapine (NVP, n=370) or lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r, n=371). Lipids and blood pressure (BP) were evaluated at entry, 48, 96, and 144 weeks. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models were used to evaluate mean risk factor changes and clinically relevant risk factor changes.
At entry, both NVP and LPV/r groups were similar regarding age (mean=33.5 [SD=7.1] yrs), CD4 (129 [67] cells/mm3), and HIV-1 RNA (5.1 [0.6] log10 copies/ml). Nearly all women had normal lipids and BP except for HDL. Over 144 weeks, the LPV/r compared to NVP group had significantly greater mean lipid increases (e.g. non-HDL: +29 vs. +13 mg/dL) and smaller HDL increases (+12 vs. +21 mg/dL). In contrast, the NVP compared to LPV/r group had greater mean increases in BP (e.g. diastolic BP: +5 vs. −0.5 mmHg). Significantly more women assigned LPV/r had week 144 “abnormal” lipid levels (e.g. HDL 29.7% vs. 14.8% and triglycerides 28.6% vs. 8.2%), and significantly more women assigned NVP had “abnormal” BP (e.g. diastolic BP 22.7% vs. 6.5%). Most differences remained significant when adjusted for baseline risk factor, age, CD4, and HIV-1 RNA.
In HIV-infected women initiating ART in Africa, LPV/r+TDF/FTC was associated with less favorable changes in lipids, and use of NVP+TDF/FTC was associated with less favorable changes in BP.
PMCID: PMC4109714  PMID: 24562349
HIV-1; women; Africa; nevirapine; lopinavir/ritonavir; cardiovascular disease risk factors
3.  Estimated age and gender profile of individuals missed by a home-based HIV testing and counselling campaign in a Botswana community 
It would be useful to understand which populations are not reached by home-based HIV-1 testing and counselling (HTC) to improve strategies aimed at linking these individuals to care and reducing rates of onward HIV transmission.
We present the results of a baseline home-based HTC (HBHTC) campaign aimed at counselling and testing residents aged 16 to 64 for HIV in the north-eastern sector of Mochudi, a community in Botswana with about 44,000 inhabitants. Collected data were compared with population references for Botswana, the United Nations (UN) estimates based on the National Census data and the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey IV (BAIS-IV). Analyzed data and references were stratified by age and gender.
A total of 6238 age-eligible residents were tested for HIV-1; 1247 (20.0%; 95% CI 19.0 to 21.0%) were found to be HIV positive (23.7% of women vs. 13.4% of men). HIV-1 prevalence peaked at 44% in 35- to 39-year-old women and 32% in 40- to 44-year-old men. A lower HIV prevalence rate, 10.9% (95% CI 9.5 to 12.5%), was found among individuals tested for the first time. A significant gender gap was evident in all analyzed subsets. The existing HIV transmission network was analyzed by combining phylogenetic mapping and household structure. Between 62.4 and 71.8% of all HIV-positive individuals had detectable virus. When compared with the UN and BAIS-IV estimates, the proportion of men missed by the testing campaign (48.5%; 95% CI 47.0 to 50.0%) was significantly higher than the proportion of missed women (14.2%; 95% CI 13.2 to 15.3%; p<0.0001). The estimated proportion of missed men peaked at about 60% in the age group 30 to 39 years old. The proportions of missed women were substantially smaller, at approximately 28% within the age groups 30 to 34 and 45 to 49 years old.
The HBHTC campaign seems to be an efficient tool for reaching individuals who have never been tested previously in southern African communities. However, about half of men from 16 to 64 years old were not reached by the HBHTC, including about 60% of men between 30 and 40 years old. Alternative HTC strategies should be developed to bring these men to care, which will contribute to reduction of HIV incidence in communities.
PMCID: PMC4450241  PMID: 26028155
HIV-1; home-based HTC; Botswana; gender; age; missing individuals; individuals tested for the first time
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(8):1135-1142.
Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) has been associated with renal insufficiency. Co-administration with boosted protease inhibitors (PIs), which increases its exposure, may further increase the risk of renal insufficiency.
We compared the incidence of renal events among women taking TDF co-administered with lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) versus those co-administering TDF with nevirapine (NVP). Renal events were defined as a confirmed drop in creatinine clearance associated with a serum creatinine grade 2 or higher, or that leading to treatment modification.
Overall, 741 HIV-infected women were enrolled into the study. Of these, 24 (3.2%) had reportable renal events (18 in LPV/r arm, 6 in NVP arm). In multivariate analysis, renal events were significantly associated with the LPV/r arm (odds ratio [OR]=3.12, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21, 8.05]; p=0.019), baseline HIV-1 RNA (OR=2.65, 95% CI: 1.23, 5.69 per 1 log10 copies/mL higher; p=0.013) and baseline creatinine clearance (OR=0.83, 95% CI 0.70–0.98 per 10 mL/min higher; p=0.030). In multivariate analysis evaluating renal events requiring treatment modification, only baseline HIV-1 RNA and creatinine clearance were significantly associated (OR=4.41, 95% CI 1.65, 11.78 per 1 log10 copies/mL higher; p= 0.003 and OR=0.80, 95% CI 0.64, 0.99 per 10 mL/min higher; p= 0.040, respectively).
The rates of renal events were relatively low in the two treatment arms. However, patients taking TDF co-administered with LPV/r had significantly more renal events compared to those co-administered with NVP. Furthermore, higher baseline HIV RNA and lower creatinine clearance were associated with the development of renal insufficiency requiring treatment modification.
PMCID: PMC4176616  PMID: 24445367
renal insufficiency; tenofovir; lopinavir/ritonavir; nevirapine
5.  Single-Arm Evaluation of the AccuCirc Device for Early Infant Male Circumcision in Botswana 
Existing devices for early infant male circumcision (EIMC) have inherent limitations. We evaluated the newly developed AccuCirc device by circumcising 151 clinically well, full-term male infants with birth-weight ≥ 2.5 kg within the first 10 days of life from a convenience sample in two hospitals in Botswana. No major adverse events were observed. There was one local infection, five cases of minor bleeding and one case of moderate bleeding. In three cases the device made only partial incisions that were completed immediately by the provider without complications. Parental satisfaction was high: > 96% of mothers stated they would circumcise a future son. The pre-assembled, sterile AccuCirc kit has the potential to overcome obstacles related to supply chain management and on-site instrument disinfection that can pose challenges in resource-limited settings. In our study the AccuCirc was safe and it should be considered for programmatic EIMC in resource-limited settings.
PMCID: PMC4041082  PMID: 24594500
6.  Low-Frequency Nevirapine (NVP)–Resistant HIV-1 Variants Are Not Associated With Failure of Antiretroviral Therapy in Women Without Prior Exposure to Single-Dose NVP 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2014;209(5):703-710.
Background. Low-frequency nevirapine (NVP)–resistant variants have been associated with virologic failure (VF) of initial NVP-based combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in women with prior exposure to single-dose NVP (sdNVP). We investigated whether a similar association exists in women without prior sdNVP exposure.
Methods. Pre-cART plasma was analyzed by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction to quantify NVP-resistant mutants in human immunodeficiency virus–infected African women without prior sdNVP who were starting first-line NVP-based cART in the OCTANE/A5208 trial 2. Associations between NVP-resistant mutants and VF or death were determined and compared with published results from women participating in the OCTANE/A5208 trial 1 who had taken sdNVP and initiated NVP-based cART.
Results. Pre-cART NVP-resistant variants were detected in 18% (39/219) of women without prior sdNVP exposure, compared to 45% (51/114) with prior sdNVP exposure (P < .001). Among women without prior sdNVP exposure, 8 of 39 (21%) with NVP-resistant variants experienced VF or death vs 31 of 180 (17%) without such variants (P = .65); this compares with 21 of 51 (41%) vs 9 of 63 (14%) among women with prior exposure (P = .001).
Conclusions. The risk of VF on NVP-based cART from NVP-resistant variants differs between sdNVP-exposed and -unexposed women. This difference may be driven by drug-resistance mutations emerging after sdNVP exposure that are linked on the same viral genome.
Clinical Trials Registration NCT00089505.
PMCID: PMC3923545  PMID: 24443547
minor drug-resistant variants; single-dose nevirapine; antiretroviral therapy failure
7.  An Augmented SMS Intervention to Improve Access to Antenatal CD4 Testing and ART Initiation in HIV-Infected Pregnant Women: A Cluster Randomized Trial 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117181.
Less than one-third of HIV-infected pregnant women eligible for combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally initiate treatment prior to delivery, with lack of access to timely CD4 results being a principal barrier. We evaluated the effectiveness of an SMS-based intervention to improve access to timely antenatal ART.
We conducted a stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial of a low-cost programmatic intervention in 20 antenatal clinics in Gaborone, Botswana. From July 2011-April 2012, 2 clinics were randomly selected every 4 weeks to receive an ongoing clinic-based educational intervention to improve CD4 collection and to receive CD4 results via an automated SMS platform with active patient tracing. CD4 testing before 26 weeks gestation and ART initiation before 30 weeks gestation were assessed.
Three-hundred-sixty-six ART-naïve women were included, 189 registering for antenatal care under Intervention and 177 under Usual Care periods. Of CD4-eligible women, 100 (59.2%) women under Intervention and 79 (50.6%) women under Usual Care completed CD4 phlebotomy before 26 weeks gestation, adjusted odds ratio (aOR, adjusted for time that a clinic initiated Intervention) 0.87 (95% confidence interval [CI]0.47–1.63, P = 0.67). The SMS-based platform reduced time to clinic receipt of CD4 test result from median of 16 to 6 days (P<0.001), was appreciated by clinic staff, and was associated with reduced operational cost. However, rates of ART initiation remained low, with 56 (36.4%) women registering under Intervention versus 37 (24.2%) women under Usual Care initiating ART prior to 30 weeks gestation, aOR 1.06 (95%CI 0.53–2.13, P = 0.87).
The augmented SMS-based intervention delivered CD4 results more rapidly and efficiently, and this type of SMS-based results delivery platform may be useful for a variety of tests and settings. However, the intervention did not appear to improve access to timely antenatal CD4 testing or ART initiation, as obstacles other than CD4 impeded ART initiation during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC4334487  PMID: 25693050
8.  Risk Factors for Mortality among HIV-exposed and HIV-unexposed Infants Admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Botswana 
Newborns admitted to neonatal intensive care units (NNU) in resource limited settings face high risk of mortality but the epidemiology of these deaths is poorly understood. We describe risk factors for NNU mortality in an area with high prevalence of HIV.
We performed a prospective cohort study of infants admitted to the NNU at a public referral hospital in Gaborone, Botswana. The primary outcome was neonatal death, defined as death within 28 days of a live delivery. Cox proportional hazard models were used to evaluate risk factors for mortality.
From October 2008 to April 2009, 449 neonates were admitted to the NNU. Cumulative mortality was 24.5% (110/449). Factors associated with increased risk of death included lack of enteral feeding (HR 18.8, 95% CI 10.3, 34.2), gestational age <28 weeks (HR 2.0, 95% CI 1.1, 3.8) and APGAR score <7 at 10 minutes (HR 2.5, 95% CI 1.5, 4.2). Among 348 (78%) infants who were fed, there was no difference in mortality between infants who were breastfed compared with those who were formula fed or had mixed feeding (p=0.76). There was no significant mortality difference by HIV exposure status; 35 (28%) of 128 HIV-exposed infants died compared with 55 (21%) of 272 HIV-unexposed infants (p=0.19).
This study identified low Apgar scores, extreme prematurity, and lack of enteral feeding as the most important risk factors for mortality in this NNU setting. HIV exposure and formula feeding were not significantly associated with death in neonates who were very ill.
PMCID: PMC4310460  PMID: 24372811
Botswana; neonatal intensive care units; neonatal mortality; HIV; feeding method
9.  No Clinically Significant Drug Resistance Mutations In HIV-1 subtype C Infected Women After Discontinuation Of NRTI-Based Or PI-Based HAART For PMTCT In Botswana 
Risk of developing drug resistance after stopping antiretroviral regimens to prevent mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission (PMTCT) is unknown. Mma Bana Study randomized treatment-naïve pregnant women with CD4 ≥200 cells/mm3 to receive either abacavir/zidovudine/lamivudine (triple NRTI arm) or lopinavir/ritonavir/zidovudine/lamivudine (PI arm). Drugs were discontinued after 6 months breastfeeding. One month post-discontinuation, 29 NRTI arm samples and 25 PI arm samples were successfully genotyped. No clinically significant antiretroviral resistance mutations were detected. Eight minor resistance mutations were found among 11(20%) women (3 from NRTI arm, 8 from PI arm), occurring at similar frequencies to those reported in HIV-1 subtype C treatment naive cohorts.
PMCID: PMC3762949  PMID: 23542639
Mother-to-Child HIV transmission; Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy; Minor drug resistance mutations; Botswana
10.  HIV transmission and 24-month survival in a randomized trial of HAART to prevent MTCT during pregnancy and breastfeeding in Botswana (The Mma Bana Study) 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(12):1911-1920.
Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) may impact long-term survival of mothers and children.
Randomized clinical trial.
HIV–infected pregnant women with CD4 ≥200 cells/mm3 were randomly assigned to abacavir, zidovudine, lamivudine (Arm A) or lopinavir–ritonavir, zidovudine–lamivudine (Arm B) from week 26–34 gestation through planned weaning by 6 months postpartum. Women with baseline CD4 <200 received nevirapine–zidovudine–lamivudine indefinitely (Obs arm), as did randomized women later qualifying for treatment.
Among 560 randomized and 170 observational women enrolled, there were 14 deaths (1.9%); 1 antenatally (Obs), 3 from delivery though 6 months postpartum (1 Arm A, 2 Obs), and 10 from 6–24 months postpartum (5 Arm A, 3 Arm B, 2 Obs). Time to death or CD4 <200 was shorter in Arm A vs. B (p=0.03). Of 709 live-born children, 97% breastfed for median 5.8 months. Of 37 (5.2%) deaths by 24 months, 9 were before breastfeeding initiated (3 Arm A, 2 Arm B, 4 Obs); 6 while breastfeeding (1 Arm A, 2 Arm B, 3 Obs); and 22 after weaning (9 Arm A, 11 Arm B, 2 Obs). Only 8 children (1.1%) were HIV-infected at 24 months (6 Arm A, 1 Arm B, 1 Obs), all before 6 months.
Low MTCT was maintained through extended follow-up in all arms. Disease progression appeared slower after discontinuing protease inhibitor-based HAART, but a concerning number of maternal deaths occurred after stopping either regimen. Strategies to improve maternal and child survival in the post-intervention period are required.
PMCID: PMC3987116  PMID: 24180000
HIV; MTCT; Botswana; Africa; Antiretrovirals; Infant Survival; Maternal Health
11.  Predictors of suboptimal CD4 response among women achieving virologic suppression in a randomized antiretroviral treatment trial, Africa 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:331.
A subset of HIV-1 infected patients starting highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) experience suboptimal CD4 response (SCR) despite virologic suppression. We studied the rate of and risk factors for SCR among women starting HAART in the ACTG A5208 study conducted in 7 African countries. 741 HAART-naive women with screening CD4 count <200 cells/μL were randomized to start HAART with Tenofovir/Emtricitabine plus either Nevirapine or Lopinavir/Ritonavir.
This analysis includes the 625 women who remained on-study through 48 weeks without experiencing protocol-defined virologic failure. We defined SCR as < 100 CD4 cells/μL increase from baseline and absolute CD4 cell count < 350 cells/μL, both at 48 weeks after HAART initiation.
The baseline characteristics for the 625 women prior to HAART initiation were: median age 33 years, screening CD4 count 134 cells/μL, and HIV-1 RNA 5.1 log10 copies/mL; 184 (29%) were WHO Stage 3 or 4.
Seventy one (11%) of these 625 women experienced SCR. Baseline factors independently associated with increased odds of SCR included older age, lower HIV-1 RNA, positive Hepatitis B surface antigen, and site location. At 96 weeks, only 6% of the SCR group had CD4 ≥ 350 cells/μL compared with 67% in the non SCR group.
After starting HAART, 11% of women with virologic suppression through 48 weeks experienced SCR. These patients were also less likely to achieve CD4 ≥ 350 cells/μL by 96 weeks. The underlying causes and long term clinical implications of SCR deserve further investigation.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT00089505
PMCID: PMC4083139  PMID: 24938526
HIV; Antiretroviral therapy; HAART; Immune response; CD4
12.  Impact of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant Women and Their Children in Africa: HIV Resistance and Treatment Outcomes 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;207(Suppl 2):S93-S100.
The global community has committed itself to eliminating new pediatric HIV infections by 2015 and improving maternal, newborn, and child health and survival in the context of HIV. Such objectives require regimens to prevent mother-to-child transmission (pMTCT) which, while being highly efficacious, protect the efficacy of future first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART). Major obstacles to eliminating vertical transmissions globally include low rates of adherence to ART and non-completion of the ‘pMTCT cascade’ due to programmatic and structural challenges faced by healthcare systems in low-income countries. Providing all pregnant women with lifelong ART regardless of CD4 count/disease stage (Option B+) could be the most effective option to prevent both HIV transmission and resistance, assuming adherence is successfully maintained. This strategy is more likely to achieve sustained undetectable HIV viremia, does not involve ART interruptions, is simpler to implement, and is cost-effective. Where Option B+ is not available, options A (short course zidovudine with single-dose nevirapine and an ARV “tail”) and B (combination ART during pregnancy and breastfeeding, with ART cessation after weaning in women not qualifying for ART for their own health) are also efficacious, highly cost-effective and associated with infrequent resistance selection if taken properly.
PMCID: PMC3657116  PMID: 23687295
mother-to-child transmission; HIV; prophylaxis; antiretroviral therapy; resistance
13.  A Randomized Trial of Mogen Clamp versus Plastibell for Neonatal Male Circumcision in Botswana 
Male circumcision can reduce the risk of heterosexually-acquired HIV-1 infection in men. Neonatal male circumcision (NMC) has many potential advantages over circumcision at older ages but little is known about its feasibility and safety in resource-limited settings.
We performed a randomized trial in southeastern Botswana of Mogen clamp and Plastibell, two commonly used devices for NMC. Follow-up visits occurred at six weeks and four months postpartum. Adverse events, parental satisfaction and staff impressions were recorded.
Of 302 male neonates randomized, 300 (99%) underwent circumcision, 153 (51%) with Mogen clamp and 147 (49%) with Plastibell. There were no major adverse events in the Mogen clamp arm but there were two major adverse events in the Plastibell arm (both were a proximally migrated ring that had to be removed by study staff). Minor adverse events were more common with the Mogen clamp compared with the Plastibell, specifically removal of too little skin and formation of skin bridges or adhesions (12 vs. 1 and 11 vs. 3, respectively, all P<0.05). Five (3%) infants in the Mogen clamp arm and none in the Plastibell arm had minor bleeding (P=0.03). More than 94% of mothers reported being highly or completely satisfied with the procedure.
NMC can be performed in Botswana with a low rate of adverse events and high parental satisfaction. Although the risk of migration and retention of the Plastibell is small, the Mogen clamp may be safer for NMC in regions where immediate emergent medical attention is not available.
PMCID: PMC3683122  PMID: 23314413
14.  Immune Activation Markers in Peripartum Women in Botswana: Association with Feeding Strategy and Maternal Morbidity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e89928.
Hormone levels shift the immune state in HIV-uninfected pregnant and breastfeeding women away from Th1 responses and toward regulation to permit fetal tolerance. Limited data exist on inflammation during pregnancy or postpartum in HIV-infected women, though certain inflammatory markers are associated with adverse health outcomes among HIV-infected persons.
We measured hsCRP, D-dimer, IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-α at 34 weeks gestation and six months postpartum in HIV-infected women from the Botswana Mashi PMTCT trial who were randomized to breastfeeding or formula-feeding. Differences in inflammatory markers between gestation and postpartum periods, and by randomized feeding method, were estimated using generalized estimating equations, adjusting for baseline plasma HIV-1 viral load, CD4 count, calendar time, and antiretroviral treatment status. Additionally, we studied the association between marker concentrations at six months postpartum and major adverse clinical events over the following 4.5 years, using case-cohort sampling and adjusted Cox proportional hazards models.
In 86 breastfeeding and 75 formula-feeding women, hsCRP and D-dimer decreased significantly between 34 weeks gestation and six months postpartum, while IFN-γ increased. There was no significant association between inflammatory marker change and randomized feeding method after adjusting for multiple comparisons and removing outliers. In univariate analysis, TNF-α, D-dimer, and IFN-γ concentrations at six months postpartum were significant predictors of subsequent clinical events, and TNF-α remained significant in multivariate analysis (HR = 4.16, p = 0.001).
In young HIV-infected women in Botswana inflammatory marker concentrations did not differ significantly between women who breast- vs. formula-fed. However, postpartum TNF-α level was predictive of subsequent adverse clinical event.
PMCID: PMC3962339  PMID: 24657960
15.  Acceptability of Male Circumcision Among Adolescent Boys and their Parents, Botswana 
AIDS and behavior  2012;16(2):340-349.
Little is known of the acceptability of male circumcision (MC) to adolescent boys, a key target group for HIV prevention. We conducted a cluster design survey among adolescent boys and their parents/guardians in two villages in Botswana. Of 1300 households visited, 398 boys were eligible; 269 boys and 210 parents/guardians participated. MC was described correctly by 80% of boys, and 76% identified that MC reduces the risk of male HIV acquisition. After a brief informational session, 75% of boys stated that they would definitely want to be circumcised and 96% of parents/guardians would want their boy circumcised. Boys most frequently reported pain (49%) and possible health problems (19%) as concerns undergoing MC; concerns about peer or partner acceptance, sexual function, or cultural appropriateness were uncommon. Adolescent MC is likely to be highly acceptable in Botswana if done safely, for free and with adequate pain control in a hospital setting.
PMCID: PMC3951752  PMID: 21437725
HIV/AIDS prevention; Male circumcision; Acceptability; Adolescent boys; Botswana
16.  Loss of Anatomical Landmarks with Eutectic Mixture of Local Anesthetic Cream for Neonatal Male Circumcision 
Journal of pediatric urology  2012;9(1):e86-e90.
We report two cases of newborns who developed marked local edema after application of a eutectic mixture of local anesthetic (EMLA) topical anesthetic cream for neonatal male circumcision (NMC). Although local edema and erythema are known potential side effects of EMLA cream, a common anesthetic used for NMC, the loss of landmarks precluding safe NMC has not previously been reported, and is described here. Although we cannot recommend an alternate local anesthetic for neonates with this reaction to EMLA, based on a review of the published data we think that serious systemic adverse events related to EMLA are extremely rare.
PMCID: PMC3568457  PMID: 23102766
Male circumcision; neonatal; EMLA; Eutectic Mixture of Local Anesthetic; adverse events; edema
17.  Characterization of HIV-HBV co-infection in a multi-national HIV-infected cohort 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(2):191-201.
To understand the HIV-hepatitis B virus (HBV) epidemic from a global perspective by clinically and virologically characterizing these viruses at the time of antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation in a multi-national cohort.
Methods and design
HIV-infected subjects enrolled in two international studies were classified as HIV-HBV co-infected or HIV monoinfected prior to ART. HIV-HBV co-infected subjects were tested for HBV characteristics, hepatitis D virus (HDV), a novel non-invasive marker of liver disease, and drug-resistant HBV. Comparisons between discrete covariates used chi-square or Fisher’s exact tests (and Jonchkheere-Terpstra for trend tests) while continuous covariates were compared using Wilcoxon Rank-Sum Test.
Of the 2105 HIV-infected subjects from 11 countries, the median age was 34 years and 63% were Black. The 115 HIV-HBV co-infected subjects had significantly higher ALT and AST values, lower body mass index, and lower CD4+ T-cell counts than HIV monoinfected subjects (median 159 cells/mL and 137 cells/mL, respectively, P=0.04). In the co-infected subjects, 49.6% had HBeAg-negative HBV, 60.2% had genotype A HBV, and 13% were HDV positive. Of the HBeAg-negative subjects, 66% had HBV DNA ≤2000 IU/ml compared to 5.2% of the HBeAg-positive subjects. Drug-resistant HBV was not detected.
Screening for HBV in HIV-infected patients in resource-limited settings is important since it is associated with lower CD4+ T-cell counts. In settings where HBV DNA is not available, HBeAg may be useful to assess the need for HBV treatment. Screening for drug-resistant HBV is not needed prior to starting ART in settings where this study was conducted.
PMCID: PMC3763734  PMID: 23032418
HIV; HBV; coinfection; global
18.  Phylogenetic Relatedness of Circulating HIV-1C Variants in Mochudi, Botswana 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80589.
Determining patterns of HIV transmission is increasingly important for the most efficient use of modern prevention interventions. HIV phylogeny can provide a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying HIV transmission networks in communities.
To reconstruct the structure and dynamics of a local HIV/AIDS epidemic, the phylogenetic relatedness of HIV-1 subtype C env sequences obtained from 785 HIV-infected community residents in the northeastern sector of Mochudi, Botswana, during 2010–2013 was estimated. The genotyping coverage was estimated at 44%. Clusters were defined based on relatedness of HIV-1C env sequences and bootstrap support of splits.
The overall proportion of clustered HIV-1C env sequences was 19.1% (95% CI 17.5% to 20.8%). The proportion of clustered sequences from Mochudi was significantly higher than the proportion of non-Mochudi sequences that clustered, 27.0% vs. 14.7% (p = 5.8E-12; Fisher exact test). The majority of clustered Mochudi sequences (90.1%; 95% CI 85.1% to 93.6%) were found in the Mochudi-unique clusters. None of the sequences from Mochudi clustered with any of the 1,244 non-Botswana HIV-1C sequences. At least 83 distinct HIV-1C variants, or chains of HIV transmission, in Mochudi were enumerated, and their sequence signatures were reconstructed. Seven of 20 genotyped seroconverters were found in 7 distinct clusters.
The study provides essential characteristics of the HIV transmission network in a community in Botswana, suggests the importance of high sampling coverage, and highlights the need for broad HIV genotyping to determine the spread of community-unique and community-mixed viral variants circulating in local epidemics. The proposed methodology of cluster analysis enumerates circulating HIV variants and can work well for surveillance of HIV transmission networks. HIV genotyping at the community level can help to optimize and balance HIV prevention strategies in trials and combined intervention packages.
PMCID: PMC3859477  PMID: 24349005
19.  Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy and Adverse Birth Outcomes Among HIV-Infected Women in Botswana 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;206(11):1695-1705.
Background. It is unknown whether adverse birth outcomes are associated with maternal highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in pregnancy, particularly in resource-limited settings.
Methods. We abstracted obstetrical records at 6 sites in Botswana for 24 months. Outcomes included stillbirths (SBs), preterm delivery (PTD), small for gestational age (SGA), and neonatal death (NND). Among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected women, comparisons were limited to HAART exposure status at conception, and those with similar opportunities for outcomes. Comparisons were adjusted for CD4+ lymphocyte cell count.
Results. Of 33 148 women, 32 113 (97%) were tested for HIV, of whom 9504 (30%) were HIV infected. Maternal HIV was significantly associated with SB, PTD, SGA, and NND. Compared with all other HIV-infected women, those continuing HAART from before pregnancy had higher odds of PTD (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1, 1.4), SGA (AOR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.6, 2.1) and SB (AOR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.2, 1.8). Among women initiating antiretroviral therapy in pregnancy, HAART use (vs zidovudine) was associated with higher odds of PTD (AOR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.2, 1.8), SGA (AOR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.2, 1.9), and SB (AOR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.6, 3.9). Low CD4+ was independently associated with SB and SGA, and maternal hypertension during pregnancy with PTD, SGA, and SB.
Conclusions. HAART receipt during pregnancy was associated with increased PTD, SGA, and SB.
PMCID: PMC3488194  PMID: 23066160
20.  Env sequence determinants in CXCR4-using human immunodeficiency virus type-1 subtype C 
Virology  2012;433(2):296-307.
HIV-1 subtype C (HIV-1C) CXCR4-using virus is isolated infrequently and is poorly characterized. Understanding HIV-1C env characteristics has implications for the clinical use of antiretrovirals that target viral entry. A total of 209 env clones derived from 10 samples with mixed CCR5-(R5), CXCR4-using (X4) or dual-tropic HIV-1C were phenotyped for coreceptor usage. Intra-patient X4 and R5 variants generally formed distinct monophyletic phylogenetic clusters. X4 compared to R5 envs had significantly greater amino acid variability and insertions, higher net positive charge, fewer glycosylation sites and increased basic amino acid substitutions in the GPGQ crown. Basic amino acid substitution and/or insertion prior to the crown are highly sensitive characteristics for predicting X4 viruses. Chimeric env functional studies suggest that the V3 loop is necessary but often not sufficient to impart CXCR4 utilization. Our studies provide insights into the unique genotypic characteristics of X4 variants in HIV-1C.
PMCID: PMC3616623  PMID: 22954962
HIV-1; Subtype C; CCR5; CXCR4; Phylogenetic; Envelope
21.  Cotrimoxazole Prophylaxis and Risk of Severe Anemia or Severe Neutropenia in HAART-Exposed, HIV-Uninfected Infants 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74171.
Prophylactic cotrimoxazole is recommended for infants born to HIV-infected mothers. However, cotrimoxazole may increase the risk of severe anemia or neutropenia.
We compared the proportion of HIV-exposed uninfected (HIV-EU) infants experiencing incident severe anemia (and separately, severe neutropenia) between a prospective cohort receiving prophylactic cotrimoxazole from 1 to 6 months vs. infants from two prior trials who did not receive cotrimoxazole. Infants were from rural and urban communities in southern Botswana.
A total of 1705 HIV-EU infants were included. Among these 645 (37.8%) were fed with iron-supplemented formula from birth. Severe anemia developed in 87 (5.1%) infants, and severe neutropenia in 164 (9.6%) infants. In an analysis stratified by infant feeding method, there were no significant differences in the risk of severe anemia by prophylactic cotrimoxazole exposure–risk difference, −0.69% (95% confidence interval [CI] −2.1 to 0.76%). Findings were similar in multivariable analysis, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.35 (95% CI 0.07 to 1.65). There were also no significant differences observed for severe neutropenia by cotrimoxazole exposure, risk difference 2.0% (95% CI −1.3 to 5.2%) and aOR 0.80 (95% CI 0.33 to 1.93).
Severe anemia and severe neutropenia were infrequent among HIV-exposed uninfected infants receiving cotrimoxazole from 1–6 months of age. Concerns regarding hematologic toxicity should not limit the use of prophylactic cotrimoxazole in HIV-exposed uninfected infants. Registration Numbers
NCT01086878 (, NCT00197587 (, and NCT00270296 (
PMCID: PMC3781096  PMID: 24086319
22.  Infant Feeding Practices Were Not Associated with Breast Milk HIV-1 RNA Levels in a Randomized Clinical Trial in Botswana 
AIDS and behavior  2012;16(5):1260-1264.
Exclusive breastfeeding has been associated with a reduced risk of late vertical HIV transmission as compared to an infant diet composed of breast milk mixed with supplemental foods or liquids. Hypothesized mechanisms include increased infectivity of breast milk from mothers who practice mixed breastfeeding (MBF), or mechanisms such as increased gastrointestinal permeability in the infant caused by mixed feeding. It has been proposed that MBF may result in subclinical mastitis and higher breast milk HIV titers. However, little is known about the relationship between feeding strategy and breast milk viral load. We measured the HIV-1 concentration in breast milk in a sub-cohort of women enrolled in a mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention trial (the "Mashi" study). We report no observed relationship between MBF and measured breast milk viral RNA load. Our findings suggest that the increased transmission risk associated with higher breast milk HIV-1 RNA during MBF is unlikely.
PMCID: PMC3523667  PMID: 21901486
exclusive; mixed; PMTCT; breast feeding; vertical HIV transmission
23.  High Viral Load and Elevated Angiogenic Markers Associated with Increased Risk of Preeclampsia among Women Initiating Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) in Pregnancy in the Mma Bana Study, Botswana 
Risk factors associated with preeclampsia in HIV-infected women remain largely unknown. Systemic angiogenic imbalance contributes to preeclampsia in HIV-uninfected women, but changes in angiogenic markers after HAART initiation have not been studied.
The Mma Bana study randomized 560 HIV-infected, HAART-naive pregnant women with CD4 counts ≥ 200 cells/mm3 between 26–34 weeks gestation to lopinavir/ritonavir/zidovudine/lamivudine or abacavir/zidovudine/lamivudine. Another 170 participants with CD4 counts < 200 cells/mm3 initiated nevirapine/zidovudine/lamivudine between 18–34 weeks gestation. Characteristics of 11 women who developed preeclampsia were compared with the remaining722 Mma Bana participants who delivered, using logistic regression. Plasma samples drawn at HAART initiation and one month later from 60 women without preeclampsia and at HAART initiation for all11 preeclamptic women were assayed for placental growth factor (PlGF) and soluble FMS toll-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1),
Pre-HAART viral load > 100,000 copies/ml was associated with preeclampsia (OR 5.8; 95% CI 1.8, 19.4; p = 0.004). Median pre-HAART PlGF level was lower and sFLT-1 was higher in women who developed preeclampsia versus those who did not (130 vs 992 pg/ml, p=0.001; 17.5 vs 9.4 pg/ml, p=0.03, respectively). In multivariate analysis, PlGF and viral load remained significantly associated with preeclampsia. No significant changes in angiogenic factors were noted after 1 month of HAART treatment among non-preeclamptic women.
Pre-HAART viral load > 100,000 copies/ml and PlGF predicted preeclampsia among women starting HAART in pregnancy. Among non-preeclamptic women, HAART treatment did not significantly alter levels of PlGF or sFlt-1 one month into treatment.
PMCID: PMC3683097  PMID: 23344545
HIV-1; viral load; pregnancy; preeclampsia; HAART
24.  Nevirapine (NVP) Pharmacokinetics (PK) and Risk of Rash and Hepatitis among HIV-Infected Sub-Saharan African Women 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(7):833-841.
To estimate nevirapine pharmacokinetics and examine its association with rash and/or hepatotoxicity in women starting antiretroviral treatment in the ACTG A5208/OCTANE study in Africa.
In HIV-infected, non-pregnant women with screening CD4<200 cells/mm3 randomized to nevirapine (twice daily, after 14-day once-daily lead-in period) plus tenofovir/emtricitabine, single nevirapine blood samples were collected 14 and 28 days following randomization. Rash and hepatotoxicity that occurred during therapy, or within 7 days after the last dose of nevirapine, were defined as toxicity.
Nevirapine pharmacokinetics were modeled by population pharmacokinetic analysis. Individual Bayesian pharmacokinetic estimates were used to calculate clearance, 24-hour area under the curve, and predicted plasma concentrations.
Median week 4 nevirapine clearance was 2.0 L/hr. Among the 359 women, 194 (54%) developed a rash of any grade; 82 (23%) had grade 2+ and 9 (3%) had grade 3+ rash. Median clearance was 1.7L/hr for subjects exhibiting 3+ rash versus 2.0 L/hr in women without 3+ rash (p=0.046). The odds of developing 3+ rash was 50% higher for every 20% decrease in clearance (p=0.046). Nevirapine discontinuation due to rash/liver toxicity was significantly more common among women with pretreatment CD4 count > 250 cells/mm3 (p=0.003).
In this study, HIV-infected African women starting a nevirapine-based antiretroviral regimen had a lower nevirapine clearance compared to previous reports. Severe rash, but not hepatotoxicity, was associated with higher NVP exposure. Albeit observed in a small number of women, baseline CD4≥250 cells/mm3 was significantly associated with NVP toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3506024  PMID: 22301417
nevirapine; pharmacokinetics; rash; hepatotoxicity; drug toxicity
25.  Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy versus Zidovudine for Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission in a Programmatic Setting, Botswana 
Few studies have compared the programmatic effectiveness of the recommended strategies of antenatal highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and zidovudine for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). We prospectively followed infants (93% formula-fed) whose mothers who took either HAART (258 infants) or zidovudine (170 infants) during pregnancy in the Botswana national program. Overall, 10 infants (2.5%) acquired HIV— 9 infants in the zidovudine group (5.5%, 95%CI 2.6-10.2%) and 1 infant in the HAART group (0.4%, 95%CI 0.0-2.2%). Maternal HAART was associated with decreased MTCT (P=0.001) and improved HIV-free survival (P=0.040) compared with zidovudine (with or without single-dose nevirapine) in a programmatic setting.
PMCID: PMC3196679  PMID: 21792062

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