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1.  Prevalence of Cryptococcal Antigenemia and Cost-Effectiveness of a Cryptococcal Antigen Screening Program – Vietnam 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62213.
Background
An estimated 120,000 HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis (CM) cases occur each year in South and Southeast Asia; early treatment may improve outcomes. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended screening HIV-infected adults with CD4<100 cells/mm3 for serum cryptococcal antigen (CrAg), a marker of early cryptococcal infection, in areas of high CrAg prevalence. We evaluated CrAg prevalence and cost-effectiveness of this screening strategy in HIV-infected adults in northern and southern Vietnam.
Methods
Serum samples were collected and stored during 2009–2012 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from HIV-infected, ART-naïve patients presenting to care in 12 clinics. All specimens from patients with CD4<100 cells/mm3 were tested using the CrAg lateral flow assay. We obtained cost estimates from laboratory staff, clinicians and hospital administrators in Vietnam, and evaluated cost-effectiveness using WHO guidelines.
Results
Sera from 226 patients [104 (46%) from North Vietnam and 122 (54%) from the South] with CD4<100 cells/mm3 were available for CrAg testing. Median CD4 count was 40 (range 0–99) cells/mm3. Nine (4%; 95% CI 2–7%) specimens were CrAg-positive. CrAg prevalence was higher in South Vietnam (6%; 95% CI 3–11%) than in North Vietnam (2%; 95% CI 0–6%) (p = 0.18). Cost per life-year gained under a screening scenario was $190, $137, and $119 at CrAg prevalences of 2%, 4% and 6%, respectively.
Conclusion
CrAg prevalence was higher in southern compared with northern Vietnam; however, CrAg screening would be considered cost-effective by WHO criteria in both regions. Public health officials in Vietnam should consider adding cryptococcal screening to existing national guidelines for HIV/AIDS care.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062213
PMCID: PMC3633872  PMID: 23626792
2.  Successful clinical outcomes following decentralization of tertiary paediatric HIV care to a community-based paediatric antiretroviral treatment network, Chiangrai, Thailand, 2002 to 2008 
Introduction
Most paediatric antiretroviral treatments (ARTs) in Thailand are limited to tertiary care hospitals. To decentralize paediatric HIV treatment and care, Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital (CRH) strengthened a provincial paediatric HIV care network by training community hospital (CH) care teams to receive referrals of children for community follow-up. In this study, we assessed factors associated with death and clinical outcomes of HIV-infected children who received care at CRH and CHs after implementation of a community-based paediatric HIV care network.
Methods
Clinical records were abstracted for all children who initiated ART at CRH. Paired Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used to assess CD4% and virological change among all children. Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess factors associated with death. Treatment outcomes (CD4%, viral load (VL) and weight-for-age Z-score (WAZ)) were compared between CRH and CH children who met the criteria for analysis.
Results
Between February 2002 and April 2008, 423 HIV-infected children initiated ART and 410 included in the cohort analysis. Median follow-up for the cohort was 28 months (interquartile range (IQR)=12 to 42); 169 (41%) children were referred for follow-up at CH. As of 31 March 2008, 42 (10%) children had died. Baseline WAZ (<−2 (p=0.001)) and baseline CD4% (<5% (p=0.015)) were independently associated with death. At 48 months, 86% of ART-naïve children in follow-up had VL<400 copies/ml. For sub-group analysis, 133 children at CRH and 154 at CHs were included for comparison. Median baseline WAZ was lower in CH children than in CRH children (p=0.001); in both groups, WAZ, CD4% and VL improved after ART with no difference in rate of WAZ and CD4% gain (p=0.421 and 0.207, respectively).
Conclusions
Children at CHs had more severe immunological suppression and low WAZ at baseline. Community- and tertiary care-based paediatric ART follow-ups result in equally beneficial outcomes with the strengthening of a provincial referral network between tertiary and community care. Nutrition interventions may benefit children in community-based HIV treatment and care.
doi:10.7448/IAS.15.2.17358
PMCID: PMC3494174  PMID: 23078768
Paediatric HIV; HIV care network; paediatric HIV treatment outcomes; task shifting; decentralized HIV care; Thailand
3.  Association of Nevirapine Levels with Rash or Hepatotoxicity Among HIV-Infected Thai Women 
The Open AIDS Journal  2012;6:266-273.
Background:
We performed a nested case-control study of Thai women prescribed nevirapine-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) to determine if development of rash or hepatotoxicity during the first 24 weeks of treatment is associated with plasma nevirapine concentrations.
Method:
From May 2005-January 2007, we enrolled 217 women initiating nevirapine-based ART in Thailand. Cases (n = 54) were women who during the first 24 weeks of treatment with nevirapine developed rash (any grade, n = 42) or hepatotoxicity (≥grade 2, n = 22, [10 had both]). Controls were the next enrolled woman who was confirmed not to meet the case definition during the first 24 weeks. Nevirapine concentrations after the two week lead-in dose of 200 mg once daily were compared between cases and controls by Wilcoxon rank-sum tests.
Results:
We found no difference in Week 2 pre-dose nevirapine concentrations: cases median = 3,528 ng/mL (n = 24), controls median = 3,150ng/mL (n = 30), p = 0.5. Cases had higher post-dose nevirapine concentrations (median = 6,150 ng/mL, n = 21) than controls (median = 4,746 ng/mL, n = 20, p = 0.02). When limited to cases who developed a rash at Week 2, we found no differences in the pre-dose (median = 3,270 ng/mL, n = 12, p = 0.9) or post-dose nevirapine concentration (median = 5,443 ng/mL, n = 9, p = 0.4) compared with controls.
Conclusions:
We cannot conclude definitively that nevirapine concentrations at two weeks of therapy are associated with rash or hepatotoxicity. It is unlikely that therapeutic drug monitoring at that time will improve identification of patients at risk for rash or hepatotoxicity.
doi:10.2174/1874613601206010266
PMCID: PMC3537114  PMID: 23304252
Adverse effect; antiretroviral; hepatotoxicity; nevirapine; rash; Thailand.
4.  Optimization of a Low Cost and Broadly Sensitive Genotyping Assay for HIV-1 Drug Resistance Surveillance and Monitoring in Resource-Limited Settings 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e28184.
Commercially available HIV-1 drug resistance (HIVDR) genotyping assays are expensive and have limitations in detecting non-B subtypes and circulating recombinant forms that are co-circulating in resource-limited settings (RLS). This study aimed to optimize a low cost and broadly sensitive in-house assay in detecting HIVDR mutations in the protease (PR) and reverse transcriptase (RT) regions of pol gene. The overall plasma genotyping sensitivity was 95.8% (N = 96). Compared to the original in-house assay and two commercially available genotyping systems, TRUGENE® and ViroSeq®, the optimized in-house assay showed a nucleotide sequence concordance of 99.3%, 99.6% and 99.1%, respectively. The optimized in-house assay was more sensitive in detecting mixture bases than the original in-house (N = 87, P<0.001) and TRUGENE® and ViroSeq® assays. When the optimized in-house assay was applied to genotype samples collected for HIVDR surveys (N = 230), all 72 (100%) plasma and 69 (95.8%) of the matched dried blood spots (DBS) in the Vietnam transmitted HIVDR survey were genotyped and nucleotide sequence concordance was 98.8%; Testing of treatment-experienced patient plasmas with viral load (VL) ≥ and <3 log10 copies/ml from the Nigeria and Malawi surveys yielded 100% (N = 46) and 78.6% (N = 14) genotyping rates, respectively. Furthermore, all 18 matched DBS stored at room temperature from the Nigeria survey were genotyped. Phylogenetic analysis of the 236 sequences revealed that 43.6% were CRF01_AE, 25.9% subtype C, 13.1% CRF02_AG, 5.1% subtype G, 4.2% subtype B, 2.5% subtype A, 2.1% each subtype F and unclassifiable, 0.4% each CRF06_CPX, CRF07_BC and CRF09_CPX.
Conclusions
The optimized in-house assay is broadly sensitive in genotyping HIV-1 group M viral strains and more sensitive than the original in-house, TRUGENE® and ViroSeq® in detecting mixed viral populations. The broad sensitivity and substantial reagent cost saving make this assay more accessible for RLS where HIVDR surveillance is recommended to minimize the development and transmission of HIVDR.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028184
PMCID: PMC3223235  PMID: 22132237
5.  Analysis of HIV tropism in Ugandan infants 
Current HIV research  2010;8(7):498-503.
HIV-infected infants may have CXCR4-using (X4-tropic) HIV, CCR5-using (R5-tropic) HIV, or a mixture of R5-tropic and X4-tropic HIV (dual/mixed, DM HIV). The level of infectivity for R5 virus (R5-RLU) varies among HIV-infected infants. HIV tropism and R5-RLU were measured in samples from HIV-infected Ugandan infants using a commercial assay. DM HIV was detected in 7/72 (9.7%) infants at the time of HIV diagnosis (birth or 6–8 weeks of age, 4/15 (26.7%) with subtype D, 3/57 (5.3 %) with other subtypes, P=0.013). A transition from R5-tropic to DM HIV was observed in only two (6.7%) of 30 infants over 6–12 months. Six (85.7%) of seven infants with DM HIV died, compared to 21/67 (31.3%) infants with R5-tropic HIV (p=0.09). Higher R5-RLU at 6–8 weeks was not associated with decreased survival. Infants with in utero infection had a higher median R5-RLU than infants who were HIV-uninfected at birth (p=0.025).
PMCID: PMC3075545  PMID: 21073438
CCR5; CXCR4; HIV-1; infant; survival; transmission; tropism
6.  Emergence and persistence of nevirapine (NVP) resistance in breast milk after single-dose NVP administration 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(4):557-561.
OBJECTIVE
Single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) can reduce the risk of HIV vertical transmission. We assessed risk factors for NVP resistance in plasma and breast milk from sdNVP-exposed Ugandan women.
METHODS
Samples were analyzed using the Roche AMPLICOR HIV-1 Monitor Test Kit, v1.5, and the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System. NVP concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectroscopy.
RESULTS
HIV genotypes (plasma and breast milk) were obtained for 30 women 4 weeks after sdNVP (HIV subtypes: 15A, 1C, 12D, 2 recombinant). NVP resistance was detected in 12 (40%) of 30 breast milk samples. There was a non-significant trend between detection of NVP resistance in breast milk and plasma (p=0.06). There was no association of HIV resistance in breast milk with median maternal pre-NVP viral load or CD4 cell count, median breast milk viral load at 4 weeks, breast milk sodium >10 mmol/L, HIV subtype, or concentration of NVP in breast milk or plasma.
CONCLUSIONS
NVP resistance was frequently detected in breast milk 4 weeks after sdNVP exposure. In this study, we were unable to identify specific factors associated with breast milk NVP resistance.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283346e60
PMCID: PMC3065236  PMID: 20057308
nevirapine; HIV-1; breast milk; Uganda; vertical transmission; nevirapine resistance
7.  Short Communication: In Utero HIV Infection Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Nevirapine Resistance in Ugandan Infants Who Were Exposed to Perinatal Single Dose Nevirapine 
Use of single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission is associated with the emergence of NVP resistance in many infants who are HIV infected despite prophylaxis. We combined results from four clinical trials to analyze predictors of NVP resistance in sdNVP-exposed Ugandan infants. Samples were tested with the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System and a sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp, for detection of K103N, Y181C, and G190A). NVP resistance was detected at 6–8 weeks in 36 (45.0%) of 80 infants using ViroSeq and 33 (45.8%) of 72 infants using LigAmp. NVP resistance was more frequent among infants who were infected in utero than among infants who were diagnosed with HIV infection after birth by 6–8 weeks of age. Detection of NVP resistance at 6–8 weeks was not associated with HIV subtype (A vs. D), pre-NVP maternal viral load or CD4 cell count, infant viral load at 6–8 weeks, or infant sex. NVP resistance was still detected in some infants 6–12 months after sdNVP exposure. In this study, in utero HIV infection was the only factor associated with detection of NVP resistance in infants 6–8 weeks after sdNVP exposure.
doi:10.1089/aid.2009.0003
PMCID: PMC2752753  PMID: 19552593
8.  Short Communication: In Utero HIV Infection Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Nevirapine Resistance in Ugandan Infants Who Were Exposed to Perinatal Single Dose Nevirapine 
Abstract
Use of single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission is associated with the emergence of NVP resistance in many infants who are HIV infected despite prophylaxis. We combined results from four clinical trials to analyze predictors of NVP resistance in sdNVP-exposed Ugandan infants. Samples were tested with the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System and a sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp, for detection of K103N, Y181C, and G190A). NVP resistance was detected at 6–8 weeks in 36 (45.0%) of 80 infants using ViroSeq and 33 (45.8%) of 72 infants using LigAmp. NVP resistance was more frequent among infants who were infected in utero than among infants who were diagnosed with HIV infection after birth by 6–8 weeks of age. Detection of NVP resistance at 6–8 weeks was not associated with HIV subtype (A vs. D), pre-NVP maternal viral load or CD4 cell count, infant viral load at 6–8 weeks, or infant sex. NVP resistance was still detected in some infants 6–12 months after sdNVP exposure. In this study, in utero HIV infection was the only factor associated with detection of NVP resistance in infants 6–8 weeks after sdNVP exposure.
doi:10.1089/aid.2009.0003
PMCID: PMC2752753  PMID: 19552593
9.  Effectiveness of Non-nucleoside Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitor-Based Antiretroviral Therapy in Women Previously Exposed to a Single Intrapartum Dose of Nevirapine: A Multi-country, Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(2):e1000233.
In a comparative cohort study, Jeffrey Stringer and colleagues investigate the risk of ART failure in women who received single-dose nevirapine for PMTCT, and assess the duration of increased risk.
Background
Intrapartum and neonatal single-dose nevirapine (NVP) reduces the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission but also induces viral resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drugs. This drug resistance largely fades over time. We hypothesized that women with a prior single-dose NVP exposure would have no more than a 10% higher cumulative prevalence of failure of their NNRTI-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART) over the first 48 wk of therapy than would women without a prior exposure.
Methods and Findings
We enrolled 355 NVP-exposed and 523 NVP-unexposed women at two sites in Zambia, one site in Kenya, and two sites in Thailand into a prospective, non-inferiority cohort study and followed them for 48 wk on ART. Those who died, discontinued NNRTI-containing ART, or had a plasma viral load ≥400 copies/ml at either the 24 wk or 48 wk study visits and confirmed on repeat testing were characterized as having failed therapy. Overall, 114 of 355 NVP-exposed women (32.1%) and 132 of 523 NVP-unexposed women (25.2%) met criteria for treatment failure. The difference in failure rates between the exposure groups was 6.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.8%–13.0%). The failure rates of women stratified by our predefined exposure interval categories were as follows: 47 of 116 women in whom less than 6 mo elapsed between exposure and starting ART failed therapy (40%; p<0.001 compared to unexposed women); 25 of 67 women in whom 7–12 mo elapsed between exposure and starting ART failed therapy (37%; p = 0.04 compared to unexposed women); and 42 of 172 women in whom more than 12 mo elapsed between exposure and starting ART failed therapy (24%; p = 0.82 compared to unexposed women). Locally weighted regression analysis also indicated a clear inverse relationship between virologic failure and the exposure interval.
Conclusions
Prior exposure to single-dose NVP was associated with an increased risk of treatment failure; however, this risk seems largely confined to women with a more recent exposure. Women requiring ART within 12 mo of NVP exposure should not be prescribed an NNRTI-containing regimen as first-line therapy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) kills nearly 300,000 children. At the end of 2008, 2.1 million children were positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS, and in that year alone more than 400,000 children were newly infected with HIV. Most HIV-positive children acquire the virus from their mothers during pregnancy or birth or through breastfeeding, so-called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Without intervention, 15%–30% of babies born to HIV-positive women become infected with HIV during pregnancy and delivery, and a further 5%–20% become infected through breastfeeding. These rates of infection can be greatly reduced by treating the mother and her newborn baby with antiretroviral drugs. A single dose of nevirapine (a “non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor” or NNRTI) given to the mother at the start of labor and to the baby soon after birth reduces the risk of MTCT by nearly a half; a further reduction in risk can be achieved by giving the mother and her baby additional antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy, around the time of birth, and while breast-feeding.
Why Was This Study Done?
Single-dose nevirapine is the mainstay of MTCT prevention programs in many poor countries but can induce resistance to nevirapine and to other NNRTIs. The drugs used to treat HIV infections fall into several different classes defined by how they stop viral growth. HIV can become resistant to any of these drugs and a virus strain that is resistant to one member of a drug class is often also resistant to other members of the same class. Because most first-line antiretroviral therapies (ARTs; cocktails of antiretroviral drugs) used in developing countries contain an NNRTI and because HIV-positive mothers eventually need ART to safeguard their own health, the resistance to NNRTIs that is induced in women by single-dose nevirapine might decrease the chances that ART will work for them later. In this multi-country, prospective cohort study, the researchers compare the effectiveness of NNRTI-containing ART in a group (cohort) of women previously exposed to single-dose nevirapine during childbirth to its effectiveness in a group of unexposed women. They also investigate whether the length of time between nevirapine exposure and ART initiation affects ART effectiveness.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 355 HIV-positive nevirapine-exposed women and 523 HIV-positive nevirapine-unexposed women in Zambia, Kenya, and Thailand who were just starting NNRTI-containing ART and followed them for 48 weeks. They defined ART failure as death, discontinuation of NNRTI-containing ART, or a high virus load in the blood (virologic failure) at 24 or 48 weeks. ART failed in nearly a third of the nevirapine-exposed women but in only a quarter of the nevirapine-unexposed women. Women who began ART within 6 months of taking single-dose nevirapine to prevent MTCT were twice as likely to experience ART failure as women not exposed to single-dose nevirapine. Women who began ART 7–12 months after single-dose nevirapine had a slightly increased risk of ART failure compared to unexposed women but this increased risk was not statistically significant; that is, it could have occurred by chance. Women who began ART more than 12 months after single-dose nevirapine did not have an increased risk of ART failure compared to unexposed women. Finally, the researchers used a statistical method called locally weighted regression analysis to confirm that an increase in the interval between single-dose nevirapine and ART initiation decreased the risk of virologic failure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings, which confirm and extend the results of previous studies and which are likely to be generalizable to other resource-poor countries, indicate that single-dose nevirapine given to women to prevent MTCT increases their risk of subsequent ART failure. More positively, they also show that this increased failure risk is largely confined to women who begin ART within a year of exposure to nevirapine. Because of the study design, it is possible that the nevirapine-exposed women share some additional, undefined characteristic that makes them more likely to fail ART than unexposed women. Even so, these findings suggest that, provided NNRTI-containing ART is not given to HIV-positive women within a year of nevirapine exposure, single-dose nevirapine can be safely used to prevent MTCT without compromising the mother's future antiretroviral treatment options.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000233.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS, on treatments for HIV/AIDS, and on HIV infection in infants and children
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children, HIV, and AIDS and on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
UNICEF also has information about children and HIV and AIDS (in several languages)
The World Health Organization has information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000233
PMCID: PMC2821896  PMID: 20169113
10.  Nevirapine resistance in women and infants after first versus repeated use of single dose nevirapine for prevention of HIV-1 vertical transmission 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2008;198(4):465-469.
Single dose (SD) nevirapine (NVP) significantly reduces HIV mother-to-child transmission. We analyzed NVP resistance after SD NVP in 57 previously SD NVP-naїve women, 34 SD NVP-experienced women, and 17 HIV-infected infants. The proportion of women with resistance, the types of mutations detected, and the frequency and level of K103N were similar in the two groups of women at 6 weeks and 6 months post-partum. NVP resistance was detected in a similar proportion of infants born to SD NVP-naїve versus SD NVP-experienced women. Repeated use of SD NVP to prevent HIV transmission does not appear to influence NVP resistance.
doi:10.1086/590160
PMCID: PMC2640946  PMID: 18582198
11.  Infection with Hepatitis C Virus among HIV-Infected Pregnant Women in Thailand 
Objective. The purpose of this study was to describe the epidemiology of coinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV among a cohort of pregnant Thai women. Methods. Samples from 1771 pregnant women enrolled in three vertical transmission of HIV studies in Bangkok, Thailand, were tested for HCV. Results. Among HIV-infected pregnant women, HCV seroprevelance was 3.8% and the active HCV infection rate was 3.0%. Among HIV-uninfected pregnant women, 0.3% were HCV-infected. Intravenous drug use by the woman was the factor most strongly associated with HCV seropositivity. Among 48 infants tested for HCV who were born to HIV/HCV coinfected women, two infants were HCV infected for an HCV transmission rate of 4.2% (95% 0.51–14.25%). Conclusions. HCV seroprevalence and perinatal transmission rates were low among this Thai cohort of HIV-infected pregnant women.
doi:10.1155/2008/840948
PMCID: PMC2631650  PMID: 19190779
12.  Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Internationally1 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(11):2027-2028.
doi:10.3201/eid1011.040623_01
PMCID: PMC3329015  PMID: 16010730
infectious diseases; women; conference summary

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