Viral load monitoring (VLM) to identify individuals failing antiretroviral therapy (ART) is not widely available in resource-limited settings. We compared the genotypic resistance patterns between clients with VLM versus immunological monitoring (IM).
Between 2004–2008, 559 ART naïve clients were enrolled in a prospective cohort, initiated on ART, and monitored with viral load (VL) and CD4+ cell counts every 6 months (VLM group). From February 2008 through June 2009, 998 clients on ART for 36–40 months (corresponding to the follow-up time of the VLM group) at the same clinic and monitored with CD4+ cell counts every 6 months were recruited into a cross sectional study (IM group). Samples from VLM clients at 12, 24 and 36 months and IM clients at 36–40 months with VL > 2000 copies/ml underwent genotypic drug resistance testing.
Baseline characteristics were similar. Virologic failure (VL > 400 copies/ml) at 12, 24 and 36 months in the VLM group were 12%, 6% and 8% respectively, and in the IM group 10% at 36–40 months. Samples from 39 VLM and 70 IM clients were genotyped. 23/39 (59%) clients in the VLM group (at 12, 24 or 36 months) compared to 63/70 (90%) in the IM group, (P < 0.0001) had at least 1 non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase mutation. 19/39 (49%) of VLM clients had an M184V mutation compared to 61/70 (87%) in the IM group (P < 0.0001). Only 2/39 (5%) of VLM clients developed thymidine analogue mutations compared to 34/70 (49%) of IM clients (P < 0.0001).
Routine VL monitoring reduced the rate of accumulated genotypic resistance to commonly used ART in Uganda.
HIV-1; Antiretroviral therapy; Drug resistance
Systematic disparities in rates of HIV incidence by socioeconomic status were assessed among men attending three sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics in Pune, India, to identify key policy-intervention points to increase health equity. Measures of socioeconomic status included level of education, family income, and occupation. From 1993 to 2000, 2,260 HIV-uninfected men who consented to participate in the study were followed on a quarterly basis. Proportional hazards regression analysis of incident HIV infection identified a statistically significant interaction between level of education and genital ulcer disease. Compared to the lowest-risk men without genital ulcer disease who completed high school, the relative risk (RR) for acquisition of HIV was 7.02 (p<0.001) for illiterate men with genital ulcer disease, 3.62 (p<0.001) for men with some education and genital ulcer disease, and 3.02 (p<0.001) for men who completed high school and had genital ulcer disease. For men with no genital ulcer disease and those with no education RR was 1.09 (p=0.84), and for men with primary/middle school it was 1.70 (p=0.03). The study provides evidence that by enhancing access to treatment and interventions that include counselling, education, and provision of condoms for prevention of STDs, especially genital ulcer disease, among disadvantaged men, the disparity in rates of HIV incidence could be lessened considerably. Nevertheless, given the same level of knowledge on AIDS, the same level of risk behaviour, and the same level of biological co-factors, the most disadvantaged men still have higher rates of HIV incidence.
Health equity; HIV; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Sexually transmitted infections; Sexually transmitted diseases; Socioeconomic status; Prospective studies; India
Traditional herbal medicines are commonly used in sub-Saharan Africa and some herbs are known to be hepatotoxic. However little is known about the effect of herbal medicines on liver disease in sub-Saharan Africa.
500 HIV-infected participants in a rural HIV care program in Rakai, Uganda, were frequency matched to 500 HIV-uninfected participants. Participants were asked about traditional herbal medicine use and assessed for other potential risk factors for liver disease. All participants underwent transient elastography (FibroScan®) to quantify liver fibrosis. The association between herb use and significant liver fibrosis was measured with adjusted prevalence risk ratios (adjPRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using modified Poisson multivariable logistic regression.
19 unique herbs from 13 plant families were used by 42/1000 of all participants, including 9/500 HIV-infected participants. The three most-used plant families were Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Lamiaceae. Among all participants, use of any herb (adjPRR = 2.2, 95% CI 1.3–3.5, p = 0.002), herbs from the Asteraceae family (adjPRR = 5.0, 95% CI 2.9–8.7, p<0.001), and herbs from the Lamiaceae family (adjPRR = 3.4, 95% CI 1.2–9.2, p = 0.017) were associated with significant liver fibrosis. Among HIV infected participants, use of any herb (adjPRR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.0–5.0, p = 0.044) and use of herbs from the Asteraceae family (adjPRR = 5.0, 95% CI 1.7–14.7, p = 0.004) were associated with increased liver fibrosis.
Traditional herbal medicine use was independently associated with a substantial increase in significant liver fibrosis in both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected study participants. Pharmacokinetic and prospective clinical studies are needed to inform herb safety recommendations in sub-Saharan Africa. Counseling about herb use should be part of routine health counseling and counseling of HIV-infected persons in Uganda.
Antiretroviral therapy programs in Africa are currently providing treatment for almost two million people. The long-term success of large scale antiretroviral therapy programs in sub-Saharan Africa remains uncertain because of the limited information currently available on rates of virologic failure and selection for drug-resistant variants in the different HIV subtypes. This article provides a comprehensive review of the published literature on the prevalence of primary and secondary HIV drug resistance with different subtypes and in various settings across sub-Saharan Africa.
Antiretroviral therapy; ART; Resistance; Africa; Subtypes; Phenotypic; Genotypic
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection is one of the most commonly sexually transmitted infections worldwide. While glycoprotein G-2 ELISA based assays are commonly used for the serologic detection of HSV-2 infections, they have low specificity in developing countries. Euroline Western blot (WB) is a commercially available assay that is easy to perform; however, little is known about its performance characteristics. This study evaluated Euroline WB for the detection of HSV-2 antibodies compared to University of Washington Western blot in three geographically different regions, Baltimore, Maryland, Rakai, Uganda, and Kunming, China. Among the 135 American men attending an STD clinic in Baltimore, Maryland, 72% (n=97) were HSV-2 positive by Euroline WB. The Euroline WB had a sensitivity of 97.8% and a specificity of 81.8%. Among the 273 commercial sex workers in Kunming, 62.3% were HSV-2 positive by Euroline WB. The Euroline WB had a sensitivity of 96.9% and a specificity of 89.1%. Among the 437 Ugandans in Rakai, 67.3% were HSV-2 positive by Euroline WB. The Euroline WB had a sensitivity of 98.7% and a specificity of 65.4%. The Euroline WB has a consistently high sensitivity, but specificity varied significantly among the different locations.
The global human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic reached staggering proportions over the past 2 decades, particularly in areas of sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries. Tremendous increases in donor resources over the past decade have allowed for a rapid scale-up of antiretroviral treatment and greater access to basic care and prevention programs in countries worst affected by HIV infection and AIDS. These programs have had a tremendous impact on the lives of millions of individuals and have also created optimism and hope where previously there was despair. Major challenges remain in combating the current HIV pandemic with regard to access to treatment; efficiency, quality, and sustainability of current programs; and the scale-up of evidence-based, effective prevention strategies. The global health community and political leaders will need to overcome these challenges if a long-term effective response to the HIV pandemic is to be achieved.
To determine the extent of viral resistance over time among non-clade B HIV-1 infected patients in Uganda maintained on first line highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) following virologic failure.
Genotyping was performed on sixteen patients with virologic failure who were enrolled in an open label randomized clinical trial of short-cycle treatment interruption.
All patients receiving efavirenz containing HAART had at least 1 efavirenz resistance mutation develop during follow-up. The majority 13/15 (86%) developed lamivudine resistance during follow-up but no thymidine analogue mutations (TAMS) developed during a median duration of virologic failure of 325.5 days.
Genotypic resistance to both efavirenz and lamivudine developed early during the course of treatment after virologic failure. TAMs did not emerge early despite moderate exposure time to thymidine analogs during virologic failure.
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); antiretroviral drug resistance; virologic failure
HIV and hepatitis B virus (HBV) co-infection poses important public health considerations in resource-limited settings. Demographic data and sera from adult participants of the Rakai Health Sciences Program Cohort in Southwestern Uganda were examined to determine HBV seroprevalence patterns in this area of high HIV endemicity prior to the introduction of antiretroviral therapy. Commercially available EIAs were used to detect prevalent HBV infection (positive for HBV core antibody [anti-HBc] and/or positive HBV surface antigen [HBsAg]), and chronic infection (positive for HBsAg). Of 438 participants, 181 (41%) had prevalent HBV infection while 21 (5%) were infected chronically. Fourteen percent of participants were infected with HIV. Fifty three percent showed evidence of prevalent HBV infection compared to 40% among participants infected with HIV (p=0.067). Seven percent of participants infected with HIV were HBsAg positive compared to 4% among participants not infected with HIV (p=0.403). The prevalence of prevalent HBV infection was 55% in adults aged >50 years old, and 11% in persons under 20 years. In multivariable analysis, older age, HIV status and serologic syphilis were significantly associated with prevalent HBV infection. Transfusion status and receipt of injections were not significantly associated with HBV infection. Contrary to expectations that HBV exposure in Uganda occurred chiefly during childhood, prevalent HBV infection was found to increase with age and was associated sexually transmitted diseases (HIV and syphilis.) Therefore vaccination against HBV, particularly susceptible adults with HIV or at risk of HIV/STDs should be a priority.
Hepatitis B virus HBV; HIV; Sexual transmission; Uganda; Africa
To evaluate the impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on HIV-1 transmission rates among HIV-1 discordant couples in Rakai, Uganda.
Observational cohort study.
HIV-1 discordant couples were retrospectively identified between 2004 and 2009. Study participants underwent annual screening for HIV-1 and were interviewed to evaluate risk behaviors. Participants were offered voluntary counseling and testing and provided with risk reduction counseling. Free ART was offered to participants with a CD4 cell count of 250 cells/μl or less or WHO stage IV disease. HIV-1 incidence and sexual risk behaviors were compared before and after the HIV-1-positive index partners started ART.
Two hundred and fifty HIV-1 discordant couples were followed between 2004 and 2009 and 32 HIV-1-positive partners initiated ART. Forty-two HIV-1 transmissions occurred over 459.4 person-years prior to ART initiation, incidence 9.2/100 person-years [95% confidence interval (CI) 6.59–12.36]. In 32 couples in which the HIV-1 index partners started ART, no HIV-1 transmissions occurred during 53.6 person-years. The 95% CI for the incidence rate difference was −11.91 to −6.38 (P=0.0097). Couples reported more consistent condom use during ART use, but there was no significant difference in the number of sexual partners or other risk behaviors. Viral load was markedly reduced in persons on ART.
HIV-1 transmission may be reduced among HIV-1 discordant couples after initiation of ART due to reductions in HIV-1 viral load and increased consistent condom use.
antiretroviral; discordant couples; HIV transmission; HIV-1
Technology advances in rapid diagnosis and clinical monitoring of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection have been made in recent years, greatly benefiting those at risk of HIV infection, those needing care and treatment, and those on antiretroviral (ART) therapy in sub-Saharan Africa. However, resource-limited, geographically remote, and harsh climate regions lack uniform access to these technologies. HIV rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and monitoring tools, such as those for CD4 counts, as well as tests for coinfections, are being developed and have great promise in these settings to aid in patient care. Here we explore the advances in point-of-care (POC) technology in the era where portable devices are bringing the laboratory to the patient. Quality management approaches will be imperative for the successful implementation of POC testing in endemic settings to improve patient care.
Liver disease is a leading cause of mortality among HIV-infected persons in the US and Europe; however, data regarding effects of HIV and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) on liver disease in Africa remains sparse.
500 HIV-infected participants in an HIV care program in Rakai, Uganda were frequency-matched by age, gender and site to 500 HIV-uninfected participants in a population cohort. All participants underwent transient elastography (FibroScan®) to quantify liver stiffness measurements (LSM) and identify participants with significant liver fibrosis, defined as LSM ≥9.3 kPa (≈ Metavir F ≥2). 962 (96 %) of participants had valid LSM data. Risk factors for liver fibrosis were identified by estimating adjusted prevalence risk ratios (adjPRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using modified Poisson multivariate regression.
The prevalence of significant fibrosis was 17% among HIV-infected and 11% in HIV-uninfected participants (p =0.008). In multivariate analysis, HIV infection was associated with a 50% increase in liver fibrosis (adjPRR 1.5, 95%CI 1.1–2.1; p=0.010). Fibrosis was also associated with male gender (adjPRR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0–1.9; p=0.045), herbal medicine use (adjPRR 2.0, 95%CI 1.2–3.3; p=0.005), heavy alcohol consumption (adjPRR 2.3, 95% CI 1.3–3.9; 0.005), occupational fishing (adjPRR 2.5, 1.2–5.3; p=0.019), and chronic HBV infection (adjPRR 1.7, 95% CI 1.0–3.1; p=0.058). Among HIV-infected participants, ART appeared to reduce fibrosis risk (adjPRR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4–1.0; p=0.030).
The burden of liver fibrosis among rural Ugandans is high, particularly among persons with HIV infection. These data suggest that liver disease may represent a significant cause of HIV-related morbidity and mortality in Africa; clarifying the etiology of liver disease in this population is a research priority.
HIV; fibrosis; hepatitis co-infection; liver; Uganda
Randomized trials show that medical male circumcision (MC) reduces high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection in men. We assessed the efficacy of MC to reduce HR-HPV in female partners.
HIV-negative men were randomized to immediate MC (intervention) or MC delayed for 24 months (control). HIV-uninfected female partners of married men (648 intervention and 597 control arm) were simultaneously enrolled and provided interview information and self-collected vaginal swabs at baseline, 12 and 24 months. Female HPV infection was a secondary trial end point. Vaginal swabs were evaluated for HR-HPV by Roche HPV Linear Array. An intention-to-treat analysis estimated prevalence risk and incident rate ratios (PRR and IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) of HR-HPV by Poisson multiple regression. In women with pre-existing HR-HPV, we estimated the risk ratio (RR) of cleared infection (i.e., loss of detection). The trials were registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00425984 and NCT00124878.)
Female characteristics and HPV prevalence were similar between arms at enrollment. Two year retention rates were 84.7% (549/648) in intervention arm and 84.1% (502/597) in control arm spouses. Year 2 female HR-HPV prevalence was 27.8% (151/544) in the intervention and 38.7% (189/488) in the control arm (PRR=0.72, 95%CI 0.60–0.85, p=0.001). HR-HPV incidence was 20.7/100py in the intervention arm and 26.9/100py in the control arm wives (IRR=0.77, 95%CI 0.63-0.93, p=0.008). HR-HPV incidence was lower in intervention than control arm wives for 13 of 14 (92.9%) HR-HPV genotypes and in most demographic/behavioral subgroups. Genotype specific HR-HPV clearance was higher in the wives of men in the intervention arm (66.2%, 376/568) than the control arm (59.2%, 339/573, RR=1.12, 95%CI 1.02-1.22).
MC reduces the prevalence and incidence and increases clearance of HR-HPV infections in female partners.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with additional laboratory and training support from National Institutes of Health and Fogarty International Center.
Male circumcision; transmission; female partners; human papillomavirus (HPV); cervical cancer; HIV; Uganda; sexually transmitted infections
In Rakai, Uganda, HIV+ men were randomized to immediate (intervention) or delayed circumcision (controls). Penile swabs were assayed for high risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) by Roche HPV Linear Array at enrollment and 24 months (intervention n=103, control n=107). Rate ratios (RR) of HR-HPV were estimated by Poisson regression. At 24 months, HR-HPV prevalence was intervention 55.3% and control 71.7% (RR=0.77, 95%CI 0.62–0.97). Multiple HR-HPV infections were intervention 22.4% and controls 42.5% (RR=0.53, 95%CI 0.33–0.83). New HR-HPV genotypes were acquired by 42.0% of intervention and 57.0% of control arm men (RR=0.74, 95%CI 0.54–1.01, p=0.06). Multiple new HR-HPV genotypes were acquired by 9.9% intervention and 24.7% control arm men (RR = 0.40, 95%CI 0.19–0.84, p = 0.01). Circumcision did not affect the acquisition of single HR-HPV infections (RR=1.00, 95%CI 0.65–1.53) or clearance of HR-HPV (RR=1.09, 95%CI 0.94–1.27). Circumcision of HIV+ men reduced the prevalence and incidence of multiple HR-HPV infections.
Uncircumcised HIV-negative men aged 15-49 years were randomized to immediate circumcision (n=441) or delayed circumcision (n=399). HPV was detected by Roche HPV Linear Array at enrollment, 6, 12 and 24 months. Incident HR-HPV was estimated in men who acquired a new HR-HPV genotype. HR-HPV clearance was determined in men with prior genotype-specific HR-HPV infections. Rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) of HR-HPV acquisition were estimated by Poisson multiple regression
Enrollment characteristics were comparable between groups. HR-HPV incidence was 19.7/100 py in the intervention (70/355.8 py) and 29.4/100 py (125/424.8 py) in the control arm (RR=0.67, 95%CI 0.51-0.89, p = 0.006.) The incidence of multiple HR-HPV infections was 6.7/100 py in the intervention and 14.8/100 py in control arm (RR = 0.45, 95%CI 0.28-0.73), but there was no significant effect on single infections (RR=0.89, 95%CI 0.60-1.30). HR-HPV incidence was lower in the intervention arm for all genotypes and demographic/behavioral subgroups. The clearance of pre-existing HR-HPV infections was 215.8/100py (205/95 py) in intervention and 159.1/100py (255/160.25 py) in control arm men (adjRR=1.39, 95%CI 1.17-1.64).
Male circumcision reduces the incidence of multiple HR-HPV infections and increases clearance of HR-HPV infections in HIV-uninfected men.
The trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov numbers NCT00425984
Background. Use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) may be associated with higher pregnancy rates.
Methods. The prevalence and incidence of pregnancy was assessed in 712 HIV+ pre-ART women of reproductive age (WRA) (15–45) and 244 HIV+ WRA initiating ART. Prevalence rate ratios (PRR), incidence rate ratios (IRR), and 95% confidence interval (CI) were assessed.
Results. The incidence of pregnancy was 13.1/100 py among women in pre-ART care compared to 24.6/100 py among women on ART (IRR = 0.54; 95% CI 0.37, 0.81, p < 0.0017). The prevalence of pregnancy at ART initiation was 12.0% with CD4 counts 100–250 compared with 3.2% with CD4 <100 (PRR = 3.24, CI 1.51–6.93), and the incidence of pregnancy while on ART was highest in women with a good immunologic response. Desire for more children was a very important factor in fertility.
Conclusion. ART was associated with increased pregnancy rates in HIV+ women, particularly those with higher CD4 counts and good immunologic response to therapy, suggesting a need to strengthen reproductive health services for both women and their partners that could address their fertility decisions/intentions particularly after ART initiation.
We compared results of a malaria rapid diagnostic test (Binax Now® Malaria, Binax-M, Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc., Waltham, MA) performed at rural mobile clinics in Uganda by clinicians evaluating febrile adult HIV patients to thick smear evaluated at a central laboratory by trained microscopists. Two hundred forty-six samples were analyzed, including 14 (5.7%) which were thick-smear positive for falciparum malaria. Sensitivity of Binax-M compared with thick smear was 85.7% (95% CI: 57.2–98.2), specificity 97.8% (95% CI: 94.9–99.3), positive and negative predictive values were 70.6% (95% CI: 44.0–89.7) and 99.1% (95% CI: 96.8–99.9), respectively. The rapid diagnostic test accurately ruled malaria “in or out” at the point-of-care, facilitating appropriate clinical management and averting unnecessary anti-malarial therapy.
To determine whether heterosexual transmission of HIV differs according to HIV-1 subtype
Retrospective observational cohort
HIV-1 subtype effects on heterosexual HIV-1 transmission were determined among 268 HIV-discordant couples retrospectively identified from a population cohort in Rakai, Uganda. HIV-1 subtype (gag & gp41 sequencing and MHA) and viral loads (RT-PCR) were determined. Adjusted incidence rate ratios (Adj.IRR) of HIV transmission by subtype were estimated by multivariable Poisson regression adjusting for characteristics of index HIV positive and negative partners.
Adjusting for index HIV positive partners age, viral load (VL), stage of disease, genital ulcer (GUD), and HIV negative partners GUD and non use of condoms, subtype A viruses were associated with a higher rate of transmission than subtype D (Adj.IRR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.17-3.34), but no differences in transmission were observed between recombinant viruses and subtype D (adj. RR, 1.53, p=0.25). Index positive partners' age <30 years (Adj.IRR, 3.44; 95% CI, 1.75 - 6.78) and VL (Adj.IRR, 2.37; 95% CI, 1.75-3.21), and index negative partners GUD (Adj.IRR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.08 - 2.70) and non
-use of condoms (Adj.IRR, 1.94, 95% CI, 1.15 - 3.28) were significant determinants of HIV transmission.
In Rakai, Uganda, subtype A viruses have a significantly higher rate of heterosexual transmission than subtype D viruses. Differential subtype transmission efficiency may be important for HIV vaccine evaluation and could contribute to subtype-specific HIV epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa.
HIV-1 subtype; discordant couples; HIV transmission; Uganda
In this study, we report the performance of a prototype malaria rapid diagnostic test, Malaria F-test (MFT), compared with thick blood films from HIV-positive Ugandans undergoing malaria testing. In total, 21/154 samples (13.6%) were concordantly positive by both thick film and MFT and 129/154 samples (83.8%) were concordantly negative; 1 sample (0.6%) was thick film-positive but MFT-negative and 3 samples (1.9%) were thick film-negative but MFT-positive. The sensitivity of MFT was 95.5% (95% CI 77.2–99.9%) compared with thick film microscopy and the specificity was 97.7% (95% CI 93.5–99.5%). MFT was simple, rapid and effective for detection of Plasmodium falciparum among HIV-positive subjects in a rural, malaria-endemic African setting.
Malaria; HIV/AIDS; Diagnosis; Rapid diagnostic test; Africa; Uganda
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection is associated with an increased risk for acquiring HIV, but little is known about the temporal sequence of these infections.
Six thousand three hundred ninety-six men were evaluated for serologic HSV-2 and HIV infections and behaviors during a male circumcision trial in Rakai, Uganda.
HIV and HSV-2 status were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and confirmed by HIV-1 and HSV-2 western blots. A Poisson multivariable model was used to estimate adjusted incidence rate ratios of HIV acquisition associated with HSV-2 and other covariates.
HIV incidence was 1.09/100 person-years and acquisition was associated with incident HSV-2 infection [adjusted incidence rate ratio (adjIRR) 5.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.79–9.98], chronic HSV-2 infection (adjIRR 2.78, 95% CI 1.64–5.68), genital ulcer disease, urethral discharge, genital washing after intercourse, being unmarried, and being uncircumcised. Sixteen men acquired both HIV and HSV-2 during the trial: four acquired HIV first, three acquired HSV-2 first, and nine acquired both infections in the same follow-up interval.
The findings suggest that unsafe sex places men at risk of both HIV and HSV-2 infections, and it is unclear whether HSV-2 acquisition is a cofactor for HIV infection or a marker of correlated sexual exposures. This reinforces the need for promotion of safe sex as the primary method of prevention of both viruses.
herpes simplex virus type 2; HIV; male circumcision; risk factors; Uganda
A randomized trial of male circumcision (MC) was conducted among HIV-infected males to test the hypothesis that MC would reduce HIV transmission to female sexual partners.
This randomized, unblinded trial, conducted in Rakai District, Uganda, enrolled 922 uncircumcised, HIV-infected asymptomatic men aged 15–49 with CD4 counts ≥350. Men were randomly assigned to immediate circumcision (intervention) or circumcision delayed for 24 months (control). Concurrently enrolled HIV-negative female partners were followed up at 6, 12 and 24 months, to assess HIV acquisition by male MC assignment (primary outcome). An intention-to-treat analysis assessed women’s HIV acquisition using survival analysis and Cox proportional hazards modeling. The trial was registered in the Clinical Trials.gov Protocol Registration System (NCT00124878).
The trial was terminated for futility. Ninety three concurrently enrolled female partners of intervention arm men and 70 partners of control arm men provided follow up data. Cumulative probabilities of female HIV infection at 24 months were 21.7% (95% CI 12.7–33.4) in the intervention arm and 13.4% (95% CI 6.7–25.8) in the control arm (adjusted hazard ratio= 1.49, 95% CI 0.62–3.57, p = 0.368). At 6 months, intervention arm male-to-female transmission in couples who resumed intercourse ≥5 days prior to certified surgical wound healing was 27.8% (5/18), compared to 9.5% in couples who abstained longer post-surgically (6/63, p = 0.06) and 7.9% in control arm couples (5/63, p = 0.04)
Circumcision of HIV-infected men did not reduce HIV transmission to female partners over 24 months, and transmission risk may be increased with early post-surgical resumption of intercourse. Longer-term effects could not be assessed. Post surgical sexual abstinence and subsequent consistent condom are essential for HIV prevention.
Male circumcision; randomized trial; HIV-infected men; female HIV acquisition; Uganda
Human resource limitations are a challenge to the delivery of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low-resource settings. We conducted a cluster randomized trial to assess the effect of community-based peer health workers (PHW) on AIDS care of adults in Rakai, Uganda.
15 AIDS clinics were randomized 2∶1 to receive the PHW intervention (n = 10) or control (n = 5). PHW tasks included clinic and home-based provision of counseling, clinical, adherence to ART, and social support. Primary outcomes were adherence and cumulative risk of virologic failure (>400 copies/mL). Secondary outcomes were virologic failure at each 24 week time point up to 192 weeks of ART. Analysis was by intention to treat. From May 2006 to July 2008, 1336 patients were followed. 444 (33%) of these patients were already on ART at the start of the study. No significant differences were found in lack of adherence (<95% pill count adherence risk ratio [RR] 0.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.23–1.35; <100% adherence RR 1.10, 95% CI 0.94–1.30), cumulative risk of virologic failure (RR 0.81, 95% CI 0.61–1.08) or in shorter-term virologic outcomes (24 week virologic failure RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.65–1.32; 48 week, RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.47–1.48; 72 week, RR 0.81, 95% CI 0.44–1.49). However, virologic failure rates ≥96 weeks into ART were significantly decreased in the intervention arm compared to the control arm (96 week failure RR 0.50, 95% CI 0.31–0.81; 120 week, RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.22–1.60; 144 week, RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16–0.95; 168 week, RR 0.30, 95% CI 0.097–0.92; 192 week, RR 0.067, 95% CI 0.0065–0.71).
A PHW intervention was associated with decreased virologic failure rates occurring 96 weeks and longer into ART, but did not affect cumulative risk of virologic failure, adherence measures, or shorter-term virologic outcomes. PHWs may be an effective intervention to sustain long-term ART in low-resource settings.
Short cycle treatment interruption could reduce toxicity and drug costs and contribute to further expansion of antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs.
A 72 week, non-inferiority trial enrolled one hundred forty six HIV positive persons receiving ART (CD4+ cell count ≥125 cells/mm3 and HIV RNA plasma levels <50 copies/ml) in one of three arms: continuous, 7 days on/7 days off and 5 days on/2 days off treatment. Primary endpoint was ART treatment failure determined by plasma HIV RNA level, CD4+ cell count decrease, death attributed to study participation, or opportunistic infection.
Following enrollment of 32 participants, the 7 days on/7 days off arm was closed because of a failure rate of 31%. Six of 52 (11.5%) participants in the 5 days on/2 days off arm failed. Five had virologic failure and one participant had immunologic failure. Eleven of 51 (21.6%) participants in the continuous treatment arm failed. Nine had virologic failure with 1 death (lactic acidosis) and 1 clinical failure (extra-pulmonary TB). The upper 97.5% confidence boundary for the difference between the percent of non-failures in the 5 days on/2 days off arm (88.5% non-failure) compared to continuous treatment (78.4% non failure) was 4.8% which is well within the preset non-inferiority margin of 15%. No significant difference was found in time to failure in the 2 study arms (p = 0.39).
Short cycle 5 days on/2 days off intermittent ART was at least as effective as continuous therapy.
Most data on HPV and antiretroviral therapy (ART) come from high-resource countries with infrequent sampling for HPV pre- and post-ART initiation. Therefore, we examined the frequency of cervical HPV DNA detection among HIV/HSV-2 co-infected women followed monthly for 6 months both before and after initiation of ART in Rakai, Uganda.
Linear Array was used to detect 37 HPV genotypes in self-collected cervicovaginal swabs from 96 women who initiated ART. Random-effects log-binomial regression was used to compare the prevalence of HPV detection in the pre- and post-ART periods and determine other potential risk factors, including CD4 counts and HIV viral load.
Nearly all women had detectable HPV in the 6 months preceding ART initiation (92%) and the cumulative prevalence remained high following initiation of therapy (90%). We found no effect of ART on monthly HPV DNA detection (prevalence ratio: 1.0; 95% confidence interval: 0.96, 1.08), regardless of immune reconstitution or HIV viral suppression. Older age and higher pre-ART CD4 counts were associated with a significantly lower risk of HPV DNA detection.
ART did not impact HPV detection within 6 months of therapy initiation, highlighting the importance of continued and consistent screening, even after ART-initiation and immune reconstitution.
Most antiretroviral treatment program in resource-limited settings use immunologic or clinical monitoring to measure response to therapy and to decide when to change to a second line regimen. Our objective was to evaluate immunologic failure criteria against gold standard virologic monitoring.
Participants enrolled in an antiretroviral treatment program in rural Uganda who had at least 6 months of follow-up were included in this analysis. Immunologic monitoring was performed by CD4 cell counts every 3 months during the first year, and every 6 months thereafter. HIV-1 viral loads were performed every 6 months.
1133 participants enrolled in the Rakai Health Sciences Program antiretroviral treatment program between June 2004 and September 2007 were followed for up to 44.4 months (median follow-up 20.2 months; IQR 12.4–29.5 months). WHO immunologic failure criteria were reached by 125 (11.0%) participants. A virologic failure endpoint defined as HIV-1 viral load (VL) >400 copies/ml on two measurements was reached by 112 participants (9.9%). Only 26 participants (2.3%) experienced both an immunologic and virologic failure endpoint (2 VL>400 copies/ml) during follow-up.
Immunologic failure criteria performed poorly in our setting and would have resulted in a substantial proportion of participants with suppressed HIV-1 VL being switched unnecessarily. These criteria also lacked sensitivity to identify participants failing virologically. Periodic viral load measurements may be a better marker for treatment failure in our setting.
HIV/AIDS; antiretroviral therapy; immunologic monitoring