The relationship between the timing of the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) after infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and the recovery of CD4+ T-cell counts is unknown.
In a prospective, observational cohort of persons with acute or early HIV-1 infection, we determined the trajectory of CD4+ counts over a 48-month period in partially overlapping study sets: study set 1 included 384 participants during the time window in which they were not receiving ART and study set 2 included 213 participants who received ART soon after study entry or sometime thereafter and had a suppressed plasma HIV viral load. We investigated the likelihood and rate of CD4+ T-cell recovery to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter within 48 months while the participants were receiving viral-load–suppressive ART.
Among the participants who were not receiving ART, CD4+ counts increased spontaneously, soon after HIV-1 infection, from the level at study entry (median, 495 cells per cubic millimeter; interquartile range, 383 to 622), reached a peak value (median, 763 cells per cubic millimeter; interquartile range, 573 to 987) within approximately 4 months after the estimated date of infection, and declined progressively thereafter. Recovery of CD4+ counts to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter was seen in approximately 64% of the participants who initiated ART earlier (≤4 months after the estimated date of HIV infection) as compared with approximately 34% of participants who initiated ART later (>4 months) (P<0.001). After adjustment for whether ART was initiated when the CD4+ count was 500 or more cells per cubic millimeter or less than 500 cells per cubic millimeter, the likelihood that the count would increase to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter was lower by 65% (odds ratio, 0.35), and the rate of recovery was slower by 56% (rate ratio, 0.44), if ART was initiated later rather than earlier. There was no association between the plasma HIV RNA level at the time of initiation of ART and CD4+ T-cell recovery.
A transient, spontaneous restoration of CD4+ T-cell counts occurs in the 4-month time window after HIV-1 infection. Initiation of ART during this period is associated with an enhanced likelihood of recovery of CD4+ counts. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and others.)
We present a case of sexual transmission of HIV-1 predicted to have CXCR4-tropism during male-to-male sexual exposure. Phylogenetic analyses exclude cell-free virus in the seminal plasma of the source partner and possibly point to the seminal cells as the origin of the transmission event.
The genital tract of individuals infected with HIV-1 is an anatomic compartment that supports local HIV-1 and CMV replication. This study investigated the association of seminal CMV replication with changes in HIV-1 clonal expansion, evolution and phylogenetic compartmentalization between blood and semen. Fourteen paired blood and semen samples were analyzed from four untreated subjects. Clonal sequences (n=607) were generated from extracted HIV-1 RNA (env C2-V3 region), and HIV-1 and CMV levels were measured in the seminal plasma by real-time PCR. Sequence alignments were evaluated for: (i) viral compartmentalization between semen and blood samples using Slatkin-Maddison and FST methods, (ii) different nucleotide substitution rates in semen and blood, and (iii) association between proportions of clonal HIV-1 sequences in each compartment and seminal CMV levels. Half of the semen samples had detectable CMV DNA, with at least one CMV positive sample for each patient. Seminal CMV DNA levels correlated positively with seminal HIV-1 RNA levels (Spearman p=0.05). A trend towards an association between compartmentalization of HIV-1 sequences sampled from blood and semen and presence of seminal CMV was observed (Cochran Q test p=0.12). Evolutionary rates between semen and blood HIV-1 populations did not differ significantly, and there was no significant association between seminal CMV DNA levels and the frequency of non-unique clonal HIV-1 sequences in the semen. In conclusion, the effects of CMV replication on HIV-1 viral and immunologic dynamics within the male genital tract are not significant enough to perturb evolution or disrupt compartmentalization in the genital tract.
HIV-1; Cytomegalovirus; compartmentalization; evolution; semen
To investigate the susceptibilities to and consequences of HIV-1 dual infection (DI).
We compared clinical, virologic, and immunologic factors between participants who were dually infected with HIV-1 subtype B, and monoinfected (MI) controls who were matched by ongoing HIV risk factor.
The viral load and CD4 progressions of dually and singly infected participant groups were compared with linear mixed-effects models, and individual dynamics before and after superinfection were assessed with a structural change test (Chow test). Recombination breakpoint analysis (GARD), HLA frequency analysis, and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) epitope mapping were also performed (HIV LANL Database).
The viral loads of DI participants increased more over 3 years of follow-up than the viral loads of MI controls, while CD4 progressions of the two groups did not differ. Viral escape from CTL responses following superinfection was observed in two participants whose superinfecting strain completely replaced the initial strain. This pattern was not seen among participants whose superinfecting virus persisted in a recombinant form with the initial virus or was only detected transiently. Several HLA types were overrepresented in DI participants as compared to MI controls.
These results identify potential factors for DI susceptibility and further define its clinical consequences.
HIV-1 dual infection; viral load; CD4 count; HLA; CTL
Genetic relatedness of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 sequences was used to assess variables associated with transmission and characteristics of transmission networks in a large, diverse cohort. Such assessments may be useful in identifying risks for expanding epidemics and targeting effective public health responses.
Background. Clinically, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) pol sequences are used to evaluate for drug resistance. These data can also be used to evaluate transmission networks and help describe factors associated with transmission risk.
Methods. HIV-1 pol sequences from participants at 5 sites in the CFAR Network of Integrated Clinical Systems (CNICS) cohort from 2000–2009 were analyzed for genetic relatedness. Only the first available sequence per participant was included. Inferred transmission networks (“clusters”) were defined as ≥2 sequences with ≤1.5% genetic distance. Clusters including ≥3 patients (“networks”) were evaluated for clinical and demographic associations.
Results. Of 3697 sequences, 24% fell into inferred clusters: 155 clusters of 2 individuals (“dyads”), 54 clusters that included 3–14 individuals (“networks”), and 1 large cluster that included 336 individuals across all study sites. In multivariable analyses, factors associated with being in a cluster included not using antiretroviral (ARV) drugs at time of sampling (P < .001), sequence collected after 2004 (P < .001), CD4 cell count >350 cells/mL (P < .01), and viral load 10 000–100 000 copies/mL (P < .001) or >100 000 copies/mL (P < .001). In networks, women were more likely to cluster with other women (P < .001), and African Americans with other African Americans (P < .001).
Conclusions. Molecular epidemiology can be applied to study HIV transmission networks in geographically and demographically diverse cohorts. Clustering was associated with lack of ARV use and higher viral load, implying transmission may be interrupted by earlier diagnosis and treatment. Observed female and African American networks reinforce the importance of diagnosis and prevention efforts targeted by sex and race.
The human immunodeficiency virus displays a narrow tropism for CD4+ mononuclear cells, and activated CD4+ T lymphocytes are the main target. When these cells are depleted by viral replication, bystander apoptosis and increased cell turnover mediated by immune activation, there is a progressive immunodeficiency (i.e., AIDS). Despite this specific cell tropism, HIV-infected persons demonstrate pathology in nearly every organ system. This article reviews current understanding of tissue-specific HIV-1 infection in the CNS, the genital tract, and gastrointestinal-associated lymphoid tissue.
CNS; compartmentalization; gastrointestinal-associated lymphoid tissue; genital tract; HIV-1
To develop less costly methods to virologically monitor patients receiving antiretroviral therapy, we evaluated methods that use pooled blood samples and quantitative information available from viral load assays to monitor a cohort of patients on first-line antiretroviral therapy for virologic failure.
We evaluated 150 blood samples collected after 6 months of therapy from participants enrolled in a San Diego primary infection program between January 1998 and January 2007. Samples were screened for virologic failure with individual viral load testing, 10 × 10 matrix pools and minipools of five samples. For the pooled platforms (matrix and minipools), we used a search and retest algorithm based on the quantitative viral load data to resolve samples that remained ambiguous for virologic failure. Viral load thresholds were more than 500 and more than 1500 copies/ml for the matrix and more than 250 and more than 500 copies/ml for the minipool. Efficiency, accuracy and result turnaround times were evaluated.
Twenty-three percent of cohort samples were detectable at more than 50 HIV RNA copies/ml. At an algorithm threshold of more than 500 HIV RNA copies/ml, both minipool and matrix methods used less than half the number of viral load assays to screen the cohort, compared with testing samples individually. Both pooling platforms had negative predictive values of 100% for viral loads of more than 500 HIV RNA copies/ml and at least 94% for viral loads of more than 250 HIV RNA copies/ml.
In this cohort, both pooling methods improved the efficiency of virologic monitoring over individual testing with a minimal decrease in accuracy. These methods may allow for the induction and sustainability of the virologic monitoring of patients receiving antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings.
antiretroviral therapy; drug resistance; HIV; monitoring; pooling; viral load
Specific sequence changes of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in the presence of specific HLA molecules may alter the composition and processing of viral peptides, leading to immune escape. Persistence of these mutations after transmission may leave the genetic fingerprint of the transmitter's HLA profile. Here, we evaluated the associations between HLA profiles and the phylogenetic relationships of HIV sequences sampled from a cohort of recently infected individuals in San Diego, California.
We identified transmission clusters within the study cohort, using phylogenetic analysis of sampled HIV pol genotypes at a genetic distance of <1.5%. We then evaluated the association of specific HLA alleles, HLA homozygosity, HLA concordance, race and ethnicity, and mutational patterns within the clustering and nonclustering groups.
From 350 cohort participants, we identified 162 clustering individuals and 188 nonclustering individuals. We identified trends for enrichment of particular alleles within individual clusters and evidence of viral escape within those clusters. We also found that discordance of HLA alleles was significantly associated with clustering individuals.
Some transmission clusters demonstrate HLA enrichment, and viruses in these HLA-associated clusters often show evidence of escape to enriched alleles. Interestingly, HLA discordance was associated with clustering in our predominantly MSM population.
In HIV-1 subtype C infected populations in south India, we searched for novel mutations associated with failing antiretroviral therapy that included nucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors. HIV-1 RT sequences were generated from treated and untreated groups and each nucleotide position was analysed with appropriate corrections for multiple testing. We found that nonsynonymous mutations at positions 208 and 228 were strongly associated with the presence of thymidine analogue mutations in the treated group, and were not present at all in the naïve group. The role of these substitutions on treatment outcomes and the evolution of drug resistance in HIV-1 subtype-C infected populations warrant further investigation.
HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutation; HIV-1 Subtype C; HIV in India; Thymidine Analogue Mutation (TAMs); HIV-1 RT mutation at codon 208; 228; HIV Drug Resistance in India
Efforts to identify all persons infected with HIV in the United States are driven by the hope that early diagnosis will lower risk behaviors and decrease HIV transmission. Identification of HIV-infected people earlier in the course of their infection with HIV antigen/antibody (Ag/Ab) combination assays (4th-generation HIV assays) should help achieve this goal. We compared HIV RNA nucleic acid test (NAT) results to the results of a 4th-generation Ag/Ab assay (Architect HIV Ag/Ab Combo [HIV Combo] assay; Abbott Diagnostics) in 2,744 HIV antibody-negative samples. Fourteen people with acute HIV infection (HIV antibody negative/NAT positive) were identified; the HIV Combo assay detected nine of these individuals and was falsely negative in the remaining five. All five persons missed by the HIV Combo assay were in the stage of exponential increase in plasma virus associated with acute HIV infection (3, 7, 20, 35, 48). In contrast, most acutely infected persons detected by the HIV Combo assay demonstrated either a plateauing or decreasing plasma viral load. The HIV Combo assay also classified as positive five other samples which were negative by NAT. Taken together, the HIV Combo assay had a sensitivity of 73.7% and a specificity of 99.8%. Using published data, we estimated secondary transmission events had HIV infection in these five individuals remained undiagnosed. Screening of our population with NAT cost more than screening with the HIV Combo assay but achieved new diagnoses that we predict resulted in health care savings that far exceed screening costs. These findings support the use of more sensitive assays, like NAT, in HIV screening of populations with a high prevalence of acute HIV infection.
Malaria and HIV co-infection adversely impact the outcome of both diseases and previous studies have mostly focused on falciparum malaria. Plasmodium vivax contributes to almost half of the malaria cases in India, but the disease burden of HIV and P. vivax co-infection is unclear.
HIV-infected subjects (n=460) were randomly selected from the 4,611 individuals seen at a Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center in Chennai, India between Jan 2 to Dec 31 2008. Malaria testing was performed on stored plasma samples by nested PCR using both genus-specific and species-specific primers and immunochromatography-based rapid diagnostic test for detecting antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax.
Recent malaria co-infection, defined by the presence of antibodies, was detected in 9.8% (45/460) participants. Plasmodium vivax accounted for majority of the infections (60%) followed by P. falciparum (27%) and mixed infections (13%). Individuals with HIV and malaria co-infection were more likely to be men (p=0.01). Between those with and without malaria, there was no difference in age (p=0.14), CD4+ T-cell counts (p=0.19) or proportion CD4+ T-cell below 200/mL (p=0.51).
Retrospective testing of stored plasma samples for malaria antibodies can facilitate identification of populations with high rates of co-infection, and in this southern India HIV-infected cohort there was a considerable burden of malaria co-infection, predominantly due to P. vivax. However, the rate of P. falciparum infection was more than 6-fold higher among HIV-infected individuals than what would be expected in the general population in the region. Interestingly, individuals co-infected with malaria and HIV were not more likely to be immunosuppressed than individuals with HIV infection alone.
Plasmodium vivax; Plasmodium falciparum; Malaria; HIV; Co-infection; Malaria antibody; Retrospective test
To determine the influence of asymptomatic genital viral infections on the cellular components of semen and blood, we evaluated the associations between the numbers and activation statuses of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes in both compartments and the seminal levels of cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), and human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV). Paired blood and semen samples were collected from 36 HIV-infected antiretroviral-naïve individuals and from 40 HIV-uninfected participants. We performed multiparameter flow cytometry analysis (CD45, CD45RA, CD3, CD4, CD8, and CD38) of seminal and blood cellular components and measured HIV RNA and CMV and HSV DNA levels in seminal and blood plasma by real-time PCR. Compared to HIV-uninfected participants, in the seminal compartment HIV-infected participants had higher levels of CMV (P < 0.05), higher numbers of total CD3+ (P < 0.01) and CD8+ subset (P < 0.01) T lymphocytes, and higher CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocyte activation (RA-CD38+) (P < 0.01). Seminal CMV levels positively correlated with absolute numbers of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in semen (P < 0.05) and with the activation status of CD4+ T cells in semen and in blood (P < 0.01). HIV levels in semen (P < 0.05) and blood (P < 0.01) were positively associated with T-cell activation in blood. Activation of CD8+ T cells in blood remained an independent predictor of HIV levels in semen in multivariate analysis. The virologic milieu in the male genital tract strongly influences the recruitment and activation of immune cells in semen and may also modulate T-cell immune activation in blood. These factors likely influence replication dynamics, sexual transmission risk, and disease outcomes for all three viruses.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, an estimated 10,000 Romanian children were infected with HIV-1 subtype F nosocomially through contaminated needles and blood transfusions. However, the geographic source and origins of this epidemic remain unclear.
Here we used phylogenetic inference and “relaxed” molecular clock dating analysis to further characterize the Romanian HIV-1 subtype F epidemic.
These analyses revealed a major lineage of Romanian HIV sequences consisting nearly entirely of virus sampled from adolescents and children and a distinct cluster that included a much higher ratio of adult sequences. Divergence time estimates inferred the time of most recent common ancestor of subtype F1 sequences to be 1973 (1966–1980) and for all Angolan sequences to 1975 (1968–1980). The most common ancestor of the Romanian sequences was dated to 1978 (1972–1983) with pediatric and adolescent sequences interspersed throughout the lineage. The phylogenetic structure of the entire subtype F epidemic suggests that multiple introductions of subtype F into Romania occurred either from the Angolan epidemic or from more distant ancestors. Since the historical records note that the Romanian pediatric epidemic did not begin until the late 1980s, the inferred time of most recent common ancestor of the Romanian lineage of 1978 suggests that there were multiple introductions of subtype F occurred into the pediatric population from HIV already circulating in Romania.
Analysis of the subtype F HIV-1 epidemic in an historical context allows for a deeper appreciation of how the HIV pandemic has been influenced by socio-political events.
Phylogeography; Romania; Subtype F; Socio-political; HIV
Current HIV screening guidelines in the United States recommend expanding the scope of HIV screening to include routine screening in health care settings; however, this will require increased resources. Since testing of pooled samples can decrease costs, the test characteristics of pooled rapid antibody testing were determined and optimal pool sizes were estimated for populations with HIV prevalence ranging from 0.25–10%. Based on these results, pooled testing methods were evaluated for screening patients admitted to hospital in San Diego, California. Evaluation of pooled antibody testing on samples collected from individuals with known HIV infection found only a modest reduction in sensitivity. These false negative results were only found among samples with very low optical density readings (<0.125 by the ADVIA Centaur® HIV assay). These readings are considered as HIV negative by the ADVIA Centaur® HIV assay, and therefore likely correspond to samples collected during acute infection. Further evaluation of pooled testing of samples collected from individuals during recent infection, found that mini-pool testing of five samples detected HIV antibody in 86% of samples taken within 60 days of the initial infection and 92% of samples taken within 90 days of the initial infection. Based on estimations of optimal pool sizes for low prevalence populations, it was decided to evaluate mini-pools consisting of 10 samples to screen the study’s hospitalized patients. During this evaluation, the HIV prevalence among hospitalized patients was 0.8%, and the 10 sample mini-pool testing had 100% sensitivity and specificity. Additionally, pooled testing resulted in an 84.5% reduction in the number of rapid HIV antibody tests needed, as compared to testing each sample individually. Even when incorporating the increased costs of technician time, mini-pooled tested would have resulted in a net savings of 8760 USD for the 523 samples tested in the study. Taken together, these results indicate that pooled rapid antibody testing may reduce substantially the costs for HIV screening in low prevalence populations without a loss in accuracy.
HIV screening; rapid antibody testing; pooled testing; cost-effective screening
To develop a low cost method to screen for virologic failure of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and HIV-1 drug resistance, we performed a retrospective evaluation of a screening assay using serial dilutions of HIV-1 RNA-spiked blood plasma and samples from patients receiving >6 months of first-line ART.
Serial dilution testing was used to assess sensitivity of a simple PCR-based assay (targeted at ≥1,000 HIV RNA copies/mL). We created blood plasma minipools of five samples, extracted HIV RNA from the pools, PCR amplified the reverse transcriptase (RT) coding region of the HIV-1 pol gene from extracted RNA, sequenced PCR product of positive pools, and used sequences to determine drug resistance. Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values were determined for different levels of virologic failure based on maximum viral loads of individual samples within a pool.
Of 295 samples analyzed, 43 (15%) had virologic failure at ≥50 copies/mL (range 50–10,500 copies/mL, four at ≥1,000 copies/mL). The assay demonstrated 100% sensitivity to detect virus from these four samples, requiring only one round of PCR, and 56% and 89% sensitivity to detect samples with ≥50 and ≥500 copies/mL using two rounds. Amplified PCR products of all positive pools were successfully sequenced and 30% harbored ≥1 major resistance mutation. This method would have cost 10% of the combined costs of individual viral load and resistance testing.
We present a novel method that can screen for both virologic failure of first-line ART and drug resistance. The method is much less expensive than current methods, which may offer sustainability in resource-limited settings.
Similar to other resource-limited settings, cost restricts availability of viral load monitoring for most patients receiving antiretroviral therapy in Tijuana, Mexico. We evaluated if a pooling method could improve efficiency and reduce costs while maintaining accuracy.
We evaluated 700 patient blood plasma specimens at a reference laboratory in Tijuana for detectable viremia, individually and in 10 × 10 matrix pools. Thresholds for virologic failure were set at ≥500, ≥1000 and ≥1500 HIV RNA copies per milliliter. Detectable pools were deconvoluted using pre-set algorithms. Accuracy and efficiency of the pooling method were compared with individual testing. Quality assurance (QA) measures were evaluated after 1 matrix demonstrated low efficiency relative to individual testing.
Twenty-two percent of the cohort had detectable HIV RNA (≥50 copies/mL). Pooling methods saved approximately one third of viral load assays over individual testing, while maintaining negative predictive values of >90% to detect samples with virologic failure (≥50 copies/mL). One matrix with low relative efficiency would have been detected earlier using the developed QA measures, but its exclusion would have only increased relative efficiency from 39% to 42%. These methods would have saved between $13,223 and $14,308 for monitoring this cohort.
Despite limited clinical data, high prevalence of detectable viral loads and a contaminated matrix, pooling greatly improved efficiency of virologic monitoring while maintaining accuracy. By improving cost-effectiveness, these methods could provide sustainability of virologic monitoring in resource-limited settings, and incorporation of developed QA measures will most likely maximize pooling efficiency in future uses.
HIV; pooling; resource-limited settings; viral loads; virologic failure
Reports of a high frequency of the transmission of minority viral populations with drug-resistant mutations (DRM) are inconsistent with evidence that HIV-1 infections usually arise from mono- or oligoclonal transmission. We performed ultradeep sequencing (UDS) of partial HIV-1 gag, pol, and env genes from 32 recently infected individuals. We then evaluated overall and per-site diversity levels, selective pressure, sequence reproducibility, and presence of DRM and accessory mutations (AM). To differentiate biologically meaningful mutations from those caused by methodological errors, we obtained multinomial confidence intervals (CI) for the proportion of DRM at each site and fitted a binomial mixture model to determine background error rates for each sample. We then examined the association between detected minority DRM and the virologic failure of first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART). Similar to other studies, we observed increased detection of DRM at low frequencies (average, 0.56%; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.69; expected UDS error, 0.21 ± 0.08% mutations/site). For 8 duplicate runs, there was variability in the proportions of minority DRM. There was no indication of increased diversity or selection at DRM sites compared to other sites and no association between minority DRM and AM. There was no correlation between detected minority DRM and clinical failure of first-line ART. It is unlikely that minority viral variants harboring DRM are transmitted and maintained in the recipient host. The majority of low-frequency DRM detected using UDS are likely errors inherent to UDS methodology or a consequence of error-prone HIV-1 replication.
Phylogeography can improve the understanding of local and worldwide HIV epidemics, including the migration of subepidemics across national borders. We analyzed HIV-1 sequences sampled from Mexico and San Diego, California to determine the relatedness of these epidemics. We sampled the HIV epidemics in (1) Mexico by downloading all publicly available HIV-1 pol sequences from antiretroviral-naive individuals in GenBank (n = 100) and generating similar sequences from cohorts of injection drug users and female sex workers in Tijuana, Mexico (n = 27) and (2) in San Diego, California by pol sequencing well-characterized primary (n = 395) and chronic (n = 267) HIV infection cohorts. Estimates of population structure (FST), genetic distance cluster analysis, and a cladistic measure of migration events (Slatkin–Maddison test) were used to assess the relatedness of the epidemics. Both a test of population differentiation (FST = 0.06; p < 0.01) and a cladistic estimate of migration events (84 migrations, p < 0.01) indicated that the Tijuana and San Diego epidemics were not freely mixing. A conservative cluster analysis identified 72 clusters (two or more sequences), with two clusters containing both Mexican and San Diego sequences (permutation p < 0.01). Analysis of this very large dataset of HIV-1 sequences suggested that the HIV-1 epidemics in San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico are distinct. Larger epidemiological studies are needed to quantify the magnitude and associations of cross-border mixing.
Nucleic acid testing (NAT) in routine HIV testing programs can increase the detection of infected individuals, but the most effective implementation of NAT remains unclear.
To determine how many HIV cases can be identified with NAT and how many persons can be contacted, to identify predictors of acute and early HIV infection cases, and to test reporting of negative results by automated Internet and voicemail systems.
San Diego County, California.
Persons seeking HIV testing.
Rates and predictors of HIV infection by stage, notification of positive NAT results, use of automated Internet or voicemail systems to access negative NAT results, and estimated HIV infections prevented.
Of 3151 persons tested, 79 had newly diagnosed cases of HIV: 64 had positive results from rapid HIV test, and 15 had positive results only by NAT (that is, NAT increased the HIV detection yield by 23%). Of all HIV infections, 44% (in 35 persons) were in the acute and early stages. Most participants (56%) and persons with HIV (91%) were men who have sex with men (MSM). All persons with NAT-positive results were notified within 1 week. Of all 3070 uninfected patients, 2105 (69%) retrieved their negative NAT results, with 1358 using the Internet system. After adjustment for covariates, persons reporting MSM behavior, higher incomes, younger ages, no testing at substance abuse rehabilitation centers, no recent syphilis, and no methamphetamine use were more likely to access negative NAT results by either Internet or voicemail systems.
Findings may not be generalizable to other populations and testing programs.
Nucleic acid testing programs that include automated systems for result reporting can increase case yield, especially in settings that cater to MSM.
Primary Funding Source
California HIV/AIDS Research Program and the National Institutes of Health.
As described elsewhere in this supplement, development of effective methods for prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has proven to be more challenging than development of effective treatment for the disease. New strategies to control the HIV epidemic are urgently needed; this urgency creates interest in investigation of the possibility of using antiretroviral treatment in combination with other modalities to control the epidemic. This article summarizes current knowledge concerning prevention modalities in the context of the drivers of the HIV epidemic in specific communities, describes challenges in investigating test-and-treat strategies, and proposes research directions for addressing these challenges to investigate the impact of prevention strategies on mitigation of epidemics.
When antiretroviral therapy does not fully suppress HIV replication, suboptimal levels of antiretrovirals can select for antiretroviral resistant variants of HIV. These variants may exhibit reduced replication capacity and result in lower viral loads in blood. Our study evaluated whether antiretroviral resistance was associated with viral loads in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and better neuropsychological (NP) performance.
We enrolled ninety-four participants and each participant underwent a comprehensive neuromedical evaluation that used structured clinical assessments of medical history, ART and other medication use, comprehensive NP testing and neurological and general physical signs of disease. Blood was collected by venipuncture and all participants were offered lumbar puncture. Univariate and multivariate statistical methods were used to analyze the relationship between antiretroviral resistance, blood and CSF HIV RNA levels, substance use, and NP performance.
Antiretroviral resistance, detected in blood, was associated with lower CSF viral loads (p<0.01) and better NP performance (p=0.04) in multivariate analyses, independent of past and current ARV use and blood viral loads (Model: p< 0.01). However, HIV RNA levels in CSF did not independently correlate with NP performance. Low viral loads in the CSF limited our ability to investigate the relationship between antiretroviral resistance detected in CSF and NP performance.
Even in the absence of ART, antiretroviral resistance-associated mutations correlate with better NP performance possibly because these mutations reflect reduced neurovirulence compared with wild-type HIV.
Although it is known that most HIV-1 infections worldwide result from exposure to virus in semen, it has not yet been established whether transmitted strains originate as RNA virions in seminal plasma or as integrated proviral DNA in infected seminal leukocytes. We present phylogenetic evidence that among six transmitting pairs of men who have sex with men, blood plasma virus in the recipient is consistently more closely related to the seminal plasma virus in the source. All sequences were subtype B, and the env C2V3 of transmitted variants tended to have higher mean isoelectric points, contain potential N-linked glycosylation sites, and favor CCR5 co-receptor usage. A statistically robust phylogenetically corrected analysis did not detect genetic signatures reliably associated with transmission, but further investigation of larger samples of transmitting pairs holds promise for determining which structural and genetic features of viral genomes are associated with transmission.