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1.  Short Communication: Lack of Occult HIV Infection Among Non-AIDS-Defining Cancer Patients in Three Academic Oncology Clinics in the United States 
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) testing recommendations suggest universal opt-out testing in all health care settings, including cancer clinics. The incidence of non-AIDS-defining cancers (NADCs) is on the rise among HIV patients. However, to date, no data exist on the prevalence of HIV infection among NADC patients in the United States. Knowledge of HIV infection may affect clinical management, prognosis, and overall patient survival and decrease new infections in the population. The purpose of this study was to determine the point seroprevalence of HIV infection in cancer patients being seen in medical oncology clinics. A total of 634 individuals (mean age=53.2 years) participated and were tested for HIV. None of the participants tested positive for HIV in any of the three clinics. Using a futility analysis, the upper end of the 95% confidence interval for prevalence of undiagnosed HIV in cancer patients was less than 0.3%. Most participants were female (59.2%) and non-Hispanic (96.6%). The majority of study participants were white (76.5%) or African-American (17.7%). Breast cancer (19.7%), colon cancer (10.3%), and melanoma (9.7%) were the most commonly reported non-AIDS-defining cancers. While our study suggested that there was no occurrence of undiagnosed HIV among NADC patients, it is important to note that our population was largely white, females with insurance and with a different distribution of cancer than the most prevalent NADC among HIV patients. Furthermore, one-third of the patients did not consent to participate and further studies are needed to assess reasons for their unwillingness along with other populations, specifically minorities and individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES).
PMCID: PMC3653389  PMID: 23351216
2.  Impact of Risk Factors for Specific Causes of Death in the First and Subsequent Years of Antiretroviral Therapy Among HIV-Infected Patients 
Among HIV-infected patients who initiated antiretroviral therapy (ART), patterns of cause-specific death varied by ART duration and were strongly related to age, sex, and transmission risk group. Deaths from non-AIDS malignancies were much more frequent than those from cardiovascular disease.
Background. Patterns of cause-specific mortality in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are changing dramatically in the era of antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Methods. Sixteen cohorts from Europe and North America contributed data on adult patients followed from the start of ART. Procedures for coding causes of death were standardized. Estimated hazard ratios (HRs) were adjusted for transmission risk group, sex, age, year of ART initiation, baseline CD4 count, viral load, and AIDS status, before and after the first year of ART.
Results. A total of 4237 of 65 121 (6.5%) patients died (median, 4.5 years follow-up). Rates of AIDS death decreased substantially with time since starting ART, but mortality from non-AIDS malignancy increased (rate ratio, 1.04 per year; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0–1.1). Higher mortality in men than women during the first year of ART was mostly due to non-AIDS malignancy and liver-related deaths. Associations with age were strongest for cardiovascular disease, heart/vascular, and malignancy deaths. Patients with presumed transmission through injection drug use had higher rates of all causes of death, particularly for liver-related causes (HRs compared with men who have sex with men: 18.1 [95% CI, 6.2–52.7] during the first year of ART and 9.1 [95% CI, 5.8–14.2] thereafter). There was a persistent role of CD4 count at baseline and at 12 months in predicting AIDS, non-AIDS infection, and non-AIDS malignancy deaths. Lack of viral suppression on ART was associated with AIDS, non-AIDS infection, and other causes of death.
Conclusions. Better understanding of patterns of and risk factors for cause-specific mortality in the ART era can aid in development of appropriate care for HIV-infected individuals and inform guidelines for risk factor management.
PMCID: PMC4073781  PMID: 24771333
HIV; cause-specific mortality; antiretroviral therapy
3.  Effect of Persistency of First-Line HIV Antiretroviral Therapy on Clinical Outcomes 
Persistency is the time from initiation to discontinuation of therapy. Previous research has described factors that affect the persistency of initial antiretroviral therapy (ART); however, the impact of persistency on clinical outcomes is unknown. A retrospective study was conducted of treatment-naive HIV patients initiating ART between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2010 at an academic medical center. Descriptive statistics and Cox proportional hazards regression models with persistency as a time‐varying covariate were fit for (1) immunologic failure (subsequent CD4 lower than initial CD4); (2) development of an opportunistic infection (OI) or malignancy; and (3) mortality. Analyses were repeated with an interaction term of persistency (per 180 days) and time (before and after 1 year of ART). Among 879 patients who started ART, the mean age was 38 years (±10) and most patients were racial/ethnic minority (59%), males (80%), and with baseline CD4 <200 cells/mm3 (52%). There were 100 deaths, 94 OIs/malignancy, and 183 immunologic failures; the mean persistency=723 days. In multivariable modeling, increased persistency decreased the overall and long-term hazard for immunologic failure (0.84 per 180 additional days; 0.70–1.00; 0.045). Increased persistency exhibited a potential trend toward decreased hazard for the occurrence of OI/malignancy (0.91; 0.80–1.03; 0.124) overall and after 1 year. Persistency exhibited a trend toward less risk of mortality in the first year of ART (0.42; 0.17–1.06; 0.067). In this study of the relationship between initial ART persistency and clinical outcomes, increased persistency was associated with a decreased hazard for the development of immunologic failure, a trend toward a decreased hazard for OI/malignancy, and a trend toward a decreased risk of first year mortality. Given these findings, the relationship between persistency and clinical outcomes merits further study.
PMCID: PMC3607971  PMID: 23151191
4.  Invasive cervical cancer risk among HIV-infected women: A North American multi-cohort collaboration prospective study 
HIV infection and low CD4+ T-cell count are associated with an increased risk of persistent oncogenic HPV infection – the major risk factor for cervical cancer. Few reported prospective cohort studies have characterized the incidence of invasive cervical cancer (ICC) in HIV-infected women.
Data were obtained from HIV-infected and -uninfected female participants in the NA-ACCORD with no history of ICC at enrollment. Participants were followed from study entry or January, 1996 through ICC, loss-to follow-up or December, 2010. The relationship of HIV infection and CD4+ T-cell count with risk of ICC was assessed using age-adjusted Poisson regression models and standardized incidence ratios (SIR). All cases were confirmed by cancer registry records and/or pathology reports. Cervical cytology screening history was assessed through medical record abstraction.
A total of 13,690 HIV-infected and 12,021 HIV-uninfected women contributed 66,249 and 70,815 person-years (pys) of observation, respectively. Incident ICC was diagnosed in 17 HIV-infected and 4 HIV-uninfected women (incidence rate of 26 and 6 per 100,000 pys, respectively). HIV-infected women with baseline CD4+ T-cells of ≥ 350, 200–349 and <200 cells/uL had a 2.3-times, 3.0-times and 7.7-times increase in ICC incidence, respectively, compared with HIV-uninfected women (Ptrend =0.001). Of the 17 HIV-infected cases, medical records for the 5 years prior to diagnosis showed that 6 had no documented screening, 5 had screening with low grade or normal results, and 6 had high-grade results.
This study found elevated incidence of ICC in HIV-infected compared to -uninfected women, and these rates increased with immunosuppression.
PMCID: PMC3633634  PMID: 23254153
Human papilloma virus; HIV-infection; Invasive Cervical Cancer; Immunosuppression
5.  Treatment response in acute/early infection versus advanced AIDS: equivalent first and second phases of HIV RNA decline 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(8):957-962.
Compare the initial phases of virologic decay when acute/early and advanced HIV-infected adults are administered the same treatment regimen.
Mathematical modeling of a previously completed prospective treatment pilot study involving treatment-naive patients with early and advanced immunosuppression.
We analyzed data from a treatment protocol in which 18 individuals with acute or recent HIV-1 seroconversion and six patients with advanced AIDS were administered the same four-drug antiretroviral regimen. Initial treatment responses were compared by fitting a mathematical model to frequent viral load measurements in order to calculate the first and second phase kinetics of viral clearance, and also by comparing viral load suppression over 24 weeks. Patients were also comprehensively compared in terms of protease inhibitor drug levels, HIV-specific immune responses at baseline, and the presence of drug resistance-conferring mutations.
There was no statistically meaningful difference in first phase clearance of comparable high-level viremia in the two groups, whether protease inhibitor levels were inserted into the model or 100% antiviral drug effectiveness was assumed. In contrast, acute/early patients had inferior sustained responses than advanced patients, reflecting erratic adherence.
Despite many years of intervening immune destruction, the initial virologic decay on therapy appears to be the same at the extremes of the HIV disease spectrum.
PMCID: PMC3899827  PMID: 18453855
acute HIV infection; mathematical modeling; viral clearance; viral dynamics
6.  Maraviroc Observational Study: The Impact of Expanded Resistance Testing and Clinical Considerations for Antiretroviral Regimen Selection in Treatment-Experienced Patients 
Maraviroc (MVC) use has trailed that of other post-2006 antiretroviral therapy (ART) options for treatment-experienced patients. We explored the impact of free tropism testing on MVC utilization in our cohort and explored barriers to MVC utilization. The Maraviroc Outcomes Study (MOS) is an investigator-initiated industry-sponsored trial where consecutive ART-experienced patients receiving routine care with viral loads ≥1,000 copies/ml, and whose provider requested resistance testing and received standardized resistance testing (SRT; phenotype, genotype, coreceptor/tropism). Sociodemographic, clinical, and ART characteristics of those receiving SRT were compared to a historical cohort (HC). Subsequently, providers were surveyed regarding factors influencing selection of salvage ART therapy. The HC (n=165) had resistance testing 7/08–9/09, while prospective SRT (n=83) patients were enrolled 9/09–8/10. In the HC, 92% had genotypes, 2% had tropism assays, and 62% (n=102) changed ART after resistance testing (raltegravir 37%, etravirine 25%, darunavir 24%, MVC 1%). In the SRT cohort, 57% (n=48) changed regimens after standardized resistance testing (darunavir 48%, raltegravir 40%, and etravirine 19%). CCR5-tropic virus was identified in 43% of the SRT group, and MVC was used in 10% [or 20% of R5 tropic patients who underwent a subsequent regimen change (n=25)], a statistically significant (p=0.01) increase in utilization. The factors most strongly influencing utilization were unique patient circumstances (60%), clinical experience (55%), and potential side effects (40%). The addition of routine tropism testing to genotypic/phenotypic testing was associated with increased MVC utilization, raising the possibility that tropism testing may present a barrier to MVC use; however, additional barriers exist, and merit further evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3608020  PMID: 22881368
7.  Multimorbidity Patterns in HIV-Infected Patients: The Role of Obesity in Chronic Disease Clustering 
Increases in multimorbidity and obesity have been noted in HIV infected populations in the current treatment era. Patterns of multimorbid disease clustering as well as the impact of obesity on multimorbidity are understudied in this population.
We examined obesity and multimorbidity patterns among 1844 HIV-infected patients in the UAB 1917 Clinic. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to identify the underlying factor structure responsible for clustering. Patterns among the resulting morbidity factors by body mass index (BMI) category were explored. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit to identify predictors of multimorbidity cluster patterns.
The prevalence of multimorbidity was 65% (1205/1844). Prevalence increased with progressive BMI categories from underweight (64%) to obese (79%). Three multimorbidity clusters were identified: “Metabolic” including hypertension (HTN), gout, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease (CKD) (range: 0.41 to 0.84; P<0.001); “Behavioral“ including mood disorders, dyslipidemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic ulcer disease, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and cardiac disorders (range: 0.32 to 0.57; P<0.001); “Substance Use” including alcohol abuse, substance abuse, tobacco abuse, and hepatitis C (range: 0.53 to 0.89; P<0.001). Obesity was associated with increased odds of multimorbidity (Obese vs. Normal BMI category: OR=1.52, 95%CI=1.15-2.00).
Three patterns of disease clustering were identified. Obesity was associated with a higher likelihood of multimorbidity. The management of multimorbidity and obesity will need to be addressed in future clinical practice guidelines to enhance long term outcomes of HIV-infected patients in the current treatment era.
PMCID: PMC3508375  PMID: 23023101
Multimorbidity; Obesity; HIV; Factor Analysis; Tetrachoric
8.  Heterogeneity in outcomes of treated HIV-positive patients in Europe and North America: relation with patient and cohort characteristics 
Background HIV cohort collaborations, which pool data from diverse patient cohorts, have provided key insights into outcomes of antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, the extent of, and reasons for, between-cohort heterogeneity in rates of AIDS and mortality are unclear.
Methods We obtained data on adult HIV-positive patients who started ART from 1998 without a previous AIDS diagnosis from 17 cohorts in North America and Europe. Patients were followed up from 1 month to 2 years after starting ART. We examined between-cohort heterogeneity in crude and adjusted (age, sex, HIV transmission risk, year, CD4 count and HIV-1 RNA at start of ART) rates of AIDS and mortality using random-effects meta-analysis and meta-regression.
Results During 61 520 person-years, 754/38 706 (1.9%) patients died and 1890 (4.9%) progressed to AIDS. Between-cohort variance in mortality rates was reduced from 0.84 to 0.24 (0.73 to 0.28 for AIDS rates) after adjustment for patient characteristics. Adjusted mortality rates were inversely associated with cohorts’ estimated completeness of death ascertainment [excellent: 96–100%, good: 90–95%, average: 75–89%; mortality rate ratio 0.66 (95% confidence interval 0.46–0.94) per category]. Mortality rate ratios comparing Europe with North America were 0.42 (0.31–0.57) before and 0.47 (0.30–0.73) after adjusting for completeness of ascertainment.
Conclusions Heterogeneity between settings in outcomes of HIV treatment has implications for collaborative analyses, policy and clinical care. Estimated mortality rates may require adjustment for completeness of ascertainment. Higher mortality rate in North American, compared with European, cohorts was not fully explained by completeness of ascertainment and may be because of the inclusion of more socially marginalized patients with higher mortality risk.
PMCID: PMC3535877  PMID: 23148105
HIV; AIDS; antiretroviral therapy; mortality; cohort; heterogeneity; prognostic model; socio-economic status
9.  Underutilization of Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Among HIV-Infected Patients 
Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events is underutilized in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected patients. As these patients are at increased risk for events compared with HIV-negative persons, interventions are needed to increase HIV provider awareness of and adherence to existing guidelines.
Background. Individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events compared with uninfected persons. However, little is known about HIV provider practices regarding aspirin (ASA) for primary prevention of CVD.
Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted among patients attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham 1917 HIV Clinic during 2010 to determine the proportion receiving ASA for primary prevention of CVD and identify factors associated with ASA prescription. Ten-year risk for CVD events was calculated for men aged 45–79 and women aged 55–79. The 2009 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines were used to determine those qualifying for primary CVD prevention.
Results. Among 397 patients who qualified to receive ASA (mean age, 52.2 years, 94% male, 36% African American), only 66 (17%) were prescribed ASA. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, diabetes mellitus (odds ratio [OR], 2.60; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28–5.27), hyperlipidemia (OR, 3.42; 95% CI, 1.55–7.56), and current smoking (OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.03–3.41) were significantly associated with ASA prescription. Odds of ASA prescription more than doubled for each additional CVD-related comorbidity present among hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and smoking (OR, 2.13, 95% CI, 1.51–2.99).
Conclusions. In this HIV-infected cohort, fewer than 1 in 5 patients in need received ASA for primary CVD prevention. Escalating likelihood of ASA prescription with increasing CVD-related comorbidity count suggests that providers may be influenced more by co-occurrence of these diagnoses than by USPSTF guidelines. In the absence of HIV-specific guidelines, interventions to improve HIV provider awareness of and adherence to existing general population guidelines on CVD risk reduction are needed.
PMCID: PMC3491860  PMID: 22942209
10.  Pain, Mood, and Substance Abuse in HIV: Implications for Clinic Visit Utilization, ART Adherence, and Virologic Failure 
Co-occurring pain, mood disorders, and substance abuse are common in HIV-infected patients. Our objective was to investigate the relationship between pain, alone and in the context of mood disorders and substance abuse, on clinic utilization, antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, and virologic suppression.
Pain, mood disorders, and substance abuse were assessed at the first visit. No-show and urgent visits were measured over a one-year period. Models were adjusted for age, race, sex, insurance status, CD4+ T-lymphocyte count, and HIV risk factor.
Among 1521 participants, 509 (34%) reported pain, 239 (16%) had pain alone, 189 (13%) had pain and a mood disorder, and 30 (2%) had pain and substance abuse. In univariate models, participants with pain, mood disorders, and substance abuse had higher odds of a no-show visit than participants without these conditions [OR 1.4 (95% CI 1.1–1.8); OR 1.5 (95% CI 1.2–1.9); OR 2.0 (95% CI 1.4–2.8), respectively]. In the multivariable model, pain increased the odds of a no-show visit only in participants without substance abuse [OR 1.5 (95% CI 1.1–1.9)], and pain reduced the odds of a no-show visit in participants with substance abuse [OR 0.5 (95% CI 0.2–0.9), p for interaction=0.0022].
In this study, pain increased the odds of no-show visits, but only for participants without substance abuse. Because pain, mood disorders, and substance abuse are highly prevalent in HIV-infected patients, our findings have implications for HIV treatment success. Interventions that incorporate pain management may be important for improving health outcomes in patients living with HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3459261  PMID: 22766967
HIV; Pain; Psychiatric Illness; Substance Abuse; ART Adherence; Health Care Utilization
11.  HIV infection and obesity: Where did all the wasting go? 
Antiviral therapy  2012;17(7):1281-1289.
The success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has led to dramatic changes in causes of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected individuals. As chronic diseases rates have increased in HIV+ populations, modifiable risk factors such as obesity have increased in importance. Our objective was to evaluate factors associated with weight change among patients receiving ART.
ART-naïve patients initiating therapy at the University of Alabama - Birmingham 1917 HIV/AIDS Clinic from 2000– 2008 were included. Body Mass Index (BMI) was categorized as: underweight (<18.5), normal weight (18.5–24.9), overweight (25–29.9) and obese (≥30). Linear regression models were used to evaluate overall change in BMI and factors associated with increased BMI category 24 months following ART initiation.
Among 681 patients, the mean baseline BMI was 25.4 ± 6.1; 44% of patients were overweight/obese. At 24 months, 20% of patients moved from normal to overweight/obese or overweight to obese BMI categories. Greater increases in BMI were observed in patients with baseline CD4 count < 50 cells/μl (3.4 ± 4.1, P<0.01) and boosted protease inhibitor use (2.5±4.1 P=0.01), but did not account for all of the variation observed in weight change.
The findings that almost half of patients were overweight or obese at ART initiation, and 1 in 5 patients moved to a deleterious BMI category within 2 years of ART initiation are alarming. ART therapy provides only a modest contribution to weight gain in patients. Obesity represents a highly prevalent condition in patients with HIV infection and an important target for intervention.
PMCID: PMC3779137  PMID: 22951353
obesity; HIV; body mass index
12.  When to start antiretroviral therapy: as soon as possible 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:147.
The debate regarding ‘When to Start’ antiretroviral therapy has raged since the introduction of zidovudine in 1987. Based on the entry criteria for the original Burroughs Wellcome 002 study, the field has been anchored to CD4 cell counts as the prime metric to indicate treatment initiation for asymptomatic individuals infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The pendulum has swung back and forth based mostly on the relative efficacy, toxicity and convenience of available regimens.
In today’s world, several factors have converged that compel us to initiate therapy as soon as possible: 1) The biology of viral replication (1 to 10 billion viruses per day) strongly suggests that we should be starting early. 2) Resultant inflammation from unchecked replication is associated with earlier onset of multiple co-morbid conditions. 3) The medications available today are more efficacious and less toxic than years past. 4) Clinical trials have demonstrated benefits for all but the highest CD4 strata (>500 cells/μl). 5) Some cohort studies have demonstrated the clear benefit of antiretroviral therapy at any CD4 count and no cohort studies have demonstrated that early therapy is more detrimental than late therapy at the population level. 6) In addition to the demonstrated and inferred benefits to the individual patient, we now have evidence of a Public Health benefit from earlier intervention: treatment is prevention.
From a practical, common sense perspective we are talking about life-long therapy. Whether we start at a CD4 count of 732 cells/μl or 493 cells/μl, the patient will be on therapy for over 40 to 50 years. There does not seem to be much benefit in waiting and there likely is significant long-term harm. Do not wait. Treat early.
The counter-argument to this debate topic can be freely accessed here:
PMCID: PMC3682940  PMID: 23767762
HIV infection; CD4 lymphocyte count; When to start; Antiretroviral therapy; Early treatment
13.  Underutilization of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program: Associated Factors and Policy Implications 
Health Services Research  2011;46(3):982-995.
The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) provides antiretroviral medications to low-income individuals with HIV infection.
A prospective cohort study of ADAP utilization, measured using medication possession ratio (MPR), was conducted during the 2008 calendar year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham 1917 HIV Clinic. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression evaluated factors associated with ADAP utilization.
Among 245 patients, MPR quartiles (Q) were the following: Q1<69 percent, Q2 = 69–83 percent, Q3 = 84–93 percent, Q4>93 percent. In ordinal logistic regression, younger age (OR = 0.59 per 10 years; 95 percent CI = 0.44–0.79), nonwhite males (2.18; 1.18–4.04), lower CD4 count (2.79 for <200 cells/mm3; 1.44–5.43), and a history of alcohol abuse (2.11; 1.02–4.37) were associated with poor ADAP utilization.
One quarter of ADAP enrollees had MPR below 69 percent, a level well below that associated with optimal HIV treatment outcomes, indicating a need for programmatic interventions to improve ADAP utilization.
PMCID: PMC3097412  PMID: 21210795
HIV; adherence; public health
14.  Risk of Anal Cancer in HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Individuals in North America 
In a large North American cohort study, anal cancer incidence rates were substantially higher for HIV-infected men who have sex with men, other men, and women compared with HIV-uninfected individuals. Rates increased from 1996–1999 to 2000–2003 but plateaued by 2004–2007.
Background. Anal cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), although few have evaluated rates separately for men who have sex with men (MSM), other men, and women. There are also conflicting data regarding calendar trends.
Methods. In a study involving 13 cohorts from North America with follow-up between 1996 and 2007, we compared anal cancer incidence rates among 34 189 HIV-infected (55% MSM, 19% other men, 26% women) and 114 260 HIV-uninfected individuals (90% men).
Results. Among men, the unadjusted anal cancer incidence rates per 100 000 person-years were 131 for HIV-infected MSM, 46 for other HIV-infected men, and 2 for HIV-uninfected men, corresponding to demographically adjusted rate ratios (RRs) of 80.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 42.7–151.1) for HIV-infected MSM and 26.7 (95% CI, 11.5–61.7) for other HIV-infected men compared with HIV-uninfected men. HIV-infected women had an anal cancer rate of 30/100 000 person-years, and no cases were observed for HIV-uninfected women. In a multivariable Poisson regression model, among HIV-infected individuals, the risk was higher for MSM compared with other men (RR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.8–6.0), but no difference was observed comparing women with other men (RR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.5–2.2). In comparison with the period 2000–2003, HIV-infected individuals had an adjusted RR of 0.5 (95% CI, .3–.9) in 1996–1999 and 0.9 (95% CI, .6–1.2) in 2004–2007.
Conclusions. Anal cancer rates were substantially higher for HIV-infected MSM, other men, and women compared with HIV-uninfected individuals, suggesting a need for universal prevention efforts. Rates increased after the early antiretroviral therapy era and then plateaued.
PMCID: PMC3297645  PMID: 22291097
15.  Early Retention in HIV Care and Viral Load Suppression: Implications for a Test and Treat Approach to HIV Prevention 
Following HIV diagnosis and linkage to care, achieving and sustaining viral load (VL) suppression has implications for patient outcomes and secondary HIV prevention. We evaluated factors associated with expeditious VL suppression and cumulative VL burden among patients establishing outpatient HIV care.
Patients initiating HIV medical care from January 2007-October 2010 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Washington were included. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards and linear regression models were used to evaluate factors associated with time to VL suppression (<50 copies/mL) and cumulative VL burden, respectively. Viremia copy-years (VCY), a novel area under the longitudinal VL curve measure, was used to estimate 2-year cumulative VL burden from clinic enrollment.
Among 676 patients, 63% achieved VL<50 copies/mL in a median 308 days. In multivariable analysis, patients with more time-updated “no show” visits experienced delayed VL suppression (HR=0.83 per “no show” visit, 95%CI=0.76,0.91). In multivariable linear regression, visit non-adherence was independently associated with greater cumulative VL burden (log10VCY) during the first two years in care (Beta coefficient=0.11 per 10% visit non-adherence, 95%CI=0.04-0.17). Across increasing visit adherence categories, lower cumulative VL burden was observed (mean ± standard deviation log10 copy × years/mL); 0-79% adherence: 4.6 ± 0.8; 80-99% adherence: 4.3 ± 0.7; and 100% adherence: 4.1 ± 0.8 log10 copy × years/mL, respectively (P<0.01).
Higher rates of early retention in HIV care are associated with achieving VL suppression and lower cumulative VL burden. These findings are germane for a test and treat approach to HIV prevention.
PMCID: PMC3237801  PMID: 21937921
HIV; Viral load; Retention in care; Adherence; Engagement in care
16.  Patient Reported Outcomes in Routine Care: Advancing Data Capture for HIV Cohort Research 
Diagnoses of substance abuse and depression made using patient reported outcomes (PROs) correlate better with nonadherence to medication than do diagnoses captured in traditional electronic medical records. PROs are an important resource in HIV/AIDS clinics for research and clinical care.
Introduction. Computerized collection of standardized measures of patient reported outcomes (PROs) provides a novel paradigm for data capture at the point of clinical care. Comparisons between data from PROs and Electronic Health Records (EHR) are lacking. We compare EHR and PRO for capture of depression and substance abuse and their relationship to adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Methods. This retrospective study includes HIV-positive patients at an HIV clinic who completed an initial PRO assessment April 2008–July 2009. The questionnaire includes measures of depression (PHQ-9) and substance abuse (ASSIST). Self-reported ART adherence was modeled using separate logistic regression analyses (EHR vs PRO).
Results. The study included 782 participants. EHR vs PRO diagnosis of current substance abuse was 13% (n = 99) vs 6% (n = 45) (P < .0001), and current depression was 41% (n = 317) vs 12% (n = 97) (P < .0001). In the EHR model, neither substance abuse (OR = 1.25; 95% CI = 0.70–2.21) nor depression (OR = 0.93; 95% CI = 0.62–1.40) was significantly associated with poor ART adherence. Conversely, in the PRO model, current substance abuse (OR = 2.78; 95% CI = 1.33–5.81) and current depression (OR = 1.93; 95% CI = 1.12–3.33) were associated with poor ART adherence.
Discussions. The explanatory characteristics of the PRO model correlated best with factors known to be associated with poor ART adherence (substance abuse; depression). The computerized capture of PROs as a part of routine clinical care may prove to be a complementary and potentially transformative health informatics technology for research and patient care.
PMCID: PMC3243652  PMID: 22042879
17.  Genes Linked to Energy Metabolism and Immunoregulatory Mechanisms are Associated with Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Distribution in HIV-infected Men 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2011;21(12):798-807.
Genetic studies may help explain abnormalities of fat distribution in HIV-infected patients treated with antiretroviral therapy (ARV).
Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in leg, lower trunk, upper trunk, and arm was examined in 192 HIV-infected Caucasian men, ARV-treated from the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection (FRAM) study. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assayed using the Illumina HumanCNV370-quad beadchip. Multivariate and univariate genome wide association analyses of the four SAT depots were implemented in PLINK software adjusted for age and ARV duration. Functional annotation analysis (FAA) using Ingenuity Systems Pathway Analysis tool (IPA) was carried out for markers with P<10-3 near known genes identified by multivariate analysis.
Loci (rs10504906, rs13267998, rs921231) in or near the anion exchanger solute carrier family 26, member 7 isoform a (SLC26A7) were strongly associated with upper trunk and arm SAT (9.8*10-7≤P<7.8*10-6). Loci (rs193139, rs7523050, rs1761621) in and near a gene rich region including G-protein-signaling modulator 2 (GPSM2) and syntaxin binding protein 3 (STXBP3) were significantly associated with lower body SAT depots (9.9*10-7≤P<9.5*10-6). GPSM2 is associated with cell division and cancer while STXBP3 is associated with glucose metabolism in adipoctyes. IPA identified atherosclerosis, mitochondrial function and T-Cell mediated apoptosis as processes related to SAT volume in HIV-infected individuals (P<5*10-3).
Our results are limited by the small sample size and replication is needed, however this genomic scan uncovered new genes associated with metabolism and inflammatory pathways that may affect SAT volume in ARV-treated HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3210910  PMID: 21897333
HIV; HAART; GWAS; Subcutaneous Fat; SAT
18.  Migrating from a legacy fixed-format measure to CAT administration: calibrating the PHQ-9 to the PROMIS depression measures 
We provide detailed instructions for analyzing patient-reported outcome (PRO) data collected with an existing (legacy) instrument so that scores can be calibrated to the PRO Measurement Information System (PROMIS) metric. This calibration facilitates migration to computerized adaptive test (CAT) PROMIS data collection, while facilitating research using historical legacy data alongside new PROMIS data.
A cross-sectional convenience sample (n = 2,178) from the Universities of Washington and Alabama at Birmingham HIV clinics completed the PROMIS short form and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) depression symptom measures between August 2008 and December 2009. We calibrated the tests using item response theory. We compared measurement precision of the PHQ-9, the PROMIS short form, and simulated PROMIS CAT.
Dimensionality analyses confirmed the PHQ-9 could be calibrated to the PROMIS metric. We provide code used to score the PHQ-9 on the PROMIS metric. The mean standard errors of measurement were 0.49 for the PHQ-9, 0.35 for the PROMIS short form, and 0.37, 0.28, and 0.27 for 3-, 8-, and 9-item-simulated CATs.
The strategy described here facilitated migration from a fixed-format legacy scale to PROMIS CAT administration and may be useful in other settings.
PMCID: PMC3175024  PMID: 21409516
Calibration; Computerized adaptive testing; Depression; Item banks; Item response theory; PROMIS
19.  Comparative Effectiveness of Initial Antiretroviral Therapy Regimens: ACTG 5095 and 5142 Clinical Trials Relative to ART-CC Cohort Study 
The generalizability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) clinical trial efficacy findings to routine care settings is not well studied. We compared the relative effectiveness of initial ART regimens estimated in AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) randomized controlled trials with that among patients receiving ART at Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration (ART-CC) study sites.
Treatment-naive HIV-infected patients initiating identical ART regimens in ACTG trials (A5095 and A5142) and at 15 ART-CC cohort study sites were included. Virological failure (HIV-1 RNA >200 copies/ml) at 24- and 48-weeks, incident AIDS-defining events and mortality were measured according to study design (ART-CC cohort vs. ACTG trial) and stratified by 3rd drug [Abacavir (ABC), Efavirenz (EFV), and Lopinavir/r (LPV/r)]. We used logistic regression to estimate and compare odds ratios for virological failure between different regimens and study designs, and used Cox models to estimate and compare hazard ratios for AIDS and death.
Compared with patients receiving ABC, those receiving EFV had roughly half the odds of 24-week virologic failure (>200 copies/mL) in both ACTG 5095 (OR=0.53, 95% CI 0.36–0.79) and ART-CC (0.46, 0.37–0.57). Virologic superiority of EFV (vs. ABC) appeared comparable in ART-CC and ACTG 5095 (ratio of ORs 0.86, 95% CI 0.54–1.35). Odds ratios for 48-week virologic failure, comparing EFV with LPV/r, were also comparable in ACTG 5142 and ART-CC (ratio of ORs 0.87, 0.45–1.69).
Between ART regimen virologic efficacy of 3rd drugs ABC, EFV, and LPV/r observed in the ACTG 5095 and 5142 trials appear generalizable to the routine care setting of ART-CC clinical cohorts.
PMCID: PMC3196673  PMID: 21857357
HIV; AIDS; Antiretroviral therapy; Comparative effectiveness; Viral load
20.  Viremia Copy-Years Predicts Mortality Among Treatment-Naive HIV-Infected Patients Initiating Antiretroviral Therapy 
Viremia copy-years predicted all-cause mortality independent of traditional, cross-sectional viral load measures and time-updated CD4+ T-lymphocyte count in antiretroviral therapy-treated patients suggesting cumulative human immunodeficiency virus replication causes harm independent of its effect on the degree of immunodeficiency.
Background. Cross-sectional plasma human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral load (VL) measures have proven invaluable for clinical and research purposes. However, cross-sectional VL measures fail to capture cumulative plasma HIV burden longitudinally. We evaluated the cumulative effect of exposure to HIV replication on mortality following initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Methods. We included treatment-naive HIV-infected patients starting ART from 2000 to 2008 at 8 Center for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems sites. Viremia copy-years, a time-varying measure of cumulative plasma HIV exposure, were determined for each patient using the area under the VL curve. Multivariable Cox models were used to evaluate the independent association of viremia copy-years for all-cause mortality.
Results. Among 2027 patients contributing 6579 person-years of follow-up, the median viremia copy-years was 5.3 log10 copy × y/mL (interquartile range: 4.9–6.3 log10 copy × y/mL), and 85 patients (4.2%) died. When evaluated separately, viremia copy-years (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.81 per log10 copy × y/mL; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.51–2.18 per log10 copy × y/mL), 24-week VL (1.74 per log10 copies/mL; 95% CI, 1.48–2.04 per log10 copies/mL), and most recent VL (HR = 1.89 per log10 copies/mL; 95% CI: 1.63–2.20 per log10 copies/mL) were associated with increased mortality. When simultaneously evaluating VL measures and controlling for other covariates, viremia copy-years increased mortality risk (HR = 1.44 per log10 copy × y/mL; 95% CI, 1.07–1.94 per log10 copy × y/mL), whereas no cross-sectional VL measure was independently associated with mortality.
Conclusions. Viremia copy-years predicted all-cause mortality independent of traditional, cross-sectional VL measures and time-updated CD4+ T-lymphocyte count in ART-treated patients, suggesting cumulative HIV replication causes harm independent of its effect on the degree of immunodeficiency.
PMCID: PMC3189165  PMID: 21890751
21.  The Role of Toxicity-Related Regimen Changes in the Development of Antiretroviral Resistance 
In an effort to evaluate factors associated with the development of antiretroviral (ARV) resistance, we assessed the prevalence of toxicity-related regimen changes and modeled its association to the subsequent development of ARV resistance in a cohort of treatment-naive individuals initiating ARV therapy (ART). A retrospective analysis of patients initiating ART was conducted at the UAB 1917 Clinic from 1 January 2000 to 30 September 2007. Cox proportional hazards models were fit to identify factors associated with the development of resistance to ≥1 ARV drug class. Among 462 eligible participants, 14% (n=64) developed ARV resistance. Individuals with ≥1 toxicity-related regimen change (HR=3.94, 95% CI=1.09–14.21), initiating ART containing ddI or d4T (4.12, 1.19–14.26), and from a minority race (2.91, 1.16–7.28) had increased risk of developing resistance. Achieving virologic suppression within 12 months of ART initiation (0.10, 0.05–0.20) and higher pretreatment CD4 count (0.85 per 50 cells/mm3, 0.75–0.96) were associated with decreased hazards of resistance. Changes in ART due to drug intolerance were associated with the subsequent development of ARV resistance. Understanding the role of ARV drug selection and other factors associated with the emergence of ARV resistance will help inform interventions to improve patient care and ensure long-term treatment success.
PMCID: PMC3192056  PMID: 21342052
22.  Elucidation of Hepatitis C Virus Transmission and Early Diversification by Single Genome Sequencing 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(8):e1002880.
A precise molecular identification of transmitted hepatitis C virus (HCV) genomes could illuminate key aspects of transmission biology, immunopathogenesis and natural history. We used single genome sequencing of 2,922 half or quarter genomes from plasma viral RNA to identify transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses in 17 subjects with acute community-acquired HCV infection. Sequences from 13 of 17 acute subjects, but none of 14 chronic controls, exhibited one or more discrete low diversity viral lineages. Sequences within each lineage generally revealed a star-like phylogeny of mutations that coalesced to unambiguous T/F viral genomes. Numbers of transmitted viruses leading to productive clinical infection were estimated to range from 1 to 37 or more (median = 4). Four acutely infected subjects showed a distinctly different pattern of virus diversity that deviated from a star-like phylogeny. In these cases, empirical analysis and mathematical modeling suggested high multiplicity virus transmission from individuals who themselves were acutely infected or had experienced a virus population bottleneck due to antiviral drug therapy. These results provide new quantitative and qualitative insights into HCV transmission, revealing for the first time virus-host interactions that successful vaccines or treatment interventions will need to overcome. Our findings further suggest a novel experimental strategy for identifying full-length T/F genomes for proteome-wide analyses of HCV biology and adaptation to antiviral drug or immune pressures.
Author Summary
Hepatitis C virus infects as many as 170 million people worldwide. Globally, there are seven major genotypes of HCV that differ by approximately 30% in nucleotide sequence. Importantly, the natural history of HCV infection is variable, ranging from spontaneous resolution to persistent viremia and chronic disease. Factors responsible for this variability in clinical outcome are unknown but likely involve a combination of viral and host determinants. To this end, a precise molecular identification of transmitted HCV genomes could illuminate key aspects of transmission biology, immunopathogenesis and natural history. We used single genome sequencing of plasma viral RNA to identify transmitted viral genomes and their progeny in 17 subjects with acute infection. Numbers of transmitted viruses leading to productive clinical infection ranged from 1 to 37 or more (median = 4). Surprisingly, we found evidence of high multiplicity acute-to-acute HCV transmission in 3 of 17 subjects, which suggests that clinical transmission of HCV, like that of HIV-1, may be enhanced in early infection when virus titers are highest and neutralizing antibodies are absent. These results provide novel insight into HCV transmission and early virus diversification key to our understanding of virus natural history and response to drug selection and immune pressure.
PMCID: PMC3426529  PMID: 22927816
23.  Temporal Trends in Presentation for Outpatient HIV Medical Care 2000–2010: Implications for Short-term Mortality 
Many newly diagnosed patients present to outpatient care with advanced HIV infection. More timely HIV diagnosis and initiation of care has the potential to improve individual health outcomes and has public health implications.
To assess temporal trends in late presentation for outpatient HIV medial care as measured by CD4 count <200 cells/mm3 and the implications on short-term (1-year) mortality.
We conducted a cohort study nested in a prospective HIV clinical cohort including patients establishing initial outpatient HIV treatment between 2000–2010. Time series regression analysis evaluated temporal trends in late presentation for care measured by the proportion of patients with a CD4 count <200 cells/mm3 or an opportunistic infection at enrollment, and also evaluated trends in short-term mortality.
Patients establishing initial outpatient HIV treatment between 2000–2010 at an academic HIV clinic.
Main Measures
The proportion of patients with a CD4 count <200 cells/mm3 or an opportunistic infection at initial presentation and short-term (1-year) mortality following clinic enrollment.
Key Results
Among 1121 patients, 41% had an initial CD4 count <200 cells/mm3, 25% had an opportunistic infection and 2.4% died within 1-year of their initial visit. Time series regression analysis demonstrated significant reductions in late presentation for HIV care and decreases in short-term mortality with temporal improvement preceding updated CDC HIV testing recommendations.
We observed a significant decline in the number of patients presenting for outpatient HIV care with advanced disease, particularly in 2006–2010. A significant trend in improved short-term survival among patients establishing HIV care was also observed, likely related to more timely presentation for outpatient care in more recent years.
PMCID: PMC3138583  PMID: 21465301
HIV; HIV testing; mortality; disparity; health policy
24.  Prioritizing CD4 Count Monitoring in Response to ART in Resource-Constrained Settings: A Retrospective Application of Prediction-Based Classification 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(4):e1001207.
Luis Montaner and colleagues retrospectively apply a potential capacity-saving CD4 count prediction tool to a cohort of HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy.
Global programs of anti-HIV treatment depend on sustained laboratory capacity to assess treatment initiation thresholds and treatment response over time. Currently, there is no valid alternative to CD4 count testing for monitoring immunologic responses to treatment, but laboratory cost and capacity limit access to CD4 testing in resource-constrained settings. Thus, methods to prioritize patients for CD4 count testing could improve treatment monitoring by optimizing resource allocation.
Methods and Findings
Using a prospective cohort of HIV-infected patients (n = 1,956) monitored upon antiretroviral therapy initiation in seven clinical sites with distinct geographical and socio-economic settings, we retrospectively apply a novel prediction-based classification (PBC) modeling method. The model uses repeatedly measured biomarkers (white blood cell count and lymphocyte percent) to predict CD4+ T cell outcome through first-stage modeling and subsequent classification based on clinically relevant thresholds (CD4+ T cell count of 200 or 350 cells/µl). The algorithm correctly classified 90% (cross-validation estimate = 91.5%, standard deviation [SD] = 4.5%) of CD4 count measurements <200 cells/µl in the first year of follow-up; if laboratory testing is applied only to patients predicted to be below the 200-cells/µl threshold, we estimate a potential savings of 54.3% (SD = 4.2%) in CD4 testing capacity. A capacity savings of 34% (SD = 3.9%) is predicted using a CD4 threshold of 350 cells/µl. Similar results were obtained over the 3 y of follow-up available (n = 619). Limitations include a need for future economic healthcare outcome analysis, a need for assessment of extensibility beyond the 3-y observation time, and the need to assign a false positive threshold.
Our results support the use of PBC modeling as a triage point at the laboratory, lessening the need for laboratory-based CD4+ T cell count testing; implementation of this tool could help optimize the use of laboratory resources, directing CD4 testing towards higher-risk patients. However, further prospective studies and economic analyses are needed to demonstrate that the PBC model can be effectively applied in clinical settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
AIDS has killed nearly 30 million people since 1981, and about 34 million people (most of them living in low- and middle-income countries) are now infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV destroys immune system cells (including CD4 cells, a type of lymphocyte and one of the body's white blood cell types), leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-infected people died within ten years of infection. Then, in 1996, antiretroviral therapy (ART) became available, and for people living in affluent countries, HIV/AIDS became a chronic condition. However, ART was expensive, and for people living in developing countries, HIV/AIDS remained a fatal illness. In 2003, HIV was declared a global health emergency, and in 2006, the international community set itself the target of achieving universal access to ART by 2010. By the end of 2010, only 6.6 million of the estimated 15 million people in need of ART in developing countries were receiving ART.
Why Was This Study Done?
One factor that has impeded progress towards universal ART coverage has been the limited availability of trained personnel and laboratory facilities in many developing countries. These resources are needed to determine when individuals should start ART—the World Health Organization currently recommends that people start ART when their CD4 count drops below 350 cells/µl—and to monitor treatment responses over time so that viral resistance to ART is quickly detected. Although a total lymphocyte count can be used as a surrogate measure to decide when to start treatment, repeated CD4 cell counts are the only way to monitor immunologic responses to treatment, a level of monitoring that is rarely sustainable in resource-constrained settings. A method that optimizes resource allocation by prioritizing who gets tested might be one way to improve treatment monitoring. In this study, the researchers applied a new tool for prioritizing laboratory-based CD4 cell count testing in resource-constrained settings to patient data that had been previously collected.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers fitted a mixed-effects statistical model to repeated CD4 count measurements from HIV-infected individuals from seven sites around the world (including some resource-limited sites). They then used model-derived estimates to apply a mathematical tool for predicting—from a CD4 count taken at the start of treatment, and white blood cell counts and lymphocyte percentage measurements taken later—whether CD4 counts would be above 200 cells/µl (the original threshold recommended for ART initiation) and 350 cells/µl (the current recommended threshold) for up to three years after ART initiation. The tool correctly classified 91.5% of the CD4 cell counts that were below 200 cells/µl in the first year of ART. With this threshold, the potential savings in CD4 testing capacity was 54.3%. With a CD4 count threshold of 350 cells/µl, the potential savings in testing capacity was 34%. The results over a three-year follow-up were similar. When applied to six representative HIV-positive individuals, the tool correctly predicted all the CD4 counts above 200 cells/µl, although some individuals who had a predicted CD4 count of less than 200 cells/µl actually had a CD4 count above this threshold. Thus, none of these individuals would have been exposed to an undetected dangerous CD4 count, but the application of the tool would have saved 57% of the CD4 laboratory tests done during the first year of ART.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings support the use of this new tool—the prediction-based classification (PBC) algorithm—for predicting a drop in CD4 count below a clinically meaningful threshold in HIV-infected individuals receiving ART. Further studies are now needed to demonstrate the feasibility, clinical effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of this approach, to find out whether the tool can be used over extended periods of time, and to investigate whether the accuracy of its predictions can be improved by, for example, adding in periodic CD4 testing. Provided these studies confirm its early promise, the researchers suggest that the PBC algorithm could be used as a “triage” tool to direct available laboratory testing capacity to high-priority individuals (those likely to have a dangerously low CD4 count). By optimizing the use of limited laboratory resources in this and other ways, the PBC algorithm could therefore help to maintain and expand ART programs in low- and middle-income countries.
Additional Information
Please access these web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV/AIDS treatment and care and on universal access to AIDS treatment (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information about universal access to AIDS treatment (in several languages)
More information about universal access to HIV treatment, prevention, care, and support is available from UNAIDS
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3328436  PMID: 22529752
25.  Effectiveness of generic and proprietary first-line anti-retroviral regimens in a primary health care setting in Lusaka, Zambia: a cohort study 
Background Although generic anti-retroviral drugs are in common use throughout the developing world, studies comparing their clinical effectiveness with that of proprietary formulations are lacking.
Methods We analysed observational data from a large cohort of adults on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to assess potential differences between generic and proprietary zidovudine (ZDV) formulations in post-90-day mortality, ‘programme failure’ (a composite of death, follow-up losses and withdrawals) and other clinical outcomes. We accounted for drug exposure in three ways: an ‘initial dispensation’ approach that categorized patients according to the first prescription; ‘time-varying’ approach that attributed an outcome to the formulation taken at the time of event; and ‘predominant exposure’ approach that considered only those with >75% exposure to either brand or generic ZDV. Proprietary formulations were used as the reference group in all adjusted Cox proportional hazard regressions.
Results Among 14 736 patients eligible for analysis, 7277 (49%) initiated a generic formulation of ZDV and 7459 (51%) initiated a proprietary formulation. When categorized according to initial dispensation, no difference in post-90-day mortality was observed between the two groups [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR): 0.93, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.77–1.12]. Similar findings were noted when drug formulation was treated as a time-varying exposure (AHR: 1.15, 95% CI: 0.89–1.48) when analysis was limited to those with a predominant exposure to one formulation or the other (AHR: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.24–1.49). Results were consistent across all approaches when programme failure was considered as an outcome. No longitudinal differences were detected between formulations for CD4 response, weight change and haemoglobin concentration. Generic ZDV formulations were associated with slight decreases in single-drug substitution.
Conclusions In this large programmatic cohort of adults starting ZDV-based first-line therapy, clinical outcomes appeared similar among patients on generic or proprietary formulations. These findings support continued use of generic anti-retroviral drug formulations in resource-constrained settings.
PMCID: PMC3324461  PMID: 22493326
HIV; AIDS; anti-retroviral therapy; ART; scale-up; PEPFAR; Emergency Plan; sub-Saharan Africa; generic; proprietary; anti-retroviral drugs

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