A critical step in HIV-1 transmission studies is the rapid and accurate identification of epidemiologically linked transmission pairs. To date, this has been accomplished by comparison of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified nucleotide sequences from potential transmission pairs, which can be cost-prohibitive for use in resource-limited settings. Here we describe a rapid, cost-effective approach to determine transmission linkage based on the heteroduplex mobility assay (HMA), and validate this approach by comparison to nucleotide sequencing. A total of 102 HIV-1-infected Zambian and Rwandan couples, with known linkage, were analyzed by gp41-HMA. A 400-base pair fragment within the envelope gp41 region of the HIV proviral genome was PCR amplified and HMA was applied to both partners' amplicons separately (autologous) and as a mixture (heterologous). If the diversity between gp41 sequences was low (<5%), a homoduplex was observed upon gel electrophoresis and the transmission was characterized as having occurred between partners (linked). If a new heteroduplex formed, within the heterologous migration, the transmission was determined to be unlinked. Initial blind validation of gp-41 HMA demonstrated 90% concordance between HMA and sequencing with 100% concordance in the case of linked transmissions. Following validation, 25 newly infected partners in Kigali and 12 in Lusaka were evaluated prospectively using both HMA and nucleotide sequences. Concordant results were obtained in all but one case (97.3%). The gp41-HMA technique is a reliable and feasible tool to detect linked transmissions in the field. All identified unlinked results should be confirmed by sequence analyses.
Identification of single-gene causes of steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS)
has furthered the understanding of the pathogenesis of this disease. Here, using a
combination of homozygosity mapping and whole human exome resequencing, we identified
mutations in the aarF domain containing kinase 4 (ADCK4) gene in 15
individuals with SRNS from 8 unrelated families. ADCK4 was highly similar to ADCK3,
which has been shown to participate in coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
biosynthesis. Mutations in ADCK4 resulted in reduced
CoQ10 levels and reduced mitochondrial respiratory enzyme activity in
cells isolated from individuals with SRNS and transformed lymphoblasts. Knockdown of
adck4 in zebrafish and Drosophila recapitulated
nephrotic syndrome-associated phenotypes. Furthermore, ADCK4 was expressed in
glomerular podocytes and partially localized to podocyte mitochondria and foot
processes in rat kidneys and cultured human podocytes. In human podocytes, ADCK4
interacted with members of the CoQ10 biosynthesis pathway, including COQ6,
which has been linked with SRNS and COQ7. Knockdown of ADCK4 in podocytes resulted in
decreased migration, which was reversed by CoQ10 addition. Interestingly,
a patient with SRNS with a homozygous ADCK4 frameshift mutation had
partial remission following CoQ10 treatment. These data indicate that
individuals with SRNS with mutations in ADCK4 or other genes that
participate in CoQ10 biosynthesis may be treatable with CoQ10.
Two human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants, HLA-B*57 and -B*81, are consistently known as favorable host factors in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected Africans and African-Americans. In our analyses of prospective data from 538 recent HIV-1 seroconverters and cross-sectional data from 292 subjects with unknown duration of infection, HLA-B*57 (mostly B*57:03) and -B*81 (exclusively B*81:01) had mostly discordant associations with virologic and immunologic manifestations before antiretroviral therapy. Specifically, relatively low viral load (VL) in HLA-B*57-positive subjects (P ≤ 0.03 in various models) did not translate to early advantage in CD4+ T-cell (CD4) counts (P ≥ 0.37). In contrast, individuals with HLA-B*81 showed little deviation from the normal set point VL (P > 0.18) while maintaining high CD4 count during early and chronic infection (P = 0.01). These observations suggest that discordance between VL and CD4 count can occur in the presence of certain HLA alleles and that effective control of HIV-1 viremia is not always a prerequisite for favorable prognosis (delayed immunodeficiency). Of note, steady CD4 count associated with HLA-B*81 in HIV-1-infected Africans may depend on the country of origin, as observations differed slightly between subgroups enrolled in southern Africa (Zambia) and eastern Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda).
We describe rates of unintended pregnancy among HIV positive couples in Lusaka, Zambia. We also identify factors associated with unintended pregnancy among oral contraceptive pill (OCP) using couples in this cohort.
Data were analyzed from couples randomized in a factorial design to two family planning intervention videos.
Rates of unintended pregnancy were stratified by contraceptive method used at time of pregnancy. Predictors of time to unintended pregnancy among OCP users were determined via multivariate Cox modeling.
The highest rates of unintended pregnancy were observed among couples requesting condoms only (26.4/100CY) or OCPs (20.7/100CY); these rates were not significantly different. OCP users accounted for 37% of the couple-years (CY) observed and 87% of unintended pregnancies. Rates of unintended pregnancy for injectable (0.7/100CY) and intrauterine device (1.6/100CY) users were significantly lower relative to condom only users. No pregnancies occurred among contraceptive implant users or after tubal ligation. Factors associated (p<0.05) with time to unintended pregnancy among OCP users in multivariate analysis included the man wanting more children, the woman being HIV negative versus having stage IV HIV disease, and the woman reporting: younger age, no previous OCP use, missed OCPs, or sex without a condom.
Long-acting reversible contraceptive methods were effective in the context of integrated couples HIV prevention and contraceptive services. Injectable methods were also effective in this context. Given the high user failure rate of OCPs, family planning efforts should promote longer-acting methods among OCP users wishing to avoid pregnancy. Where other methods are not available or acceptable, OCP adherence counseling is needed, especially among younger and new OCP users.
In HIV-1 infection, the early set-point viral load strongly predicts both viral transmission and disease progression. The factors responsible for the wide spectrum of set-point viral loads are complex and likely reflect an interplay between the transmitted virus and genetically defined factors in both the transmitting source partner and the seroconverter. Indeed, analysis of 195 transmission pairs from Lusaka, Zambia, revealed that the viral loads in transmitting source partners contributed only ∼2% of the variance in early set-point viral loads of seroconverters (P = 0.046 by univariable analysis). In multivariable models, early set-point viral loads in seroconverting partners were a complex function of (i) the viral load in the source partner, (ii) the gender of the seroconverter, (iii) specific HLA class I alleles in the newly infected partner, and (iv) sharing of HLA-I alleles between partners in a transmission pair. Each of these factors significantly and independently contributed to the set-point viral load in the newly infected partner, accounting for up to 37% of the variance observed and suggesting that many factors operate in concert to define the early virological phenotype in HIV-1 infection.
HIV discordant heterosexual couples are faced with the dual challenge of preventing sexual HIV transmission and unplanned pregnancies with the attendant risk of perinatal HIV transmission. Our aim was to examine uptake of two long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods – intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants – among HIV discordant couples in Rwanda and Zambia.
Women were interviewed alone or with their partner during routine cohort study follow-up visits to ascertain fertility goals; those not pregnant, not infertile, not already using LARC, and wishing to limit or delay fertility for ≥3 years were counseled on LARC methods and offered an IUD and implant on-site.
Among 409 fertile Rwandan women interviewed (126 alone, 283 with partners), 365 (89%) were counseled about LARC methods and 130 (36%) adopted a method (100 implant, 30 IUD). Of 787 fertile Zambian women interviewed (457 alone, 330 with partners), 528 (67%) received LARC counseling, of whom 177 (34%) adopted a method (139 implant, 38 IUD). In both countries, a woman’s younger age was predictive of LARC uptake. LARC users reported fewer episodes of unprotected sex than couples using only condoms.
Integrated fertility-goal based family planning counseling and access to LARC methods with reinforcement of dual-method use prompted uptake of IUDs and implants and reduced unprotected sex among HIV-discordant couples in two African capital cities.
contraception; family planning; HIV; intrauterine devices; implant
Human leukocyte antigen alleles influence the immune response to HIV-1. Signal peptides cleaved from those alleles bind to HLA-E and mediate natural killer cell function. Signal peptides of HLA-A and HLA-C proteins carry methionine (Met) at anchor position 2 (P2); those of HLA-B carry Met or threonine (Thr). Different P2 residues alter HLA-E binding to its cognate receptors and may impact HIV-1 acquisition. Among Zambian couples (N = 566) serodiscordant for HIV-1, P2-Met accelerated acquisition in the HIV-1-negative partner (relative hazard [RH], 1.79). Among seroconverting Zambian (n = 240) and Rwandan (n = 64) partners, P2-Met also accelerated acquisition (RH, 1.47 and RH, 1.83 respectively). HLA-B alleles displaying the reportedly protective Bw4 epitope carry P2-Thr. Bw4/P2-Thr and Bw6/P2-Thr showed similar protective effects compared with Bw6/P2-Met. Neither motif was associated with viral load. The influence of HLA-B alleles on HIV/AIDS may derive from multiple motifs in and beyond the mature proteins.
To identify predictors of promotion of couples’ voluntary counseling and testing (CVCT) in Kigali, Rwanda
Analysis of CVCT promotional agent (influential network leaders, INLs; influential network agents, INAs), and couple/invitation-level predictors of CVCT uptake.
Number of invitations and couples tested were evaluated by INL, INA, and couple/contextual factors. Multivariable logistic regression accounting for two-level clustering analyzed factors predictive of couples’ testing.
26 INLs recruited and mentored 118 INAs who delivered 24,991 invitations. 4,513 couples sought CVCT services after invitation. INAs distributed an average of 212 invitations resulting in an average of 38 couples tested/agent. Characteristics predictive of CVCT in multivariate analyses included the invitee and INA being socially acquainted (aOR=1.4;95%CI:1.2–1.6); invitations delivered after public endorsement (aOR=1.3;95%CI:1.1–1.5); and presence of a mobile testing unit (aOR=1.4;95%CI:1.0–2.0). In stratified analyses, predictors significant among cohabiting couples included invitation delivery to the couple (aOR=1.2;95%CI:1.0–1.4) in the home (aOR=1.3;95%CI:1.1–1.4), while among non-cohabiting couples predictors included invitations given by unemployed INAs (aOR=1.7;95%CI:1.1–2.7). Cohabiting couples with older men were more likely to test, while younger age was associated with testing among men in non-cohabiting unions.
Invitations distributed by influential people were successful in prompting couples to seek joint HIV testing, particularly if the invitation was given in the home to someone known to the INA, and accompanied by a public endorsement of CVCT. Mobile units also increased the number of couples tested. Country-specific strategies to promote CVCT programs are needed to reduce HIV transmission among those at highest risk for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
Community Workers; Couples’ Voluntary Counseling and Testing; HIV; Rwanda
To identify informal primary caregiver characteristics associated with care transitions of community-dwelling older persons with impairments in daily living activities.
Data for this study were pooled to observe transitions from Wave 1–Wave 2 and Wave 2–Wave 3 of the Second Longitudinal Survey on Aging (LSOA II). The sample includes respondents with at least one impairment in daily living activities and with an informal caregiver at baseline of each transition period (n = 2,990). Primary caregiver transitions to another informal caregiver, to formal care, to a nursing home, or to no care were modeled using multinomial logistic regression.
More than half (54%) of the surviving respondents experienced a care transition for a period of 2 years. Multivariate results indicate that husband and son primary caregivers are more likely to transfer care than wives and daughters, although children caring for same-gender parents were less likely to transfer out of the primary caregiver role than children caring for parents of the opposite sex. Respondents with primary caregivers who are “other” relatives or nonrelatives, who are not coresident with the care receiver, or who are assisted by secondary helpers were at elevated risk for care transitions over the 2-year study period.
The results of this study suggest that older persons’ care transitions result from complex informal network dynamics, with primary caregiver gender and relationship to the care receiver playing key roles.
Caregiving; Community-based care; Disability
To describe symptoms, physical exam findings, and set point viral load associated with acute HIV seroconversion in a heterosexual cohort of discordant couples in Zambia.
We followed HIV serodiscordant couples in Lusaka, Zambia from 1995–2009 with HIV testing of negative partners and symptom inventories 3-monthly, and physical examinations annually.
We compared prevalence of self-reported or treated symptoms (malaria syndrome, chronic diarrhea, asthenia, night sweats, and oral candidiasis) and annual physical exam [PE] findings (unilateral or bilateral neck, axillary, or inguinal adenopathy; and dermatosis) in seroconverting versus HIV-negative or HIV-positive intervals, controlling for repeated observations, age, and sex. A composite score comprised of significant symptoms and PE findings predictive of seroconversion versus HIV-negative intervals was constructed. We modeled the relationship between number of symptoms and PE findings at seroconversion and log set-point viral load [VL] using linear regression.
2,388 HIV-negative partners were followed for a median of 18 months; 429 seroconversions occurred. Neither symptoms nor PE findings were reported for most seroconverters. Seroconversion was significantly associated with malaria syndrome among non-diarrheic patients (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=4.0) night sweats (aOR=1.4), and bilateral axillary (aOR = 1.6), inguinal (aOR=2.2), and neck (aOR=2.2) adenopathy relative to HIV-negative intervals. Median number of symptoms was positively associated with set-point VL (p<0.001).
Though most acute and early infections were asymptomatic, malaria syndrome was more common and more severe during seroconversion compared with HIV-negative and HIV-positive intervals. When present, symptoms and physical exam findings were non-specific and associated with higher set point viremia.
HIV; seroconversion syndrome; set point HIV viral load
Antibodies that neutralize (nAbs) genetically diverse HIV-1 strains have been recovered from a subset of HIV-1 infected subjects during chronic infection. Exact mechanisms that expand the otherwise narrow neutralization capacity observed during early infection are, however, currently undefined. Here we characterized the earliest nAb responses in a subtype A HIV-1 infected Rwandan seroconverter who later developed moderate cross-clade nAb breadth, using (i) envelope (Env) glycoproteins from the transmitted/founder virus and twenty longitudinal nAb escape variants, (ii) longitudinal autologous plasma, and (iii) autologous monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Initially, nAbs targeted a single region of gp120, which flanked the V3 domain and involved the alpha2 helix. A single amino acid change at one of three positions in this region conferred early escape. One immunoglobulin heavy chain and two light chains recovered from autologous B cells comprised two mAbs, 19.3H-L1 and 19.3H-L3, which neutralized the founder Env along with one or three of the early escape variants carrying these mutations, respectively. Neither mAb neutralized later nAb escape or heterologous Envs. Crystal structures of the antigen-binding fragments (Fabs) revealed flat epitope contact surfaces, where minimal light chain mutation in 19.3H-L3 allowed for additional antigenic interactions. Resistance to mAb neutralization arose in later Envs through alteration of two glycans spatially adjacent to the initial escape signatures. The cross-neutralizing nAbs that ultimately developed failed to target any of the defined V3-proximal changes generated during the first year of infection in this subject. Our data demonstrate that this subject's first recognized nAb epitope elicited strain-specific mAbs, which incrementally acquired autologous breadth, and directed later B cell responses to target distinct portions of Env. This immune re-focusing could have triggered the evolution of cross-clade antibodies and suggests that exposure to a specific sequence of immune escape variants might promote broad humoral responses during HIV-1 infection.
Since cases were first recognized in the United States in 1981, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) has infected over one million Americans. Globally, this scale reaches into the tens of millions, but no effective vaccine exists. Of those infected, approximately 20–30% of patients will develop broadly neutralizing antibodies. The reasons for maturation of these potentially protective responses are presently unknown, but being able to elicit such antibodies via vaccination could curb the pandemic. Here, we defined the earliest neutralizing antibody targets and the consequent routes of viral escape in one subtype A HIV-1 infected subject who developed modest breadth. We also determined the genetic and structural characteristics of early neutralizing monoclonal antibodies circulating in this subject and found that subtle light chain alteration enhanced target contact and neutralization. Overall, our data support the idea that exposure to a specific sequence of viral variants, which have escaped from immune pressure, could program long-term potential for antibody breadth.
Nephronophthisis-related ciliopathies (NPHP-RC) are degenerative recessive diseases that affect kidney, retina and brain. Genetic defects in NPHP gene products that localize to cilia and centrosomes defined them as ‘ciliopathies’. However, disease mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we identify by whole exome resequencing, mutations of MRE11, ZNF423, and CEP164 as causing NPHP-RC. All three genes function within the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway, hitherto not implicated in ciliopathies. We demonstrate that, upon induced DNA damage, the NPHP-RC proteins ZNF423, CEP164 and NPHP10 colocalize to nuclear foci positive for TIP60, known to activate ATM at sites of DNA damage. We show that knockdown of CEP164 or ZNF423 causes sensitivity to DNA damaging agents, and that cep164 knockdown in zebrafish results in dysregulated DDR and an NPHP-RC phenotype. We identify TTBK2, CCDC92, NPHP3 and DVL3 as novel CEP164 interaction partners. Our findings link degenerative diseases of kidney and retina, disorders of increasing prevalence, to mechanisms of DDR.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) represents a major health burden1. Its central feature of renal fibrosis is not well understood. By whole exome resequencing in a model disorder for renal fibrosis, nephronophthisis (NPHP), we identified mutations of Fanconi anemia-associated nuclease 1 (FAN1) as causing karyomegalic interstitial nephritis (KIN). Renal histology of KIN is indistinguishable from NPHP except for the presence of karyomegaly2. FAN1 has nuclease activity, acting in DNA interstrand crosslinking (ICL) repair within the Fanconi anemia pathway of DNA damage response (DDR)3–6. We demonstrate that cells from individuals with FAN1 mutations exhibit sensitivity to the ICL agent mitomycin C. However, they do not exhibit chromosome breakage or cell cycle arrest after diepoxybutane treatment, unlike cells from patients with Fanconi anemia. We complement ICL sensitivity with wild type FAN1 but not mutant cDNA from individuals with KIN. Depletion of fan1 in zebrafish revealed increased DDR, apoptosis, and kidney cysts akin to NPHP. Our findings implicate susceptibility to environmental genotoxins and inadequate DNA repair as novel mechanisms of renal fibrosis and CKD.
Several CC-motif chemokine ligands (CCLs) can block HIV-1 binding sites on CC-motif chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) and inhibit viral entry. We studied single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes encoding three CCR5 ligands [CCL3 (MIP-1α), CCL4 (MIP-1β), and CCL5 (RANTES)] along with an adjacent gene encoding a CCR2 ligand [CCL2 (MCP-1)] to identify candidate markers for HIV-1 infection and pathogenesis. Analyses of 567 HIV-1 serodiscordant Zambian couples revealed that rs5029410C (in CCL3 intron 2) was associated with lower viral load (VL) in seroconverters, adjusted for gender and age (regression β=−0.57 log10, P=4×10−6). In addition, rs34171309A in CCL3 exon 3 was associated with increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition in exposed seronegatives (hazard ratio=1.52, P=0.006 when adjusted for donor VL and genital ulcer/inflammation). The CCL3 exon 3 SNP, encoding a conservative Glu-to-Asp substitution, and five neighboring SNPs in tight linkage disequilibrium all showed similar associations with HIV-1 acquisition. How these multiple CCL3 SNPs may alter the occurrence or course of HIV-1 infection remains to be determined.
HIV-1 transmission; CCL2; CCL3; CCL4; CCL5; SNP
Previous research shows that numerous child, parent, and procedural variables affect children’s distress responses to procedures. Cognitive-behavioral interventions such as distraction are effective in reducing pain and distress for many children undergoing these procedures.
The purpose of this report was to examine child, parent, and procedural variables that explain child distress during a scheduled intravenous insertion when parents are distraction coaches for their children.
A total of 542 children, between 4 and 10 years of age, and their parents participated. Child age, gender, diagnosis, and ethnicity were measured by questions developed for this study. Standardized instruments were used to measure child experience with procedures, temperament, ability to attend, anxiety, coping style, and pain sensitivity. Questions were developed to measure parent variables, including ethnicity, gender, previous experiences, and expectations, and procedural variables, including use of topical anesthetics and difficulty of procedure. Standardized instruments were used to measure parenting style and parent anxiety, whereas a new instrument was developed to measure parent performance of distraction. Children’s distress responses were measured with the Observation Scale of Behavioral Distress–Revised (behavioral), salivary cortisol (biological), Oucher Pain Scale (self-report), and parent report of child distress (parent report). Regression methods were used for data analyses.
Variables explaining behavioral, child-report and parent-report measures include child age, typical coping response, and parent expectation of distress (p < .01). Level of parents’ distraction coaching explained a significant portion of behavioral, biological, and parent-report distress measures (p < .05). Child impulsivity and special assistance at school also significantly explained child self-report of pain (p < .05). Additional variables explaining cortisol response were child’s distress in the morning before clinic, diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety disorder, and timing of preparation for the clinic visit.
The findings can be used to identify children at risk for high distress during procedures. This is the first study to find a relationship between child behavioral distress and level of parent distraction coaching.
children; cortisol; distress; distraction; pain
Initial studies of 88 transmission pairs in the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project cohort demonstrated that the number of transmitted HLA-B associated polymorphisms in Gag, but not Nef, was negatively correlated to set point viral load (VL) in the newly infected partners. These results suggested that accumulation of CTL escape mutations in Gag might attenuate viral replication and provide a clinical benefit during early stages of infection. Using a novel approach, we have cloned gag sequences isolated from the earliest seroconversion plasma sample from the acutely infected recipient of 149 epidemiologically linked Zambian transmission pairs into a primary isolate, subtype C proviral vector, MJ4. We determined the replicative capacity (RC) of these Gag-MJ4 chimeras by infecting the GXR25 cell line and quantifying virion production in supernatants via a radiolabeled reverse transcriptase assay. We observed a statistically significant positive correlation between RC conferred by the transmitted Gag sequence and set point VL in newly infected individuals (p = 0.02). Furthermore, the RC of Gag-MJ4 chimeras also correlated with the VL of chronically infected donors near the estimated date of infection (p = 0.01), demonstrating that virus replication contributes to VL in both acute and chronic infection. These studies also allowed for the elucidation of novel sites in Gag associated with changes in RC, where rare mutations had the greatest effect on fitness. Although we observed both advantageous and deleterious rare mutations, the latter could point to vulnerable targets in the HIV-1 genome. Importantly, RC correlated significantly (p = 0.029) with the rate of CD4+ T cell decline over the first 3 years of infection in a manner that is partially independent of VL, suggesting that the replication capacity of HIV-1 during the earliest stages of infection is a determinant of pathogenesis beyond what might be expected based on set point VL alone.
In the majority of HIV-1 cases, a single virus establishes infection. However, mutations in the viral genome accumulate over time in order to avoid recognition by the host immune response. Certain mutations in the main structural protein, Gag, driven by cytotoxic T lymphocytes are detrimental to viral replication, and we showed previously that, upon transmission, viruses with higher numbers of escape mutations in Gag were associated with lower early set point viral loads. We hypothesized that this could be attributed to attenuation of the transmitted virus. Here, we have cloned the gag gene from 149 newly infected individuals from linked transmission pairs into a clade C proviral vector and determined the replicative capacity in vitro. We found that the replicative capacity conferred by the transmitted Gag correlated with set point viral loads in newly infected individuals, as well as with the viral load of the transmitting partner, and we identified previously unrecognized residues associated with increasing and decreasing replicative capacity. Importantly, we demonstrate that transmitted viruses with high replicative capacity cause more rapid CD4+ decline over the first three years, independent of viral load. This suggests that the trajectory of pathogenesis may be affected very early in infection, before adaptive immunity can respond.
Couples-based voluntary HIV counseling and testing (CVCT)—in which couples receive counseling and their HIV test results together—has been shown to be an effective strategy among heterosexual sero-discordant couples in Africa for reducing HIV transmission by initiating behavioral change. This study examined attitudes towards CVCT among men who have sex with men (MSM) in three US cities. Four focus group discussions (FGD) were held with MSM in Atlanta, Chicago, and Seattle. Although initially hesitant, participants reported an overwhelming acceptance of CVCT. CVCT was seen as a sign of commitment within a relationship and was reported to be more appropriate for men in longer-term relationships. CVCT was also seen as providing a forum for the discussion of risk-taking within the relationship. Our results suggest that there may be a demand for CVCT among MSM in the United States, but some modifications to the existing African CVCT protocol may be needed.
MSM; Couples; HIV testing
Couples in sub-Saharan Africa are the largest group in the world at risk for HIV infection. Couples counseling and testing programs have been shown to reduce HIV transmission, but such programs remain rare in Africa. Before couples counseling and testing can become the norm, it is essential to increase demand for the services. We evaluated the effectiveness of several promotional strategies during a two -year program in Kitwe and Ndola, Zambia. The program attracted more than 7,600 couples through the use of radio broadcasts, billboards, and other strategies. The most effective recruiting technique was the use of local residents trained as “influence agents” to reach out to friends, neighbors, and others in their sphere of influence. Of the estimated 2.5 million new cases of HIV in adults and children in 2009, more than two-thirds occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.1 In Zambia, the prevalence of HIV among adults in urban and rural areas is estimated at 19 and 10 percent, respectively.2 Most HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa is heterosexual and occurs between cohabiting partners with discordant HIV test results3–5—that is, only one partner is HIV-positive. Thus, most new cases of HIV occur when someone infects his or her heterosexual partner. Sub-Saharan African couples with discordant HIV test results are the world’s largest risk group for HIV.6 Approximately 20 percent of Zambian couples have discordant HIV results, a rate consistent with estimates from Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya.7–14
The potential role of antibodies in protection against intra-subtype HIV-1 superinfection remains to be understood. We compared the early neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses in three individuals, who were superinfected within one year of primary infection, to ten matched non-superinfected controls from a Zambian cohort of subtype C transmission cases. Sequence analysis of single genome amplified full-length envs from a previous study showed limited diversification in the individuals who became superinfected with the same HIV-1 subtype within year one post-seroconversion. We hypothesized that this reflected a blunted NAb response, which may have made these individuals more susceptible to superinfection.
Neutralization assays showed that autologous plasma NAb responses to the earliest, and in some cases transmitted/founder, virus were delayed and had low to undetectable titers in all three superinfected individuals prior to superinfection. In contrast, NAbs with a median IC50 titer of 1896 were detected as early as three months post-seroconversion in non-superinfected controls. Early plasma NAbs in all subjects showed limited but variable levels of heterologous neutralization breadth. Superinfected individuals also exhibited a trend toward lower levels of gp120- and V1V2-specific IgG binding antibodies but higher gp120-specific plasma IgA binding antibodies.
These data suggest that the lack of development of IgG antibodies, as reflected in autologous NAbs as well as gp120 and V1V2 binding antibodies to the primary infection virus, combined with potentially competing, non-protective IgA antibodies, may increase susceptibility to superinfection in the context of settings where a single HIV-1 subtype predominates.
HIV-1 superinfection; Subtype C; Neutralizing antibodies; HIV-1 transmission; HIV-1 dual infection
Hypothesising that couples’ voluntary counselling and testing (CVCT) promotions can increase CVCT uptake, this study identified predictors of successful CVCT promotion in Lusaka, Zambia.
68 influential network leaders (INLs) identified 320 agents (INAs) who delivered 29 119 CVCT invitations to heterosexual couples.
The CVCT promotional model used INLs who identified INAs, who in turn conducted community-based promotion and distribution of CVCT invitations in two neighbourhoods over 18 months, with a mobile unit in one neighbourhood crossing over to the other mid-way through.
The primary outcome of interest was couple testing (yes/no) after receipt of a CVCT invitation. INA, couple and invitation characteristics predictive of couples’ testing were evaluated accounting for two-level clustering.
INAs delivered invitations resulting in 1727 couples testing (6% success rate). In multivariate analyses, INA characteristics significantly predictive of CVCT uptake included promoting in community-based (adjusted OR (aOR)=1.3; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.8) or health (aOR=1.5; 95% CI 1.2 to 2.0) networks versus private networks; being employed in the sales/service industry (aOR=1.5; 95% CI 1.0 to 2.1) versus unskilled manual labour; owning a home (aOR=0.7; 95% CI 0.6 to 0.9) versus not; and having tested for HIV with a partner (aOR=1.4; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.7) or alone (aOR=1.3; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.6) versus never having tested. Cohabiting couples were more likely to test (aOR=1.4; 95% CI 1.2 to 1.6) than non-cohabiting couples. Context characteristics predictive of CVCT uptake included inviting couples (aOR=1.2; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.4) versus individuals; the woman (aOR=1.6; 95% CI 1.2 to 2.2) or couple (aOR=1.4; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.8) initiating contact versus the INA; the couple being socially acquainted with the INA (aOR=1.6; 95% CI 1.4 to 1.9) versus having just met; home invitation delivery (aOR=1.3; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.5) versus elsewhere; and easy invitation delivery (aOR=1.8; 95% CI 1.4 to 2.2) versus difficult as reported by the INA.
This study demonstrated the ability of influential people to promote CVCT and identified agent, couple and context-level factors associated with CVCT uptake in Lusaka, Zambia. We encourage the development of CVCT promotions in other sub-Saharan African countries to support sustained CVCT dissemination.
Acute HIV infection (prior to antibody seroconversion) represents a high-risk window for HIV transmission. Development of a test to detect acute infection at the point-of-care is urgent.
Volunteers enrolled in a prospective study of HIV incidence in four African cities, Kigali in Rwanda and Ndola, Kitwe and Lusaka in Zambia, were tested regularly for HIV by rapid antibody test and p24 antigen ELISA. Five subgroups of samples were also tested by the Determine Ag/Ab Combo test 1) Antigen positive, antibody negative (acute infection); 2) Antigen positive, antibody positive; 3) Antigen negative, antibody positive; 4) Antigen negative, antibody negative; and 5) Antigen false positive, antibody negative (HIV uninfected). A sixth group included serial dilutions from a p24 antigen-positive control sample. Combo test results were reported as antigen positive, antibody positive, or both.
Of 34 group 1 samples with VL between 5x105 and >1.5x107 copies/mL (median 3.5x106), 1 (2.9%) was detected by the Combo antigen component, 7 (20.6%) others were positive by the Combo antibody component. No group 2 samples were antigen positive by the Combo test (0/18). Sensitivity of the Combo antigen test was therefore 1.9% (1/52, 95% CI 0.0, 9.9). One false positive Combo antibody result (1/30, 3.3%) was observed in group 4. No false-positive Combo antigen results were observed. The Combo antigen test was positive in group 6 at concentrations of 80 pg/mL, faintly positive at 40 and 20 pg/mL, and negative thereafter. The p24 ELISA antigen test remained positive at 5 pg/mL.
Although the antibody component of the Combo test detected antibodies to HIV earlier than the comparison antibody tests used, less than 2% of the cases of antigen-positive HIV infection were detected by the Combo antigen component. The development of a rapid point-of-care test to diagnose acute HIV infection remains an urgent goal.
Nephronophthisis (NPHP) is an autosomal recessive kidney disease characterized by tubular basement membrane disruption, interstitial infiltration, and tubular cysts. NPHP leads to end-stage renal failure in the first two decades of life and is the most frequent genetic cause of chronic renal failure in children and young adults. Mutations in eleven genes (NPHP1-11) have been identified. Extrarenal manifestations are known, such as retinitis pigmentosa (Senior-Løken syndrome, SLS), brainstem and cerebellar anomalies (Joubert syndrome), liver fibrosis, and ocular motor apraxia type Cogan.
We report on a Turkish family with clinical signs of nephronophthisis. The phenotype occurred in two generations and therefore seemed to be inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. Nevertheless, a deletion analysis of the NPHP1 gene on chromosome 2 was performed and showed a homozygous deletion. Analysis of the family pedigree indicated no obvious consanguinity in the last three generations. However, haplotype analysis demonstrated homozygosity on chromosome 2 indicating a common ancestor to the parents of all affected individuals. NPHP1 deletion analysis should always be considered in patients with apparently dominant nephronophthisis, especially from likely consanguineous families.
Nephronophthisis; NPHP1; cystic kidney disease
Positive and negative third-order optical nonlinearities have been investigated in single-stranded DNA wrapped semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes. It is found that the redox reactions of hydrogen peroxide can reverse the sign of the third-order nonlinearity. The observation proves that the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital has a lower density of electronic states than that of the highest occupied molecular orbital. A three-energy-level model is used to explain the effect of the redox reactions. Raman spectroscopy has also been used to investigate the interaction between single-walled carbon nanotubes and single-stranded DNA.
Countries facing high HIV prevalence often also experience high levels of fertility and low contraceptive use, suggesting high levels of unmet need for contraceptive services. In particular, the unique needs of couples with one or both partners HIV positive are largely missing from many current family planning efforts, which focus on the prevention of pregnancies in the absence of reduction of the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
This article presents an examination of contraceptive method uptake among a cohort of HIV serodiscordant and concordant positive study participants in Zambia.
Baseline contraceptive use was low; however, exposure to a video-based intervention that provided information on contraceptive methods and modeled desirable future planning behaviors dramatically increased the uptake of modern contraceptive methods.
Including information on family planning in voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services in addition to tailoring the delivery of family planning information to meet the needs and concerns of HIV-positive women or those with HIV-positive partners is an essential step in the delivery of services and prevention efforts to reduce the transmission of HIV. Family planning and HIV prevention programs should integrate counseling on dual method use, combining condoms for HIV/STI prevention with a long-acting contraceptive for added protection against unplanned pregnancy.