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1.  Feasibility, performance, and acceptability of the Wisebag™ for potential monitoring of daily gel applicator use in Durban, South Africa 
AIDS and behavior  2013;17(2):640-648.
The Wisebag™, a lunchbag-style container with an electronic events-monitoring system, was designed as a real-time indirect objective measure of microbicide gel use. Due to cost, alternative functionalities (i.e. use of offline and dummy versions) were explored. We conducted a three-arm, double-blinded pilot study among fifty HIV-negative women in Durban, South Africa to assess participant adherence and Wisebag acceptability and performance. Participants were randomized 2:2:1 to Wisebag with online (events transmitted via cellular signal in real-time), offline (events stored in device memory) or inactive “dummy” devices. Participants were instructed to open the Wisebag daily for two weeks, retrieve a study sticker and affix it on a diary card. All participants completed the study. At exit, 94% did not know which device they had received, nor could they differentiate the Wisebag types when presented with the three options. Five offline devices failed (no data recorded). Per Wisebag events, 26% of women were perfectly adherent compared to 48% by self-report and 46% per diary card. Of reported non-adherence, 92% did not open the Wisebag (travelling or forgot) and 22% opened Wisebag >1x/day (curiosity). Participants liked and were comfortable carrying Wisebag. Successful blinding will allow inclusion of offline and/or dummy Wisebags in future study designs. Perfect adherence by opening events was significantly lower than by self-report, highlighting the importance of objective measures of adherence in clinical trials. Additional studies to validate Wisebag data with actual products, with and without SMS and online functionality, in different populations and settings, and in comparison to biomarkers are warranted.
doi:10.1007/s10461-012-0330-y
PMCID: PMC3562379  PMID: 23054042
Microbicide gel; adherence; electronic monitoring; Africa
2.  Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome following Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation in Tuberculosis Patients: Findings from the SAPiT Trial 
Annals of internal medicine  2012;157(5):313-324.
Background
Concerns about immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) remain a barrier to antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation during anti-tuberculosis treatment in co-infected patients.
Objective
We assessed IRIS incidence, severity, and outcomes relative to timing of ART initiation in patients with HIV-related tuberculosis (HIV-TB).
Setting
An outpatient clinic in Durban, South Africa
Patients
642 HIV-TB co-infected patients
Design
In a secondary analysis of the SAPiT trial, IRIS was assessed in patients randomized to initiate ART either within four weeks of tuberculosis treatment initiation (early integrated-treatment arm), within four weeks of completion of the intensive phase of tuberculosis treatment (late integrated-treatment arm) or within four weeks after tuberculosis therapy completion (sequential-treatment arm). IRIS was defined as new onset or worsening symptoms, signs or radiographic manifestations temporally related to treatment initiation accompanied by a treatment response. IRIS severity, hospitalization and time to resolution were monitored.
Results
IRIS incidence was 19.5 (n=43), 7.5 (n=18) and 8.1 (n=19) per 100 person-years in the early integrated-, late integrated-, and sequential-treatment arms, respectively; P < 0.001, and 45.5, 9.7 and 19.7 per 100 person-years in patients with baseline CD4+ counts <50 cells/mm3, P = 0.004. IRIS incidence was higher in the early integrated- compared to the late integrated- (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 2.6, 95%confidence interval (CI): 1.5 to 4.8; P < 0.001) or sequential-treatment arm (IRR=2.4, 95%CI: 1.4 to 4.4; P < 0.001). IRIS cases in the early integrated-treatment arm were more severe (34.9% vs. 18.9%, P = 0.18); had significantly higher hospitalization rates (18/43 vs. 5/37; P = 0.01), and longer time to resolution (70.5 vs. 29.0 days; P = 0.001) compared to IRIS cases in the other two arms.
Limitation
IRIS could not be assessed, due to LTFU, withdrawal or death within 6 months of scheduled ART initiation, in more patients from the sequential treatment arm (n=74) than in the late integrated treatment arm (n=50) and in the early integrated treatment arm (n=32). This study did not assess IRIS risk in non-ambulant patients and in patients with extra-pulmonary and smear negative pulmonary tuberculosis.
Conclusion
Initiation of ART early during tuberculosis treatment resulted in significantly higher IRIS rates, with longer time to resolution, and more severe cases of IRIS requiring hospitalization. These findings, particularly relevant to patients initiating ART with CD4+ counts < 50 cells/mm3, need to be considered together with the increased survival benefit of early ART initiation in this group. Clintrials.gov: NCT00398996
doi:10.7326/0003-4819-157-5-201209040-00004
PMCID: PMC3534856  PMID: 22944873
3.  Integration of Antiretroviral Therapy with Tuberculosis Treatment 
The New England journal of medicine  2011;365(16):1492-1501.
Background
We previously reported that integrating antiretroviral therapy (ART) with tuberculosis treatment reduces mortality. However, optimal time to initiate ART during tuberculosis treatment remains contentious.
Methods
To address this, we conducted a 3-arm, open-label randomized controlled trial in South Africa in acid-fast bacilli smear positive patients (n=642) with HIV and CD4+ counts <500 cells/mm3. Findings on the early therapy group (ART initiated within 4 weeks of tuberculosis treatment initiation, n=214) and late therapy group (ART initiated within the first 4 weeks of the continuation phase of tuberculosis treatment, n=215) are presented here.
Results
Median CD4+ count and viral load at baseline was 150 cells/mm3 and 161000 copies/ml, being similar in both groups. Incidence rate of AIDS or death was 6.9 (18/259.4) and 7.8 (19/244.2) per 100 person-years in the early and late therapy groups respectively (Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR)=0.89; 95%Confidence Interval (95%CI): 0.44,1.79; P=0.73). However, in patients with CD4+ counts <50 cells/mm3, the incidence rates of AIDS or death were 8.5 (early) and 26.3 (late) per 100 person-years (IRR=0.32; 95%CI: 0.07,1.13; P=0.06). Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) incidence rates were 20.2 (early) and 7.7 (late) per 100 person-years (IRR=2.62; 95%CI: 1.48,4.82; P<0.001). Adverse events requiring antiretroviral drug switches occurred in 10 (early) and 1 (late) patients (P=0.006).
Conclusions
The benefits of AIDS-free survival balanced against the risks of IRIS and ART-related adverse events, support early ART initiation in patients with CD4+ counts <50 cells/mm3 and deferred ART initiation to the continuation phase of tuberculosis treatment when CD4+ counts are higher.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1014181
PMCID: PMC3233684  PMID: 22010915
4.  Timing of Initiation of Antiretroviral Drugs during Tuberculosis Therapy 
The New England journal of medicine  2010;362(8):697-706.
Despite high mortality rates in tuberculosis patients with HIV co-infection, there is continued controversy on when to initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) in these patients.
Methods
We conducted an open-label randomized controlled trial in Durban, South Africa to determine optimal timing of ART initiation in relation to TB treatment. Acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear positive tuberculosis patients with HIV infection and CD4+ counts <500 cells/mm3 (n=642) were randomized to one of two integrated treatment arms (ART initiation during tuberculosis treatment) or to a sequential treatment arm (ART initiation upon tuberculosis treatment completion). Participants received standard tuberculosis therapy, cotrimoxazole prophylaxis and once daily didanosine, lamivudine and efavirenz ART regimen. The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality.
Results
This analysis compares data from the sequential treatment arm and the combined integrated treatment arms up to 1 September 2008, when the Safety Monitoring Committee recommended halting the sequential treatment arm. Demographic, clinical and laboratory characteristics at baseline and adverse event rates during follow-up were similar in the study arms. Mortality was 56% lower (hazard ratio: 0.44; 95% Confidence Interval: 21% to 75%; p = 0.003) in the integrated arm (5.4 per 100 person-years (25 deaths; n=429)) compared to sequential arm (12.1 per 100 person-years (27 deaths; n=213)). Mortality rates were lower regardless of CD4+ count level.
Conclusions
Initiating ART during tuberculosis treatment in AFB positive patients with HIV co-infection and CD4+ counts <500 cells/mm3 significantly improves survival and provides further impetus for the integration of tuberculosis and AIDS services.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0905848
PMCID: PMC3076221  PMID: 20181971

Results 1-4 (4)