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1.  A systematic review of alcohol use and sexual risk-taking in Latin America 
To provide an account of published literature on the association between alcohol use and sexual risk-taking, focusing on Latin America.
A search of MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, LILACS, and Cochrane databases identified 561 unique articles. After excluding those that were not directly relevant, 30 studies were retained for review.
Twenty-seven studies showed direct or indirect associations between alcohol abuse and unprotected/risky sex. Three studies, however, showed no association between these variables, suggesting that the public health message of safer sex may have been effective.
Further research is needed to identify factors and behaviors that could be modified to reduce the association between alcohol use disorders and risky sexual behavior.
PMCID: PMC3895327  PMID: 24301738
Alcoholic intoxication; alcohol-related disorders; alcoholism; sexual behavior; unsafe sex; HIV; sexually transmitted diseases; Latin America; South America
2.  Emtricitabine-tenofovir exposure and pre-exposure prophylaxis efficacy in men who have sex with men 
Science translational medicine  2012;4(151):151ra125.
Drug concentrations associated with protection from HIV-1 acquisition have not been determined. This study evaluated drug concentrations among men who have sex with men in a substudy of the iPrEx trial,(1) a randomized placebo controlled trial of daily oral emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Any detectable drug in blood plasma and viably cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells (vPBMCs) was less frequent in HIV-infected cases at the visit when HIV was first discovered compared with controls at the matched time point of the study (8% vs 44%, P<0.001) and in the 90 days prior to that visit (11% vs 51%, P<0.001). An intracellular tenofovir-diphosphate (TFV-DP) concentration of 16 fmol per million vPBMCs was associated with a 90% reduction in HIV acquisition relative to the placebo arm. Directly observed dosing in a separate study, STRAND, yielded TFV-DP concentrations that, when analyzed with this iPrEx model, corresponded with HIV-1 risk reduction of 76% for 2 doses per week, 96% for 4 doses per week, 99% for 7 doses per week. Prophylactic benefits were observed over a range of doses and drug concentrations, suggesting ways to optimize PrEP regimens for this population.
PMCID: PMC3721979  PMID: 22972843
3.  Correction: What Drives the US and Peruvian HIV Epidemics in Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)? 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):10.1371/annotation/9a6a0c8e-2d01-4f36-9ab8-f9fdfce6497b.
PMCID: PMC3714381
4.  Short Report: Lack of Evidence of Hepatitis C and HIV Co-Infection among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Peru 
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection occurs among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) because of shared routes of transmission. To assess the association between HCV and HIV infection among MSM in Peru, we conducted a matched case-control study (162 HIV-positive cases and 324 HIV-negative controls) among participants of an HIV sentinel surveillance survey in six urban cities. The HCV infection was initially screened using anti-HCV ELISA and immunoblot assay, and thereafter confirmed by the HCV RNA qualitative assay. Among cases, no confirmed HCV infection was found while among controls, only two confirmed HCV infections were reported (0.62%). This matched case-control reports a very low probability of association between HCV and HIV co-infection and suggests a very low prevalence of HCV infection among MSM in Peru.
PMCID: PMC3500390  PMID: 19556587
5.  Genital Tract Infections, Bacterial Vaginosis, HIV, and Reproductive Health Issues among Lima-Based Clandestine Female Sex Workers 
Sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics of 212 Peruvian female sex workers (FSWs) were analyzed. The association between genital tract infections (GTIs) and risk factors by multivariate analysis was evaluated. Eighty-eight percent of FSWs were diagnosed with at least one GTI (HSV-2 80.1%, BV 44.8%, candidiasis 9.9%, syphilis seropositivity 9.4%, Trichomonas vaginalis 2.4%, HIV seropositivity 2.4%). Reported condom use with clients was nearly universal (98.3%), but infrequent with husband/regular partners (7.3%). In multivariate analysis BV was negatively associated with more consistent condom use (PRR = 0.63, 95% CI, 0.42–0.96). Many had not visited a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) clinic or been tested for HIV in the past year (40.6%, 47.1%, resp.). Nonclient contraceptive use was low (57%) and induced abortion was common (68%). High GTI burden and abortions suggest that a services-access gap persists among marginalized FSWs. Continued health outreach programs and integrating family planning and reproductive health services into existing STI clinic services are recommended.
PMCID: PMC3395213  PMID: 22811592
6.  Prevalence and Correlates of Human Herpesvirus 8 Infection among Peruvian Men who have Sex with Men 
Infection with human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) is common among men who have sex with men (MSM) in North America and Europe, and is also found to be endemic in some regions of South America. Little is known about HHV-8 prevalence and its correlates among MSM in the Andean region.
We assessed HHV-8 seroprevalence among 497 MSM recruited for the 2002 Peruvian HIV sentinel surveillance program using a combined HHV-8 enzyme immunoassay and immunofluorescence assay algoritm. Logistic regression was used to estimate Odds Ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) to determine the association between selected covariates and HHV-8 seropositivity.
483 (97%) of 497 men had stored sera and demographic data available for analysis. 131 (66.5%, 95% CI 63.1%-69.9%) of 197 HIV-infected and 80 (26.7%, 95% CI 24.4%-29.0%) of 300 HIV-uninfected MSM had serologic evidence of HHV-8 infection. Factors independently associated with HHV-8 infection were education <12 years (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1-2.7), anal receptive sex with the last partner (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.3), self-reported STI symptoms during the last year (OR: 1.9, 95% CI 1.2-3.0), and co-infection with HIV (OR 4.2, 95% CI 2.8-6.4) and Chronic Hepatitis B (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.5-15.8). MSM with long-standing HIV infection were more likely to have serologic evidence of HHV-8 infection when compared to men with recently-acquired HIV (OR: 3.8, 95% CI 1.7-9.1).
HHV-8 infection is common among both HIV-infected and negative MSM in Lima, Peru. HHV-8 seropositivity is correlated with anal receptive sex, self-reported STI symptoms, and HIV infection among these MSM, and thus appears to be sexually transmitted. HHV-8 infection appears to be acquired after HIV infection, suggesting that future studies should evaluate the mode of HHV-8 transmission and prevention strategies among HIV-infected MSM.
PMCID: PMC3138205  PMID: 18989224
Human Herpesvirus 8; Homosexual Men; Human Immunodeficiency Virus; Peru; Sexually Transmitted Infections
7.  Hepatitis B Infection and Association with Other Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Peru 
To assess the epidemiology of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Peru, we evaluated the prevalence and associated risk factors for HBV serologic markers among participants of a HIV sentinel surveillance conducted in 2002–2003. The standardized prevalences for total antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) were 20.2% and 2.8%, respectively. Individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection had significantly higher anti-HBc (44.3% versus 19.3%) and HBsAg (9.5% versus 2.3%) prevalences than uninfected men. Increasing age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.06), versatile sexual role (AOR = 1.59), sex in exchange for money/gifts (AOR = 1.58), syphilis (AOR = 1.74), HIV-1 infection (AOR = 1.64), and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2, AOR = 2.77) infection were independently associated with anti-HBc positivity, whereas only HIV-1 infection (AOR = 3.51) and generalized lymph node enlargement (AOR = 3.72) were associated with HBsAg positivity. Pre-existing HBV infection is very common among Peruvian MSM and was correlated with sexual risk factors. MSM in Peru constitute a target population for further HBV preventive and treatment interventions.
PMCID: PMC2912599  PMID: 20595501
8.  Preexposure Chemoprophylaxis for HIV Prevention in Men Who Have Sex with Men 
The New England journal of medicine  2010;363(27):2587-2599.
Antiretroviral chemoprophylaxis before exposure is a promising approach for the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition.
We randomly assigned 2499 HIV-seronegative men or transgender women who have sex with men to receive a combination of two oral antiretroviral drugs, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (FTC–TDF), or placebo once daily. All subjects received HIV testing, risk-reduction counseling, condoms, and management of sexually transmitted infections.
The study subjects were followed for 3324 person-years (median, 1.2 years; maximum, 2.8 years). Of these subjects, 10 were found to have been infected with HIV at enrollment, and 100 became infected during follow-up (36 in the FTC–TDF group and 64 in the placebo group), indicating a 44% reduction in the incidence of HIV (95% confidence interval, 15 to 63; P = 0.005). In the FTC–TDF group, the study drug was detected in 22 of 43 of seronegative subjects (51%) and in 3 of 34 HIV-infected subjects (9%) (P<0.001). Nausea was reported more frequently during the first 4 weeks in the FTC–TDF group than in the placebo group (P<0.001). The two groups had similar rates of serious adverse events (P = 0.57).
Oral FTC–TDF provided protection against the acquisition of HIV infection among the subjects. Detectable blood levels strongly correlated with the prophylactic effect. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; number, NCT00458393.)
PMCID: PMC3079639  PMID: 21091279
9.  Retroviral Infections in Peruvian Men Who Have Sex With Men 
We tested 2,655 Peruvian MSM for retroviral infection: HTLV-1 was detected in 48 (1.8%), HTLV-2 in 28 (1.1%), and HTLV-1 and -2 in 5 (0.2%); HIV infection was detected in 329 (12.4 %); 24 (7.3%) were coinfected with HTLV. Risk factors for HTLV-1 and -2 varied with sexual role.
PMCID: PMC2770590  PMID: 19480577
HLTV-I; HTLV-2; HIV; Peru; men who have sex with men (MSM)
10.  High HIV and Ulcerative Sexually Transmitted Infection Incidence Estimates among Men who Have Sex with Men in Peru: Awaiting for an Effective Preventive Intervention 
In the Andean Region, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) are most prevalent among men who have sex with men (MSM), but incidence estimates and associated factors have never been prospectively assessed.
A cohort of 1056 high-risk HIV-negative MSM in Lima, Peru, was recruited during 1998–2000 (The ALASKA Cohort) and a nested case-control analysis conducted between seroconverters and non-seroconverters, matched 1:3 by age and duration of follow-up for comparison of risk behaviors, acute retroviral symptoms, circumcision, and STI.
During average follow-up of 335 days, 34 men seroconverted, providing a HIV incidence estimate of 3.5/100 person-years (95% CI: 2.3–4.7). High syphilis (9.2/100 person-years, 95% CI: 6.7–10.1) and HSV-2 infection (10.4/100 person-years, 95% CI: 8.6–11.9) incidence estimates were obtained. HIV seroconverters were more likely than men who remained seronegative to report fever ≥3 days (46% vs. 7%), to seek medical care (62% vs. 27%), and to have ≥1 casual partner (86.2% vs. 74.1%) since their last visit. HIV seroconverters also were more likely to have acquired syphilis or HSV-2 infection (31% vs. 8% among initially HSV-2 seronegative men) while were less likely to be circumcised (4.2% vs. 20.6%, a non-significant difference). In multivariate analysis, incident syphilis or HSV-2 infection (OR: 5.9, 95% CI 1.5–22.7) and sex with any casual partner (OR: 4.8, 95% CI: 0.9–26.2) were associated with HIV seroconversion.
STI that may cause anogenital ulcers are important risk factors for HIV acquisition among high-risk MSM in Lima, a population with a very high HIV incidence estimate. Synergistic interventions focusing in preventing both HIV and HSV-2, like male circumcision, are warranted to be assessed, especially in MSM populations with low levels of circumcision and high incidence estimates of ulcerative STI.
PMCID: PMC2725017  PMID: 19384102
homosexual men; Peru; HSV-2 infection; syphilis; HIV infection; incidence
11.  Efficacy assessment of a cell-mediated immunity HIV-1 vaccine (the Step Study): a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, test-of-concept trial 
Lancet  2008;372(9653):1881-1893.
Observational data and non-human primate challenge studies suggest that cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses may provide control of HIV replication. The Step Study is the first direct assessment of the efficacy of a CMI vaccine to protect against HIV infection or alter early plasma HIV levels in humans.
HIV-seronegative participants (3000) were randomized (1:1) to receive 3 injections of MRKAd5 HIV-1 gag/pol/nef vaccine or placebo. Randomization was pre-stratified by gender, baseline adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) titer, and study site. Participants were tested ~every 6 months for HIV acquisition; early plasma HIV RNA was measured ~3 months post-HIV diagnosis.
The vaccine elicited IFN-γ ELISPOT responses in 75% of vaccinees. In a pre-specified interim analysis among participants with baseline Ad5 ≤200, 24 of 741 vaccinees became HIV infected, versus 21 of 762 placebo recipients. All but one infection occurred in men. The early geometric mean plasma HIV RNA was comparable in infected vaccine and placebo recipients. In exploratory multivariate analyses, HIV incidence was higher in vaccinees versus placebo recipients among Ad5 seropositive men (5.1% versus 2.2% per year, respectively) and uncircumcised men (5.2% versus 1.4% per year, respectively). HIV incidence was similar in vaccinees versus placebo recipients among Ad5 seronegative men and circumcised men.
This CMI vaccine did not prevent HIV infection or lower early viral level. Mechanisms for failure of the vaccine to protect and for the increased HIV infection rates in subgroups of vaccinees are being explored. Additional follow-up will determine if elevated HIV incidence in vaccinee subgroups persists.
PMCID: PMC2721012  PMID: 19012954
HIV vaccine; efficacy; adenovirus; HIV acquisition; viral load; male circumcision; test of concept
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type-II (HTLV-II) infection is endemic in indigenous groups in the Americas and injection drug users (IDUs) worldwide. In Peru, HTLV-II infection was previously identified in two indigenous Amazonians. We examined risk factors for HTLV-II infection in 2,703 Peruvian men who have sex with men (MSM): 35 (1.3%) were HTLV-II positive. HTLV-II infection was associated with syphilis, HSV-2 infection, unprotected receptive anal intercourse, and older age. This is the first report of HTLV-II in a non-indigenous non-IDU population in Peru. Additional studies are needed to determine if HTLV-II is a sexually transmitted infection in this and other sexually active populations.
PMCID: PMC2695970  PMID: 16687704
13.  Changes in renal function associated with oral emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate use for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(6):851-859.
Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) pre-exposure prophylaxis decreases sexual acquisition of HIV infection. We sought to evaluate the renal safety of TDF in HIV-uninfected persons.
Design and methods:
The Iniciativa Profilaxis Pre-Exposición (iPrEx) study randomly assigned 2499 HIV-seronegative men and transgender women who have sex with men (MSM) to receive oral daily TDF coformulated with emtricitabine (FTC/TDF) or placebo. Serum creatinine and phosphorus during randomized treatment and after discontinuation were measured, and creatinine clearance (CrCl) was estimated by the Cockcroft–Gault equation. Indicators of proximal renal tubulopathy (fractional excretion of phosphorus and uric acid, urine protein, and glucose) were measured in a substudy.
There was a small but statistically significant decrease in CrCl from baseline in the active arm, compared to placebo, which was first observed at week 4 (mean change: −2.4 vs. −1.1 ml/min; P = 0.02), persisted through the last on-treatment visit (mean change: +0.3 vs. +1.8 ml/min; P = 0.02), and resolved after stopping pre-exposure prophylaxis (mean change: −0.1 vs. 0.0 ml/min; P = 0.83). The effect was confirmed when stratifying by drug detection. The effect of FTC/TDF on CrCl did not vary by race, age, or history of hypertension. There was no difference in serum phosphate trends between the treatment arms. In the substudy, two participants receiving placebo had indicators of tubulopathy.
In HIV-seronegative MSM, randomization to FTC/TDF was associated with a very mild nonprogressive decrease in CrCl that was reversible and managed with routine serum creatinine monitoring.
PMCID: PMC3966916  PMID: 24499951
chemoprophylaxis; HIV prevention; MSM; pre-exposure prophylaxis; renal; side effects; tenofovir
14.  Common Mental Disorders in Public Transportation Drivers in Lima, Peru 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e101066.
Traffic related injuries are leading contributors to burden of disease worldwide. In developing countries a high proportion of them can be attributed to public transportation vehicles. Several mental disorders including alcohol and drug abuse, psychotic disorders, mental stress, productivity pressure, and low monetary income were found predictors of high rates of traffic related injuries in public transportation drivers. The goal of this study was to estimate the prevalence of common mental disorders in the population of public transportation drivers of buses and rickshaws in Lima, Peru.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Cross sectional study. A sample of bus and rickshaw drivers was systematically selected from formal public transportation companies using a snowball approach. Participants completed self-administered questionnaires for assessing major depressive episode, anxiety symptoms, alcohol abuse, and burnout syndrome. Socio demographic information was also collected. The analyses consisted of descriptive measurement of outcomes taking into account both between and within cluster standard deviation (BCSD and WCSD). A total of 278 bus and 227 rickshaw drivers out of 25 companies agreed to participate in the study. BCSD for major depressive episode, anxiety symptoms and burnout syndrome was not found significant (p>0.05). The estimated prevalence of each variable was 13.7% (IC95%: 10.7–16.6%), 24.1% (IC95%: 19.4–28.8%) and 14.1% (IC95%: 10.8–17.4%) respectively. The estimated prevalence of alcohol abuse was 75.4% (IC95%: 69–81.7%, BCSD = 12.2%, WCSD = 41.9%, intra class correlation (ICC): 7.8%).
Common mental disorders such as alcohol abuse, major depressive episode, anxiety symptoms and burnout syndrome presented higher rates in public transportation drivers than general population.
PMCID: PMC4076232  PMID: 24979057
15.  A Comparison of Two Measures of HIV Diversity in Multi-Assay Algorithms for HIV Incidence Estimation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e101043.
Multi-assay algorithms (MAAs) can be used to estimate HIV incidence in cross-sectional surveys. We compared the performance of two MAAs that use HIV diversity as one of four biomarkers for analysis of HIV incidence.
Both MAAs included two serologic assays (LAg-Avidity assay and BioRad-Avidity assay), HIV viral load, and an HIV diversity assay. HIV diversity was quantified using either a high resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay that does not require HIV sequencing (HRM score for a 239 base pair env region) or sequence ambiguity (the percentage of ambiguous bases in a 1,302 base pair pol region). Samples were classified as MAA positive (likely from individuals with recent HIV infection) if they met the criteria for all of the assays in the MAA. The following performance characteristics were assessed: (1) the proportion of samples classified as MAA positive as a function of duration of infection, (2) the mean window period, (3) the shadow (the time period before sample collection that is being assessed by the MAA), and (4) the accuracy of cross-sectional incidence estimates for three cohort studies.
The proportion of samples classified as MAA positive as a function of duration of infection was nearly identical for the two MAAs. The mean window period was 141 days for the HRM-based MAA and 131 days for the sequence ambiguity-based MAA. The shadows for both MAAs were <1 year. Both MAAs provided cross-sectional HIV incidence estimates that were very similar to longitudinal incidence estimates based on HIV seroconversion.
MAAs that include the LAg-Avidity assay, the BioRad-Avidity assay, HIV viral load, and HIV diversity can provide accurate HIV incidence estimates. Sequence ambiguity measures obtained using a commercially-available HIV genotyping system can be used as an alternative to HRM scores in MAAs for cross-sectional HIV incidence estimation.
PMCID: PMC4072769  PMID: 24968135
16.  Change in Vitamin D Levels Occurs Early after Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation and Depends on Treatment Regimen in Resource-Limited Settings 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95164.
Study Background
Vitamin D has wide-ranging effects on the immune system, and studies suggest that low serum vitamin D levels are associated with worse clinical outcomes in HIV. Recent studies have identified an interaction between antiretrovirals used to treat HIV and reduced serum vitamin D levels, but these studies have been done in North American and European populations.
Using a prospective cohort study design nested in a multinational clinical trial, we examined the effect of three combination antiretroviral (cART) regimens on serum vitamin D levels in 270 cART-naïve, HIV-infected adults in nine diverse countries, (Brazil, Haiti, Peru, Thailand, India, Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United States). We evaluated the change between baseline serum vitamin D levels and vitamin D levels 24 and 48 weeks after cART initiation.
Serum vitamin D levels decreased significantly from baseline to 24 weeks among those randomized to efavirenz/lamivudine/zidovudine (mean change: −7.94 [95% Confidence Interval (CI) −10.42, −5.54] ng/ml) and efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir-DF (mean change: −6.66 [95% CI −9.40, −3.92] ng/ml) when compared to those randomized to atazanavir/emtricitabine/didanosine-EC (mean change: −2.29 [95% CI –4.83, 0.25] ng/ml). Vitamin D levels did not change significantly between week 24 and 48. Other factors that significantly affected serum vitamin D change included country (p<0.001), season (p<0.001) and baseline vitamin D level (p<0.001).
Efavirenz-containing cART regimens adversely affected vitamin D levels in patients from economically, geographically and racially diverse resource-limited settings. This effect was most pronounced early after cART initiation. Research is needed to define the role of Vitamin D supplementation in HIV care.
PMCID: PMC3994063  PMID: 24752177
17.  Descriptive Characteristics and Health Outcomes of the Food by Prescription Nutrition Supplementation Program for Adults Living with HIV in Nyanza Province, Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91403.
The clinical effects and potential benefits of nutrition supplementation interventions for persons living with HIV remain largely unreported, despite awareness of the multifaceted relationship between HIV infection and nutrition. We therefore examined descriptive characteristics and nutritional outcomes of the Food by Prescription (FBP) nutrition supplementation program in Nyanza Province, Kenya.
Demographic, health, and anthropometric data were gathered from a retrospective cohort of 1,017 non-pregnant adult patients who enrolled into the FBP program at a Family AIDS Care and Education Services (FACES) site in Nyanza Province between July 2009 and July 2011. Our primary outcome was FBP treatment success defined as attainment of BMI>20, and we used Cox proportional hazards to assess socio-demographic and clinical correlates of FBP treatment success.
Mean body mass index was 16.4 upon enrollment into the FBP program. On average, FBP clients gained 2.01 kg in weight and 0.73 kg/m2 in BMI over follow-up (mean 100 days), with the greatest gains among the most severely undernourished (BMI <16) clients (p<0.001). Only 13.1% of clients attained a BMI>20, though 44.5% achieved a BMI increase ≥0.5. Greater BMI at baseline, younger age, male gender, and not requiring highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) were associated with a higher rate of attainment of BMI>20.
This study reports significant gains in weight and BMI among patients enrolled in the FBP program, though only a minority of patients achieved stated programmatic goals of BMI>20. Future research should include well-designed prospective studies that examine retention, exit reasons, mortality outcomes, and long-term sustainability of nutrition supplementation programs for persons living with HIV.
PMCID: PMC3960130  PMID: 24646586
18.  Daily Oral Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Preexposure Prophylaxis and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 among Men Who Have Sex with Men 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91513.
In addition to protecting against HIV acquisition, antiretroviral preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using topical 1% tenofovir gel reduced Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) acquisition by 51% among women in the CAPRISA 004 study. We examined the effect of daily oral emtricitabine/tenofovir (FTC/TDF) PrEP on HSV-2 seroincidence and ulcer occurrence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the iPrEx trial.
HSV-2 serum testing was performed at screening and every six months. Among HSV-2-seronegative individuals, we used Cox regression models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of HSV-2 seroincidence associated with randomization to FTC/TDF. We used multiple imputation and Cox regression to estimate HRs for HSV-2 seroincidence accounting for drug exposure. We assessed ulcer occurrence among participants with prevalent or incident HSV-2 infection.
Of the 2,499 participants, 1383 (55.3%) tested HSV-2-seronegative at baseline, 892 (35.7%) tested positive, 223 (8.9%) had indeterminate tests, and one test was not done. Of the 1,347 HSV-2-seronegative participants with follow-up, 125 (9.3%) had incident HSV-2 infection (5.9 per 100 person-years). Compared with participants receiving placebo, there was no difference in HSV-2 seroincidence among participants receiving FTC/TDF (HR 1.1, 95% CI: 0.8–1.5; P = 0.64) or among participants receiving FTC/TDF with a concentration of tenofovir diphosphate >16 per million viable cells (HR 1.0, 95% CI: 0.3–3.5; P = 0.95). Among participants with HSV-2 infection, the proportion with ≥1 moderate or severe ulcer adverse event was twice as high in the placebo vs. active arm (5.9% vs. 2.9%, P = 0.02), but there were no differences in the proportions with ≥1 clinical examination during which perianal or groin ulcers were identified.
Tenofovir in daily oral FTC/TDF PrEP may reduce the occurrence of ulcers in individuals with HSV-2 infection but does not protect against HSV-2 incidence among MSM.
PMCID: PMC3956614  PMID: 24637511
19.  Bone Mineral Density Changes among HIV-Uninfected Young Adults in a Randomised Trial of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis with Tenofovir-Emtricitabine or Placebo in Botswana 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90111.
Tenofovir-emtricitabine (TDF-FTC) pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been found to be effective for prevention of HIV infection in several clinical trials. Two studies of TDF PrEP among men who have sex with men showed slight bone mineral density (BMD) loss. We investigated the effect of TDF and the interaction of TDF and hormonal contraception on BMD among HIV-uninfected African men and women.
We evaluated the effects on BMD of using daily oral TDF-FTC compared to placebo among heterosexual men and women aged 18–29 years enrolled in the Botswana TDF2 PrEP study. Participants had BMD measurements at baseline and thereafter at 6-month intervals with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans at the hip, spine, and forearm.
A total of 220 participants (108 TDF-FTC, 112 placebo) had baseline DXA BMD measurements at three anatomic sites. Fifteen (6.8%) participants had low baseline BMD (z-score of <−2.0 at any anatomic site), including 3/114 women (2.6%) and 12/106 men (11.3%) (p = 0.02). Low baseline BMD was associated with being underweight (p = 0.02), having high blood urea nitrogen (p = 0.02) or high alkaline phosphatase (p = 0.03), and low creatinine clearance (p = 0.04). BMD losses of >3.0% at any anatomic site at any time after baseline were significantly greater for the TDF-FTC treatment group [34/68 (50.0%) TDF-FTC vs. 26/79 (32.9%) placebo; p = 0.04]. There was a small but significant difference in the mean percent change in BMD from baseline for TDF-FTC versus placebo at all three sites at month 30 [forearm −0.84% (p = 0.01), spine −1.62% (p = 0.0002), hip −1.51% (p = 0.003)].
Use of TDF-FTC was associated with a small but statistically significant decrease in BMD at the forearm, hip and lumbar spine. A high percentage (6.8%) of healthy Batswana young adults had abnormal baseline BMD Further evaluation is needed of the longer-term use of TDF in HIV-uninfected persons.
Trial Registration NCT00448669
PMCID: PMC3953113  PMID: 24625530
20.  Plasma Concentrations, Efficacy and Safety of Efavirenz in HIV-Infected Adults Treated for Tuberculosis in Cambodia (ANRS 1295-CIPRA KH001 CAMELIA Trial) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90350.
To assess efavirenz plasma concentrations and their association with treatment efficacy and tolerance of efavirenz 600 mg daily in HIV-tuberculosis co-infected patients.
HIV-infected adults with CD4+ T cell count ≤200/mm3 received standard 6-month tuberculosis treatment and antiretroviral therapy including a daily-dose of 600 mg of efavirenz, irrespective of their body weight. Mid-dose blood samples were drawn both on tuberculosis treatment (week +2 and week +6 after antiretroviral therapy initiation, and week 22 of follow-up) and off tuberculosis treatment (week 50 of follow-up). Considered therapeutic range was 1,000 to 4,000 ng/mL. Multivariate analysis was performed to evaluate the association between efavirenz concentration below 1,000 ng/mL and virological failure. Linear regression was used to test the association between efavirenz exposure and CD4+ T cell gain. Severe side effects potentially related to efavirenz were described and their association with efavirenz exposure was tested by multivariate analysis.
Efavirenz plasma concentrations were available in 540 patients. Median [interquartile range] efavirenz concentrations were 2,674 ng/mL [1,690–4,533], 2,667 ng/mL [1,753–4,494] and 2,799 ng/mL [1,804–4,744] at week +2, week +6, week 22, respectively, and 2,766 ng/mL [1,941–3,976] at week 50. Efavirenz concentrations were lower at week 50 (off rifampicin) compared to week 22 (on rifampicin) (p<0.001). Late attendance to study visit and low hemoglobinemia were the only factors associated with an increased risk of efavirenz concentration below 1,000 ng/mL. Efavirenz concentration below 1,000 ng/mL was not associated with treatment failure. Efavirenz concentration above 4,000 ng/mL was associated with higher risk of central nervous system side effects (p<0.001) and of hepatotoxicity (p<0.001).
Body weight and tuberculosis treatment were not associated with low efavirenz concentrations or treatment failure, supporting the 600 mg daily-dose of efavirenz in HIV-tuberculosis co-infected patients. High efavirenz concentrations were related to a higher risk of central nervous system side effects and hepatotoxicity.
Trial Registration NCT01300481
PMCID: PMC3946522  PMID: 24608960
21.  Dynamics of Immune Reconstitution and Activation Markers in HIV+ Treatment-Naïve Patients Treated with Raltegravir, Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate and Emtricitabine 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83514.
The dynamics of CD4+ T cell reconstitution and changes in immune activation and inflammation in HIV-1 disease following initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) are incompletely defined and their underlying mechanisms poorly understood.
Thirty-nine treatment-naïve patients were treated with raltegravir, tenofovir DF and emtricitabine. Immunologic and inflammatory indices were examined in persons with sustained virologic control during 48 weeks of therapy.
Initiation of ART increased CD4+ T cell numbers and decreased activation and cell cycle entry among CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets, and attenuated markers of coagulation (D-dimer levels) and inflammation (IL-6 and TNFr1). These indices decayed at different rates and almost all remained elevated above levels measured in HIV-seronegatives through 48 weeks of viral control. Greater first and second phase CD4+ T cell restoration was related to lower T cell activation and cell cycling at baseline, to their decay with treatment, and to baseline levels of selected inflammatory indices, but less so to their changes on therapy.
ART initiation results in dynamic changes in viral replication, T cell restoration, and indices of immune activation, inflammation, and coagulation. These findings suggest that determinants of T cell activation/cycling and inflammation/coagulation may have distinguishable impact on immune homeostasis.
Trial Registration NCT00660972
PMCID: PMC3867440  PMID: 24367599
22.  HIV Lipodystrophy in Participants Randomised to Lopinavir/Ritonavir (LPV/r) +2–3 Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (N(t)RTI) or LPV/r + Raltegravir as Second-Line Antiretroviral Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77138.
To compare changes over 48 weeks in body fat, lipids, Metabolic Syndrome and cardiovascular disease risk between patients randomised 1∶1 to lopinavir/ritonavir (r/LPV) plus raltegravir (RAL) compared to r/LPV plus 2–3 nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (N(t)RTIs) as second-line therapy.
Participants were HIV-1 positive (>16 years) failing first-line treatment (2 consecutive HIV RNA >500 copies/mL) of NNRTI +2N(t)RTI. Whole body dual energy x-ray absorptiometry was performed at baseline and week 48. Data were obtained to calculate the Metabolic Syndrome and Framingham cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk score. Linear regression was used to compare mean differences between arms. Logistic regression compared incidence of metabolic syndrome. Associations between percent limb fat changes at 48 weeks with baseline variables were assessed by backward stepwise multivariate linear regression. Analyses were adjusted for gender, body mass index and smoking status.
210 participants were randomised. The mean (95% CI) increase in limb fat over 48 weeks was 15.7% (5.3, 25.9) or 0.9 kg (0.2, 1.5) in the r/LPV+N(t)RTI arm and 21.1% (11.1, 31,1) or 1.3 kg (0.7, 1.9) in the r/LPV+RAL arm, with no significant difference between treatment arms (−5.4% [−0.4 kg], p>0.1). Increases in total body fat mass (kg) and trunk fat mass (kg) were also similar between groups. Total:HDL cholesterol ratio was significantly higher in the RAL arm (mean difference −0.4 (1.4); p = 0.03), there were no other differences in lipid parameters between treatment arms. There were no statistically significant differences in CVD risk or incidence of Metabolic Syndrome between the two treatment arms. The baseline predictors of increased limb fat were high viral load, high insulin and participant's not taking lipid lowering treatment.
In patients switching to second line therapy, r/LPV combined with RAL demonstrated similar improvements in limb fat as an N(t)RTI + r/LPV regimen, but a worse total:HDL cholesterol ratio over 48 weeks.
Trial Registration
This clinical trial is registered on, registry number NCT00931463.
PMCID: PMC3813715  PMID: 24204757
23.  Safety, Adherence and Acceptability of Intermittent Tenofovir/Emtricitabine as HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among HIV-Uninfected Ugandan Volunteers Living in HIV-Serodiscordant Relationships: A Randomized, Clinical Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74314.
Efficacy of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in prevention of HIV acquisition has been evaluated using a daily regimen. However, adherence to long term daily medication is rarely perfect. Intermittent regimen may be a feasible alternative. Preclinical studies have demonstrated effectiveness of intermittent PrEP in SHIV prevention among animals. However, little is known about intermittent PrEP regimens.
Seventy two HIV-uninfected volunteers in HIV serodiscordant couple relationships in Uganda were randomly assigned to receive daily oral Tenofovir/Emtricitabine (TDF/FTC-Truvada) or placebo, or intermittent (Monday, Friday and within 2 hours after sex, not to exceed one dose per day) oral TDF/FTC or placebo in a 2:1:2:1 ratio. Volunteers and study staff were blinded to drug assignment, but not to regimen assignment.
Volunteers were followed for 4 months after randomization, with monthly clinical and laboratory safety assessments and comprehensive HIV risk reduction services. Adherence was monitored using medication event monitoring system (MEMS) and self-report. Sexual activity data were collected via daily short text message (SMS) and self-report. HIV-specific immune responses were assessed by IFN-γ ELISPOT.
Both daily and intermittent oral TDF/FTC regimens were well tolerated. Median MEMS adherence rates were 98% (IQR: 93-100) for daily PrEP regimen, 91% (IQR: 73-97) for fixed intermittent dosing and 45% (IQR: 20-63) for post-coital dosing. SMS response rate was 74%, but increased to 80% after excluding server outages; results may have been affected by the novelty of this measure. The majority of volunteers expressed willingness with no particular preference for either regimen.
Both daily and intermittent oral PrEP dosing regimens were safe. Adherence was high for daily and fixed intermittent dosing; post-coital dosing was associated with poor adherence. Fixed intermittent PrEP regimens may be feasible especially if a minimum effective drug concentration correlating with HIV prevention can be achieved with this dosing.
Registration number NCT00931346
PMCID: PMC3784443  PMID: 24086333
24.  Balancing Theory and Practice in Respondent-Driven Sampling: A Case Study of Innovations Developed to Overcome Recruitment Challenges 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70344.
Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) offers a recruitment strategy for hard-to-reach populations. However, RDS faces logistical and theoretical challenges that threaten efficiency and validity in settings worldwide. We present innovative adaptations to conventional RDS to overcome barriers encountered in recruiting a large, representative sample of men who have sex with men (MSM) who travel internationally.
Novel methodological adaptations for the “International Travel Research to Inform Prevention” or “I-TRIP” study were offering participants a choice between electronic and paper coupons referrals for recruitment and modifying the secondary incentives structure from small cash amounts to raffle entries for periodic large cash prize raffle drawings. Staged referral limit increases from 3 to 10 referrals and progressive addition of 70 seeds were also implemented.
There were 501 participants enrolled in up to 13 waves of growth. Among participants with a choice of referral methods, 81% selected electronic referrals. Of participants who were recruited electronically, 90% chose to remain with electronic referrals when it was their turn to recruit. The mean number of enrolled referrals was 0.91 for electronic referrals compared to 0.56 for paper coupons. Median referral lag time, i.e., the time interval between when recruiters were given their referrals and when a referred individual enrolled in the study, was 20 days (IQR 10–40) for electronic referrals, 20 days (IQR 8–58) for paper coupons, 20 days (IQR 10–41) for raffle entries and 33 days (IQR 16–148) for small cash incentives.
The recruitment of MSM who travel internationally required maximizing known flexible tools of RDS while at the same time necessitating innovations to increase recruitment efficiency. Electronic referrals emerged as a major advantage in recruiting this hard-to-reach population who are of high socio-economic status, geographically diffuse and highly mobile. These enhancements may improve the performance of RDS in target populations with similar characteristics.
PMCID: PMC3749182  PMID: 23990901
25.  Screening for Drug and Alcohol Use Disorders and Their Association with HIV-Related Sexual Risk Behaviors among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Peru 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e69966.
Peru's HIV epidemic is concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM). The contribution of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) to known high-risk behaviors associated with HIV transmission in this context has not been well characterized.
Between June and October 2011, 5,148 sexually active MSM were recruited using convenience sampling in five cities to participate in a cross-sectional bio-behavioral survey. Five high-risk sexual criteria previously associated with incident HIV infection in this setting were selected a priori as the dependent outcomes. Screening for AUDs used the validated Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and AUDS were stratified by severity. Unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) were computed to establish the independent correlates of the five dependent outcomes.
The majority (62.8%) of participants met screening criteria for having an AUD, which were independently correlated with each of the following high-risk sexual risk behaviors in the previous 6 months: 1) >5 sexual partners [AOR = 1.76; (1.54–2.02)]; 2) sex with an HIV-infected partner [AOR = 1.29; (1.03–1.62)]; 3) having a sexually transmitted infection [AOR = 1.38; (1.13–1.68)]; 4) being a sex worker [AOR = 1.61; (1.40–1.87)]; and 5) unprotected sex during last encounter [AOR = 1.22; (1.09–1.38)]. Recent drug use was also correlated with having >5 sexual partners [AOR = 1.42 (1.19–1.71)], sex work [AOR = 1.97 (1.63–2.39)] and unprotected sex during last encounter [AOR = 1.31 (1.11–1.54)]. For each dependent variable, the association with AUDs significantly increased with increasing AUD severity.
AUDs are highly prevalent among MSM in Peru and are associated with increased HIV risk-taking behaviors that are associated with HIV transmission. Strategies that target problematic drinking such as medication-assisted therapy, behavioral counseling and structural interventions could potentially reduce risky behaviors and ultimately reduce HIV transmission among MSM in Peru.
PMCID: PMC3735581  PMID: 23936364

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