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1.  Patterns of Lymph Node Pathology; Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy as an Evaluation Tool for Lymphadenopathy: A Retrospective Descriptive Study Conducted at the Largest Hospital in Africa 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130148.
Lymphadenopathy is a common clinical presentation of disease in South Africa (SA), particularly in the era of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB) co-infection.
Data from 560 lymph node biopsy reports of specimens from patients older than 12 years at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH) between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2012 was extracted from the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), division of Anatomical Pathology. Cytology reports of lymph node fine needle aspirates (FNAs) performed prior to lymph node biopsy in 203 patients were also extracted from the NHLS. Consent was not obtained from participants for their records to be used as patient information was anonymized and de-identified prior to analysis.
The majority of patients were female (55%) and of the African/black racial group (90%). The median age of patients was 40 years (range12–94). The most common indication for biopsy was an uncertain diagnosis (more than two differential diagnoses entertained), followed by a suspicion for lymphoma, carcinoma and TB. Overall, malignancy constituted the largest biopsy pathology group (39%), with 36% of this group being carcinoma and 27% non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 22% of the total sampled nodes displayed necrotizing granulomatous inflammation (including histopathology and cytology demonstrating definite, and suspicious for mycobacterial infection), 8% comprised HIV reactive nodes; in the remainder no specific pathology was identified (nonspecific reactive lymphoid hyperplasia). Kaposi sarcoma (KS) accounted for 2.5% of lymph node pathology in this sample. Concomitant lymph node pathology was diagnosed in four cases of nodal KS (29% of the subset). The co-existing pathologies were TB and Castleman disease. HIV positive patients constituted 49% of this study sample and the majority (64%) of this subset had CD4 counts less than 350 cells/ul. 27% were HIV negative and in the remaining nodes, the HIV status of patients was unknown. The most common lymph node pathologies in HIV positive patients were Mycobacterial infection (31%), HIV reactive nodes (15%), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (15%) and nonspecific reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (15%). Only 8.7% were of Hodgkin lymphoma. In contrast, the most common lymph node pathologies in HIV negative patients were nonspecific reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (45%), carcinoma (25%) and Mycobacterial infection (11%). In this group, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma constituted 9% and 8%, respectively. There were more cases of high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the HIV positive group compared to the HIV negative group. FNA and lymph node biopsy had statistically significant good agreement with regard to Hodgkin lymphoma (K 0.774, SE 0.07, 95% CI 0.606-0.882, p=0.001), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (K 0.640, SE 0.07, 95% CI 0.472-0.807, p=0.001), carcinoma (K 0.723, SE 0.069, 95% CI 0.528-0.918, p=0.001), and mycobacterial infection (K 0.726, SE 0.07, 95% CI 0.618-0.833, p=0.001).
The most common lymph node pathologies in CHBAH are malignancies, nonspecific reactive lymphoid hyperplasia, necrotizing granulomatous inflammation and HIV reactive nodes. The distribution of disease differs in HIV positive patients. Overall, adequate FNA samples of lymph nodes have been found to have good correlation with lymph node biopsy findings in our setting.
PMCID: PMC4474830  PMID: 26091519
2.  Efavirenz Conceptions and Regimen Management in a Prospective Cohort of Women on Antiretroviral Therapy 
Use of the antiretroviral drug efavirenz (EFV) is not recommended by the WHO or South African HIV treatment guidelines during the first trimester of pregnancy due to potential fetal teratogenicity; there is little evidence of how clinicians manage EFV-related fertility concerns. Women on antiretroviral therapy (ART) were enrolled into a prospective cohort in four public clinics in Johannesburg, South Africa. Fertility intentions, ART regimens, and pregnancy testing were routinely assessed during visits. Women reporting that they were trying to conceive while on EFV were referred for regimen changes. Kaplan-Meier estimators were used to assess incidence across ART regimens. From the 822 women with followup visits between August 2009–March 2011, 170 pregnancies were detected during study followup, including 56 EFV conceptions. Pregnancy incidence rates were comparable across EFV, nevirapine, and lopinavir/ritonavir person-years (95% 100/users (P = 0.25)); incidence rates on EFV were 18.6 Confidence Interval: 14.2–24.2). Treatment substitution from EFV was made for 57 women, due to pregnancy intentions or actual pregnancy; however, regimen changes were not systematically applied across women. High rates of pregnancy on EFV and inconsistencies in treatment management suggest that clearer guidelines are needed regarding how to manage fertility-related issues in. women on EFV-based regimens.
PMCID: PMC3384948  PMID: 22778534
3.  High Incidence of Unplanned Pregnancy after Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation: Findings from a Prospective Cohort Study in South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36039.
Increased fertility rates in HIV-infected women receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) have been attributed to improved immunological function; it is unknown to what extent the rise in pregnancy rates is due to unintended pregnancies.
Non-pregnant women ages 18–35 from four public-sector ART clinics in Johannesburg, South Africa, were enrolled into a prospective cohort and followed from August 2009–March 2011. Fertility intentions, contraception and pregnancy status were measured longitudinally at participants' routine ART clinic visits.
Of the 850 women enrolled, 822 (97%) had at least one follow-up visit and contributed 745.2 person-years (PY) at-risk for incident pregnancy. Overall, 170 pregnancies were detected in 161 women (incidence rate [IR]: 21.6/100 PY [95% confidence interval (CI): 18.5–25.2]). Of the 170 pregnancies, 105 (62%) were unplanned. Unmet need for contraception was 50% higher in women initiating ART in the past year as compared to women on ART>1 year (prevalence ratio 1.5 [95% CI: 1.1–2.0]); by two years post-ART initiation, nearly one quarter of women had at least one unplanned pregnancy. Cumulative incidence of pregnancy was equally high among recent ART initiators and ART experienced participants: 23.9% [95% CI: 16.4–34.1], 15.9% [12.0–20.8], and 21.0% [16.8–26.1] for women on ART 0–1 yr, >1 yr–2 yrs, and >2 yrs respectively (log-rank, p = 0.54). Eight hormonal contraceptive failures were detected [IR: 4.4 [95% CI: 2.2–8.9], 7/8 among women using injectable methods. Overall 47% (80/170) of pregnancies were not carried to term.
Rates of unintended pregnancies among women on ART are high, including women recently initiating ART with lower CD4 counts and higher viral loads. A substantial burden of pregnancy loss was observed. Integration of contraceptive services and counselling into ART care is necessary to reduce maternal and child health risks related to mistimed and unwanted pregnancies. Further research into injectable contraceptive failures on ART is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3338622  PMID: 22558319

Results 1-3 (3)