CCR5-delta32 heterozygous individuals are susceptible to HIV-1. However, it is not clear if there is a relevant protective effect against transmission and a beneficial effect in terms of HIV progression which cannot be attributed to CCR5 surface density alone. Therefore we investigated HIV-1 dependency factors (HDF) which might be differently regulated in CCR5 wild type (WT) and CCR5-delta32 heterozygous individuals.
We examined CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells derived from bone marrow samples from 19 healthy volunteers, 12 individuals with CCR5 WT and 7 with heterozygous CCR5-delta32 deletion. Samples were analyzed using a global gene expression oligonucleotide microarray (HG-U133plus 2.0, Affymetrix Inc.).
A total of 205 genes were found with altered expression (3fold difference, present call rate of 75%, p < 0.05) and 7 of these had a connection to HIV-1 pathogenesis. In 4 genes: TOP1, CXCR2, SREBF2, and TAP we found a different regulation which was consistent with a supposed beneficial effect for CCR5-delta32 heterozygotes.
The CCR5-delta32 deletion is associated with other HDFs in HIV-1 pathogenesis as a possible explanation for beneficial effects regarding the deletion leading to a variant expression profile in heterozygous carriers of this mutation.
CCR5-delta32; HIV-1; Coexpression; TOP1; CXCR2; SREBF2; TAP
Early recognition of antiretroviral therapy (ART) failure in resource limited settings is a challenge given the limited laboratory facilities and trained personnel. This study aimed at describing the incidence, risk factors and the resistance associated mutations (RAMs) of first line treatment failure among HIV-1-infected children attending the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC), Kampala, Uganda.
A retrospective cohort of 701 children who had been initiated on ART between January 2004 and September 2009 at the JCRC was studied. Data of children aged 6 months up to 18 years who had been started on ART for at least 6 months was extracted from the clinic charts. The children who failed the first-line ART were taken as cases and those who did not fail as the controls. Data was analysed using STATA version10.
Of 701 children, 240(34%) failed on first line ART (cases) and 461(66%) did not fail (controls). The overall median time (IQR) to first line ART failure was 26.4 (18.9 – 39.1) months. The factors associated with treatment failure were poor adherence [(OR = 10, 95 CI: 6.4 – 16.7) p < 0.001], exposure to single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) [(OR = 4.2, 95% CI:1.8-9.4), p = 0.005] and a NVP containing regimen [(OR = 2.2,95% CI:1.4-3.6), p < 0.001]. Of 109 genotypic resistance profiles analyzed, the commonest non nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance associated mutations (RAM) were: K103N (59; 54%)), Y181C (36; 27%)) and G190A (26; 24%)) while the commonest nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) RAM was the M184V (89; 81%). Thymidine analogue- mutations (TAMs) were detected in 20% of patients.
One in three children on first-line ART are likely to develop virological treatment failure after the first 24 months of therapy. Poor adherence to ART, a NVP based first-line regimen, prior exposure to sdNVP were associated with treatment failure.
The enumeration of absolute CD4 counts is of primary importance for many medical conditions especially HIV infection where therapeutic initiation depends on the count. These ranges tend to vary across populations. However, these ranges have not been comprehensively established in the Kenyan population. Therefore, this study aimed at establishing the reference ranges for the CD4 and CD8 T-lymphocytes in normal healthy individuals in Kenya.
A total of 315 individuals of the ages between 16 and 60 years old, in 5 different regions of the country, were recruited into the study. They were screened for diseases that potentially cause lymphocyte homeostasis perturbation. CD4/CD8 Counts were performed by use of a FACSCalibur flow cytometer (Becton-Dickinson, NJ) equipped with automated acquisition and analysis software. Results were analysed according to age, sex and region.
Results were presented as means and ranges (in parenthesis) generated non parametrically as 2.5 and 97.5 percentiles as follows; In general population; CD3 1655 (614-2685 cells/μL ), CD4 920 (343-1493 cells/μL), and CD8 646 (187-1139 cells/μL), while according to sex, females; CD3 1787 (697-2841 cells/μL), CD4 1010 (422-1572 cells/μL), CD8 659 (187-1180 cells/μL); males; CD3 1610 (581-2641 cells/μL), CD4 889(320-1459 cells/μL) and CD8 644 (185-1140 cells/μL). The general reference ranges for CD4/CD8 ratios were as follows; general population 1.57(0.50-2.74), males 1.51(0.49-2.64) and females 1.69(0.55-2.95).
The lymphocyte reference ranges for the Kenyan population are fairly comparable to those established in other African populations. The ranges also differ appreciably from those established in Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Furthermore, the study reported significant differences in the ranges of different population clusters within Kenya, as well us between males and females.
CD4/CD8 count; Lymphocyte subsets; HIV-1; Flow cytometry; Reference ranges
Although the Centres for disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends empiric treatment for schistosomiasis and strongyloidiasis (prevalent but treatable parasitic infections) in some refugee groups it is unclear if these guidelines should be extended to non-refugee immigrants from endemic areas. We aimed to assess seroprevalence of, and risk factors for, positive schistosomiasis and strongyloides serology in HIV-infected patients from endemic areas attending a European Infectious Diseases clinic.
In a prospective cohort study, HIV-infected patients from helminth endemic areas underwent clinical assessment and blood draw for schistosomiasis and strongyloides serology, routine haematology and inflammatory markers (ESR and CRP). Between-group differences were analyzed by Wilcoxin Signed Rank and Fisher’s t tests as appropriate.
Ninety HIV-infected patients (mean [standard deviation (SD)] age 34  years, 29% male) were recruited from May 2008 to June 2009. Nine (10%) subjects tested positive for helminth infections. Seven tested positive for schistosomiasis (8%) while two tested positive for strongyloides (2%). Seropositive subjects were more likely to have higher eosinophil counts (mean [SD]) (0.3 [0.3] vs. 0.15 [0.2] x103cells/cm, P = 0.021) with a trend towards lower CD4+ T-cell counts (mean [SD]) (280  vs. 395  cells/mm3, P = 0.08).
The high prevalence of helminth infections (10%) in asymptomatic HIV infected adults identified in this study supports routine screening of immigrants from helminth endemic areas or with exposure history.
Schistosomiasis; Strongyloides; HIV; Eosinophilia
Susac’s Syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune endotheliopathy of cerebral, retinal and cochlear arterioles. We report of an HIV-infected woman who developed a first SS episode following a spontaneous reduction of plasma viral load and several relapses six years later, following initiation of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART). Corticosteroids and intravenous immunoglobulins alone did not control the disease, which improved after combined treatment with acyclovir and ganciclovir. SS onset in HIV infection and relapses during cART-induced immune reconstitution are consistent with the dysimmune nature of the disease. The response to anti-herpes drugs suggests a viral contribute in this case of SS.
Increasing rates of non-AIDS defining illnesses, and in particular liver diseases, have been found after the initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy. However, there is little evidence concerning the risk factors for and clinical characteristics of liver disease in antiretroviral (ARV)-treated HIV infection, in the absence of hepatitis B or C viral co-infection.
A nested case–control study of HIV infected volunteers, matched by starting date of anti-retroviral treatment, was conducted in a Thai cohort studied from Nov 2002 - July 2012. Cases were defined as those subjects with an elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT ≥ 40 IU/L) at two consecutive visits six months apart, while controls were defined as individuals who never demonstrated two consecutive elevated ALT results and had a normal ALT result (< 40 IU/L) at their last visit. Both groups had normal ALT levels prior to ARV initiation. Clinical demographics and risk factors for chronic hepatitis including HIV-related illness, ARV treatment and metabolic diseases were collected and analyzed. Conditional logistic regression was used to determine risk factors for chronic hepatitis in HIV infection.
A total of 124 matched pairs with HIV infection were followed over 3,195 person-years. The mean age (±SD) was 33.0 ± 7.3 years, with 41.1% of subjects being male. The incidence of chronic hepatitis was 5.4 per 100 person-years. The median time from initiation of ARV to chronic hepatitis was 1.3 years (IQR, 0.5-3.5). From univariate analysis; male sex, plasma HIV-1 RNA level > 5 log 10 copies/ml, metabolic syndrome at baseline visit, high BMI > 23 kg/m2, abnormal HDL cholesterol at time of ALT elevation and treatment experience with NNRTI plus boosted PI were selected (p value < 0.2) to the final model of multivariate analysis. Male sex had 3.1 times greater risk of chronic hepatitis than the females by multivariate analysis (adjusted OR, 95% CI: 3.1, 1.5-6.3, p =0.002). High BMI ≥ 23 kg/m2 was also associated with 2.4 times greater risk of chronic hepatitis (adjusted OR, 95% CI: 2.4, 1.2-4.8, p = 0.01).
Chronic hepatitis in ARV-treated HIV-infected patients is common and may lead to a major health care problem. Male sex and high BMI ≥ 23 kg/m2 carry higher risks for developing chronic hepatitis in this study. Therefore, these patients should be closely monitored for long-term hepatotoxicity.
Chronic hepatitis; HIV infection; Risk factors
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) roll-out is fraught with challenges, many with serious repercussions. We explored and described patient behaviour-related challenges from the perspective of health care providers from non-governmental organisations involved in ART programmes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
A descriptive case study design using qualitative approach was applied during this study. Data was collected from nine key informants from the three biggest NGOs involved in ART roll-out using in-depth semi-structured interviews. Transcribing and coding for emergent themes was done by two independent reviewers. Ethical approval for the study was granted by the UNISA research ethics committee of The Faculty of Health Sciences. Written consent was obtained from directors of the three NGOs involved and individual audio taped informed consent was obtained from all study participants prior to data collection.
Findings revealed six broad areas of patient behaviour challenges. These were patient behaviour related to socio-economic situation of patient (skipping of medication due to lack of food, or due to lack of transport fees), belief systems (traditional and religious), stigma (non- disclosure), sexual practices (non-acceptability of condoms, teenage pregnancies), escapism (drug and alcohol abuse) and opportunism (skipping medication in order to access disability grant, teenage pregnancies in order to access child grant).
New programmes need to address patient behaviour as a complex phenomenon requiring a multi-pronged approach that also addresses social norms and institutions. In the face of continued ART scale up, this is further evidence for the need for multi-sectoral collaboration to ensure successful and sustainable ART roll-out.
Patient behaviour; ART roll-out; Health care provider perspective; Non-governmental organisation; KwaZulu-Natal
Tuberculosis (TB) disease affects survival among HIV co-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Yet, the magnitude of TB disease on mortality is poorly understood.
Using a prospective cohort of 22,477 adult patients who initiated ART between August 2000 and June 2009 in Uganda, we assessed the effect of active pulmonary TB disease at the initiation of ART on all-cause mortality using a Cox proportional hazards model. Propensity score (PS) matching was used to control for potential confounding. Stratification and covariate adjustment for PS and not PS-based multivariable Cox models were also performed.
A total of 1,609 (7.52%) patients had active pulmonary TB at the start of ART. TB patients had higher proportions of being male, suffering from AIDS-defining illnesses, having World Health Organization (WHO) disease stage III or IV, and having lower CD4 cell counts at baseline (p < 0.001). The percentages of death during follow-up were 10.47% and 6.38% for patients with and without TB, respectively. The hazard ratio (HR) for mortality comparing TB to non-TB patients using 1,686 PS-matched pairs was 1.37 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.08 – 1.75), less marked than the crude estimate (HR = 1.74, 95% CI: 1.49 – 2.04). The other PS-based methods and not PS-based multivariable Cox model produced similar results.
After controlling for important confounding variables, HIV patients who had TB at the initiation of ART in Uganda had an approximate 37% increased hazard of overall mortality relative to non-TB patients.
Antiretroviral therapy; HIV; Tuberculosis; Propensity score methods; Uganda; Prospective cohort study
HIV/TB coinfection remains a major challenge even after the initiation of HAART. Little is known about Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) specific immune restoration in relation to immunologic and virologic outcomes after long-term HAART during co-infections with latent and active TB.
A total of 232 adults, including 59 HIV patients with clinical TB (HIV + TB+), 125 HIV patients without clinical TB (HIV + TB-), 13 HIV negative active TB patients (HIV-TB+), and 10 HIV negative Tuberculin Skin TST positive (HIV-TST+), and 25 HIV-TST- individuals were recruited. HAART was initiated in 113 HIV + patients (28 TB + and 85 TB-), and anti-TB treatment for all TB cases. CD4+ T-cell count, HIV RNA load, and IFN-γ responses to ESAT-6/CFP-10 were measured at baseline, 6 months (M6), 18 months (M18) and 24 months (M24) after HAART initiation.
The majority of HIV + TB- (70%, 81%, 84%) as well as HIV + TB + patients (60%, 77%, 80%) had virologic success (HIV RNA < 50 copies/ml) by M6, M18 and M24, respectively. HAART also significantly increased CD4+ T-cell counts at 2 years in HIV + TB + (from 110.3 to 289.9 cells/μl), HIV + TB- patients (197.8 to 332.3 cells/μl), HIV + TST- (199 to 347 cells/μl) and HIV + TST + individuals (195 to 319 cells/μl). Overall, there was no significant difference in the percentage of patients that achieved virologic success and in total CD4+ counts increased between HIV patients with and without TB or LTBI. The Mtb specific IFN-γ response at baseline was significantly lower in HIV + TB + (3.6 pg/ml) compared to HIV-TB + patients (34.4 pg/ml) and HIV + TST + (46.3 pg/ml) individuals; and in HIV-TB + patients compared to HIV-TST + individuals (491.2 pg/ml). By M18 on HAART, the IFN-γ response remained impaired in HIV + TB + patients (18.1 pg/ml) while it normalized in HIV + TST + individuals (from 46.3 to 414.2 pg/ml).
Our data show that clinical and latent TB infections do not influence virologic and immunologic outcomes of ART in HIV patients. Despite this, HAART was unable to restore optimal TB responsiveness as measured by Mtb specific IFN-γ response in HIV/TB patients. Improvement of Mtb-specific immune restoration should be the focus of future therapeutic strategies.
HIV; Tuberculosis; HAART
The prevention of intimate partner transmission of HIV remains an important component of comprehensive HIV prevention strategies. In this paper we examine the sexual practices of people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
In 2008, a total of 374 HIV-positive people over the age of 16 and on ART for more than two weeks were recruited using a non-probability, convenience sampling methodology. This accounted for around 18% of adults on ART at the time. A further 36 people participated in semi-structured interviews. All interviews were thematically analysed using NVivo qualitative data analysis software.
Less than forty per cent (38%) of participants reported having had sexual intercourse in the six months prior to the survey. Marital status was by far the most important factor in determining sexual activity, but consistent condom use during vaginal intercourse with a regular partner was low. Only 46% reported consistent condom use during vaginal intercourse with a regular partner in the last six months, despite 77% of all participants reporting that consistent condom use can prevent HIV transmission. Consistent condom use was lowest amongst married couples and those in seroconcordant relationships. The vast majority (91.8%) of all participants with a regular heterosexual partner had disclosed their status to their partner. Qualitative data reinforced low rates of sexual activity and provided important insights into sexual abstinence and condom use.
Considering the importance of intimate partner transmission of HIV, these results on the sexual practices of people with HIV on ART in PNG suggest that one-dimensional HIV prevention messages focussing solely on condom use fail to account for the current practices and needs of HIV-positive people, especially those who are married and know their partners’ HIV status.
HIV; Papua New Guinea; Sexual Behaviour; Antiretroviral Therapy
Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) the most fatal presentation of tuberculosis (TB) especially in HIV-infected patients is a real diagnostic and therapeutic challenge worldwide. In Cameroon where HIV and TB are amongst the leading public health problems, the magnitude of TBM has not been defined. Therefore, the objective of this cross sectional study was to describe the presentation and in-hospital outcome of TBM among HIV patients in Douala as well as its diagnostic difficulties.
We did a clinical case note analysis of all HIV-1 infected patients treated for TBM in the Internal medicine unit of the Douala General Hospital, between January 1st 2004 and December 31st 2009. The diagnosis of TBM was made using clinical, laboratory [cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis] and/or brain computerised tomographic (CT) scan features.
During the study period, 8% (54/672) of HIV-infected patients had TBM. Their mean age was 40.3 ± 12.7 years. The main presenting complaint was headache in 74.1% (40/54) of patients. Their median CD4 cell count was 16 cells/mm3 (IQR: 10 – 34). CSF analysis showed median protein levels of 1.7 g/l (IQR: 1.3 – 2.2), median glucose level of 0.4 g/l (IQR: 0.3 – 0.5) and median white cell count (WCC) count of 21 cells/ml (IQR: 12 – 45) of which mononuclear cells were predominant in 74% of CSF. Acid fast bacilli were found in 1.9% (1/54) of CSF samples. On CT scan hydrocephalus was the main finding in 70.6% (24/34) of patients. In hospital case fatality was 79.6% (43/54).
TBM is a common complication in HIV-infected patients in Douala with high case fatality. Its presumptive diagnosis reposes mostly on CSF analysis, so clinicians caring for HIV patients should not hesitate to do lumbar taps in the presence of symptoms of central nervous system disease.
Tuberculous meningitis; Cerebrospinal fluid; Hydrocephalus; HIV
Resistance to CCR5 inhibitors, such as maraviroc and vicriviroc is characterized by reduction of maximal percent inhibition which indicates the use of an inhibitor-bound conformation of CCR5 for human immunodeficiency virus-1(HIV-1) entry. It is accompanied by substitutions in gp120 and gp41. Variable domain 3 (V3) plays the most important role, but substitutions outside V3 could also be involved in phenotype resistance. In this work, we investigated how mutations in variable regions of the viral envelope protein gp120 can contribute to CCR5 inhibitor resistance.
Resistant isolates were selected by passaging CC1/85 and BaL viruses with sub-inhibitory MVC and VCV concentrations. Mutations in gp160 were identified and mutants containing V2 (V169M), V3 (L317W) and V4 (I408T) were constructed.
MVC and VCV susceptibility and viral tropism were assessed by single cycle assay. Mutant I408T showed 4-fold change (FC) increase in the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) to MVC, followed by L317W (1.52-FC), V169M (1.23-FC), V169M/I408T (4-FC) L317W/I408T (3-FC), V169M/L317W (1.30-FC), and V169M/L317W/I408T (3.31-FC). MPI reduction was observed for mutants I408T (85%), L317W (95%), V169M/I408T (84%), L317W/I408T (85%) and V169M/L317W/I408T (83%). For VCV, I408T increased the IC50 by 2-FC and few mutants showed MPI reduction less than 95%: I408T (94%), L317W/I408T (94%) and V169M/L317W/I408T (94%). All mutants remained R5-tropic and presented decreased infectivity.
These results suggest that mutations in the V4 loop of HIV-1 may contribute to MVC and VCV resistance alone or combined with mutations in V2 and V3 loops.
Maraviroc; Vicriviroc; Resistance; CCR5 Inhibitors
CSIC (5-chloro-3-phenylsulfonylindole-2-carboxamide), a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) has not been advanced as a therapeutic anti-HIV candidate drug due to its low aqueous solubility and poor bioavailability.
The objective of this work was to formulate CSIC into self-emulsifying oil formulations for the purpose of improving its aqueous solubility and evaluating in vitro antiretroviral activity.
CSIC self-emulsifying oil formulations (SEFs) were formulated and evaluated for droplet size, zeta potential, polydispersity index (PDI), viscosity, emulsification time, stability and bioactivity.
Results showed significantly improved solubility of CSIC in the SEFs.The concentration of co-surfactant affected the droplet size, zeta potential and polydispersity index. In vitro bioactivity studies showed that the CSIC SEFs retained full anti-HIV activity.
The in vitro data from this first attempt to formulate CSIC SEFs suggest that improvement on the aqueous solubility of CSIC through this delivery system may accentuate its antiretroviral effectiveness in vivo via bioavailability enhancement. The formulation is therefore intended as an oral anti-HIV agent for prophylactic and therapeutic uses.
Anti-HIV; Poorly soluble; Self-emulsification; CSIC; Bioactivity; Anhydrous emulsion
Atazanavir; Unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia; Bilirubin; Liver; Hepatitis C
Despite the increasingly wider availability of antiretroviral therapy (ART), some people living with HIV (PLHIV) and eligible for treatment have opted to adopt self-care practices thereby risking early AIDS-related mortality.
A qualitative study was conducted in urban Zambia to gain insights into PLHIV self-care practices and experiences and explore the implications for successful delivery of ART care. Between March 2010 and September 2011, in-depth interviews were conducted with PLHIV who had dropped out of treatment (n=25) and those that had opted not to initiate medication (n=37). Data was entered into and managed using Atlas ti, and analysed inductively using latent content analysis.
PHIV used therapeutic and physical health maintenance, psychological well-being and healthy lifestyle self-care practices to maintain physical health and mitigate HIV-related symptoms. Herbal remedies, faith healing and self-prescription of antibiotics and other conventional medicines to treat HIV-related ailments were used for therapeutic and physical health maintenance purposes. Psychological well-being self-care practices used were religiosity/spirituality and positive attitudes towards HIV infection. These practices were modulated by close social network relationships with other PLHIV, family members and peers, who acted as sources of emotional, material and financial support. Cessations of sexual relationships, adoption of safe sex to avoid re-infections and uptake of nutritional supplements were the commonly used risk reduction and healthy lifestyle practices respectively.
While these self-care practices may promote physical and psychosocial well-being and mitigate AIDS-related symptoms, at least in the short term, they however undermine PLHIV access to ART care thereby putting PLHIV at risk of early AIDS-related mortality. The use of scientifically unproven herbal remedies raises health and safety concerns; faith healing may create fatalism and resignation with death while the reported self-prescription of antibiotics to treat HIV-related infections raises concerns about future development of microbial drug resistance amongst PLHIV. Collectively, these self-care practices undermine efforts to effectively abate the spread and burden of HIV and reduce AIDS-related mortality. Therefore, there is need for sensitization campaigns on the benefits of ART and the risks associated with widespread self-prescription of antibiotics and use of scientifically unproven herbal remedies.
HIV; Self-care; Faith healing; Herbal remedies; Zambia
Chemokines can block viral entry by interfering with HIV co-receptors and are recognised mediators of atherosclerosis development. A number of experimental drugs that inhibit HIV entry arrest the development of atherosclerosis in animal models. We hypothesised that the expression of chemokine receptors in circulating leukocytes is associated with the rate of atherosclerosis progression in HIV-infected patients.
The increase in intima-media thickness during a 2-year follow-up was used to classify HIV-infected patients (n = 178) as progressors (n = 142) or non-progressors (n = 36) with respect to atherosclerosis. Logistic regression was used to assess variables associated with atherosclerosis progression. Mutations in the CCR5Δ32, CCR2 64I, and CX3CR1 (T280M and V249I) co-receptors as well as the levels of CCR5, CXCR4, CX3CR1, and CCR2 mRNA expression in circulating leukocytes were analysed as independent variables.
Among the baseline variables, only genetic variants explained the dichotomous outcome. The expression of CCR2 and CXCR4 did not discriminate between progressors and non-progressors. Conversely, CCR5 and CX3CR1 expression was higher in not only progressors but also patients with detectable viral load. The logistic regression, however, demonstrated a significant role for CCR5 expression as a predictor of atherosclerosis progression (B = 2.1, OR = 8.1, p = 0.04) and a negligible effect for CXC3R1 and CCR2 expression.
Available CCR5 antagonists should be investigated for their potential to delay the course of atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients.
Cardiovascular risk factors; Chemokine receptors; Genetic variants; Inflammation; Maraviroc
During the HIV-1 replication cycle, several molecules including chemokine receptors and cholesterol are crucial, and are therefore potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Indeed statins, compounds that inhibit cellular synthesis of cholesterol and have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties were shown to inhibit HIV-1 infection by R5 tropic strains but not by X4 strains in vitro, mainly by altering the chemokine receptor/ligands axes. Therefore, the objective of this study was to characterize in vivo, the capacity of statins to modulate in HIV seronegative and chronically HIV-1-infected adults the expression of CCR5 and CXCR4, of their ligands and the tropism of circulating HIV-1 strains.
Samples from asymptomatic HIV-1-infected adults enrolled in a clinical trial aimed at evaluating the antiretroviral activity of lovastatin were used to evaluate in vivo the modulation by lovastatin of CCR5, CXCR4, their ligands, and the shift in plasma viral tropism over one year of intervention. In addition, ten HIV negative adults received a daily oral dose of 40 mg of lovastatin or 20 mg of atorvastatin; seven other HIV negative individuals who received no treatment were followed as controls. The frequency and phenotype of immune cells were determined by flow-cytometry; mRNA levels of chemokine receptors and their ligands were determined by real-time PCR. Viral tropism was determined by PCR and sequencing, applying the clonal and clinical model of analyses.
Our study shows that long-term administration of lovastatin in HIV-infected individuals does not induce a shift in viral tropism, or induce a significant modulation of CCR5 and CXCR4 on immune cells in HIV-infected patients. Similar results were found in HIV seronegative control subjects, treated with lovastatin or atorvastatin, but a significant increase in CCL3 and CCL4 transcription was observed in these individuals.
These findings suggest that long-term administration of statins at therapeutic doses, does not significantly affect the expression of HIV-1 co-receptors or of their ligands. In addition it is important to point out that based on the results obtained, therapeutic administration of statins in HIV-infected patients with lipid disorders is safe in terms of selecting X4 strains.
HIV infection; Statins; CCR5; CXCR4; Viral tropism; Chemokines
Access to Hepatitis C (HCV) care is low among HIV-infected individuals, highlighting the need for new models to deliver care for this population.
Retrospective cohort analysis that compared the number of HIV patients who initiated HCV therapy: hepatology (2005–2008) vs. HIV primary care model (2008–2011). Logistic-regression modeling was used to ascertain factors associated with HCV therapy initiation and achievement of sustained viral response (SVR).
Of 196 and 163 patients that were enrolled in the HIV primary care and hepatology models, 48 and 26 were treated for HCV, respectively (p = 0.043). The HIV/HCV-patient referral rate did not differ during the two study periods (0.10 vs. 0.12/patient-yr, p = 0.18). In unadjusted analysis, predictors (p < 0.05) of HCV treatment initiation included referral to the HIV primary care model (OR: 1.7), a CD4+ count ≥400/mm3 (OR: 1.8) and alanine aminotranferase level ≥63U/L (OR: 1.9). Prior psychiatric medication use correlated negatively with HCV treatment initiation (OR: 0.6, p = 0.045). In adjusted analysis the strongest predictor of HCV treatment initiation was CD4+ count (≥400/mm3, OR: 2.1, p = 0.01). There was no significant difference in either clinic model (primary care vs. hepatology) in the rates of treatment discontinuation due to adverse events (29% vs. 16%), loss to follow-up (8 vs. 8%), or HCV SVR (44 vs. 35%).
Using a HIV primary care model increased the number of HIV patients who initiate HCV therapy with comparable outcomes to a hepatology model.
HIV; HCV treatment; Primary care; Hepatology
The prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to increase among certain populations including young men who have sex with men (MSM). College campuses represent a potential setting to engage young adults and institute prevention interventions including HIV testing. The purpose of this study was to evaluate testing practices for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) on college campuses.
Medical directors at four-year residential baccalaureate college health centers in New England were surveyed from June, 2011 to September, 2011. Thirty-one interviews were completed regarding experiences with HIV testing, acute HIV infection, other STI testing, and outreach efforts targeting specific at-risk groups such as MSM.
Among schools that responded to the survey, less than five percent of students were tested for HIV at their local college health center in the past academic year (2010–2011). Significant barriers to HIV testing included cost and availability of rapid antibody testing. One-third of college health medical directors reported that their practitioners may not feel comfortable recognizing acute HIV infection.
Improved HIV testing practices are needed on college campuses. Programs should focus on outreach efforts targeting MSM and other at-risk populations.
HIV; College; STI; Prevention
A peer-reviewed journal would not survive without the generous time and insightful comments of the reviewers whose efforts often go unrecognized. AIDS Research and Therapy has been blessed by the support of highly qualified peer reviewers and would like to show its appreciation by thanking the following for their assistance with review of manuscripts for the journal in 2012.
Intestinal parasites are a major concern in most developing countries where HIV/AIDS case are concentrate and almost 80% of AIDS patients die of AIDS-related infections. In the absence of ART, HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries unfortunately continue to suffer from the consequences of opportunistic parasites. But this prevalence has dramatically decreased in countries where antiretroviral agents are widely available. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of intestinal parasite and risk factor among pre- ART and on ART adult HIV/ AIDS patients attending ART clinic in Dessie hospital.
A comparative cross-sectional study was conducted among pre-ART and on ART adult HIV/AIDS patients of Dessie Hospital. A total of 272 (136 from each group) study subjects were selected by using systematic random sampling. Stool sample was collected and processed using direct wet mount, formol-ether concentration technique and modified Ziehl-Neelson staining techniques. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on Sociodemographic & associated risk factors. Data was entered and analyzed by using SPSS 16 software and logistic regressions were applied to assess any association between explanatory factors and outcome variables.
The overall prevalence of IP in pre-ART and on-ART was 39% and 17.6%, respectively with significant decrease of intestinal parasite in the ART era (p < 0.001). All Cryptosporidium spps infections were found in the pre-ART patients and significantly associated for lower CD4 <200cells/mm3. Absence of toilet (AOR = 7.57; 95% CI = 1.3,44.22), source of water (AOR = 6.03; 95% CI = 1.14,31.98), living condition (AOR = 13.29, 95% CI = 5.14, 34.35); WHO stage (AOR = 6.06; 95% CI = 2.49,14.74) and ART status (AOR = 7.55; 95% CI = 3.24,17.59) have significant association with prevalence of intestinal parasite.
The overall prevalence of IP was differ by ART status and opportunistic parasite like cryptosporidium spps were found in low CD4 counts in ART naive patients. This study identified some environmental and some clinical finding as determinant factor for IP infections. Therefore, public health measures and adherence to ART should be strengthened to improve the quality of life of these patients.
Intestinal parasite; ART; CD4
HIV-associated distal sensory polyneuropathy (HIV-DSP) is the most frequently reported neurologic complication associated with HIV infection. NGX-4010 is a capsaicin 8% dermal patch with demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of HIV-DSP. Data from two phase III, double-blind studies were integrated to further analyze the efficacy and safety of NGX-4010 and explore the effect of demographic and baseline factors on NGX-4010 treatment in HIV-DSP.
Data from two similarly designed studies in which patients with HIV-DSP received NGX-4010 or a low-concentration control patch (capsaicin 0.04% w/w) for 30 or 60 minutes were integrated. Efficacy assessments included the mean percent change from baseline in Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) scores to Weeks 2–12. Safety and tolerability assessments included adverse events (AEs) and pain during and after treatment.
Patients (n = 239) treated with NGX-4010 for 30 minutes demonstrated significantly (p = 0.0026) greater pain relief compared with controls (n = 100); the mean percent change in NPRS scores from baseline to Weeks 2–12 was −27.0% versus −15.7%, respectively. Patients who received a 60-minute application of NGX-4010 (n = 243) showed comparable pain reductions (−27.5%) to patients treated for 30 minutes, but this was not statistically superior to controls (n = 115). NGX-4010 was effective regardless of gender, baseline pain score, duration of HIV-DSP, or use of concomitant neuropathic pain medication, although NGX-4010 efficacy was greater in patients not receiving concomitant neuropathic pain medications. NGX-4010 was well tolerated; the most common AEs were application-site pain and erythema, and most AEs were mild to moderate. The transient increase in pain associated with NGX-4010 treatment decreased the day after treatment and returned to baseline by Day 2.
A single 30-minute application of NGX-4010 provides significant pain relief for at least 12 weeks in patients with HIV-DSP and is well tolerated.
C107 = NCT00064623; C119 = NCT00321672
NGX-4010; Capsaicin 8% patch; HIV-associated distal sensory polyneuropathy; Neuropathic pain
The objective of this work was to study the virological outcomes associated with two different types of treatment interruption strategies in patients with allergic reactions to nevirapine (NVP). We compared the virological outcomes of (1) HIV-1-infected patients who discontinued an initial NVP-based regimen because of cutaneous allergic reactions to NVP; different types of interruption strategies were used, and second-line regimen was based on efavirenz (EFV); and (2) HIV-1-infected patients who began an EFV-based regimen as a first-line therapy (controls).
This retrospective cohort included patients who began an EFV-based regimen, between January 2002 and December 2008, as either an initial regimen or as a subsequent regimen after resolving a cutaneous allergic reaction against an initial NVP-based regimen. The study ended in March 2010. The primary outcome was virological failure, which was defined as either (a) two consecutive plasma HIV-1 RNA levels >400 copies/mL or (b) a plasma HIV-1 RNA level >1,000 copies/mL plus any genotypic resistance mutation.
A total of 559 patients were stratified into three groups: (a) Simultaneous Interruption, in which the subjects simultaneously discontinued all the drugs in an NVP-based regimen following an allergic reaction (n=161); (b) Staggered Interruption, in which the subjects discontinued NVP treatment while continuing nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) backbone therapy for a median of 7 days (n=82); and (c) Control, in which the subjects were naïve to antiretroviral therapy (n=316). The overall median follow-up time was 43 months. Incidence of virological failure in Simultaneous Interruption was 12.9 cases per 1,000 person-years, which trended toward being higher than the incidences in Staggered Interruption (5.4) and Control (6.6). However, differences were not statistically significant.
Among the patients who had an acute allergic reaction to first-line NVP-based therapy and later began an EFV-based regimen, virological outcomes resulting from a staggered interruption of treatment (with a continuation of NRTI backbone therapy for 7 days after discontinuing NVP) did not differ from those of the patients who began an EFV-based regimen as their initial therapy (Control). However, the virological failure of Simultaneous Interruption was possibly higher than those of Control and Staggered Interruption.
Nevirapine hypersensitivity or allergy; Efavirenz; Simultaneous interruption; Staggered interruption; Thai
While the introduction of combination highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimens represents an important advance in the management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, tolerability can be an issue and the use of several different agents may produce problems. The switch of combination HAART to ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor (PI) monotherapy may offer the opportunity to maintain antiviral efficacy while reducing treatment complexity and the risks of toxicity. Current European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) guidelines recognise ritonavir-boosted PI monotherapy with twice-daily lopinavir/ritonavir or once-daily darunavir/ritonavir as a possible option in patients who have intolerance to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, or for treatment simplification. Clinical trials data for PI boosted monotherapy are encouraging, showing substantial efficacy in the majority of patients; however, further data are required before this approach can be recommended as a routine treatment. Available data indicate that the most suitable candidates for the use of boosted PI monotherapy are long-term virologically suppressed patients who have demonstrated good adherence to antiretroviral therapy, who do not have chronic hepatitis B, have no history of treatment failure on PIs and are able to tolerate low-dose ritonavir.