Pain is one of the most commonly reported symptoms in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). However, wide ranges of pain prevalence have been reported, making it difficult to determine the relative impact of pain in PLWHA. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to establish the prevalence and characteristics of pain and to explore pain management in PLWHA.
Studies that included cross-sectional data were included in the search, which was conducted in April 2012. Databases searched using a time limit of March 1982 to March 2012 included PubMed, Scopus, Africa-wide: NIPAD, CINAHL, PsychARTICLES, PSYCINFO, PSYCHIATRYONLINE, ScienceDirect and Web of Science. Search terms selected were “pain” and “HIV” or “acquired immune deficiency syndrome.” Two reviewers independently screened all citation abstracts for inclusion. Methodological quality was evaluated using a standardized 11-item critical appraisal tool.
After full text review, 61 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Prevalence of pain ranged from a point prevalence of 54% (95%CI 51.14–56.09) to 83% (95%CI 76–88) using a three-month recall period. The reported pain was of moderate-to-severe intensity, and pain was reported in one to two and a half different anatomical sites. Moderate levels of pain interference with function were reported. All nine studies reporting on the adequacy of pain management recorded marked under-treatment of pain.
The studies reviewed reported that pain commonly presents at multiple pain sites with a range of severity suggesting that there are several differing pathological processes contributing to pain at one time. The interplay of variables associated with pain suggests that the biopsychosocial model of pain is an appropriate paradigm from which to view pain in PLWHA and from which to approach the problem, explore causes and establish effective treatment.
The results highlight that pain is common in PLWHA at all stages of the disease. The prevalence rates for pain in PLWHA do not appear to have diminished over the 30 years spanning the studies reviewed. The body of work available in the literature thus far, while emphasizing the problem of pain, has not had an impact on its management.
prevalence; pain; HIV/AIDS; systematic review
To quantify potential bridging of HIV transmission between the injection drug using subpopulation to the non-injection drug using population through unprotected heterosexual sex.
Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data.
A sub-sample of participants who reported having a permanent partner who are not injection drug users and have not injected drugs in the past (N=1379) was selected from a survey implemented in 26 Ukrainian cities in 2011. This study evaluates the association between consistent condom use and awareness of HIV status as measured by rapid testing during the study (known/unknown HIV+, known/unknown HIV− and undetermined) among a sub-sample of male injection drug users (IDUs) who have a non-injecting permanent partner. Poisson regression, with robust variance estimates, was utilized to identify associations while adjusting for other factors.
Reported consistent condom use varied between 15.5% (unknown HIV−) and 37.5% (known HIV+); average use was 19.3%. In multivariate analysis, males who were aware of their HIV+ status were more likely to report recent consistent condom use compared to those who were unaware of their HIV+ status. This association remains after adjustment for age, region, education level, years of injection, alcohol use, self-reported primary drug use and being an NGO client (prevalence ratio=1.65; 95% CI 1.03–2.64). No such association was found for those who were HIV−.
Our results regarding HIV-positive male IDUs reinforce previous findings that HIV testing and counselling may be an effective means of secondary prevention. Further research is needed to understand how to effectively promote safer sex behaviours for IDUs who are currently HIV−.
HIV testing; Ukraine; IDU; HIV epidemic generalization; sexual behaviour
HIV-1-associated CD4+ T-cell depletion is a consequence of uninfected cell death. Nef is one of the viral factors that trigger apoptosis on bystander cells, though the plasma Nef levels do not correlate with Th lymphocytes counts. The aim of our study was to evaluate whether anti-Nef antibodies were involved in paediatric AIDS development and whether they can prevent the CD4+ T-cell depletion in vertically infected children.
Two hundred and seventy three HIV-1 vertically infected children seen at Garrahan Paediatric Hospital were randomly included in the study, adding 13 selected cases: seven LTNP (long-term non-progressors) and six RP (rapid progressors) children (n
total=286). Specific anti-HIV-1-Nef antibodies were titrated by indirect ELISA and compared between groups. The plasma blocking effect on Nef-dependent cytotoxicity was evaluated in Jurkat cells using recombinant Nef as apoptotic stimulus and patient plasmas as blockers, measuring the apoptotic levels using Annexin-V stain and flow cytometry.
Only 63.4% of the patients had specific anti-Nef antibodies, and the levels of anti-Nef antibodies found in the selected LTNPs plasmas were always significantly higher (p=1.55×10−4) than those in RPs or general HIV-1+ paediatric populations. The LTNPs’ plasma had a strong inhibitory effect on Nef-dependent cytotoxicity even at high dilutions, while RP plasmas had little or no effect on Nef-induced apoptosis.
Discussion and conclusions
High anti-Nef antibody levels are associated and predict slow or non-progression to AIDS in vertically HIV-1-infected children. They could be an efficient tool in preventing Nef-associated bystander effect, preserving CD4+ T-cells and the immune function in the context of paediatric HIV-1 infection.
antibodies; Nef; LTNP; paediatric AIDS; Nef-dependent cytotoxicity; apoptosis
To assess evidence of an association between intimate partner violence (IPV) and HIV infection among women.
Medline/PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, EBSCO, Ovid, Cochrane HIV/AIDS Group's Specialized Register and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched up to 20 May 2013 to identify studies that examined the association between IPV and HIV infection in women. We included studies on women aged ≥15 years, in any form of sexually intimate relationship with a male partner.
Twenty-eight studies [(19 cross-sectional, 5 cohorts and 4 case-control studies) involving 331,468 individuals in 16 countries – the US (eight studies), South Africa (four studies), East Africa (10 studies), India (three studies), Brazil (one study) and multiple low-income countries (two studies)] were included. Results were pooled using RevMan 5.0. To moderate effect estimates, we analyzed all data using the random effects model, irrespective of heterogeneity level. Pooled results of cohort studies indicated that physical IPV [pooled RR (95% CI): 1.22 (1.01, 1.46)] and any type of IPV [pooled RR (95% CI): 1.28 (1.00, 1.64)] were significantly associated with HIV infection among women. Results of cross-sectional studies demonstrated significant associations of physical IPV with HIV infection among women [pooled OR (95% CI): 1.44 (1.10, 1.87)]. Similarly, results of cross-sectional studies indicated that combination of physical and sexual IPV [pooled OR (95% CI): 2.00 (1.24, 3.22) and any type of IPV [pooled OR (95% CI): 1.41 (1.16, 1.73)] were significantly associated with HIV infection among women.
Available evidence suggests a moderate statistically significant association between IPV and HIV infection among women. To further elucidate the strength of the association between IPV and HIV infection among women, there is a need for high-quality follow-up studies conducted in different geographical regions of the world, and among individuals of diverse racial/cultural backgrounds and varying levels of HIV risks.
intimate partner violence; women's health; systematic review; meta-analysis; gender-based violence; HIV/AIDS
Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) testing is an in vivo assessment of cell-mediated immunity. Although highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) improves immunologic parameters, the relationship between DTH responsiveness and CD4 gains on HAART is not completely understood. We investigated CD4 reconstitution and the change in DTH responses from treatment baseline through 24 months of viral load (VL)-suppressive HAART in the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study.
Treatment-naïve subjects with VL <400 copies/mL after ≥24 months on HAART were included (n=302). DTH testing consisted of ≥3 recall antigens, and responses were classified by the number of positive skin tests: anergic (0–1) or non-anergic (≥2). Pre-HAART DTH results were compared for the outcome of CD4 reconstitution at 24 months of HAART. Improvement in DTH responses was also analyzed for those anergic before HAART initiation.
Non-anergic responses were observed in 216 (72%) participants, while 86 (28%) individuals were anergic prior to HAART initiation. Demographically there were similar distributions of age at HIV diagnosis and HAART initiation, as well as gender and race or ethnicity. There were no significant differences between non-anergic and anergic participants in pre-HAART CD4 count (409 cells/μL, interquartile range (IQR) 315–517 vs. 373 cells/μL, IQR 228–487; p=0.104) and VL (4.3 log10 copies/mL, IQR 3.4–4.9 vs. 4.4 log10 copies/mL, IQR 3.6–5.0; p=0.292). Median CD4 gains 24 months after HAART initiation were similar between the non-anergic (220 cells/μL, IQR 115–358) and anergic groups (246 cells/μL, IQR 136–358; p=0.498). For individuals anergic before HAART initiation, DTH normalization occurred at 24 months post-HAART in the majority of participants (51 of 86, 59%). Normalization of DTH responses was not associated with CD4 count at HAART initiation (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.47, 1.09 per 100 cells; p=0.129) nor with AIDS diagnoses prior to HAART (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.04, 2.51; p=0.283).
DTH responsiveness has been shown to predict HIV disease progression independent of CD4 count in untreated individuals. In the setting of HAART, pre-HAART anergy does not appear to impact CD4 gains or the ability to normalize DTH responses after 24 months of VL-suppressive HAART.
HIV; HAART; antiretroviral therapy; delayed-type hypersensitivity; DTH; CD4 cell count; anergy; anergic
Previous studies, mostly from Africa, have shown that serum cryptococcal antigenemia may precede the development of cryptococcal meningitis and early death among patients with advanced HIV infection. We examined cryptococcal antigenemia as a risk factor for HIV-associated mortality in Indonesia, which is experiencing a rapidly growing HIV epidemic.
We included ART-naïve HIV patients with a CD4 cell count below 100 cells/μL and no signs of meningitis in an outpatient HIV clinic in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Baseline clinical data and follow-up were retrieved from a prospective database, and cryptococcal antigen was measured in stored serum samples using a semiquantitative lateral flow assay. Cox regression analysis was used to identify factors related to mortality.
Among 810 patients (median CD4 cell count 22), 58 (7.1%) had a positive cryptococcal antigen test with a median titre of 1:80 (range: 1:1 to 1:2560). Cryptococcal antigenemia at baseline was strongly associated with the development of cryptococcal meningitis and early death and loss to follow-up. After one year, both death (22.4% vs. 11.6%; p=0.016; adjusted HR 2.19; 95% CI 1.78–4.06) and the combined endpoint of death or loss to follow-up (67.2% vs. 40.4%; p<0.001; adjusted HR 1.57; 95% CI 1.12–2.20) were significantly higher among patients with a positive cryptococcal antigen test.
Cryptococcal antigenemia is common and clinically relevant among patients with advanced HIV in this setting. Routine screening for cryptococcal antigen followed by lumbar puncture and pre-emptive antifungal treatment for those who are positive may help in reducing early mortality.
cryptococcal antigenemia; meningitis; AIDS; antigen testing; lateral flow assay; Indonesia
The role of microbial translocation (MT) in HIV patients living with HIV from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is not fully known. The aim of this study is to investigate and compare the patterns of MT in patients from Vietnam, Ethiopia and Sweden.
Cross-sectional samples were obtained from treatment-naïve patients living with HIV-1 and healthy controls from Vietnam (n=83; n=46), Ethiopia (n=9492; n=50) and Sweden (n=51; n=19). Longitudinal samples were obtained from a subset of the Vietnamese (n=24) in whom antiretroviral therapy (ART) and tuberculostatics were given. Plasma lipopolysaccharide (LPS), sCD14 and anti-flagellin IgG were determined by the endpoint chromogenic Limulus Amebocyte Assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
All three biomarkers were significantly increased in patients living with HIV-1 from all countries as compared to controls. No differences were found between males and females. Vietnamese and Ethiopian patients had significantly higher levels of anti-flagellin IgG and LPS, as compared to Swedes. ART reduced these levels for the Vietnamese. Vietnamese patients given tuberculostatics at initiation of ART had significantly lower levels of anti-flagellin IgG and higher sCD14. The biomarkers were lower in Vietnamese who did not develop opportunistic infection.
Higher MT is common in patients living with HIV compared to healthy individuals, and in patients from LMICs compared to patients from a high-income country. Treatment with tuberculostatics decreased MT while higher levels of MT are associated with a poorer clinical outcome.
microbial translocation; immune activation; LPS; sCD14; treatment-naïve patients living with HIV; HIV in Vietnam; HIV in Ethiopia; HIV in Sweden
Point-of-care testing for CD4 cell count is considered a promising way of reducing the time to eligibility assessment for antiretroviral therapy (ART) and of increasing retention in care prior to treatment initiation. In this review, we assess the available evidence on the patient and programme impact of point-of-care CD4 testing.
We searched nine databases and two conference sites (up until 26 October 2013) for studies reporting patient and programme outcomes following the introduction of point-of-care CD4 testing. Where appropriate, results were pooled using random-effects methods.
Fifteen studies, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, were included for review, providing evidence for adults, adolescents, children and pregnant women. Compared to conventional laboratory-based testing, point-of-care CD4 testing increased the likelihood of having CD4 measured [odds ratio (OR) 4.1, 95% CI 3.5–4.9, n=2] and receiving a CD4 result (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.5–5.6, n=6). Time to being tested was significantly reduced, by a median of nine days; time from CD4 testing to receiving the result was reduced by as much as 17 days. Evidence for increased treatment initiation was mixed.
The results of this review suggest that point-of-care CD4 testing can increase retention in care prior to starting treatment and can also reduce time to eligibility assessment, which may result in more eligible patients being initiated on ART.
antiretroviral therapy; HIV/AIDS; point-of-care CD4; retention; treatment initiation
The prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drug resistance mutations (DRMs) was estimated in 25 untreated infants who were living with HIV-1, younger than 13 months and living in Senegal. Antiretroviral DRMs were detected in 8 of 25 (32%) children. Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) DRMs were present in all (100%) children whose viruses harboured DRMs: K103N in 43%; Y181C, K101E and V106M each in 29%; and Y188L in 14%. The D67N thymidine-analogue mutation was observed in only two children whose mothers had received chemoprophylaxis of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). The proportion of children whose viruses harboured DRMs was then 6.5-fold higher in children whose mother–child couples had received nevirapine (NVP)-based chemoprophylaxis than in other couples without prophylaxis [7 of 13 (53.8%) vs. 1 of 12 (8.3%)]. These findings point to the absolute need to address primary resistance mutations in case of virological failure in young children treated by antiretroviral drugs, and to make more effective treatment regimens available to NVP-exposed infants living with HIV-1 in Senegal.
HIV antiretroviral drug resistance; nevirapine; mother-to-child transmission; children; Senegal
Gender differences in antiretroviral therapy (ART) outcomes are critical in sub-Saharan Africa. We assessed the association between gender and virologic failure among adult patients treated in a public routine clinic (one of the largest in West Africa) in Burkina Faso.
We performed a case-control study between July and October 2012 among patients who had received ART at the Bobo Dioulasso Day Care Unit. Patients were eligible if they were 15 years or older, positive for HIV-1 or HIV-1+2, and on first-line ART for at least six months. Cases were all patients with two consecutive HIV loads >1000 copies/mL (Biocentric Generic or Abbott Real Time assays), or one HIV load >1000 copies/mL associated with immunologic or clinical failure criteria. Controls were all patients who only had HIV loads <300 copies/mL. The association between gender and virologic failure was assessed using a multivariate logistic regression, adjusted on age, level of education, baseline CD4+ T cell count, first and current antiretroviral regimens and time on ART.
Of 2303 patients (74.2% women; median age: 40 years; median time on ART: 34 months), 172 had virologic failure and 2131 had virologic success. Among the former, 130 (75.6%) had confirmed virologic failure, 38 (22.1%) had viro-immunologic failure, and four (2.3%) had viro-clinical failure. The proportion of men was significantly higher among the cases than among the controls (37.2% vs. 24.9%; p<0.001). Compared to controls, cases were also younger, more immunodeficient at ART initiation, less likely to receive a protease inhibitor-based antiretroviral regimen and had spent a longer period of time on ART. After adjustment, male gender remained strongly associated with virologic failure (odds ratio 2.52, 95% CI: 1.77–3.60; p<0.001).
Men on ART appeared more vulnerable to virologic failure than women. Additional studies are needed to confirm the poorer prognosis of men in this setting and to determine the causes for their vulnerability in order to optimize HIV care. From now on, efforts should be made to support the adherence of men to ART in the African setting.
HIV; antiretroviral; efficacy; virologic failure; gender; Africa
With the aim of searching genetic factors associated with the response to an immune treatment based on autologous monocyte-derived dendritic cells pulsed with autologous inactivated HIV, we performed exome analysis by screening more than 240,000 putative functional exonic variants in 18 HIV-positive Brazilian patients that underwent the immune treatment.
Exome analysis has been performed using the ILLUMINA Infinium HumanExome BeadChip. zCall algorithm allowed us to recall rare variants. Quality control and SNP-centred analysis were done with GenABEL R package. An in-house implementation of the Wang method permitted gene-centred analysis.
CCR4-NOT transcription complex, subunit 1 (CNOT1) gene (16q21), showed the strongest association with the modification of the response to the therapeutic vaccine (p=0.00075). CNOT1 SNP rs7188697 A/G was significantly associated with DC treatment response. The presence of a G allele indicated poor response to the therapeutic vaccine (p=0.0031; OR=33.00; CI=1.74–624.66), and the SNP behaved in a dominant model (A/A vs. A/G+G/G p=0.0009; OR=107.66; 95% CI=3.85–3013.31), being the A/G genotype present only in weak/transient responders, conferring susceptibility to poor response to the immune treatment.
CNOT1 is known to be involved in the control of mRNA deadenylation and mRNA decay. Moreover, CNOT1 has been recently described as being involved in the regulation of inflammatory processes mediated by tristetraprolin (TTP). The TTP-CCR4-NOT complex (CNOT1 in the CCR4-NOT complex is the binding site for TTP) has been reported as interfering with HIV replication, through post-transcriptional control. Therefore, we can hypothesize that genetic variation occurring in the CNOT1 gene could impair the TTP-CCR4-NOT complex, thus interfering with HIV replication and/or host immune response.
Being aware that our findings are exclusive to the 18 patients studied with a need for replication, and that the genetic variant of CNOT1 gene, localized at intron 3, has no known functional effect, we propose a novel potential candidate locus for the modulation of the response to the immune treatment, and open a discussion on the necessity to consider the host genome as another potential variant to be evaluated when designing an immune therapy study.
DC immunotherapy; HIV; exome analysis; CNOT1; TTP
Low bone mass is prevalent in HIV-positive patients. However, compared to Western countries, less is known about HIV-associated osteopenia in Asian populations.
We performed a cross-sectional survey in Seoul National University Hospital from December 2011 to May 2012. We measured bone mineral density using central dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, with consent, in male HIV-positive patients, aged 40 years and older. Diagnosis of low bone mass was made using International Society for Clinical Densitometry Z-score criteria in the 40–49 years age group and World Health Organization T-score criteria in the >50-year age group. The data were compared with those of a community-based cohort in Korea.
Eighty-four HIV-positive male patients were included in this study. Median age was 49 (interquartile range [IQR], 45–56) years, and median body mass index (BMI) was 22.6 (IQR, 20.9–24.4). Viral suppression was achieved in 75 (89.3%) patients and median duration of antiretroviral therapy was 71 (IQR, 36–120) months. The overall prevalence of low bone mass was 16.7% in the 40–49 years age group and 54.8% in the>50 years age group. Our cohort had significantly lower bone mass at the femur neck and total hip than HIV-negative Koreans in the 40–49 years age group. Low bone mass was significantly associated with low BMI, and a high level of serum carboxy-terminal collagen crosslinks, but was not associated with antiretroviral regimen or duration of antiretroviral therapy.
Low bone mass is prevalent in Korean HIV-positive males undergoing antiretroviral therapy, and may be associated with increased bone resorption.
HIV; AIDS; osteopenia; osteoporosis
There is growing interest in expanding public health approaches that address social and structural drivers that affect the environment in which behaviour occurs. Half of those living with HIV infection are women. The sociocultural and political environment in which women live can enable or inhibit their ability to protect themselves from acquiring HIV. This paper examines the evidence related to six key social and structural drivers of HIV for women: transforming gender norms; addressing violence against women; transforming legal norms to empower women; promoting women’s employment, income and livelihood opportunities; advancing education for girls and reducing stigma and discrimination. The paper reviews the evidence for successful and promising social and structural interventions related to each driver. This analysis contains peer-reviewed published research and study reports with clear and transparent data on the effectiveness of interventions. Structural interventions to address these key social and structural drivers have led to increasing HIV-protective behaviours, creating more gender-equitable relationships and decreasing violence, improving services for women, increasing widows’ ability to cope with HIV and reducing behaviour that increases HIV risk, particularly among young people.
women; structural interventions; gender norms; gender-based violence; education; law; livelihoods; stigma and discrimination
It remains unclear whether the natural course of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) differs in subjects infected through injecting drug use (IDU) and no data have been published from low- or middle-income countries. We addressed this question in an urban cohort in Indonesia, which is experiencing a rapidly growing HIV epidemic strongly driven by IDU.
All antiretroviral treatment (ART) naïve HIV-positive patients who had at least two subsequent CD4 cell counts available before starting ART were included in this study. We examined the association between IDU and CD4 cell decline using a linear mixed model, with adjustment for possible confounders such as HIV viral load and hepatitis C antibodies.
Among 284 HIV-positive ART naïve patients, the majority were male (56%) with a history of IDU (79% among men). People with a history of IDU had a statistically significant faster decline in CD4 cells (p<0.001). Based on our data, patients with a history of IDU would have an average 33% decline in CD4 cells after one year without ART, compared with a 22% decline among non-users. At two years, the decline would average 66 and 40%, respectively. No other factor was significantly associated with CD4 cell decline.
We show that a history of IDU is associated with a more rapid CD4 cell natural decline among HIV-positive individuals in Indonesia. These findings have implications for monitoring ART naïve patients with a history of IDU and for starting ART in this group.
injecting drug use (IDU); CD4-positive T-Lymphocytes; cohort studies; human immunodeficiency virus; Indonesia
HIV-associated lipodystrophy syndrome causes systemic metabolic alterations and psychological distress that worsen the quality of life of these patients. An early detection should be considered to efficiently treat it. Objective criteria or reference indices are needed for an early diagnosis. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is an operator-independent, repeatable and non-invasive method of body composition evaluation that is less expensive than dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and/or CT scans. The aims of this pilot study were to validate the data obtained by BIA to measure fat mass in HIV-positive patients with/without lipoatrophy and to determine if BIA correctly diagnoses lipoatrophy in HIV-positive patients.
Thirty-nine participants were included in this preliminary study. Fourteen were HIV-negative (eight men) whereas 25 were HIV-positive patients (17 men). Eleven of the HIV-positive patients were classified as lipoatrophic according to subjective evaluation by the physicians. Total and regional body composition was measured in basal conditions by DXA and by BIA. To obtain abdominal CT scan fat values, transverse slices with 6-mm thickness were acquired at the L4-L5 intervertebral space.
BIA measurements of total and regional body fat were significantly correlated with those obtained by DXA (p < 0.05 to <0.01) in HIV-positive patients. However, agreement between methods was poor as not very high ICC (intraclass correlation coefficient) values were observed. BIA and DXA showed higher ICC values in lipoatrophic patients. The visceral index obtained by BIA was correlated with total and visceral fat in L4 measured by CT scan (r = 0.607 and r = 0.617, respectively, p < 0.01) in HIV-positive patients. The Fat Mass Ratio (FMR) calculated by BIA did not correlate or agree with DXA values.
Multi-frequency BIA could be an effective method to evaluate the evolution of total and regional fat composition in HIV-positive patients with/without lipoatrophy. The correlations between BIA and DXA improved in lipoatrophic patients and in men, suggesting that its efficacy depends on fat mass, gender and probably other factors. The visceral index obtained by BIA seems to be a reliable indicator of abdominal obesity. However, BIA did not fulfil the need for easy quantitative diagnostic tools for lipoatrophy, and it did not provide sufficient diagnostic cut-off values for this syndrome.
HIV-associated lipoatrophy; fat mass; bioimpedance; dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA); computed tomography (CT scan); diagnostic cut-off values
The scale-up of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has led to a significant improvement in survival of the HIV-positive patient but its effects on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are less known and context-dependent. Our aim was to assess the temporal changes and factors associated with HRQOL among HIV-positive adults initiating HAART in Burkina Faso.
HIV-positive people initiating HAART were prospectively included and followed over a one-year period in three HIV clinics of Ouagadougou. HRQOL was assessed at baseline and at each follow-up visit using physical (PHS) and mental (MHS) summary scores derived from the Medical Outcome Study 36-Item short-form health survey (MOS SF-36) questionnaire. Toxicity related to HAART modification and self-reported symptoms were recorded during follow-up visits. Determinants associated with baseline and changes in both scores over a one-year period were assessed using a mixed linear model.
A total of 344 patients were included. Their median age at baseline was 37 years [interquartile range (IQR) 30–44] and their median CD4 count was 181 cells/mm3 (IQR 97–269). The mean [standard deviation (SD)] PHS score increased from 45.4 (11.1) at baseline to 60.0 (3.1) at 12 months (p<10−4) and the mean (SD) MHS score from 42.2 (8.7) to 43.9 (3.4) (p<10−2). After one year of treatment, patients that experienced on average two symptoms during follow-up presented with significantly lower PHS (63.9) and MHS (43.8) scores compared to patients that presented no symptoms with PHS and MHS of 68.2 (p<10−4) and 45.3 (p<10−3), respectively.
The use of HAART was associated with a significant increase in both physical and mental aspects of the HRQOL over a 12-month period in this urban African population. Perceived symptoms experienced during follow-up visits were associated with a significant impairment in HRQOL. The appropriate and timely management of reported symptoms during the follow-up of HAART-treated patients is a key component to restore HRQOL.
quality of life; HIV/AIDS; antiretroviral treatment; Burkina Faso; sub-Saharan Africa
Guidelines in resource-poor settings have progressively included interventions to reduce postnatal HIV transmission through breast milk. In addition to HIV-free survival, infant growth and non-HIV infections should be considered. Determining the effect of these interventions on infant growth and non-HIV infections will inform healthcare decisions about feeding HIV-exposed infants. We synthesize findings from studies comparing breast to formula feeding, early weaning to standard-duration breastfeeding, breastfeeding with extended antiretroviral (ARV) to short-course ARV prophylaxis, and alternative preparations of infant formula to standard formula in HIV-exposed infants, focusing on infant growth and non-HIV infectious morbidity outcomes. The review objectives were to collate and appraise evidence of interventions to reduce postnatal vertical HIV transmission, and to estimate their effect on growth and non-HIV infections from birth to two years of age among HIV-exposed infants.
We searched PubMed, SCOPUS, and Cochrane CENTRAL Controlled Trials Register. We included randomized trials and prospective cohort studies. Two authors independently extracted data and evaluated risk of bias. Rate ratios and mean differences were used as effect measures for dichotomous and continuous outcomes, respectively. Where pooling was possible, we used fixed-effects meta-analysis to pool results across studies. Quality of evidence was assessed using the GRADE approach.
Results and discussion
Prospective cohort studies comparing breast- versus formula-fed HIV-exposed infants found breastfeeding to be protective against diarrhoea in early life [risk ratio (RR)=0.31; 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.13 to 0.74]. The effect of breastfeeding against diarrhoea [hazard ratio (HR)=0.74; 95% CI=0.57 to 0.97] and respiratory infections (HR=0.65; 95% CI=0.41 to 1.00) was significant through two years of age. The only randomized controlled trial (RCT) available showed that breastfeeding tended to be protective against malnutrition (RR=0.63; 95% CI=0.36 to 1.12). We found no statistically significant differences in the rates of non-HIV infections or malnutrition between breast-fed infants in the extended and short-course ARV prophylaxis groups.
Low to moderate quality evidence suggests breastfeeding may improve growth and non-HIV infection outcomes of HIV-exposed infants. Extended ARV prophylaxis does not appear to increase the risk for HIV-exposed infants for adverse growth or non-HIV infections compared to short-course ARV prophylaxis.
postnatal interventions; HIV; children; growth; non-HIV infections; breast milk
Due to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HIV-1 infection has evolved from a lethal to a chronic disease. As such, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has become an important outcome variable. The purpose of this study was to identify socio-economic, behavioural, (neuro)psychological and clinical determinants of HRQoL among people living with HIV (PLHIV).
This study was conducted between 1 January and 31 December 2012 at the AIDS Reference Centre of Ghent University Hospital, a tertiary care referral centre in Belgium. Validated self-report questionnaires were administered to collect socio-demographic data, to assess HRQoL (Medical Outcomes Study-HIV), depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory-II) and adherence to HAART (Short Medication Adherence Questionnaire) and to screen for neurocognitive dysfunction.
A total of 237 people participated, among whom 187 (78.9%) were male. Mean age was 45.8±10.7 years and 144 (63.7%, 144/226) participants were homosexual. Median physical and mental health score (PHS, MHS) were 55.6 (IQR 48.2–60.6) and 52.0 (IQR 44.2–57.9), respectively. Multivariable regression analysis revealed that incapacity to work, depressive symptoms, neurocognitive complaints (NCCs), dissatisfaction with the patient–physician relationship and non-adherence were all negatively associated with HRQoL.
Socio-economic (work status), behavioural (adherence) and (neuro)psychological (depressive symptoms, NCCs) determinants independently impact HRQoL among this cohort of PLHIV. Clinical parameters (viral load, CD4 cell count) were not independently associated with HRQoL.
HIV; AIDS; quality of life; MOS-HIV; psychosocial; outcome
Despite the knowledge that men who have sex with men (MSM) are more likely to be infected with HIV across settings, there has been little investigation of the experiences of MSM who are living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Using the framework of positive health, dignity and prevention, we explored the experiences and HIV prevention, care and treatment needs of MSM who are living with HIV in Swaziland.
We conducted 40 in-depth interviews with 20 HIV-positive MSM, 16 interviews with key informants and three focus groups with MSM community members. Qualitative analysis was iterative and included debriefing sessions with a study staff, a stakeholders’ workshop and coding for key themes using Atlas.ti.
The predominant theme was the significant and multiple forms of stigma and discrimination faced by MSM living with HIV in this setting due to both their sexual identity and HIV status. Dual stigma led to selective disclosure or lack of disclosure of both identities, and consequently a lack of social support for care-seeking and medication adherence. Perceived and experienced stigma from healthcare settings, particularly around sexual identity, also led to delayed care-seeking, travel to more distant clinics and missed opportunities for appropriate services. Participants described experiences of violence and lack of police protection as well as mental health challenges. Key informants, however, reflected on their duty to provide non-discriminatory services to all Swazis regardless of personal beliefs.
Intersectionality provides a framework for understanding the experiences of dual stigma and discrimination faced by MSM living with HIV in Swaziland and highlights how programmes and policies should consider the specific needs of this population when designing HIV prevention, care and treatment services. In Swaziland, the health sector should consider providing specialized training for healthcare providers, distributing condoms and lubricants and engaging MSM as peer outreach workers or expert clients. Interventions to reduce stigma, discrimination and violence against MSM and people living with HIV are also needed for both healthcare workers and the general population. Finally, research on experiences and needs of MSM living with HIV globally can help inform comprehensive HIV services for this population.
men who have sex with men; positive health dignity and prevention; people living with HIV; qualitative research; Swaziland
While still an understudied area, there is a growing body of studies highlighting epidemiologic data on men who have sex with men (MSM) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) which challenge the attitudes of complacency and irrelevancy among donors and country governments that are uncomfortable in addressing key populations (KPs). While some of the past inaction may be explained by ignorance, new data document highly elevated and sustained HIV prevalence that is seemingly isolated from recent overall declines in prevalence. The articles in this series highlight new studies which focus on the stark epidemiologic burden in countries from concentrated, mixed and generalized epidemic settings. The issue includes research from West, Central, East and Southern Africa and explores the pervasive impact of stigma and discrimination as critical barriers to confronting the HIV epidemic among MSM and the intersecting stigma and marginalization found between living with HIV and sexual minority status. Interventions to remove barriers to service access, including those aimed at training providers and mobilizing communities even within stigmatized peri-urban settings, are featured in this issue, which further demonstrates the immediate need for comprehensive action to address HIV among MSM in all countries in the region, regardless of epidemic classification.
men who have sex with men; Sub-Saharan Africa; epidemiology; HIV programmes; stigma and discrimination
Men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kenya are at high risk for HIV and may experience prejudiced treatment in health settings due to stigma. An on-line computer-facilitated MSM sensitivity programme was conducted to educate healthcare workers (HCWs) about the health issues and needs of MSM patients.
Seventy-four HCWs from 49 ART-providing health facilities in the Kenyan Coast were recruited through purposive sampling to undergo a two-day MSM sensitivity training. We conducted eight focus group discussions (FGDs) with programme participants prior to and three months after completing the training programme. Discussions aimed to characterize HCWs’ challenges in serving MSM patients and impacts of programme participation on HCWs’ personal attitudes and professional capacities.
Before participating in the training programme, HCWs described secondary stigma, lack of professional education about MSM, and personal and social prejudices as barriers to serving MSM clients. After completing the programme, HCWs expressed greater acknowledgement of MSM patients in their clinics, endorsed the need to treat MSM patients with high professional standards and demonstrated sophisticated awareness of the social and behavioural risks for HIV among MSM.
Findings provide support for this approach to improving health services for MSM patients. Further efforts are needed to broaden the reach of this training in other areas, address identified barriers to HCW participation and evaluate programme effects on patient and HCW outcomes using rigorous methodology.
on-line computer facilitated MSM sensitivity programme; healthcare worker; stigma; MSM; Kenya; HIV
Despite men who have sex with men (MSM) being a key population for HIV programming globally, HIV epidemiologic data on MSM in Central Africa are sparse. We measured HIV and syphilis prevalence and the factors associated with HIV infection among MSM in Cameroon.
Two hundred and seventy-two and 239 MSM aged ≥18 from Douala and Yaoundé, respectively, were recruited using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) for this cross-sectional surveillance study in 2011. Participants completed a structured questionnaire and HIV and syphilis testing. Statistical analyses, including RDS-weighted proportions, bootstrapped confidence intervals and logistic regressions, were used.
Crude and RDS-weighted HIV prevalence were 28.6% (73/255) and 25.5% (95% CI 19.1–31.9) in Douala, and 47.3% (98/207) and 44.4% (95% CI 35.7–53.2) in Yaoundé. Active syphilis prevalence in total was 0.4% (2/511). Overall, median age was 24 years, 62% (317/511) of MSM identified as bisexual and 28.6% (144/511) identified as gay. Inconsistent condom use with regular male partners (64.1%; 273/426) and casual male and female partners (48.5%; 195/402) was common, as was the inconsistent use of condom-compatible lubricants (CCLs) (26.3%; 124/472). In Douala, preferring a receptive sexual role was associated with prevalent HIV infection [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.33, 95% CI 1.02–5.32]. Compared to MSM without HIV infection, MSM living with HIV were more likely to have ever accessed a health service targeting MSM in Douala (aOR 4.88, 95% CI 1.63–14.63). In Yaoundé, MSM living with HIV were more likely to use CCLs (aOR 2.44, 95% CI 1.19–4.97).
High HIV prevalence were observed and condoms and CCLs were used inconsistently indicating that MSM are a priority population for HIV prevention, treatment and care services in Douala and Yaoundé. Building the capacity of MSM community organizations and improving the delivery and scale-up of multimodal interventions for MSM that are sensitive to concerns about confidentiality and the complex individual, social, community-level and policy challenges are needed to successfully engage young MSM in the continuum of HIV care. In addition to scaling up condom and CCL access, evaluating the feasibility of novel biomedical interventions, including antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis and early antiretroviral therapy for MSM living with HIV in Cameroon, is also warranted.
Men who have sex with men (MSM); HIV/AIDS; epidemiology; Africa; prevalence; respondent-driven sampling (RDS); homosexuality; prevention; risk factors; sexual behaviour
There are limited data characterizing the burden of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Malawi. Epidemiologic research and access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services have been traditionally limited in Malawi by criminalization and stigmatization of same-sex practices. To inform the development of a comprehensive HIV prevention intervention for Malawian MSM, we conducted a community-led assessment of HIV prevalence and correlates of infection.
From April 2011 to March 2012, 338 MSM were enrolled in a cross-sectional study in Blantyre, Malawi. Participants were recruited by respondent-driven sampling methods (RDS), reaching 19 waves. Trained staff administered the socio-behavioural survey and HIV and syphilis voluntary counselling and testing.
Crude HIV and syphilis prevalence estimates were 15.4% (RDS-weighted 12.5%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 7.3–17.8) and 5.3% (RDS-weighted 4.4%, 95% CI: 3.1–7.6), respectively. Ninety per cent (90.4%, unweighted) of HIV infections were reported as being previously undiagnosed. Participants were predominantly gay-identified (60.8%) or bisexually identified (36.3%); 50.7% reported recent concurrent relationships. Approximately half reported consistent condom use (always or almost always) with casual male partners, and proportions were relatively uniform across partner types and genders. The prevalence of perceived and experienced stigma exceeded 20% for almost all variables, 11.4% ever experienced physical violence and 7% were ever raped. Current age >25 years (RDS-weighted adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.9, 95% CI: 1.2–12.7), single marital status (RDS-weighted AOR: 0.3; 95% CI: 0.1–0.8) and age of first sex with a man <16 years (RDS-weighted AOR: 4.3, 95% CI: 1.2–15.0) were independently associated with HIV infection.
Results demonstrate that MSM represent an underserved, at-risk population for HIV services in Malawi and merit comprehensive HIV prevention services. Results provide a number of priorities for research and prevention programmes for MSM, including providing access to and encouraging regular confidential HIV testing and counselling, and risk reduction counselling related to anal intercourse. Other targets include the provision of condoms and compatible lubricants, HIV prevention information, and HIV and sexually transmitted infection treatment and adherence support. Addressing multiple levels of HIV risk, including structural factors, may help to ensure that programmes have sufficient coverage to impact this HIV epidemic among MSM.
HIV; men who have sex with men (MSM); behavioural risks; stigma; Malawi; prevention