HIV-1 serodiscordant couples may experience increased risks of relationship dissolution; however, longitudinal stability of these relationships is poorly understood. We determined rates and correlates of separation among 469 serodiscordant couples in Nairobi and found that 113 (24 %) separated during 2 years of follow-up. Couples with a female HIV-1 infected partner (F+M–) and no income were more likely to separate than M+F– couples without income (HR = 5.0; 95 % CI 1.1–25.0), and F+M– and M+F– couples with income (HR = 2.4; 95 % CI 1.3–4.5 and HR = 2.3; 95 % CI 1.2–4.8, respectively). High separation rates may be important for couple support services and for conducting discordant couple studies.
HIV-1 serodiscordant couples; Relationship dissolution; Separation; HIV-1 transmission; Poverty; Women
Background. The synergy between herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is well known, but lack of knowledge about the epidemiology of HSV-2 acquisition in HIV-1-discordant couples hampers development of HSV-2 prevention interventions that could reduce HIV-1 transmission.
Methods. HIV-1-discordant couples were enrolled in Nairobi, Kenya, and followed for up to 2 years. HSV-2 status was determined using HerpeSelect HSV-2 ELISA. Correlates of prevalence and incidence were assessed.
Results. Of 469 HIV-1-discordant couples, at baseline, 353 (75.3%) were affected by HSV-2, of which 189 (53.5%) were concordantly HSV-2 seropositive and 164 (46.5%) were HSV-2-discordant. Prevalence was lowest among HIV-1-uninfected men (39.9%) compared to HIV-1-infected women (64.8%), HIV-1-infected men (66.7%), and HIV-1-uninfected women (68.5%). During follow-up, HSV-2 seroincidence was 14.9 per 100 person-years. Incidence was 1.6-fold higher among females compared to males (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00–2.48) and 2.5-fold higher in HIV-1-infected compared to uninfected women (95% CI, 1.12–5.74). At least 30% of incident HSV-2 infections originated from an outside partner.
Conclusions. The high HSV-2 prevalence and incidence in HIV-1-discordant couples in sub-Saharan Africa suggest HSV-2 treatment and prevention could be an effective targeted strategy to reduce HSV-2 and HIV-1 transmission in this high-risk population.
HSV-2; herpes; HIV; discordant; serodiscordant; couples; genital ulcer disease; Kenya; incidence; prevalence; transmission; prevention; Africa; antiviral; seroconvert; ELISA
Timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) is particularly important for HIV-discordant couples because viral suppression greatly reduces the risk of transmission to the uninfected partner. To identify issues and concerns related to ART initiation among HIV-discordant couples, we recruited a subset of discordant couples participating in a longitudinal study in Nairobi to participate in in-depth interviews and focus group discussions about ART. Our results suggest that partners in HIV-discordant relationships discuss starting ART, yet most are not aware that ART can decrease the risk of HIV transmission. Additionally, their concerns about ART initiation include side effects, sustaining an appropriate level of drug treatment, HIV/AIDS related stigma, medical/biological issues, psychological barriers, misconceptions about the medications, the inconvenience of being on therapy, and lack of social support. Understanding and addressing these barriers to ART initiation among discordant couples is critical to advancing the HIV “treatment as prevention” agenda.
HIV/AIDS; serodiscordant couples; serodiscordant; antiretroviral therapy; Africa
Preterm birth (PTB), low birth weight (LBW) and small for gestational age (SGA) contribute to neonatal mortality. Maternal HIV-1 infection has been associated with an increased risk of PTB, but mechanisms underlying this association are undefined. We describe correlates and outcomes of PTB, LBW, and SGA in HIV-exposed uninfected infants.
This was a retrospective analysis of cohort study. Between 1999–2002, pregnant, HIV-infected women were enrolled into an HIV-1 transmission study. Logistic regression was used to identify correlates of PTB, LBW and SGA in HIV-negative, spontaneous singleton deliveries. Associations between birth outcomes and mortality were measured using survival analyses.
In multivariable models, maternal plasma (OR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.1-3.8) and cervical HIV-1 RNA levels (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.1-2.4), and CD4 < 15% (OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.0-5.6) were associated with increased odds of PTB. Abnormal vaginal discharge and cervical polymorphonuclear leukocytes were also associated with PTB. Cervical HIV-1 RNA level (OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.5-6.7) was associated with an increased odds of LBW, while increasing parity (OR = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.24-0.88) was associated with reduced odds. Higher maternal body mass index (OR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.61-0.92) was associated with a reduced odds of SGA, while bacterial vaginosis was associated with >3-fold increased odds (OR = 3.2, 95% CI = 1.4-7.4). PTB, LBW, and SGA were each associated with a >6-fold increased risk of neonatal death, and a >2-fold increased rate of infant mortality within the first year.
Maternal plasma and cervical HIV-1 RNA load, and genital infections may be important risk factors for PTB in HIV-exposed uninfected infants. PTB, LBW, and SGA are associated with increased neonatal and infant mortality in HIV-exposed uninfected infants.
Preterm birth; Low birth weight; Small for gestational age; Pediatric HIV
Cervicovaginal HIV-1-neutralizing IgA was associated with reduced HIV-1 acquisition in a cohort of commercial sex workers. We aimed to define the prevalence and correlates of HIV-1-neutralizing IgA from HIV-1-exposed seronegative (HESN) women in HIV-1-serodiscordant relationships.
HIV-1-serodiscordant couples in Nairobi were enrolled and followed quarterly up to two years, and women in concordant HIV-1-negative relationships were enrolled as controls. Cervicovaginal, seminal, and blood samples were collected at enrollment and follow-up. Cervicovaginal IgA was assessed for HIV-1-neutralizing activity by a peripheral blood mononuclear cell-based assay using an HIV-1 clade A primary isolate.
HESN women in discordant relationships had significantly more HIV-1-neutralizing IgA detected in genital secretions compared to control women (36 of 155 [23%] vs. 4 of 70 [6%], respectively; odds ratio [OR] 5.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.70–14.64; P=0.003). These responses persisted over time in all available follow-up cervicovaginal samples from women with detectable HIV-1-neutralizing IgA at baseline. Partner median HIV-1 plasma viral load was lower among women who had HIV-1-neutralizing IgA compared to women without detectable activity (4.3 vs. 4.8 log10 copies/ml, respectively; OR 0.70; 95% CI 0.51–0.94; P=0.02). A similar trend was found with partner seminal viral load (OR 0.57; 95% CI 0.32–1.02; P=0.06).
HESN women were 5-times more likely to have neutralizing IgA in cervicovaginal secretions than low-risk control women, and these responses were inversely associated with partner viral load. These observations support the existence of antiviral activity in the mucosal IgA fraction following sexual HIV-1 exposure.
HIV; immunoglobulin A; discordant couple; exposed uninfected; Africa; neutralization; viral load
The C868T single nucleotide polymorphism in the CD4 receptor encodes an amino acid substitution of tryptophan for arginine in the third domain. Previous studies suggest that C868T increases the risk of HIV-1 acquisition; however, the influence of this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) on disease progression has not been established. The presence of the C868T polymorphism was not statistically significantly associated with HIV-1 disease progression outcomes in a cohort of postpartum Kenyan women.
A number of studies of highly exposed HIV-1-seronegative individuals (HESN) have found HIV-1-specific cellular responses. However, there is limited evidence that responses prevent infection or are linked to HIV-1 exposure. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were isolated from HESN in HIV-1-discordant relationships and low-risk controls in Nairobi, Kenya. HIV-1-specific responses were detected using gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISpot) assays stimulated by peptide pools spanning the subtype A HIV-1 genome. The HIV-1 incidence in this HESN cohort was 1.5 per 100 person years. Positive ELISpot responses were found in 34 (10%) of 331 HESN and 14 (13%) of 107 low-risk controls (odds ratio [OR] = 0.76; P = 0.476). The median immunodominant response was 18.9 spot-forming units (SFU)/106 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Among HESN, increasing age (OR = 1.24 per 5 years; P = 0.026) and longer cohabitation with the HIV-1-infected partner (OR = 5.88 per 5 years; P = 0.003) were associated with responses. These factors were not associated with responses in controls. Other exposure indicators, including the partner's HIV-1 load (OR = 0.99 per log10 copy/ml; P = 0.974) and CD4 count (OR = 1.09 per 100 cells/μl; P = 0.238), were not associated with responses in HESN. HIV-1-specific cellular responses may be less relevant to resistance to infection among HESN who are using risk reduction strategies that decrease their direct viral exposure.
Background. Although evidence supports a relationship between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–1 exposure and HIV-1−specific CD8+ T cell responses, studies have not demonstrated a direct association between the quantity of HIV-1 to which a person is exposed and the presence or absence of a response.
Methods. From 1999 to 2005, maternal HIV-1 RNA levels were measured in blood, cervical secretions, and breast milk at delivery and 1 month after delivery. HIV-1−specific interferon (IFN)–γ Elispot assays were conducted to determine infant CD8+ T-cell responses at 3 months of age.
Results. Among 161 infants tested with Elispot assays, 23 (14%) had positive results. Mothers whose infants had a positive assay had higher breast milk HIV-1 RNA levels at month 1 compared with mothers whose infants had negative Elispot assays (3.1 vs 2.5 log10 copies/mL; P = .017). Female infants were also more likely to have positive Elispot assays than male infants (P = .046), and in multivariate analyses, both female sex and high breast milk HIV-1 levels remained important predictors of a positive response (P = .022 and P = .015, respectively).
Conclusions. Exposure to breast milk HIV-1 and sex were associated with development of HIV-1−specific CD8+ T-cell responses in infants. These data support a role for mucosal exposure via the oral route in induction of systemic HIV-1−specific cellular immunity.
In Kenya and much of sub-Saharan Africa, nearly half of all couples affected by HIV are discordant. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) slows disease progression in HIV-1-infected individuals, and reduces transmission to uninfected partners. We examined time to ART initiation and factors associated with delayed initiation in HIV-1-discordant couples in Nairobi.
HIV-1-discordant couples were enrolled and followed quarterly for up to 2 years. Clinical staff administered questionnaires and conducted viral loads and CD4 counts. Participants with a CD4 count meeting ART criteria were referred to a nearby PEPFAR-funded treatment center. Barriers to ART initiation among participants with a CD4 count eligible for ART were assessed by Cox regression.
Of 439 HIV-1-infected participants (63.6% females and 36.4% males) 146 met CD4 count criteria for ART during follow-up. Median time from meeting CD4 criteria until ART initiation was 8.9 months, with 42.0% of eligible participants on ART by 6 months and 63.4% on ART by 1 year. The CD4 count at the time of eligibility was inversely associated with time to ART initiation (HR=0.49, p< 0.001). Compared to homeowners, those paying higher rents started ART 48% more slowly (p=0.062) and those paying lower rents started 71% more slowly (p=0.002).
Despite access to regular health care, referrals to treatment centers, and free access to ART, over a third of participants with an eligible CD4 count had not started ART within 1 year. Factors of lower socioeconomic status may slow ART initiation and targeted approaches are needed to avoid delays in treatment initiation.
HIV; discordant couples; serodiscordant; antiretroviral; ART; HAART
Longitudinal studies of HIV-1-infected individuals or those at risk of infection are subject to missed study visits that may have negative consequences on the care of participants and can jeopardize study validity due to bias and loss of statistical power. Distance between participant residence and study clinic, as well as other socioeconomic and demographic factors, may contribute to interruptions in patient follow-up.
HIV-1-serodiscordant couples were enrolled between May 2007 and October 2009 and followed for two years in Nairobi, Kenya. At baseline, demographic and home location information was collected and linear distance from each participant’s home to the study clinic was determined. Participants were asked to return to the study clinic for quarterly visits, with follow-up interruptions (FUI) defined as missing two consecutive visits. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to assess crude and adjusted associations between FUI and home-to-clinic distance, and other baseline characteristics.
Of 469 enrolled couples, 64% had a female HIV-1-infected partner. Overall incidence of FUI was 13.4 per 100 person-years (PY), with lower incidence of FUI in HIV-1-infected (10.8 per 100 PY) versus -uninfected individuals (16.1 per 100 PY) (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.66; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.50, 0.88). Among HIV-1-infected participants, those living between 5 and 10 kilometers (km) from the study clinic had a two-fold increased rate of FUI compared to those living <5 km away (HR = 2.17; 95% CI: 1.09, 4.34). Other factors associated with FUI included paying higher rent (HR = 1.67; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.65), having at least primary school education (HR = 1.96; 95% CI: 1.02, 3.70), and increased HIV-1 viral load (HR = 1.23 per log10 increase; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.51).
Home-to-clinic distance, indicators of socioeconomic status, and markers of disease progression may affect compliance with study follow-up schedules. Retention strategies should focus on participants at greatest risk of FUI to ensure study validity.
There is conflicting evidence regarding the effects of breast-feeding on maternal mortality from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, and little is known about the effects of breast-feeding on markers of HIV-1 disease progression.
HIV-1–seropositive women were enrolled during pregnancy and received short-course zidovudine. HIV-1 RNA levels and CD4 cell counts were determined at baseline and at months 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 postpartum and were compared between breast-feeding and formula-feeding mothers.
Of 296 women, 98 formula fed and 198 breast-fed. At baseline, formula-feeding women had a higher education level and prevalence of HIV-1–related illness than did breast-feeding women; however, the groups did not differ with respect to CD4 cell counts and HIV-1 RNA levels. Between months 1 and 24 postpartum, CD4 cell counts decreased 3.9 cells/µL/month (P< .001), HIV-1 RNA levels increased 0.005 log10 copies/mL/month (P = .03), and body mass index (BMI) decreased 0.03 kg/m2/month (P< .001). The rate of CD4 cell count decline was higher in breast-feeding mothers (7.2 cells/µL/month) than in mothers who never breast-fed (4.0 cells/µL/month) (P = .01). BMI decreased more rapidly in breast-feeding women (P = .04), whereas HIV-1 RNA levels and mortality did not differ significantly between breast-feeding and formula-feeding women.
Breast-feeding was associated with significant decreases in CD4 cell counts and BMI. HIV-1 RNA levels and mortality were not increased, suggesting a limited adverse impact of breast-feeding in mothers receiving extended care for HIV-1 infection.
Our study aimed to assess adult women’s knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, and characterize their attitudes towards potential screening and prevention strategies.
Women were participants of an HIV-discordant couples cohort in Nairobi, Kenya. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on sociodemographic status, and sexual and medical history at baseline and on knowledge and attitudes towards Pap smears, self-sampling, and HPV vaccination at study exit.
Only 14% of the 409 women (67% HIV-positive; median age 29 years) had ever had a Pap smear prior to study enrollment and very few women had ever heard of HPV (18%). Although most women knew that Pap smears detect cervical cancer (69%), very few knew that routine Pap screening is the main way to prevent ICC (18%). Most women reported a high level of cultural acceptability for Pap smear screening and a low level of physical discomfort during Pap smear collection. In addition, over 80% of women reported that they would feel comfortable using a self-sampling device (82%) and would prefer at-home sample collection (84%). Nearly all women (94%) reported willingness to be vaccinated to prevent cervical cancer if offered at no or low cost.
These findings highlight the need to educate women on routine use of Pap smears in the prevention of cervical cancer and demonstrate that vaccination and self-sampling would be acceptable modalities for cervical cancer prevention and screening.
The objectives of this study were to determine patterns of contraceptive utilization among sexually active HIV-1-seropositive women postpartum and to identify correlates of hormonal contraception uptake.
The goal of this study was to improve delivery of family planning services to HIV-1-infected women in resource-limited settings.
HIV-1-infected pregnant women were followed prospectively in a perinatal HIV-1 transmission study. Participants were referred to local clinics for contraceptive counseling and management.
Among 319 HIV-1-infected women, median time to sexual activity postpartum was 2 months and 231 (72%) women used hormonal contraception for at least 2 months during follow-up, initiating use at approximately 3 months postpartum (range, 1–11 months). Overall, 101 (44%) used DMPA, 71 (31%) oral contraception, and 59 (25%) switched methods during follow-up. Partner notification, infant mortality, and condom use were similar between those using and not using contraception.
Using existing the healthcare infrastructure, it is possible to achieve high levels of postpartum hormonal contraceptive utilization among HIV-1-seropositive women.
Breastmilk chemokines have been associated with increased HIV-1 RNA levels in breastmilk and altered risk of mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission. To characterize CC and CXC chemokines in breastmilk postpartum, we collected breastmilk specimens at regular intervals for 6 months after delivery from women with and without HIV-1 infection and used commercial ELISA kits to measure breastmilk concentrations of MIP-1α, MIP-1β, RANTES, and SDF-1α. Among 54 HIV-1-infected and 26 uninfected women, mean chemokine levels were compared cross-sectionally and longitudinally at days 5 and 10, and months 1 and 3 postpartum. For both HIV-1-infected and uninfected women, breastmilk chemokine levels were highest at day 5 for MIP-1α, MIP-1β, and SDF-1α, and subsequently decreased. RANTES levels remained constant over the follow-up period among HIV-1-uninfected women, and increased moderately among HIV-1-infected women. For MIP-1β and RANTES, breastmilk levels were significantly higher among HIV-1-infected women compared to uninfected women early postpartum. In addition, HIV-1-infected women transmitting HIV-1 to their infant had consistently higher breastmilk RANTES levels than those who did not transmit, with the greatest difference observed at 1 month (2.68 vs. 2.21 log10 pg/mL, respectively; p = 0.007). In summary, all four chemokines were most elevated within the first month postpartum, a period of high transmission risk via breastmilk. MIP-1β and RANTES levels in breastmilk were higher among HIV-1-infected women than among uninfected women, and breastmilk RANTES was positively associated with vertical transmission in this study, consistent with results from our earlier cohort.
Secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), a protein found in saliva, breast milk, and genital secretions, is capable of inhibiting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 in vitro. The aim of this study was to determine whether SLPI in infant saliva provides protection against mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission. In total, 602 saliva specimens were collected from 188 infants at birth and at ages 1, 3, and 6 months. Infants’ median salivary SLPI concentrations were higher at birth than at 6 months (341 vs. 219 ng/mL; P = .001). There was no association between SLPI concentration and HIV-1 transmission overall. However, among 122 breast-fed infants who were HIV-1 uninfected at 1 month, higher salivary SLPI levels were associated with a decreased risk of HIV-1 transmission through breast milk (hazard ratio, 0.5; 95% confidence interval, 0.3–0.9; P = .03). These results suggest that SLPI plays an important role in reducing HIV-1 transmission through breast milk.
α-Defensins are proteins exhibiting in vitro anti-HIV-1 activity that may protect against mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 via breast milk. Correlates of α-defensins in breast milk and transmission risk were determined in a cohort of HIV-1-infected pregnant women in Nairobi followed for 12 months postpartum with their infants. Maternal blood was collected antenatally and at delivery for HIV-1 viral load and infant HIV-1 infection status was determined <48 h after birth and at months 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12. Breast milk specimens collected at month 1 were assayed for α-defensins, HIV-1 RNA, subclinical mastitis, and CC and CXC chemokines. We detected α-defensins in breast milk specimens from 108 (42%) of 260 HIV-1-infected women. Women with detectable α-defensins (≥50 pg/ml) had a median concentration of 320 pg/ml and significantly higher mean breast milk HIV-1 RNA levels than women with undetectable α-defensins (2.9 log10 copies/ml versus 2.5 log10 copies/ml, p = 0.003). Increased α-defensins concentrations in breast milk were also associated with subclinical mastitis (Na+/K+ ratio > 1) and increased breast milk chemokine levels. Overall, 40 (15%) infants were HIV-1 uninfected at birth and subsequently acquired HIV-1. There was no significant association between month 1 α-defensins and risk of HIV-1 transmission. In conclusion, α-defensins were associated with breast milk HIV-1 viral load, chemokine levels, and subclinical mastitis, all of which may alter risk of infant HIV-1 acquisition. Despite these associations there was no significant relationship between breast milk α-defensins and mother-to-child transmission, suggesting a complex interplay between breast milk HIV-1, inflammation, and antiinfective factors.
To describe the early response to World Health Organization (WHO)–recommended nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)–based first-line highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV-1–infected Kenyan children unexposed to nevirapine.
Observational prospective cohort.
HIV-1 RNA level, CD4 lymphocyte count, weight for age z score, and height for age z score were measured before the initiation of HAART and every 3 to 6 months thereafter. Children received no nutritional supplements.
Sixty-seven HIV-1–infected children were followed for a median of 9 months between August 2004 and November 2005. Forty-seven (70%) used zidovudine, lamivudine (3TC), and an NNRTI (nevirapine or efavirenz), whereas 25% used stavudine (d4T), 3TC, and an NNRTI. Nevirapine was used as the NNRTI by 46 (69%) children, and individual antiretroviral drug formulations were used by 63 (94%), with only 4 (6%) using a fixed-dose combination of d4T, 3TC, and nevirapine (Triomune; Cipla, Mumbai, India). In 52 children, the median height for age z score and weight for age z score rose from −2.54 to −2.17 (P < 0.001) and from −2.30 to −1.67 (P = 0.001), respectively, after 6 months of HAART. Hospitalization rates were significantly reduced after 6 months of HAART (17% vs. 58%; P < 0.001). The median absolute CD4 count increased from 326 to 536 cells/μL (P < 0.001), the median CD4 lymphocyte percentage rose from 5.8% before treatment to 15.4% (P < 0.001), and the median viral load fell from 5.9 to 2.2 log10 copies/mL after 6 months of HAART (P < 0.001). Among 43 infants, 47% and 67% achieved viral suppression to less than 100 copies/mL and 400 copies/mL, respectively, after 6 months of HAART.
Good early clinical and virologic response to NNRTI-based HAARTwas observed in HIV-1–infected Kenyan children with advanced HIV-1 disease.
antiretroviral; children; HIV-1; response
Pediatric human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection follows a bimodal clinical course with rapid progression in 10 – 45% of children before the age of 2 years and slower progression in the remainder. A prospective observational study was undertaken to determine predictors of mortality in HIV-1-infected African infants during the first 2 years of life.
Infants in a perinatal cohort identified to be HIV-1-infected by DNA PCR were followed monthly to 1 year, then quarterly to 2 years or death.
Among 62 HIV-1-infected infants, infection occurred by the age of 1 month in 56 (90%) infants, and 32 (52%) died at median age of 6.2 months. All infant deaths were caused by infectious diseases, most frequently pneumonia (75%) and diarrhea (41%). Univariate predictors of infant mortality included maternal CD4 count <200 cells/μl [hazard ratio (HR), 3.4; P = 0.008], maternal anemia (HR = 3.7; P = 0.005), delivery complications (HR = 2.7; P = 0.01), low birth weight (HR = 4.1; P = 0.001), weight, length and head circumference ≤5th percentile at age 1 month (HR = 3.7, P = 0.003; HR = 5.8, P < 0.001; and HR = 10.4, P < 0.001, respectively), formula-feeding (HR = 4.0; P = 0.01), infant CD4% ≤15% (HR = 5.5; P = 0.01), infant CD4 count <750 (HR = 9.7; P = 0.006) and maternal death (HR = 2.9, P = 0.05). In multivariate analysis, maternal CD4 count <200 (HR = 2.7; P = 0.03) and delivery complications (HR = 3.4; P = 0.005) were independently associated with infant mortality.
Advanced maternal HIV disease, maternal anemia, delivery complications, early growth faltering, formula-feeding and low infant CD4 were predictors of early mortality in African HIV-1-infected infants. In resource-poor settings, these predictors may be useful for early identification and treatment of high risk infants.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1; disease progression; mortality; predictors
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules regulate the cellular immune system and may be determinants of infant susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. Molecular HLA typing for class I alleles was performed on infants followed in a Kenyan perinatal cohort. Early HIV-1 infection status was defined as infection occurring at birth or month 1, while late infection via breast milk was defined as first detection of HIV-1 after 1 month of age. Likelihood ratio tests based on a proportional hazards model adjusting for maternal CD4 T cell count and HIV-1 viral load at 32 weeks of gestation were used to test associations between infant allelic variation and incident HIV-1 infection. Among 433 infants, 76 (18%) were HIV-1 infected during 12 months of follow-up. HLA B*18 was associated with a significantly lower risk of early HIV-1 transmission [relative risk (RR) = 0.26; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.04–0.82], and none of the 24 breastfeeding infants expressing HLA B*18 who were uninfected at month 1 acquired HIV-1 late via breast milk. We observed a trend toward increased early HIV-1 acquisition for infants presenting HLA A*29 (RR = 2.0; 95% CI 1.0–3.8) and increased late HIV-1 acquisition via breast milk for both Cw*07 and Cw*08 (RR = 4.0; 95% CI 1.0–17.8 and RR = 7.2; 95% CI 1.2–37.3, respectively). HLA B*18 may protect breast-feeding infants against both early and late HIV-1 acquisition, a finding that could have implications for the design and monitoring of HIV-1 vaccines targeting cellular immune responses against HIV-1.
Much of the burden of morbidity affecting women of childbearing age in sub-Saharan Africa occurs in the context of HIV-1 infection. Understanding patterns of illness and determinants of disease in HIV-1–infected mothers may guide effective interventions to improve maternal health in this setting.
We describe the incidence and cofactors of comorbidities affecting peripartum and postpartum HIV-1–infected women in Kenya. Women were evaluated by clinical examination and standardized questionnaires during pregnancy and for up to 2 years after delivery.
Five hundred thirty-five women were enrolled in the cohort (median CD4 count of 433 cells/mm3) and accrued 7736 person-months of follow-up. During 1-year follow-up, the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections was 161 per 100 person-years, incidence of pneumonia was 33 per 100 person-years, incidence of tuberculosis (TB) was 11 per 100 person-years, and incidence of diarrhea was 63 per 100 person-years. Immunosuppression and HIV-1 RNA levels were predictive for pneumonia, oral thrush, and TB but not for diarrhea; CD4 counts <200 cells/mm3 were associated with pneumonia (relative risk [RR] = 2.87, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.71 to 4.83), TB (RR = 7.14, 95% CI: 2.93 to 17.40) and thrush. The risk of diarrhea was significantly associated with crowding (RR = 1.86, 95% CI: 1.19 to 2.92) and breast-feeding (RR = 1.71, 95% CI: 1.19 to 2.44). Less than 10% of women reported hospitalization during 2-year follow-up; mortality risk in the cohort was 1.9% and 4.8% for 1 and 2 years, respectively.
Mothers with HIV-1, although generally healthy, have substantial morbidity as a result of common infections, some of which are predicted by immune status or by socioeconomic factors. Enhanced attention to maternal health is increasingly important as HIV-1–infected mothers transition from programs targeting the prevention of mother-to-child transmission to HIV care clinics.
HIV/AIDS; HIV-1 progression; maternal health; morbidity; postpartum; pregnancy; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; women
HIV exposed seronegative (HESN) women represent the population most in need of a prophylactic antiviral strategy. Mucosal cationic polypeptides can potentially be regulated for this purpose and we here aimed to determine their endogenous expression and HIV neutralizing activity in genital secretions of women at risk of HIV infection.
Cervicovaginal secretions (CVS) of Kenyan women in HIV-serodiscordant relationships (HESN, n = 164; HIV seropositive, n = 60) and low-risk controls (n = 72) were assessed for the cationic polypeptides HNP1–3, LL-37 and SLPI by ELISA and for HIV neutralizing activity by a PBMC-based assay using an HIV primary isolate. Median levels of HNP1–3 and LL-37 in CVS were similar across study groups. Neither HSV-2 serostatus, nor presence of bacterial vaginosis, correlated with levels of HNP1–3 or LL-37 in the HESN women. However, an association with their partner's viral load was observed. High viral load (>10,000 HIV RNA copies/ml plasma) correlated with higher levels of HNP1–3 and LL-37 (p = 0.04 and 0.03, respectively). SLPI was most abundant in the low-risk group and did not correlate with male partner's viral load in the HESN women. HIV neutralizing activity was found in CVS of all study groups. In experimental studies, selective depletion of cationic polypeptides from CVS rendered the remaining CVS fraction non-neutralizing, whereas the cationic polypeptide fraction retained the activity. Furthermore, recombinant HNP1–3 and LL-37 could induce neutralizing activity when added to CVS lacking intrinsic activity.
These findings show that CVS from HESN, low-risk, and HIV seropositive women contain HIV neutralizing activity. Although several innate immune proteins, including HNP1–3 and LL-37, contribute to this activity these molecules can also have inflammatory properties. This balance is influenced by hormonal and environmental factors and in the present HIV serodiscordant couple cohort study we show that a partner's viral load is associated with levels of such molecules.
To investigate the relationship between male involvement in prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services and infant HIV acquisition and mortality a prospective cohort study was undertaken between 1999 and 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya.
HIV-infected pregnant women were enrolled and followed with their infants for 1 year with infant HIV DNA testing at birth, 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months postpartum. Women were encouraged to invite male partners for prevention counseling and HIV testing.
Among 456 female participants, 140 (31%) partners attended the antenatal clinic. Eighty-two (19%) of 441 infants tested were HIV infected by one year of age. Adjusting for maternal viral load, vertical transmission risk was lower among women with partner attendance compared to those without (Adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]=0.56, 95% CI 0.33–0.98; P=0.042) and among women reporting versus not reporting previous partner HIV testing (aHR=0.52, 95% CI 0.32–0.84; P=0.008). The combined risk of HIV acquisition or infant mortality was lower with male attendance (aHR=0.55, 95% CI 0.35–0.88; P=0.012) and report of prior male HIV testing (aHR=0.58, 95% CI 0.34–0.88; P=0.01) when adjusting for maternal viral load and breastfeeding.
Including men in antenatal PMTCT services with HIV testing may improve infant health outcomes.
male partners; PMTCT; vertical transmission of HIV; infant mortality; Kenya
As prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programs and HIV treatment programs rapidly expand in parallel, it is important to determine factors that influence the transition of HIV-infected women from maternal to continuing care.
This study aimed to determine rates and co-factors of accessing HIV care by HIV-infected women exiting maternal care. A cross-sectional survey of women who had participated in a PMTCT research study and were referred to care programs in Nairobi, Kenya was conducted.
A median of 17 months following referral, women were located by peer counselors and interviewed to determine whether they accessed HIV care and what influenced their care decisions. Fisher’s exact test was used to assess the association between client characteristics and access to care.
Peer counselors traced 195 (82%) residences, where they located 116 (59%) participants who provided information on care. Since exit, 50% of participants had changed residence, and 74% reported going to the referral HIV program. Reasons for not accessing care included lack of money, confidentiality, and dislike of the facility. Women who did not access care were less likely to have informed their partner of the referral (p=0.001), and were less likely believe that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is effective (p<0.01). Among those who accessed care, 33% subsequently discontinued care, most because they did not qualify for HAART. Factors cited as barriers to access included stigma, denial, poor services, and lack of money. Factors that were cited as making care attractive included health education, counseling, free services, and compassion.
A substantial number of women exiting maternal care do not transit to HIV care programs. Partner involvement, a standardized referral process and more comprehensive HIV education for mothers diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy may facilitate successful transitions between PMTCT and HIV care programs.
PMTCT; access; HIV
To determine the prevalence and correlates of neonatal conjunctivitis in infants born to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infected mothers.
This was a nested case-control study within a perinatal HIV-1 cohort. HIV-1 seropositive mothers were enrolled during pregnancy and mother-infant pairs followed after delivery with assessment for neonatal conjunctivitis at 48 hours and up to 4 weeks after birth. Genital infections (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomonas, bacterial vaginosis, and candida) were screened for at 32 weeks gestation. Mothers received treatment for genital infections diagnosed during pregnancy and short-course zidovudine. Newborns did not receive ocular prophylaxis at hospital deliveries. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to determine cofactors for neonatal conjunctivitis overall and stratified for infant HIV-1 status.
Four hundred and fifty-two infants were assessed and 101 (22.3%) had neonatal conjunctivitis during the first month postpartum. In multivariate analyses using odds ratios (OR) and confidence intervals (CI), neonatal conjunctivitis was associated with neonatal sepsis (adjusted OR 21.95, 95% CI 1.76, 274.61), birth before arrival to hospital (adjusted OR 13.91, 95% CI 1.39, 138.78) and birth weight (median 3.4 versus 3.3 kilograms, p=0.016, OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.01, 3.15). Infant HIV-1 infection was not associated with conjunctivitis.
Despite detection and treatment of genital infections during pregnancy, neonatal conjunctivitis was frequently diagnosed in infants born to HIV-1 infected mothers suggesting a need for increased vigilance and prophylaxis for conjunctivitis in these infants. Neonatal sepsis, birth before arrival to hospital, and higher birthweight are factors that may predict higher risk of neonatal conjunctivitis in this population.
Case-control; HIV; Maternal; Neonatal conjunctivitis; Risk factors
This study examines the incidence and predictors of pregnancy in HIV-1-discordant couples from Nairobi, Kenya. Women from 454 discordant couples were followed for up to 2 years. One-year cumulative incidence of pregnancy was 9.7%. Pregnancy rates did not differ significantly between HIV-1-infected and uninfected women (HR = 1.46). The majority of pregnancies occurred among women < 30 years old reporting a desire for future children (1-year incidence 22.2%). Pregnancy rates may be high among discordant couples, indicating desire for children may override concerns of HIV-1 transmission and increase unprotected sex, and highlighting the need to make conception safer.
HIV; Discordant couples; Serodiscordant; Pregnancy; Predictors; Risk factor