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
Background. Immunogenetic correlates of resistance to HIV-1 in HIV-1–exposed seronegative (HESN) individuals with consistently high exposure may inform HIV-1 prevention strategies. We developed a novel approach for quantifying HIV-1 exposure to identify individuals remaining HIV-1 uninfected despite persistent high exposure.
Methods. We used longitudinal predictors of HIV-1 transmission in HIV-1 serodiscordant couples to score HIV-1 exposure and define HESN clusters with persistently high, low, and decreasing risk trajectories. The model was validated in an independent cohort of serodiscordant couples. We describe a statistical tool that can be applied to other HESN cohorts to identify individuals with high exposure to HIV-1.
Results. HIV-1 exposure was best quantified by frequency of unprotected sex with, plasma HIV-1 RNA levels among, and presence of genital ulcer disease among HIV-1–infected partners and by age, pregnancy status, herpes simplex virus 2 serostatus, and male circumcision status among HESN participants. Overall, 14% of HESN individuals persistently had high HIV-1 exposure and exhibited a declining incidence of HIV-1 infection over time.
Conclusions. A minority of HESN individuals from HIV-1–discordant couples had persistent high HIV-1 exposure over time. Decreasing incidence of infection in this group suggests these individuals were selected for resistance to HIV-1 and may be most appropriate for identifying biological correlates of natural host resistance to HIV-1 infection.
Assays to determine cross-sectional HIV incidence misclassify some individuals with nonrecent HIV infection as recently infected, overestimating HIV incidence. We analyzed factors associated with false-recent misclassification in five African countries. Samples from 2197 adults from Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda who were HIV infected >12 months were tested using the (1) BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED), (2) avidity assay, (3) BED and avidity assays with higher assay cutoffs (BED+avidity screen), and (4) multiassay algorithm (MAA) that includes the BED+avidity screen, CD4 cell count, and HIV viral load. Logistic regression identified factors associated with misclassification. False-recent misclassification rates and 95% confidence intervals were BED alone: 7.6% (6.6, 8.8); avidity assay alone: 3.5% (2.7, 4.3); BED+avidity screen: 2.2% (1.7, 2.9); and MAA: 1.2% (0.8, 1.8). The misclassification rate for the MAA was significantly lower than the rates for the other three methods (each p<0.05). Misclassification rates were lower when the analysis was limited to subtype C-endemic countries, with the lowest rate obtained for the MAA [0.8% (0.2, 1.9)]. Factors associated with misclassification were for BED alone: country of origin, antiretroviral treatment (ART), viral load, and CD4 cell count; for avidity assay alone: country of origin; for BED+avidity screen: country of origin and ART. No factors were associated with misclassification using the MAA. In a multivariate model, these associations remained significant with one exception: the association of ART with misclassification was completely attenuated. A MAA that included CD4 cell count and viral load had lower false-recent misclassification than the BED or avidity assays (alone or in combination). Studies are underway to compare the sensitivity of these methods for detection of recent HIV infection.
Antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduces the incidence of acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in men who have sex with men and is a promising approach for preventing HIV-1 in heterosexual populations.
We conducted a randomized, three-arm trial of oral antiretroviral PrEP among heterosexual couples from Kenya and Uganda in which one member was HIV-1 seronegative and the other HIV-1 seropositive. Seronegative partners were randomly assigned to once-daily tenofovir (TDF), combination emtricitabine/tenofovir (FTC/TDF), or matching placebo and followed monthly for up to 36 months. At enrollment, HIV-1 seropositive partners were not eligible for antiretroviral therapy under national guidelines. All couples received standard HIV-1 treatment and prevention services, including individual and couples risk-reduction counseling and condoms.
4758 couples were enrolled; for 62%, the HIV-1 seronegative partner was male. For HIV-1 seropositive participants, the median CD4 count was 495 cells/μL (interquartile range 375–662). Of 82 post-randomization HIV-1 infections, 17 were among those assigned TDF (incidence 0.65 per 100 person-years), 13 among those assigned FTC/TDF (incidence 0.50 per 100 person-years), and 52 among those assigned placebo (incidence 1.99 per 100 person-years), indicating a 67% relative reduction in HIV-1 incidence for TDF (95% CI 44 to 81, p<0.001) and 75% for FTC/TDF (95% CI 55 to 87, p<0.001). HIV-1 protective effects of FTC/TDF and TDF were not significantly different (p=0.23), and both study medications significantly reduced HIV-1 incidence in both men and women. The rate of serious medical events was similar across the study arms.
Oral TDF and FTC/TDF provided substantial protection against HIV-1 acquisition in heterosexual men and women, with comparable efficacy of TDF and FTC/TDF. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT00557245)
HIV-1 serodiscordant couples; pre-exposure prophylaxis; HIV-1 prevention; randomized clinical trial; Africa
Breast milk is a major route of infant HIV infection, yet the majority of breast-fed, HIV-exposed infants escape infection by unknown mechanisms. This study aimed to investigate the role of HIV-specific breast milk cells in preventing infant HIV infection.
A prospective study was designed to measure associations between maternal breast milk HIV-specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) responses and infant HIV-1 detection at 1 month of age.
In a Kenyan cohort of HIV-infected mothers, blood and breastmilk HIV-gag IFN-γ ELISpot responses were measured. Logistic regression was used to measure associations between breast milk IFN-γ responses and infant HIV infection at 1 month of age.
IFN-γ responses were detected in breast milk from 117 of 170 (69%) women. IFN-γ responses were associated with breast milk viral load, levels of macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP) 1α, MIP-1β, regulated upon activation, normal T-cell expressed, and secreted and stromal-cell derived factor 1 and subclinical mastitis. Univariate factors associated with infant HIV infection at 1 month postpartum included both detection and breadth of breast milk IFN-γ response (P =0.08, P =0.04, respectively), breast milk MIP-1β detection (P =0.05), and plasma (P =0.004) and breast milk (P =0.004) viral load. In multivariate analyses adjusting for breast milk viral load and MIP-1β, breast milk IFN-γ responses were associated with an approximately 70% reduction in infant HIV infection [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.29, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.092–0.91], and each additional peptide pool targeted was associated with an approximately 35% reduction in infant HIV (aOR 0.65, 95% CI 0.44–0.97).
These data show breast milk HIV-gag-specific IFN-γ cellular immune responses are prevalent and may contribute to protection from early HIV transmission. More broadly, these data suggest breast milk cellular responses are potentially influential in decreasing mother-to-child transmission of viruses.
breastfeeding; breast milk cytotoxic T lymphocytes; cytokines; early postnatal transmission; infant; MIP-1β; pediatric; sub-Saharan Africa
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.
We previously demonstrated a decrease in bacterial vaginosis (BV) and an increase in Lactobacillus colonization among randomized controlled trial (RCT) participants who received monthly oral periodic presumptive treatment (PPT) [2g metronidazole + 150mg fluconazole]. Post-trial data were analyzed to test the hypothesis that the treatment effect would persist following completion of one year of PPT.
Data were obtained from women who completed all 12 RCT visits and attended ≥1 post-trial visit within 120 days following completion of the RCT. We used Andersen-Gill proportional hazards models to estimate the post-trial effect of the intervention on the incidence of BV by Gram stain and detection of Lactobacillus species by culture.
The analysis included 165 subjects (83 active and 82 placebo). The post-trial incidence of BV was 260 per 100 person-years in the intervention arm versus 358 per 100 person-years in the placebo arm (hazard ratio [HR]=0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.51–1.12). The post-trial incidence of Lactobacillus colonization was 180 per 100 person-years in the intervention arm versus 127 per 100 person-years in the placebo arm (HR=1.42; 95% CI: 0.85–2.71).
Despite a decrease in BV and an increase in Lactobacillus colonization during the RCT, the effect of PPT was not sustained at the same level following cessation of the intervention. New interventions that reduce BV recurrence and promote Lactobacillus colonization without the need for ongoing treatment are needed.
Bacterial vaginosis; Lactobacillus; periodic presumptive treatment; suppressive treatment
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.
(See the editorial commentary by Gray and Wawer on pages 351–2.)
Background. Knowledge of factors that affect per-act infectivity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is important for designing HIV-1 prevention interventions and for the mathematical modeling of the spread of HIV-1.
Methods. We analyzed data from a prospective study of African HIV-1–serodiscordant couples. We assessed transmissions for linkage within the study partnership, based on HIV-1 sequencing. The primary exposure measure was the HIV-1–seropositive partners’ reports of number of sex acts and condom use with their study partner.
Results. Of 3297 couples experiencing 86 linked HIV-1 transmissions, the unadjusted per-act risks of unprotected male-to-female (MTF) and female-to-male (FTM) transmission were 0.0019 (95% confidence interval [CI], .0010–.0037) and 0.0010 (95% CI, .00060–.0017), respectively. After adjusting for plasma HIV-1 RNA of the HIV-1–infected partner and herpes simplex virus type 2 serostatus and age of the HIV-1–uninfected partner, we calculated the relative risk (RR) for MTF versus FTM transmission to be 1.03 (P = .93). Each log10 increase in plasma HIV-1 RNA increased the per-act risk of transmission by 2.9-fold (95% CI, 2.2–3.8). Self-reported condom use reduced the per-act risk by 78% (RR = 0.22 [95% CI, .11–.42]).
Conclusions. Modifiable risk factors for HIV-1 transmission were plasma HIV-1 RNA level and condom use, and, in HIV-1–uninfected partners, herpes simplex virus 2 infection, genital ulcers, Trichomonas vaginalis, vaginitis or cervicitis, and male circumcision.
Background. The effect of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) suppression on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA in the context of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) interventions is unknown.
Methods. Between April 2008 and August 2010, we conducted a randomized, double-blind trial of twice daily 500 mg valacyclovir or placebo beginning at 34 weeks gestation in 148 HIV-1/HSV-2 coinfected pregnant Kenyan women ineligible for highly active antiretroviral therapy (CD4 > 250 cells/mm3). Women received zidovudine and single dose nevirapine for PMTCT and were followed until 12 months postpartum.
Results. Mean baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA was 3.88 log10 copies/mL. Mean plasma HIV-1 was lower during pregnancy (−.56 log10 copies/mL; 95% confidence interval [CI], −.77 to −.34) and after 6 weeks postpartum (−.51 log10 copies/mL; 95% CI, −.73 to −.30) in the valacyclovir arm than the placebo arm. Valacyclovir reduced breast milk HIV-1 RNA detection at 6 and 14 weeks postpartum compared with placebo (30% lower, P = .04; 46% lower, P = .01, respectively), but not after 14 weeks. Cervical HIV-1 RNA detection was similar between arms (P = .91).
Conclusions. Valacyclovir significantly decreased early breast milk and plasma HIV-1 RNA among women receiving PMTCT.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00530777.
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.
Current WHO guidelines recommend antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation at CD4 counts ≤350 cells/µL. Increasing this threshold has been proposed, with a primary goal of reducing HIV-1 infectiousness. Because the quantity of HIV-1 in plasma is the primary predictor of HIV-1 transmission, consideration of plasma viral load in ART initiation guidelines is warranted.
Using per-sex-act infectivity estimates and cross-sectional sexual behavior data from 2,484 HIV-1 infected persons with CD4 counts >350 enrolled in a study of African heterosexual HIV-1 serodiscordant couples, we calculated the number of transmissions expected and the number potentially averted under selected scenarios for ART initiation: i) CD4 count <500 cells/µL, ii) viral load ≥10,000 or ≥50,000 copies/mL and iii) universal treatment. For each scenario, we estimated the proportion of expected infections that could be averted, the proportion of infected persons initiating treatment, and the ratio of these proportions.
Initiating treatment at viral load ≥50,000 copies/mL would require treating 19.8% of infected persons with CD4 counts >350 while averting 40.5% of expected transmissions (ratio 2.0); treating at viral load ≥10,0000 copies/mL had a ratio of 1.5. In contrast, initiation at CD4 count <500 would require treating 41.8%, while averting 48.4% (ratio 1.1).
Inclusion of viral load in ART initiation guidelines could permit targeting ART resources to HIV-1 infected persons who have a higher risk of transmitting HIV-1. Further work is needed to estimate costs and feasibility.
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.
We examined associations between maternal HLA and vertical HIV-1 transmission in a perinatal cohort of 277 HIV-infected women in Nairobi. HLA class I genes were amplified using sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes and analyses were performed using logistic regression. Maternal A*2301 was associated with increased transmission risk before and after adjusting for maternal viral load (odds ratio [OR]=3.21; 95% CI: 1.42, 7.27, p=0.005, pcorr=0.04; adjusted OR=3.07; 95% CI: 1.26, 7.51, p=0.01, pcorr=NS). That maternal HLA-A*2301 was associated with transmission independent of plasma HIV-1 RNA levels, suggests that HLA may alter infectivity through mechanisms other than influencing HIV-1 viral load.
Human immunodeficiency virus; vertical HIV-1 transmission; human leukocyte antigen
Data from a randomized trial of oral periodic presumptive treatment (PPT) to reduce vaginal infections were analyzed to assess the effect of the intervention on a healthy vaginal environment (normal flora confirmed by Gram stain with no candidiasis or trichomoniasis). The incidence of a healthy vaginal environment was 608 cases per 100 person-years in the intervention arm and 454 cases per 100 person-years in the placebo arm (hazard ratio [HR], 1.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17–1.58). Sustained vaginal health (healthy vaginal environment for ≥3 consecutive visits) was also more frequent in the intervention arm (HR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.23–2.33). PPT is effective at establishing and sustaining a healthy vaginal environment.
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.
To determine effect of partner involvement and couple counseling on uptake of interventions to prevent HIV-1 transmission, women attending a Nairobi antenatal clinic were encouraged to return with partners for voluntary HIV-1 counseling and testing (VCT) and offered individual or couple posttest counseling. Nevirapine was provided to HIV-1-seropositive women and condoms distributed to all participants. Among 2104 women accepting testing, 308 (15%) had partners participate in VCT, of whom 116 (38%) were couple counseled. Thirty-two (10%) of 314 HIV-1-seropositive women came with partners for VCT; these women were 3-fold more likely to return for nevirapine (P = 0.02) and to report administering nevirapine at delivery (P = 0.009). Nevirapine use was reported by 88% of HIV-infected women who were couple counseled, 67% whose partners came but were not couple counseled, and 45% whose partners did not present for VCT (P for trend = 0.006). HIV-1-seropositive women receiving couple counseling were 5-fold more likely to avoid breast-feeding (P = 0.03) compared with those counseled individually. Partner notification of HIV-1-positive results was reported by 138 women (64%) and was associated with 4-fold greater likelihood of condom use (P = 0.004). Partner participation in VCT and couple counseling increased uptake of nevirapine and formula feeding. Antenatal couple counseling may be a useful strategy to promote HIV-1 prevention interventions.
voluntary counseling and testing; couple counseling; mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission; breastfeeding; nevirapine; condom use; partner notification
To determine the prevalence of life-time domestic violence by the current partner before HIV-1 testing, its impact on the uptake of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) interventions and frequency after testing.
A prospective cohort.
Antenatally, women and their partners were interviewed regarding physical, financial, and psychological abuse by the male partner before HIV-1 testing and 2 weeks after receiving results.
Before testing, 804 of 2836 women (28%) reported previous domestic violence, which tended to be associated with increased odds of HIV-1 infection [univariate odds ratio (OR) 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3–2.2; P < 0.0001, adjusted OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.9–1.6; P = 0.1], decreased odds of coming with partners for counseling (adjusted OR 0.7, 95% CI 0.5–1.0; P = 0.04), and decreased odds of partner notification (adjusted OR 0.7, 95% CI 0.5–1.1; P = 0.09). Previous domestic violence was not associated with a reduced uptake of HIV-1 counseling, HIV-1 testing, or nevirapine. After receiving results, 15 out of 1638 women (0.9%) reported domestic violence. After notifying partners of results, the odds of HIV-1-seropositive women reporting domestic violence were 4.8 times those of HIV-1-seronegative women (95% CI 1.4–16; P = 0.01). Compared with women, men reported similar or more male-perpetrated domestic violence, suggesting a cultural acceptability of violence.
Domestic violence before testing may limit partner involvement in PMTCT. Although infrequent, immediate post-test domestic violence is more common among HIV-1-infected than uninfected women. Domestic violence prevention programmes need to be integrated into PMTCT, particularly for HIV-1-seropositive women.
Adverse effects; Africa; domestic violence; HIV; vertical transmission; prevention of mother-to-child transmission
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.
Studies among HIV-1–infected women have demonstrated reduced placental transfer of IgG antibodies against measles and other pathogens. As a result, infants born to women with HIV-1 infection may not acquire adequate passive immunity in utero and this could contribute to high infant morbidity and mortality in this vulnerable population.
To determine factors associated with decreased placental transfer of measles IgG, 55 HIV-1–infected pregnant women who were enrolled in a Nairobi perinatal HIV-1 transmission study were followed. Maternal CD4 count, HIV-1 viral load, and HIV-1–specific gp41 antibody concentrations were measured antenatally and at delivery. Measles IgG concentrations were assayed in maternal blood and infant cord blood obtained during delivery to calculate placental antibody transfer.
Among 40 women (73%) with positive measles titers, 30 (75%) were found to have abnormally low levels of maternofetal IgG transfer (<95%). High maternal HIV-1 viral load at 32 weeks’ gestation and at delivery was associated with reductions in placental transfer
(P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0056, respectively) and infant measles IgG concentrations in cord blood (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0073, respectively). High maternal HIV-1–specific gp41 antibody titer was also highly correlated with both decreased placental transfer (P = 0.0080) and decreased infant IgG (P < 0.0001).
This is the first study to evaluate the relationship between maternal HIV-1 viremia, maternal HIV-1 antibody concentrations, and passive immunity among HIV-1–exposed infants. These data support the hypothesis that high HIV-1 viral load during the last trimester may impair maternofetal transfer of IgG and increases risk of measles and other serious infections among HIV-1–exposed infants.
placental antibody transfer; maternal HIV-1 viral load; measles IgG; HIV-1–specific gp41 antibody; mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission
Vaccination of infants against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) may prevent mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission. Successful trials and immunization efforts will depend on the willingness of individuals to participate in pediatric vaccine research and acceptance of infant HIV-1 vaccines. In a cross-sectional study, pregnant women presenting to a Nairobi antenatal clinic for routine care were interviewed regarding their attitudes toward participation in research studies and HIV-1 vaccine acceptability for their infants. Among 805 women, 782 (97%) reported they would vaccinate their infant against HIV-1 and 729 (91%) reported willingness to enroll their infant in a research study. However, only 644 (80%) would enroll their infants if HIV-1 testing was required every 3 months and 513 (64%) would agree to HIV-1 vaccine trial participation. Reasons for not wanting to enroll in a pediatric HIV-1 vaccine trial included concerns about side effects (75%), partner objection (34%), and fear of discrimination (10%), HIV-1 acquisition (8%), or false-positive HIV-1 results (5%). The strongest correlate of pediatric vaccine trial participation was maternal willingness to be a vaccine trial participant herself; in univariate and multivariate models this was associated with a 17-fold increased likelihood of participation (HR 17.1; 95% CI 11.7–25; p < 0.001). We conclude from these results that immunizing infants against HIV-1 and participation in pediatric vaccine trials are generally acceptable to women at high risk for HIV-1 infection. It will be important to address barriers identified in this study and to include male partners when mobilizing communities for pediatric HIV-1 vaccine trials and immunization programs.