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1.  Validating a Scoring System for the Diagnosis of Smear-Negative Pulmonary Tuberculosis in HIV-Infected Adults 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95828.
The challenge of diagnosing smear-negative pulmonary TB (tuberculosis) in people living with HIV justifies the use of instruments other than the smear test for diagnosing the disease. Considering the clinical-radiological similarities of TB amongst HIV-infected adults and children, the proposal of this study was to assess the accuracy of a scoring system used to diagnose smear-negative pulmonary TB in children and adolescents, in HIV-infected adults suspected of having smear-negative pulmonary TB.
A Phase III validation study aiming to assess the diagnostic accuracy of a scoring system for diagnosing smear-negative pulmonary TB in HIV-infected adults. The study assessed sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios, and positive and negative predictive values of the scoring system. Three versions of the scoring system were tested.
From a cohort of 2,382 (HIV-infected adults), 1276 were investigated and 128 were diagnosed with pulmonary TB. Variables associated with the diagnosis of TB were: coughing, weight loss, fever, malnutrition, chest X-ray, and positive tuberculin test. The best diagnostic performance occurred with the scoring system with new scores, with sensitivity = 81.2% (95%-CI 74.5% –88%), specificity = 78% (75.6% –80.4%), PPV = 29.2% (24.5% –33.9%) and NPV = 97.4% (96.4% –98.4%), LR+ = 3.7 (3.4–4.0) and LR− = 0.24 (0.2–0.4).
The proposed scoring system (with new scores) presented a good capacity for discriminating patients who did not have pulmonary TB, in the studied population. Further studies are necessary in order to validate it, thus permitting the assessment of its use in diagnosing smear-negative pulmonary TB in HIV-infected adults.
PMCID: PMC3995940  PMID: 24755628
Despite the effectiveness of combination antiretroviral therapy in the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), nonadherence to medication has become a major threat to its effectiveness. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of self-reported irregular use of antiretroviral therapy and the factors associated with such an irregularity in PLWHA. A cross-sectional study of PLWHA who attended two referral centers in the city of Recife, in Northeastern Brazil, between June 2007 and October 2009 was carried out. The study analyzed socioeconomic factors, social service support and personal habits associated with nonadherence to antiretroviral therapy, adjusted by multivariable logistic regression analysis. The prevalence of PLWHA who reported irregular use of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) was 25.7%. In the final multivariate model, the irregular use of cART was associated with the following variables: being aged less than 40 years (OR = 1.66, 95%-CI: 1.29-2.13), current smokers (OR = 1.76, 95%-CI: 1.31-2.37) or former smokers (OR = 1.43, 95%-CI: 1.05-1.95), and crack cocaine users (OR = 2.79, 95%-CI: 1.24-6.32). Special measures should be directed towards each of the following groups: individuals aged less than 40 years, smokers, former smokers and crack cocaine users. Measures for giving up smoking and crack cocaine should be incorporated into HIV-control programs in order to promote greater adherence to antiretroviral drugs and thus improve the quality of life and prolong life expectancy.
PMCID: PMC4085845  PMID: 24626414
AIDS; Adherence; Antiretroviral therapy; Associated factors
3.  Risk of Coronary Heart Disease among HIV-Infected Patients: A Multicenter Study in Brazil 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:163418.
Cardiovascular disease has emerged as a crescent problem among HIV-infected population. This study aimed to determine the 10-year risk of coronary heart disease using the Framingham risk score among HIV-infected patients from three regions of Brazil. This is a pooled analysis of three cohort studies, which enrolled 3,829 individuals, 59% were men, 66% had white skin color, and mean age 39.0 ± 9.9 years. Comparisons among regions showed that there were marked differences in demographic, socioeconomic, clinical, and HIV-related characteristics. Prevalence of Framingham score ≥10 was 4.5% in the Southern, 4.2% in the Midwest, and 3.9% in the Northeast of Brazil. The Framingham score ≥10 was similar between regions for males, patients aged ≥60 years, with obesity, central obesity, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Women were three times more likely to have coronary heart disease in 10 years than men. Hypertension and diabetes increased more than four times the risk of coronary heart disease, followed by central obesity, obesity, and prehypertension. The use of antiretroviral agents and time since HIV diagnosis were not risk factors for coronary artery disease in 10 years. In conclusion, hypertension and diabetes are the strongest independent predictors of 10-year risk of coronary heart disease among HIV-infected population.
PMCID: PMC3809373  PMID: 24223499
4.  Risk factors for subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients under and over 40 years: a case–control study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:274.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a major cause of death in people with AIDS. Factors contributing to atherosclerosis include traditional risk factors, antiretrovirals and inflammatory factors related to HIV infection. This study set out to compare risk factors associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in individuals under and over 40 years of age.
Case–control study with 697 HIV/AIDS individuals without HAART or who remain on their first antiretroviral regimen. Of the total, 351 individuals under 40 years and 346 over 40 years were analyzed separately. Subclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by carotid intima-media thickness, using B-mode ultrasound. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to find predictors of subclinical atherosclerosis in the entire group. Subsequent analysis excluded patients with major risk factors for CVD. Magnitudes of associations were expressed by odds ratio (OR) statistical significance, using a 95% confidence interval and p-value <0.05.
In the <40 years group subclinical atherosclerosis was associated with male gender (OR: 2.77, 95% CI: 1.43–5.34), nonwhite race (OR: 3.01, 95% CI: 1.23-6.53), obesity (OR: 5.13, 95% CI: 1.79–14.7) and metabolic syndrome (OR: 3.30, 95% CI: 1.44–7.58). In the group ≥40 years predictors of subclinical atherosclerosis were overweight and obesity (OR = 2.53, 95% CI, 0.85–7.54), current CD4 ≥350 cells/mL (OR: 2.81, 95% CI: 1.22–6.47) and NNRTI use ≥ 5 years (OR: 2.65, 95% CI: 1.10-6.37) or PI use >5 years (OR: 1.81, 95% CI: 0.38-8.59). In the multivariate model excluding patients with major risk factors for CVD, age, male sex and nonwhite race were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in the <40 y group, while in the ≥40 y group, age, HIV viral load >10,000 copies and the use of NNRTI (OR: 7.60, 95% CI: 1.61-35.8) or PI ≥5 years (OR: 3.62, 95% CI: 0.48-26.8) were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis.
In young people the fight against obesity and metabolic syndrome is the main aim in the prevention of CVD. In individuals aged ≥40 y, the prevention of obesity is also of great importance. Moreover, the effects of uncontrolled viremia and the prolonged use of HAART appear to be more harmful in the older group.
PMCID: PMC3686657  PMID: 23773229
HIV; Risk factors; Atherosclerosis
5.  Incidence of Recent Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection at Two Voluntary Counseling Testing Centers in Pernambuco, Brazil, from 2006 to 2009 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(6):2145-2146.
This study shows HIV-1 incidence in the northeastern region of Brazil, where the HIV epidemic has spread recently. Incidence was higher among men (1.34%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00% to 1.69%) than among women (0.55%; 95% CI, 0.43% to 0.68%) (P < 0.0001), and there was an association between younger age and recent HIV infection (P < 0.004).
PMCID: PMC3372162  PMID: 22403429
6.  Associated factors for treatment delay in pulmonary tuberculosis in HIV-infected individuals: a nested case-control study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:208.
The delay in initiating treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in HIV-infected individuals may lead to the development of a more severe form of the disease, with higher rates of morbidity, mortality and transmissibility. The aim of the present study was to estimate the time interval between the onset of symptoms and initiating treatment for TB in HIV-infected individuals, and to identify the factors associated to this delay.
A nested case-control study was undertaken within a cohort of HIV-infected individuals, attended at two HIV referral centers, in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. Delay in initiating treatment for TB was defined as the period of time, in days, which was greater than the median value between the onset of cough and initiating treatment for TB. The study analyzed biological, clinical, socioeconomic, and lifestyle factors as well as those related to HIV and TB infection, potentially associated to delay. The odds ratios were estimated with the respective confidence intervals and p-values.
From a cohort of 2365 HIV-infected adults, 274 presented pulmonary TB and of these, 242 participated in the study. Patients were already attending 2 health services at the time they developed a cough (period range: 1 – 552 days), with a median value of 41 days. Factors associated to delay were: systemic symptoms asthenia, chest pain, use of illicit drugs and sputum smear-negative.
The present study indirectly showed the difficulty of diagnosing TB in HIV-infected individuals and indicated the need for a better assessment of asthenia and chest pain as factors that may be present in co-infected patients. It is also necessary to discuss the role played by negative sputum smear results in diagnosing TB/HIV co-infection as well as the need to assess the best approach for drug users with TB/HIV.
PMCID: PMC3490888  PMID: 22958583
HIV; Tuberculosis; Delay

Results 1-6 (6)