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1.  Linkage to care following a home-based HIV counselling and testing intervention in rural South Africa 
Efforts to increase awareness of HIV status have led to growing interest in community-based models of HIV testing. Maximizing the benefits of such programmes requires timely linkage to care and treatment. Thus, an understanding of linkage and its potential barriers is imperative for scale-up.
This study was conducted in rural South Africa. HIV-positive clients (n=492) identified through home-based HIV counselling and testing (HBHCT) were followed up to assess linkage to care, defined as obtaining a CD4 count. Among 359 eligible clients, we calculated the proportion that linked to care within three months. For 226 clients with available data, we calculated the median CD4. To determine factors associated with the rate of linkage, Cox regression was performed on a subsample of 196 clients with additional data on socio-demographic factors and personal characteristics.
We found that 62.1% (95% CI: 55.7 to 68.5%) of clients from the primary sample (n=359) linked to care within three months of HBHCT. Among those who linked, the median CD4 count was 341 cells/mm3 (interquartile range [IQR] 224 to 542 cells/mm3). In the subsample of 196 clients, factors predictive of increased linkage included the following: believing that drugs/supplies were available at the health facility (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.78; 95% CI: 1.07 to 2.96); experiencing three or more depression symptoms (aHR 2.09; 95% CI: 1.24 to 3.53); being a caregiver for four or more people (aHR 1.93; 95% CI: 1.07 to 3.47); and knowing someone who died of HIV/AIDS (aHR 1.68; 95% CI: 1.13 to 2.49). Factors predictive of decreased linkage included the following: younger age – 15 to 24 years (aHR 0.50; 95% CI: 0.28 to 0.91); living with two or more adults (aHR 0.52; 95% CI: 0.35 to 0.77); not believing or being unsure about the test results (aHR 0.48; 95% CI: 0.30 to 0.77); difficulty finding time to seek health care (aHR 0.40; 95% CI: 0.24 to 0.67); believing that antiretroviral treatment can make you sick (aHR 0.56; 95% CI: 0.35 to 0.89); and drinking alcohol (aHR 0.52; 95% CI: 0.34 to 0.80).
The findings highlight barriers to linkage following an increasingly popular model of HIV testing. Further, they draw attention to ways in which practical interventions and health education strategies could be used to improve linkage to care.
PMCID: PMC4461747  PMID: 26058983
HIV/AIDS; cascade of care; continuum of care; linkage to care; treatment; CD4; home-based; HIV testing; South Africa; test and treat
2.  HLA-G 14bp deletion/insertion polymorphism and mother-to-child transmission of HIV 
Tissue antigens  2014;83(3):161-167.
The human leukocyte antigen HLA-G, highly expressed at the maternal-fetal interface, has a pivotal role in mediating immune tolerance. In this study we investigated the influence of HLA-G 14 bp insertion polymorphism in HIV-1 mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission.
The 14 bp insertion polymorphism was analyzed among 99 HIV-1 positive mothers and 329 infants born to HIV-positive mothers in Zambia, among whom vertical transmission status and timing had been determined. HLA-G 14bp insertion polymorphism was detected using a custom TaqMan SNPs genotyping assay. Logistic regression was conducted to examine the associations between HLA-G alleles and the risk of HIV transmission.
The 14bp insertion allele was more frequent in HIV exposed-uninfected infants than in infected infants, and was associated with reduced risk of both in utero and intrapartum HIV transmission, after adjusting for maternal CD4 cell count and plasma viral load. Maternal HLA-G 14bp insertion genotype and HLA-G concordance between mother and child were not associated with the risk of perinatal HIV transmission.
The presence of the 14 bp insertion associates with protection towards in utero and intrapartum HIV infection in children from Zambia, suggesting that HLA-G could be involved in the vertical transmission of HIV.
PMCID: PMC3950813  PMID: 24571474
HIV-1; HLA-G; 14bp insertion/deletion; genetic polymorphism; vertical transmission
3.  Revisiting Pneumonia and Exposure Status in Infants Born to HIV-Infected Mothers 
The Pediatric infectious disease journal  2014;33(1):10.1097/INF.0b013e31829f0ade.
HIV-exposed uninfected infants are an increasing population. Past analyses have often categorized these infants as uninfected leading to inaccurate conclusions. We present a HIV exposure, rather than infection, based reanalysis of treatment failure among children with pneumonia to show that failure odds among HIV-exposed uninfected infants are intermediate between their unexposed and infected counterparts. Additional prospective studies aimed at better understanding this population are needed.
PMCID: PMC3868946  PMID: 24352190
HIV-exposed uninfected; pneumonia
4.  Editorial Commentary: Ambulatory Management of Chest-Indrawing Pneumonia 
PMCID: PMC4370169  PMID: 25550348
child; pneumonia; ambulatory treatment; chest-indrawing
5.  Finding a Needle in the Haystack: The Costs and Cost-Effectiveness of Syphilis Diagnosis and Treatment during Pregnancy to Prevent Congenital Syphilis in Kalomo District of Zambia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113868.
In March 2012, The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation trained maternal and child health workers in Southern Province of Zambia to use a new rapid syphilis test (RST) during routine antenatal care. A recent study by Bonawitz et al. (2014) evaluated the impact of this roll out in Kalomo District. This paper estimates the costs and cost-effectiveness from the provider's perspective under the actual conditions observed during the first year of the RST roll out.
Information on materials used and costs were extracted from program records. A decision-analytic model was used to evaluate the costs (2012 USD) and cost-effectiveness. Basic parameters needed for the model were based on the results from the evaluation study.
During the evaluation study, 62% of patients received a RST, and 2.8% of patients tested were positive (and 10.4% of these were treated). Even with very high RST sensitivity and specificity (98%), true prevalence of active syphilis would be substantially less (estimated at <0.7%). For 1,000 new ANC patients, costs of screening and treatment were estimated at $2,136, and the cost per avoided disability-adjusted-life year lost (DALY) was estimated at $628. Costs change little if all positives are treated (because prevalence is low and treatment costs are small), but the cost-per-DALY avoided falls to just $66. With full adherence to guidelines, costs increase to $3,174 per 1,000 patients and the cost-per-DALY avoided falls to $60.
Screening for syphilis is only useful for reducing adverse birth outcomes if patients testing positive are actually treated. Even with very low prevalence of syphilis (a needle in the haystack), cost effectiveness improves dramatically if those found positive are treated; additional treatment costs little but DALYs avoided are substantial. Without treatment, the needle is essentially found and thrown back into the haystack.
PMCID: PMC4257564  PMID: 25478877
6.  Human Milk Galectin-3 Binding Protein and Breastfeeding-Associated HIV Transmission 
Analysis of milk from 247 HIV-infected Zambian mothers showed that Galectin-3 Binding Protein (Gal3BP) concentrations were significantly higher among HIV-infected mothers who transmitted HIV through breastfeeding (6.51±2.12 ug/mL) than among non-transmitters but were also correlated with higher milk and plasma HIV RNA copies/ml and lower CD4+ cell counts. The association between Gal3BP and postnatal transmission was attenuated after adjustment for milk and plasma HIV load and CD4+ cell counts. This suggests that although milk Gal3BP is a marker of advanced maternal disease, it does not independently modify transmission risk.
PMCID: PMC3907473  PMID: 23899964
HIV transmission; breastfeeding; Galectin-3 Binding Protein; oral transmission
7.  Childhood Anemia at High Altitude: Risk Factors for Poor Outcomes in Severe Pneumonia 
Pediatrics  2013;132(5):e1156-e1162.
Pneumonia is the leading cause of mortality in young children globally, and factors that affect tissue delivery of oxygen may affect outcomes of pneumonia. We studied whether altitude and anemia influence disease severity and outcomes in young children with World Health Organization–defined severe pneumonia.
We analyzed data from the SPEAR (Severe Pneumonia Evaluation Antimicrobial Research) study, a World Health Organization– and USAID-sponsored multinational randomized controlled trial of antibiotics for severe pneumonia among children aged 2 to 59 months in resource-poor settings. The trial enrolled 958 children in 8 sites at varying elevations, classified as high (≥2000 m) or low (<2000 m) altitude. We compared illness severity and assessed the effect of anemia on treatment outcome at high and low altitudes, adjusting for potential confounders and study site.
Children at high altitudes had significantly lower oxygen saturation on presentation, more cyanosis, lower systolic blood pressure, and higher hemoglobin. After adjusting for potential confounders, anemia predicted treatment failure in children living at high altitude (relative risk: 4.07; 95% confidence interval: 2.60–6.38) but not at low altitude (relative risk: 1.12; 95% confidence interval: 0.96–1.30). Children at high altitude took longer to reach normoxemia than did children at lower altitudes (5.25 vs 0.75 days; P < .0001).
Children at high altitude present with more severe disease, and children with anemia at high altitude are at greater risk of poor outcome when being treated for severe pneumonia. Given the high global prevalence of anemia among young children, prevention and treatment of anemia should be a priority in children living at high altitude and could improve outcomes of pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC3812558  PMID: 24101768
pneumonia; anemia; high altitude; international child health
8.  Low Rates of Treatment Failure in Children Aged 2–59 Months Treated for Severe Pneumonia: A Multisite Pooled Analysis 
Low rates of treatment failure and death in >6000 cases of children treated for severe pneumonia with oral antibiotics support supports the shift to management of severe pneumonia to outpatients and in the community.
Background. Despite advances in childhood pneumonia management, it remains a major killer of children worldwide. We sought to estimate global treatment failure rates in children aged 2–59 months with World Health Organization–defined severe pneumonia.
Methods. We pooled data from 4 severe pneumonia studies conducted during 1999–2009 using similar methodologies. We defined treatment failure by day 6 as death, danger signs (inability to drink, convulsions, abnormally sleepy), fever (≥38°C) and lower chest indrawing (LCI; days 2–3), LCI (day 6), or antibiotic change.
Results. Among 6398 cases of severe pneumonia from 10 countries, 564 (cluster adjusted: 8.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.9%–11.5%) failed treatment by day 6. The most common reasons for clinical failure were persistence of fever and LCI or LCI or fever alone (75% of failures). Seventeen (0.3%) children died. Danger signs were uncommon (<1%). Infants 6–11 months and 2–5 months were 2- and 3.5-fold more likely, respectively, to fail treatment (adjusted OR [AOR], 1.8 [95% CI, 1.4–2.3] and AOR, 3.5 [95% CI, 2.8–4.3]) as children aged 12–59 months. Failure was increased 7-fold (AOR, 7.2 [95% CI, 5.0–10.5]) when comparing infants 2–5 months with very fast breathing to children 12–59 months with normal breathing.
Conclusions. Our findings demonstrate that severe pneumonia case management with antibiotics at health facilities or in the community is associated with few serious morbidities or deaths across diverse geographic settings and support moves to shift management of severe pneumonia with oral antibiotics to outpatients in the community.
PMCID: PMC3657495  PMID: 23264361
severe pneumonia; amoxicillin; meta-analysis; treatment failure; mortality
9.  Post-Weaning Breast Milk HIV-1 Viral Load, Blood Prolactin Levels and Breast Milk Volume 
AIDS (London, England)  2006;20(11):1539-1547.
The effect of abrupt weaning, advocated as a safe transition from exclusive breastfeeding in HIV-exposed children, on the quantity of HIV viral load in breast milk (BMVL) is not known.
To determine the effect of abrupt cessation of breastfeeding on serum prolactin, pumped breast milk volume and BMVL obtained 2 weeks after rapid weaning in HIV-infected women.
Women enrolled in a prospective study (ZEBS) were randomized to abruptly wean at 20 weeks postpartum or continue exclusive breastfeeding. Breast milk was obtained at 22 weeks by electric breast pump over 10 min from 222 women who had either weaned or continued to breastfeed. Pre- and post-pumping prolactin was measured. BMVL was measured at 20 and 22 weeks in 71 randomly selected women from both groups.
Baseline prolactin and breast milk volume was significantly lower among women who had weaned. Detectable (68 versus 42%; P 0.03) and median BMVL (448 versus < 50 copies/ml; P = 0.005) was significantly higher = among those who had weaned in comparison with those who were still breastfeeding and was significantly higher in the same women after weaning compared with 2 weeks earlier (P = 0.001). Conclusions: BMVL is substantially higher after rapid weaning and this may pose an increased risk of HIV transmission if children resume breastfeeding after a period of cessation. Increases in BMVL with differing degrees of mixed feeding needs to be assessed.
PMCID: PMC1773053  PMID: 16847409
HIV; breastfeeding; breast milk; viral load; weaning; prolactin mother-to-child transmission; postnatal HIV transmission
10.  Dynamics of breast milk HIV-1 RNA with unilateral mastitis or abscess 
Mastitis and abscess in HIV-infected women increase risk of breastfeeding transmission of HIV. Guidelines encourage women to stop breastfeeding on the affected breast and feed on the contralateral breast. However, impact of breast pathology on breast milk HIV dynamics is unknown.
HIV RNA was quantified in 211 breast milk samples collected before, during and after a clinical mastitis or abscess diagnosis from 38 HIV-infected women participating in a Zambian breastfeeding study. HIV RNA quantity was compared between affected and unaffected breasts over time using generalized estimating equation models. A sample of 115 women without breast pathology was selected as a control group.
In the affected breast, breast milk HIV RNA quantity increased from the pre- to during-pathology period by log10 0.45 copies/mL (95% CI: 0.16, 0.74) and after symptom resolution, HIV RNA levels were no different from pre-pathology levels (log10 -0.04 copies/mL 95%CI: -0.33, 0.25). In the contralateral unaffected breast, HIV RNA quantity did not significantly increase (log10 0.15 copies/mL, 95% CI: -0.41, 0.10). Increase was more marked in women with abscess or with a greater number of mastitis symptoms. HIV RNA was not significantly different between affected and unaffected women, except at the time of diagnosis.
Breast milk HIV RNA increased modestly in the affected breast with unilateral mastitis or abscess and returned to pre-pathology levels with symptom resolution. Contralateral HIV RNA was not affected. Results support guidelines encouraging feeding from the contralateral breast to minimize risk of HIV transmission associated with unilateral breast pathology.
PMCID: PMC3647002  PMID: 23202812
Infant feeding; HIV; Exclusive breastfeeding; Breast problem; Mastitis; Abscess
12.  Coverage of primary mother-to-child HIV transmission isolates by second-generation broadly neutralizing antibodies 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(3):10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835cadd6.
Objectives and design
A vaccine capable of providing cross-clade, sterilizing protection has been the holy grail of HIV-1 prevention and control since the beginning of the pandemic. A major component of this effort has been the identification and characterization of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). Recent advances in bNAb isolation, structure-based engineering, and vector-mediated gene transfer have led to increased interest in bypassing the immune system by expressing neutralizing antibodies directly in muscle. To assess the neutralization potency and coverage of a panel of second-generation bNAbs, we cloned and phenotypically characterized 227 primary HIV-1 envelopes from 23 mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) pairs.
Viral envelopes were tested for in-vitro neutralization sensitivity using a standard pseudotype assay system. A 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) at least 10 μg/ml was used to define neutralization resistance.
The combination of antibodies PG16 and NIH45–46G54W had the broadest activity with the highest neutralization potency, achieving full coverage of 87% of transmission pairs (at a median sampling depth of 10 envelopes per pair) and 96% of recently infected infants in a very conservative analysis.
Our data strongly support the inclusion of NIH45–46G54W, or a more extensively modified variant, in future proof-of-principle immunoprophylaxis or gene therapy-based trials. Furthermore, until robust sequence-based resistance detection becomes available, it will be necessary to conduct deeper phenotypic screening of primary isolates in order to determine the prevalence of minor resistant variants to help in selecting the best reagents for clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3863550  PMID: 23296195
AIDS; antibodies; HIV; neutralization; paediatrics; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; vaccine
13.  Developing a Career in Global Health: Considerations for Physicians-in-Training and Academic Mentors 
Global health is an expansive field, and global health careers are as diverse as the practice of medicine, with new paths being forged every year. Interest in global health among medical students, residents, and fellows has never been higher. As a result, a greater number of these physicians-in-training are participating in global health electives during their training. However, there is a gap between the level of trainee interest and the breadth and depth of educational opportunities that prepare them for a career in global health.
Global health experiences can complement and enhance each step of traditional physician training, from medical school through residency and fellowship. Global health experiences can expose trainees to patients with diverse pathologies, improve physical exam skills by decreasing reliance on laboratory tests and imaging, enhance awareness of costs and resource allocation in resource-poor settings, and foster cultural sensitivity. The aim of this article is to describe issues faced by physicians-in-training and the faculty who mentor them as trainees pursue careers in global health.
We conducted a narrative review that addresses opportunities and challenges, competing demands on learners' educational schedules, and the need for professional development for faculty mentors.
A widening gap between trainee interest and the available educational opportunities in global health may result in many medical students and residents participating in global health experiences without adequate preparation and mentorship. Without this essential support, global health training experiences may have detrimental consequences on both trainees and the communities hosting them. We discuss considerations at each training level, options for additional training, current career models in global health, and challenges and potential solutions during training and early career development.
PMCID: PMC3444181  PMID: 23997872
14.  Frequency and Trajectory of Abnormalities in Respiratory Rate, Temperature and Oxygen Saturation in Severe Pneumonia in Children 
The frequency or trajectory of vital sign abnormalities in children with pneumonia has not been described. In a cohort of 2,714 patients with severe pneumonia identified and treated as per the World Health Organization definition and recommendations, tachypnea, fever and hypoxia were found in 68.9%, 23.6% and 15.5% of children, respectively. Median oxygen saturation returned to a normal range by 10 hours following initiation of treatment, followed by temperature at 12 hours and respiratory rate at 22 hours for subjects less than 12 months and at 48 hours for those greater than or equal to 12 months of age.
PMCID: PMC3399926  PMID: 22531236
pneumonia; vital signs; tachypnea; hypoxia; trajectory
15.  Cluster Randomized Trial of Community Case Management of Severe Pneumonia with Oral Amoxicillin in Children 2-59 Months of Age in Haripur District, Pakistan 
Lancet  2011;378(9805):1796-1803.
First dose oral cotrimoxazole and referral is the recommended treatment for WHO-defined severe pneumonia. Difficulties with referral compliance are reported from many low resource settings resulting in low access to appropriate treatment.
In a cluster-randomized equivalence trial in Haripur District, Pakistan 28 clusters were randomized equally to intervention and control clusters. In 14 intervention clusters children 2-59 months of age with severe pneumonia were treated with oral amoxicillin by community-based Lady Health Workers (LHW). In 14 control clusters LHWs gave first dose of oral cotrimoxazole and referred to a health facility for appropriate treatment, which was standard of care. The objective was to determine whether community case-management (CCM) of severe pneumonia by LHW using oral amoxicillin was equivalent to current standard of care. Primary outcome was treatment failure on day 6 of treatment. Participants, care givers, and assessors were not blinded to study therapy. Per-protocol analysis was conducted adjusting for clustering within arms using generalized estimating equations.
1995 children were randomized to intervention and 1477 to control clusters. We analysed 1857 children randomized to intervention and 1354 randomized to control clusters. They were similar in sex, age, and clinical characteristics. Treatment failure was 8·9% (165/1857) in intervention and 17·8% (241/1354) in control clusters. Cluster adjusted failure rates, the primary outcome, were significantly reduced in intervention clusters (risk difference (RD) -8·9%; 95% CI:-12.4% to -5.4%) by day 6. Further adjusting for baseline covariates made little difference (RD: -7·3%, CI: -10·1% to -4·5%). Three deaths occurred, only one in the intervention arm. Two deaths were before day 6, while one occurred between day 6 and 14. Most reduction in risk was in fever and lower chest indrawing on day 3 (RD -6·38%; 95% CI: -8·3% to -4·5%). Age, gender and very fast breathing were predictive of treatment failure.
CCM of severe pneumonia by LHWs resulted in reduced treatment failure versus current standard of care. CCM could result in standardized therapy for severe pneumonia, reduce delay in treatment initiation and costs for families and health systems.
United States Agency for International Development.
PMCID: PMC3685294  PMID: 22078721
16.  Quality and safety of integrated community case management of malaria using rapid diagnostic tests and pneumonia by community health workers 
Pathogens and Global Health  2012;106(1):32-39.
To assess the quality and safety of having community health workers (CHWs) in rural Zambia use rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and provide integrated management of malaria and pneumonia.
In the context of a cluster-randomized controlled trial of two models for community-based management of malaria and/or non-severe pneumonia in children under 5 years old, CHWs in the intervention arm were trained to use RDTs, follow a simple algorithm for classification and treat malaria with artemether–lumefantrine (AL) and pneumonia with amoxicillin. CHW records were reviewed to assess the ability of the CHWs to appropriately classify and treat malaria and pneumonia, and account for supplies. Patients were also followed up to assess treatment safety.
During the 12-month study, the CHWs evaluated 1017 children with fever and/or fast/difficult breathing and performed 975 RDTs. Malaria and/or pneumonia were appropriately classified 94–100% of the time. Treatment based on disease classification was correct in 94–100% of episodes. Supply management was excellent with over 98% of RDTs, amoxicillin, and AL properly accounted for. The use of RDTs, amoxicillin, and AL was associated with few minor adverse events. Most febrile children (90%) with negative RDT results recovered after being treated with an antipyretic alone.
Volunteer CHWs in rural Zambia are capable of providing integrated management of malaria and pneumonia to children safely and at high quality.
PMCID: PMC4001509  PMID: 22595272
Malaria; Pneumonia; Children; Rapid diagnostic test; Community health worker; Amoxicillin; Artemether–umefantrine; Zambia
17.  Effects of Early, Abrupt Weaning on HIV-free Survival of Children in Zambia 
The New England journal of medicine  2008;359(2):130-141.
In low-resource settings, many programs recommend that women who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) stop breast-feeding early. We conducted a randomized trial to evaluate whether abrupt weaning at 4 months as compared with the standard practice has a net benefit for HIV-free survival of children.
We enrolled 958 HIV-infected women and their infants in Lusaka, Zambia. All the women planned to breast-feed exclusively to 4 months; 481 were randomly assigned to a counseling program that encouraged abrupt weaning at 4 months, and 477 to a program that encouraged continued breast-feeding for as long as the women chose. The primary outcome was either HIV infection or death of the child by 24 months.
In the intervention group, 69.0% of the mothers stopped breast-feeding at 5 months or earlier; 68.8% of these women reported the completion of weaning in less than 2 days. In the control group, the median duration of breast-feeding was 16 months. In the overall cohort, there was no significant difference between the groups in the rate of HIV-free survival among the children; 68.4% and 64.0% survived to 24 months without HIV infection in the intervention and control groups, respectively (P = 0.13). Among infants who were still being breast-fed and were not infected with HIV at 4 months, there was no significant difference between the groups in HIV-free survival at 24 months (83.9% and 80.7% in the intervention and control groups, respectively; P = 0.27). Children who were infected with HIV by 4 months had a higher mortality by 24 months if they had been assigned to the intervention group than if they had been assigned to the control group (73.6% vs. 54.8%, P = 0.007).
Early, abrupt cessation of breast-feeding by HIV-infected women in a low-resource setting, such as Lusaka, Zambia, does not improve the rate of HIV-free survival among children born to HIV-infected mothers and is harmful to HIV-infected infants. ( number, NCT00310726.)
PMCID: PMC2577610  PMID: 18525036
18.  Exclusive breastfeeding, maternal HIV disease, and the risk of clinical breast pathology in HIV-infected, breastfeeding women 
To examine the relationship between breastfeeding patterns, markers of maternal HIV disease, and woman’s breast pathology.
Study Design
Secondary data analysis from a randomized breastfeeding trial including 947 HIV-infected women (n=5,982 visits) from breastfeeding initiation until: 6 months post-partum; 1 month after breastfeeding cessation; or loss-to-follow-up/death. Generalized estimating equations assessed the effects of breastfeeding pattern and maternal HIV status on breast pathology.
190 (20.1%) women had a breast problem; 86 (9.1%) had mastitis and 31 (3.3%) had abscess. After confounder adjustment, non-exclusively breastfeeding women increased risk of breast problems (OR: 1.98 95% CI: 1.33, 2.95) and mastitis (OR: 2.87 95% CI: 1.69, 4.88) compared to exclusive breastfeeders. Women with CD4 count <200 cells/uL tended to have increased risk of abscess.
Non-exclusive breastfeeding significantly increased the risk of breast pathology. Exclusive breastfeeding is not only optimal for infant health; it benefits mothers by reducing breast problems.
PMCID: PMC3217158  PMID: 21784403
Abscess; CD4 count; Exclusive breastfeeding; HIV; Mastitis
19.  Pregnancy loss and role of infant HIV status on perinatal mortality among HIV-infected women 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:138.
HIV-infected women, particularly those with advanced disease, may have higher rates of pregnancy loss (miscarriage and stillbirth) and neonatal mortality than uninfected women. Here we examine risk factors for these adverse pregnancy outcomes in a cohort of HIV-infected women in Zambia considering the impact of infant HIV status.
A total of 1229 HIV-infected pregnant women were enrolled (2001–2004) in Lusaka, Zambia and followed to pregnancy outcome. Live-born infants were tested for HIV by PCR at birth, 1 week and 5 weeks. Obstetric and neonatal data were collected after delivery and the rates of neonatal (<28 days) and early mortality (<70 days) were described using Kaplan-Meier methods.
The ratio of miscarriage and stillbirth per 100 live-births were 3.1 and 2.6, respectively. Higher maternal plasma viral load (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] for each log10 increase in HIV RNA copies/ml = 1.90; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10–3.27) and being symptomatic were associated with an increased risk of stillbirth (AOR = 3.19; 95% CI 1.46–6.97), and decreasing maternal CD4 count by 100 cells/mm3 with an increased risk of miscarriage (OR = 1.25; 95% CI 1.02–1.54). The neonatal mortality rate was 4.3 per 100 increasing to 6.3 by 70 days. Intrauterine HIV infection was not associated with neonatal morality but became associated with mortality through 70 days (adjusted hazard ratio = 2.76; 95% CI 1.25–6.08). Low birth weight and cessation of breastfeeding were significant risk factors for both neonatal and early mortality independent of infant HIV infection.
More advanced maternal HIV disease was associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Excess neonatal mortality in HIV-infected women was not primarily explained by infant HIV infection but was strongly associated with low birth weight and prematurity. Intrauterine HIV infection contributed to mortality as early as 70 days of infant age. Interventions to improve pregnancy outcomes for HIV-infected women are needed to complement necessary therapeutic and prophylactic antiretroviral interventions.
PMCID: PMC3480840  PMID: 22937874
Perinatal mortality; Infant mortality; Risk factors; Adverse pregnancy outcome; HIV infection; Vertical transmission
20.  Outpatient treatment of children with severe pneumonia with oral amoxicillin in 4 countries: The MASS study 
A recent RCT demonstrated home-based treatment of WHO-defined severe pneumonia with oral amoxicillin was equivalent to hospital-based therapy and parenteral antibiotics. We aimed to determine whether this finding is generalizable across four countries.
Multi-centre observational study in Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana and Vietnam between November 2005 and May 2008. Children aged 3 to 59 months with WHO-defined severe pneumonia were enrolled at participating health centers and managed at home with oral amoxicillin (80–90 mg/kg/day) for 5 days. Children were followed-up at home on days 1, 2, 3 and 6 and at a facility on day 14 to look for cumulative treatment failure through day 6 and relapse between days 6–14.
Of 6,582 children screened, 873 were included, of whom 823 had an outcome ascertained. There was substantial variation in presenting characteristics by site. Bangladesh and Ghana had fever (97%) as a more common symptom than Egypt (74%) and Vietnam (66%), while in Vietnam audible wheeze was more common (49%) than at other sites (range 2%–16%). Treatment failure by day 6 was 9.2% (95% CI: 7.3%–11.2%) across all sites, varying from 6.4% (95% CI: 3.1%–9.8%) in Ghana to 13.2% (95% CI: 8.4%–18.0%) in Vietnam. 2.7% (95% CI: 1.5%–3.9%) of the 733 children well on day 6 relapsed by day 14. The most common causes of treatment failure were persistence of LCI at day 6 (3.8%; 95% CI: 2.6%–5.2%), abnormal sleepy or difficult to wake (1.3%; 95% CI: 0.7%–2.3%), and central cyanosis (1.3%; 95% CI: 0.7%–2.3%). All children survived and only one adverse drug reaction occurred. Treatment was more frequent in young infants and those presenting with rapid respiratory rates.
Clinical treatment failure and adverse event rates among children with severe pneumonia treated at home with oral amoxicillin did not substantially differ across geographic areas. Thus home-based therapy of severe pneumonia can be applied to a wide variety of settings.
PMCID: PMC3154370  PMID: 21545381
pneumonia; developing countries; integrated management of childhood illness; amoxicillin; effectiveness
21.  Early Weaning Increases Diarrhea Morbidity and Mortality Among Uninfected Children Born to HIV-infected Mothers in Zambia 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(9):1222-1230.
Background. Early weaning may reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission but may have deleterious consequences for uninfected children. Here we evaluate effects of early weaning on diarrhea morbidity and mortality of uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers.
Methods. HIV-infected women in Lusaka, Zambia, were randomly assigned to breastfeeding for 4 months only or to continue breastfeeding until the mother decided to stop. Replacement and complementary foods were provided and all women were counseled around feeding and hygiene. Diarrhea morbidity and mortality were assessed in 618 HIV-uninfected singletons alive and still breastfeeding at 4 months. Intent-to-treat analyses and comparisons based on actual feeding practices were conducted using regression methods.
Results. Between 4 and 6 months, diarrheal episodes were 1.8-fold (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.3–2.4) higher in the short compared with long breastfeeding group. Associations were stronger based on actual feeding practices and persisted after adjustment for confounding. At older ages, only more severe outcomes, including diarrhea-related hospitalization or death (relative hazard [RH], 3.2, 95% CI, 2.1–5.1 increase 4–24 months), were increased among weaned children.
Conclusions. Continued breastfeeding is associated with reduced risk of diarrhea-related morbidity and mortality among uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers in this low-resource setting despite provision of replacement and complementary food and counseling.
 Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00310726.
PMCID: PMC3069726  PMID: 21459815
22.  The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health Project: A 21st Century Childhood Pneumonia Etiology Study 
The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) project is a 7-country, standardized, comprehensive evaluation of the etiologic agents causing severe pneumonia in children from developing countries. During previous etiology studies, between one-quarter and one-third of patients failed to yield an obvious etiology; PERCH will employ and evaluate previously unavailable innovative, more sensitive diagnostic techniques. Innovative and rigorous epidemiologic and analytic methods will be used to establish the causal association between presence of potential pathogens and pneumonia. By strategic selection of study sites that are broadly representative of regions with the greatest burden of childhood pneumonia, PERCH aims to provide data that reflect the epidemiologic situation in developing countries in 2015, using pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines. PERCH will also address differences in host, environmental, and/or geographic factors that might determine pneumonia etiology and, by preserving specimens, will generate a resource for future research and pathogen discovery.
PMCID: PMC3297546  PMID: 22403238
23.  Lactation-associated postpartum weight changes among HIV-infected women in Zambia 
Background There are concerns about effects of lactation on postpartum weight changes among HIV-infected women because low weight may increase risks of HIV-related disease progression.
Methods This analysis of postpartum maternal weight change is based on a trial evaluating the effects of shortened breastfeeding on postpartum mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Lusaka, Zambia, in which 958 HIV-infected women were randomized to breastfeed for a short duration (4 months) or for a duration of their own informed choosing (median 16 months). Among 768 women who met inclusion criteria, we compared across the two groups change in weight (kg) and the percent underweight [body mass index (BMI) <18.5] through 24 months. We also examined the effect of breastfeeding in two high-risk groups: those with low BMI and those with low CD4 counts.
Results Overall, women in the long-duration group gained less weight compared with those in the short-duration group from 4–24 months {1.0 kg [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.3–1.7] vs 2.3 kg (95% CI: 1.6–2.9), P = 0.01}. No association was found between longer breastfeeding and being underweight (odds ratio 1.1; 95% CI: 0.8–1.6; P = 0.40). Effects of lactation in underweight women and women with low CD4 counts were similar to the effects in women with higher BMI and higher CD4 counts. Women with low baseline BMI tended to gain more weight from 4 to 24 months than those with higher BMI, regardless of breastfeeding duration (2.1 kg, 95% CI: 1.3–2.9; P < 0.01).
Conclusions In this study of HIV-infected breastfeeding women in a low-resource setting, the average change in weight from 4 to 24 months postpartum was a net gain rather than loss. Although longer duration breastfeeding was associated with less weight gain, breastfeeding duration was not associated with being underweight (BMI < 18.5). Weight change associated with longer breastfeeding may be metabolically regulated so that women with low BMI and at risk of wasting are protected from excess weight loss.
PMCID: PMC2972438  PMID: 20484334
Breast feeding; lactation; HIV infections; weight loss; metabolism; body mass index
24.  Potential impact of new World Health Organization criteria for antiretroviral treatment for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(9):1374-1377.
We reviewed the potential impact of new World Health Organization criteria for antiretroviral therapy using data from 1025 HIV-infected women and infants followed through 24 months in Lusaka, Zambia. The new criteria require initiating therapy among 68% of pregnant women and, if fully effective, would prevent 92% of maternal deaths and 88% of perinatal and postnatal infections. Using CD4 <350 cells/uL, irrespective of clinical stage, is more efficient and stricter CD4 cut-offs would be counter-productive.
PMCID: PMC2946203  PMID: 20568677
25.  Elevations in mortality due to weaning persist into the second year of life among uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers 
Early weaning has been recommended to reduce postnatal HIV transmission. We evaluated the safety of stopping breastfeeding at different ages for mortality of uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers.
During a trial of early weaning, 958 HIV-infected mothers and their infants were recruited and followed from birth to 24 months in Lusaka, Zambia. Half of the cohort was randomized to wean abruptly at 4 months and the other half to continue breastfeeding. We examined associations between uninfected child mortality and actual breastfeeding duration investigating possible confounding and effect modification.
The mortality rate among 749 uninfected children was 9.4% by 12 months and 13.6% by 24 months. Weaning during the interval encouraged by the protocol (4-5 months) was associated with a 2.03-fold increased risk of mortality (95% CI: 1.13 - 3.65), weaning 6-11 months a 3.54-fold increase (95% CI: 1.68 - 7.46) and 12-18 months a 4.22-fold increase (95% CI: 1.59 - 11.24). Significant effect modification was detected such that risks associated with weaning were stronger among infants born to mothers with higher CD4 counts (>350 cells/mL).
Shortening the normal duration of breastfeeding for uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers living in low resource settings is associated with significant increases mortality extending into the second year of life. Intensive nutritional and counseling interventions reduce, but do not eliminate, this excess mortality.
PMCID: PMC2805776  PMID: 20047479

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