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1.  Decentralizing Maternity Services to Increase Skilled Attendance at Birth and Antenatal Care Utilization in Rural Rwanda: A Prospective Cohort Study 
Maternal and child health journal  2015;19(9):1949-1955.
To evaluate the effectiveness of decentralizing ambulatory reproductive and intrapartum services to increase rates of antenatal care (ANC) utilization and skilled attendance at birth (SAB) in Rwanda. A prospective cohort study was implemented with one control and two intervention sites: decentralized ambulatory reproductive healthcare and decentralized intrapartum care. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed with primary outcome of lack of SAB and secondary outcome of ≥3 ANC visits. 536 women were entered in the study. Distance lived from delivery site significantly predicted SAB (p = 0.007), however distance lived to ANC site did not predict ≥3 ANC visits (p = 0.81). Neither decentralization of ambulatory reproductive healthcare (p = 0.10) nor intrapartum care (p = 0.40) was significantly associated with SAB. The control site had the greatest percentage of women receive ≥3 ANC visits (p < 0.001). Receiving <3 ANC visits was associated with a 3.98 times greater odds of not having SAB (p = 0.001). No increase in adverse outcomes was found with decentralization of ambulatory reproductive health care or intrapartum care. The factors that predict utilization of physically accessible services in rural Africa are complex. Decentralization of services may be one strategy to increase rates of SAB and ANC utilization, but selection biases may have precluded accurate analysis. Efforts to increase ANC utilization may be a worthwhile investment to increase SAB.
PMCID: PMC4522213  PMID: 25652061
Global; Decentralization; Skilled birth attendance
2.  Trends in and correlates of CD4+ cell count at antiretroviral therapy initiation after changes in national ART guidelines in Rwanda 
AIDS (London, England)  2015;29(1):67-76.
Initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the advanced stages of HIV infection remains a major challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. This study was conducted to better understand barriers and enablers to timely ART initiation in Rwanda where ART coverage is high and national ART eligibility guidelines first expanded in 2007–2008.
Using data on 6326 patients (≥15 years) at five Rwandan clinics, we assessed trends and correlates of CD4+ cell count at ART initiation and the proportion initiating ART with advanced HIV disease (CD4+ <200 cells/µl or WHO stage IV).
Out of 6326 patients, 4486 enrolling in HIV care initiated ART with median CD4+ cell count of 211 cells/µl [interquartile range: 131–300]. Median CD4+ cell counts at ART initiation increased from 183 cells/µl in 2007 to 293 cells/µl in 2011–2012, and the proportion with advanced HIV disease decreased from 66.2 to 29.4%. Factors associated with a higher odds of advanced HIV disease at ART initiation were male sex [adjusted odds ratios (AOR) = 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.3–2.1] and older age (AOR46–55+ vs. <25 = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2–4.3). Among those initiating ART more than 1 year after enrollment in care, those who had a gap in care of 12 or more months prior to ART initiation had higher odds of advanced HIV disease (AOR = 5.2; 95% CI: 1.2–21.1).
Marked improvements in the median CD4+ cell count at ART initiation and proportion initiating ART with advanced HIV disease were observed following the expansion of ART eligibility criteria in Rwanda. However, sex disparities in late treatment initiation persisted through 2011–2012, and appeared to be driven by later diagnosis and/or delayed linkage to care among men.
PMCID: PMC4487360  PMID: 25562492
antiretroviral therapy national guidelines; CD4+; determinants; HIV treatment; Rwanda
3.  Association of Abnormal Liver Function Parameters with HIV Serostatus and CD4 Count in Antiretroviral-Naive Rwandan Women 
We determined the associations of HIV infection/CD4 count with markers of hepatocellular damage [elevated aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT)] and liver synthetic function (decreased albumin) in HIV-infected (HIV+) antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive and uninfected (HIV−) Rwandan women. In 2005, 710 HIV+ ART-naive and 226 HIV− women enrolled in the Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment. Liver enzymes were measured with abnormality defined as either AST or ALT ≥1.25 times the upper limit of normal. Low serum albumin level was defined as <3.5 g/dl. Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified independent predictors of elevated AST/ALT and low serum albumin. HIV− women had the lowest prevalence (6.6%) of abnormal AST/ALT, with the highest prevalence (16.4%) in HIV+ women with CD4 <200 cells/μl (p=0.01). The odds of having serum albumin <3.5 g/dl was 5.7-fold higher in HIV+ than HIV− women (OR=5.68, 95% CI: 3.32–9.71). The risk of low albumin decreased from low to high CD4 count, with OR=2.62, 95% CI: 1.66, 4.14 and OR=1.57, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.43 in HIV+ women with a CD4 count <200 and 200–350 cells/μl, respectively vs. HIV+ with CD4 >350 (p<0.001 and p<0.05 for all comparisons). Our findings suggest that HIV-associated liver damage may occur in ART-naive patients. Although liver abnormality prevalences in this cohort of HIV-infected Rwandan women are less than reported in developed countries, caution is needed for risk assessment measures to monitor and screen HIV-infected patients pre- and post-ART initiation in African clinical settings to curtail potential risks associated with HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC4505765  PMID: 25924728
4.  Effect of HIV Infection on Body Composition and Fat Distribution in Rwandan Women 
To assess the association of HIV infection with body weight and composition in Rwandan women.
Body weight and composition, the latter determined by bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and by anthropometry, were compared in 620 HIV-positive and 211 HIV-negative participants. Associations of HIV with body composition were assessed, and t tests compared the groups.
HIV-positive women were younger (−7.0 years, P < .001) and shorter (− 2.1 cm, P < .001). Mean body weight, body mass index (BMI), total body fat, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were similar. Mean fat-free mass was 2.5% greater in HIV-negative participants, and 19% of HIV-positive group had BMI <18.5 kg/m2 versus 26% of the HIV-negative group (P < .05). CD4 counts and body composition were not associated.
Malnutrition was common in this cohort of Rwandan women. However, HIV infection was not associated with nutritional status. Factors other than malnutrition may influence quality-of-life outcomes in HIV-infected Rwandan women. Initiatives to improve nutritional status should be population-wide and not restricted to the HIV-infected population.
PMCID: PMC4460979  PMID: 20530472
HIV; malnutrition; body composition; Rwanda; women; fat distribution
5.  HIV Malaria Co-Infection Is Associated with Atypical Memory B Cell Expansion and a Reduced Antibody Response to a Broad Array of Plasmodium falciparum Antigens in Rwandan Adults 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0124412.
HIV infected individuals in malaria endemic areas experience more frequent and severe malaria episodes compared to non HIV infected. This clinical observation has been linked to a deficiency in antibody responses to Plasmodium falciparum antigens; however, prior studies have only focused on the antibody response to <0.5% of P. falciparum proteins. To obtain a broader and less-biased view of the effect of HIV on antibody responses to malaria we compared antibody profiles of HIV positive (HIV+) and negative (HIV-) Rwandan adults with symptomatic malaria using a microarray containing 824 P. falciparum proteins. We also investigated the cellular basis of the antibody response in the two groups by analyzing B and T cell subsets by flow cytometry. Although HIV malaria co-infected individuals generated antibodies to a large number of P. falciparum antigens, including potential vaccine candidates, the breadth and magnitude of their response was reduced compared to HIV- individuals. HIV malaria co-infection was also associated with a higher percentage of atypical memory B cells (MBC) (CD19+CD10-CD21-CD27-) compared to malaria infection alone. Among HIV+ individuals the CD4+ T cell count and HIV viral load only partially explained variability in the breadth of P. falciparum-specific antibody responses. Taken together, these data indicate that HIV malaria co-infection is associated with an expansion of atypical MBCs and a diminished antibody response to a diverse array of P. falciparum antigens, thus offering mechanistic insight into the higher risk of malaria in HIV+ individuals.
PMCID: PMC4415913  PMID: 25928218
6.  Insulin Resistance Change and Antiretroviral Therapy Exposure in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Rwandan Women: A Longitudinal Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123936.
We longitudinally assessed predictors of insulin resistance (IR) change among HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected (ART-initiators and ART-non-initiators) Rwandan women.
HIV-infected (HIV+) and uninfected (HIV-) women provided demographic and clinical measures: age, body mass index (BMI) in Kg/(height in meters)2, Fat-Mass (FMI) and Fat-Free-Mass (FFMI) index, fasting serum glucose and insulin. Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) was calculated to estimate IR change over time in log10 transformed HOMA measured at study enrollment or prior to ART initiation in 3 groups: HIV- (n = 194), HIV+ ART-non-initiators (n=95) and HIV+ ART-initiators (n=371). ANCOVA linear regression models of change in log10-HOMA were fit with all models included the first log10 HOMA as a predictor.
Mean±SD log10-HOMA was -0.18±0.39 at the 1st and -0.21±0.41 at the 2nd measure, with mean change of 0.03±0.44. In the final model (all women) BMI at 1st HOMA measure (0.014; 95% CI=0.006-0.021 per kg/m2; p<0.001) and change in BMI from 1st to 2nd measure (0.024; 95% CI=0.013-0.035 per kg/m2; p<0.001) predicted HOMA change. When restricted to subjects with FMI measures, FMI at 1st HOMA measure (0.020; 95% CI=0.010-0.030 per kg/m2; p<0.001) and change in FMI from 1st to 2nd measure (0.032; 95% CI=0.020-0.043 per kg/m2; p<0.0001) predicted change in HOMA. While ART use did not predict change in log10-HOMA, untreated HIV+ women had a significant decline in IR over time. Use or duration of AZT, d4T and EFV was not associated with HOMA change in HIV+ women.
Baseline BMI and change in BMI, and in particular fat mass and change in fat mass predicted insulin resistance change over ~3 years in HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women. Exposure to specific ART (d4T, AZT, EFV) did not predict insulin resistance change in ART-treated HIV-infected Rwandan women.
PMCID: PMC4400132  PMID: 25880634
7.  Prevalence of shingles and its association with PTSD among HIV-infected women in Rwanda 
BMJ Open  2015;5(3):e005506.
To examine the prevalence of reported shingles in the last 6 months and its association with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and severity of HIV disease in Rwandan women with HIV.
This cross-sectional study was conducted as part of the Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA), an observational cohort study designed to assess the impact of HIV and residual factors from experiencing rape in the 1994 genocide in Rwandan women. Participants were recruited through grassroots women's associations of people living with HIV infection and clinical care sites for HIV infection. Most participants (58.5%, n=405/692) had PTSD.
This cross-sectional analysis was conducted in 710 HIV-infected women enrolled in RWISA. Inclusion criteria were: age >15 years, informed consent, HIV test, ability to complete the interview in the local language, travel to and from the research site and participate in a baseline outpatient visit, and being naive to antiretroviral therapy at enrolment.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The outcome of interest was self-reported shingles in the past 6 months. The exposure was PTSD defined using the cross-culturally validated Harvard Trauma Questionnaire.
Overall prevalence of reported shingles in the past 6 months was 12.5% (n=89/710). There was an inverse relationship between shingles prevalence and immunological status: 7.6%, 12.3% and 16.7% of women with CD4 >350, 200–350 and <200 cells/µL, respectively, reported singles (p=0.01). In multivariate analysis, PTSD (aOR 1.7; 95% CI 1.02 to 2.89) and low CD4 (aOR 2.4; 95% CI 1.23 to 4.81) were independently associated with reported shingles in the past 6 months.
Our study found a significant independent relationship between PTSD and reported shingles, suggesting that PTSD may be associated with immune compromise that can result in herpes zoster reactivation. Further study is needed. It also confirmed previous findings of a strong relationship between shingles and greater immunosuppression in women with HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC4360726  PMID: 25748413
HIV/AIDS; Shingles; PTSD; Depression
8.  Prevalence and risk factors for High-Risk Human Papillomavirus (hrHPV) infection among HIV-infected and Uninfected Rwandan women: implications for hrHPV-based screening in Rwanda 
New World Health Organization guidelines recommend high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) screen-and-treat strategies for cervical cancer prevention. We describe risk of, and risk factors for, testing hrHPV positive in a pilot study of hrHPV screen-and-treat conducted in Rwanda.
A total of 2,964 women, 1,289 HIV-infected (HIV [+]) and 1,675 HIV-uninfected (HIV [-]), aged 30-60 years and living in Rwanda were enrolled in 2010. Cervical specimens were collected and tested by careHPV, a DNA test for a pool of 14 hrHPV types. Prevalence with binomial 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) and determinants of testing hrHPV positive were calculated.
hrHPV prevalence was higher in HIV [+] (31.8%, 95% CI = 29.2-34.4%) than HIV [-] women (8.2%, 95% CI = 6.7-9.8%; P < 0.0001). Among HIV [+] women, there was a significant trend (ptrend <0.001) of higher hrHPV prevalence with lower CD4 cell count, with the highest hrHPV prevalence among those with <200 CD4 cell counts (45.5%, 95% CI = 34.8-56.4%). In multivariate analysis of HIV [+] women, testing hrHPV positive was positively associated CD4 count of <200 cells/μL, history of 3 or more sexual partners, and history of using hormonal contraception, and negatively associated with older age. In HIV [-] women, testing hrHPV positive was negatively associated only with older age groups of 45-49 and 50-60 years and surprisingly was not associated with lifetime number of sexual partners.
hrHPV prevalence is high in HIV [+], especially in women with the lowest CD4 cell counts, which may have implications for utilizing hrHPV-based screening strategies such as screen-and-treat in these high-risk subgroups.
PMCID: PMC4413542  PMID: 25926864
HPV; HIV; Cervical cancer; Screening
9.  The Impact of HIV Status, HIV Disease Progression and Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms on the Health-Related Quality of Life of Rwandan Women Genocide Survivors 
We examined whether established associations between HIV disease and HIV disease progression on worse health-related quality of life (HQOL) were applicable to women with severe trauma histories, in this case Rwandan women genocide survivors, the majority of whom were HIV infected. Additionally, this study attempted to clarify whether post-traumatic stress symptoms were uniquely associated with HQOL or confounded with depression.
The Rwandan Women’s Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA) was a longitudinal prospective study of HIV-infected and uninfected women. At study entry 922 women (705 HIV+ and 217 HIV−) completed measures of symptoms of post-traumatic stress and HQOL as well as other demographic, clinical and behavioral characteristics.
Even after controlling for potential confounders and mediators, HIV+ women, in particular those with the lowest CD4 counts, scored significantly worse on HQOL and overall QOL than did HIV− women. Even after controlling for depression and HIV disease progression, women with more post-traumatic stress symptoms scored worse on HQOL and overall QOL than women with fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms.
This study demonstrated that post-traumatic stress symptoms were independently associated with HQOL and overall QOL, independent of depression and other confounders or potential mediators. Future research should examine whether the long term impact of treatment on physical and psychological symptoms of HIV and post-traumatic stress symptoms would generate improvement in HQOL.
PMCID: PMC4084826  PMID: 23271207
Quality of Life; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; HIV; Women; Rwanda
10.  Plasmodium falciparum Infection Does Not Affect Human Immunodeficiency Virus Viral Load in Coinfected Rwandan Adults 
Open Forum Infectious Diseases  2014;1(2):ofu066.
In contrast to prior studies, mild malaria infection had no impact on HIV Viral Loads(VL) in Rwanda. Over fifty percent of patients prescribed ARV had detectable VL; 25% had genotypic resistance. Eleven percent of patients with mild malaria were newly diagnosed with HIV.
 Plasmodium falciparum infection has been reported to increase human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral load (VL), which can facilitate HIV transmission. We prospectively studied the impact of mild P falciparum coinfection on HIV VL in Rwanda.
 We measured plasma HIV VL at presentation with malaria infection and weekly for 4 weeks after artemether-lumefantrine treatment in Rwandan adults infected with HIV with P falciparum malaria. Regression analyses were used to examine associations between malaria infection and HIV VL changes. Samples with detectable virus underwent genotypic drug-resistance testing.
 We enrolled 28 HIV-malaria coinfected patients and observed 27 of them for 5 weeks. Three patients (11%) were newly diagnosed with HIV. Acute P falciparum infection had no significant effect on HIV VL slope over 28 days of follow-up. Ten patients with VL <40 copies/mL at enrollment maintained viral suppression throughout. Seventeen patients had a detectable VL at enrollment including 9 (53%) who reported 100% adherence to ARVs; 3 of these had detectable genotypic drug resistance.
 Unlike studies from highly malaria-endemic areas, we did not identify an effect of P falciparum infection on HIV VL; therefore, malaria is not likely to increase HIV-transmission risk in our setting. However, routine HIV testing should be offered to adults presenting with acute malaria in Rwanda. Most importantly, we identified a large percentage of patients with detectable HIV VL despite antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. Some of these patients had HIV genotypic drug resistance. Larger studies are needed to define the prevalence and factors associated with detectable HIV VL in patients prescribed ARVs in Rwanda.
PMCID: PMC4281786  PMID: 25734136
antiretroviral drug resistance; HIV; malaria; Plasmodium falciparum; Rwanda
11.  Association of HIV and ART with cardiometabolic traits in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Background Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the highest burden of HIV in the world and a rising prevalence of cardiometabolic disease; however, the interrelationship between HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART) and cardiometabolic traits is not well described in SSA populations.
Methods We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis through MEDLINE and EMBASE (up to January 2012), as well as direct author contact. Eligible studies provided summary or individual-level data on one or more of the following traits in HIV+ and HIV-, or ART+ and ART- subgroups in SSA: body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides (TGs) and fasting blood glucose (FBG) or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Information was synthesized under a random-effects model and the primary outcomes were the standardized mean differences (SMD) of the specified traits between subgroups of participants.
Results Data were obtained from 49 published and 3 unpublished studies which reported on 29 755 individuals. HIV infection was associated with higher TGs [SMD, 0.26; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.08 to 0.44] and lower HDL (SMD, −0.59; 95% CI, −0.86 to −0.31), BMI (SMD, −0.32; 95% CI, −0.45 to −0.18), SBP (SMD, −0.40; 95% CI, −0.55 to −0.25) and DBP (SMD, −0.34; 95% CI, −0.51 to −0.17). Among HIV+ individuals, ART use was associated with higher LDL (SMD, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.72) and HDL (SMD, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.66), and lower HbA1c (SMD, −0.34; 95% CI, −0.62 to −0.06). Fully adjusted estimates from analyses of individual participant data were consistent with meta-analysis of summary estimates for most traits.
Conclusions Broadly consistent with results from populations of European descent, these results suggest differences in cardiometabolic traits between HIV-infected and uninfected individuals in SSA, which might be modified by ART use. In a region with the highest burden of HIV, it will be important to clarify these findings to reliably assess the need for monitoring and managing cardiometabolic risk in HIV-infected populations in SSA.
PMCID: PMC3887568  PMID: 24415610
HIV; ART; cardiometabolic disease; sub-Saharan Africa
12.  Associations of HIV infection with insulin and glucose levels in antiretroviral-naïve Rwandan women: a cross-sectional analysis 
BMJ Open  2013;3(12):e003879.
The purpose of these analyses was to determine the associations of HIV infection and related immune dysfunction with a glucose homeostasis in the population of antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women. We hypothesise that insulin resistance and its consequences in the developing countries may be further elevated with HIV infection itself regardless of antiretroviral therapy.
Study design
Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal cohort.
Community-based women's associations.
In 2005, 710 HIV-infected (HIV positive) antiretroviral naïve and 226 HIV-uninfected (HIV negative) women were enrolled in the Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA). Clinical and demographic parameters, CD4 count, fasting insulin and glucose levels, anthropometric measurements and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) were obtained. Linear models were fit to log-transformed Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) with results exponentiated back to a multiplicative effect on the original scale.
Primary outcome measures
The outcome, insulin resistance, was measured by the HOMA, calculated as fasting insulin (μU/mL)×fasting glucose (mmol/L)⁄22.5.
In adjusted models, HIV-positive women were less insulin resistant than HIV-negative; an HIV-positive woman tended to have 0.728 times as much (95% CI 0.681 to 0.861) HOMA than a comparable HIV-negative woman. Among the HIV-positive women, those with CD4 <200 cells/µL tended to have 0.741 times as much HOMA (95% CI 0.601 to 0.912) as did comparable women with CD4 >350 cells/µL. The older age was independently associated with a lower HOMA insulin resistance. After adjusting for body mass index, fat and fat-free mass were not independently associated with HOMA.
This study found that HIV infection and more advanced HIV infection (CD4 counts <200 cells/µL) were associated with greater insulin sensitivity in antiretroviral naïve African women. These findings provide baseline information for the interpretation of future studies on the effect of antiretroviral therapy on metabolic insulin sensitivity derangements in African population.
PMCID: PMC3855496  PMID: 24319275
Diabetes & Endocrinology; Epidemiology
13.  Assessment of haematological parameters in HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women: a cross-sectional study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e001600.
Although haematological abnormalities are common manifestations of HIV infection, few studies on haematological parameters in HIV-infected persons have been undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors assessed factors associated with haematological parameters in HIV-infected antiretroviral-naïve and HIV-uninfected Rwandan women.
Study design
Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal cohort.
Community-based women's associations.
710 HIV-infected (HIV+) antiretroviral-naïve and 226 HIV-uninfected (HIV−) women from the Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study Assessment. Haematological parameters categorised as (abnormal vs normal) were compared by HIV status and among HIV+ women by CD4 count category using proportions. Multivariate logistic regression models using forward selection were fit.
Prevalence of anaemia (haemoglobin (Hb) <12.0 g/dl) was higher in the HIV+ group (20.5% vs 6.3%; p<0.001), and increased with lower CD4 counts: ≥350 (7.6%), 200–349 (16%) and <200 cells/mm3 (32.2%). Marked anaemia (Hb <10.0 g/dl) was found in 4.2% of HIV+ and none of the HIV− women (p<0.001), and was highest in HIV+ women with CD4 <200 cells/mm3 (8.4%). The HIV+ were more likely than HIV− women (4.2 vs 0.5%, respectively, p=0.002) to have moderate neutropenia with white blood cells <2.0×103 cells/mm3 and 8.4% of HIV+ women with CD4 <200 cells/mm3 had moderate neutropenia. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, BMI (OR 0.87/kg/m2, 95% CI 0.82 to 0.93; p<0.001), CD4 200–350 vs HIV− (OR 3.59, 95% CI 1.89 to 6.83; p<0.001) and CD4 <200 cells/mm3 vs HIV− (OR 8.09, 95% CI 4.37 to 14.97; <0.001) had large independent associations with anaemia. There were large independent associations of CD4 <200 cells/mm3 vs HIV− (OR 7.18, 95% CI 0.78 to 65.82; p=0.081) and co-trimoxazole and/or dapsone use (OR 5.69, 95% CI 0.63 to 51.45; p=0.122) with moderate neutropenia.
Anaemia was more common than neutropenia or thrombocytopenia in the HIV-infected Rwandan women. Future comparisons of haematological parameters in HIV-infected patients before and after antiretroviral therapy initiation are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3533001  PMID: 23169875
14.  Association of Serum Albumin with Markers of Nutritional Status among HIV-Infected and Uninfected Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35079.
The objectives of this study are to address if and how albumin can be used as an indication of malnutrition in HIV infected and uninfected Africans.
In 2005, 710 HIV-infected and 226 HIV-uninfected women enrolled in a cohort study. Clinical/demographic parameters, CD4 count, albumin, liver transaminases; anthropometric measurements and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) were performed. Malnutrition outcomes were defined as body mass index (BMI), Fat-free mass index (FFMI) and Fat mass index (FMI). Separate linear predictive models including albumin were fit to these outcomes in HIV negative and HIV positive women by CD4 strata (CD4>350,200–350 and <200 cells/µl).
In unadjusted models for each outcome in HIV-negative and HIV positive women with CD4>350 cells/µl, serum albumin was not significantly associated with BMI, FFMI or FMI. Albumin was significantly associated with all three outcomes (p<0.05) in HIV+ women with CD4 200–350 cells/µl, and highly significant in HIV+ women with CD4<200 cells/µl (P<0.001). In multivariable linear regression, albumin remained associated with FFMI in women with CD4 count<200 cells/µl (p<0.01) but not in HIV+ women with CD4>200.
While serum albumin is widely used to indicate nutritional status it did not consistently predict malnutrition outcomes in HIV- women or HIV+ women with higher CD4. This result suggests that albumin may measure end stage disease as well as malnutrition and should not be used as a proxy for nutritional status without further study of its association with validated measures.
PMCID: PMC3331977  PMID: 22532840
15.  Structural determinants of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and BMI: a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected and HIV-negative Rwandan women 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000714.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the overlapping epidemics of undernutrition and HIV infection affect over 200 and 23 million people, respectively, and little is known about the combined prevalence and nutritional effects. The authors sought to determine which structural factors are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low body mass index (BMI) in HIV-negative and HIV-infected Sub-Saharan women.
Study design
Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal cohort.
Community-based women's organisations.
161 HIV-negative and 514 HIV-infected Rwandan women.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Primary outcomes included food insufficiency (reporting ‘usually not’ or ‘never’ to ‘Do you have enough food?’), low household dietary diversity (Household Dietary Diversity Score ≤3) and BMI <18.5 (kg/m2). The authors also measured structural and behavioural factors including: income, household size, literacy and alcohol use.
Food insufficiency was prevalent (46%) as was low dietary diversity (43%) and low BMI (15%). Food insufficiency and dietary diversity were associated with low income (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=2.14 (95% CI 1.30 to 3.52) p<0.01), (aOR=6.51 (95% CI 3.66 to 11.57) p<0.001), respectfully and illiteracy (aOR=2.00 (95% CI 1.31 to 3.04) p<0.01), (aOR=2.10 (95% CI 1.37 to 3.23) p<0.001), respectfully and were not associated with HIV infection. Alcohol use was strongly associated with food insufficiency (aOR=3.23 (95% CI 1.99 to 5.24) p<0.001). Low BMI was inversely associated with HIV infection (aOR≈0.5) and was not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Rwandan women experienced high rates of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. Extreme poverty, illiteracy and alcohol use, not HIV infection alone, may contribute to food insufficiency in Rwandan women. Food insufficiency, dietary diversity and low BMI do not correlate with one another; therefore, low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Further studies are needed to understand the health effects of not having enough food, low food diversity and low weight in both HIV-negative and HIV-infected women.
Article summary
Article focus
What structural determinants are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda?
What is the prevalence of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda and are these outcomes correlated with each other?
1: Poverty, low literacy status and alcohol use are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI.
2: Food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI are highly prevalent and are correlated with one another.
Key messages
Food insufficiency and low dietary diversity are highly prevalent (46% and 43%, respectively) and are associated with low income and illiteracy and strongly associated with alcohol use.
BMI (kg/m2) is not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Significance: food insufficiency and low dietary diversity, known contributors to poor health, are highly prevalent in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda. Low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Extreme poverty, low literacy and alcohol use may contribute to food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. These structural factors may be useful targets to prevent the adverse health effects of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Large cohort of HIV-negative and HIV-infected women, very detailed tools used for food insufficiency and dietary diversity
Cross-sectional design, our measurement of food insufficiency is solely by self-report.
PMCID: PMC3329607  PMID: 22505309
16.  Association of Pre-Treatment Nutritional Status with Change in CD4 Count after Antiretroviral Therapy at 6, 12, and 24 Months in Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e29625.
Body mass index (BMI) independently predicts mortality in studies of HIV infected patients initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART). We hypothesized that poorer nutritional status would be associated with smaller gains in CD4 count in Rwandan women initiating ART.
Methods and Findings
The Rwandan Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment, enrolled 710 ART-naïve HIV-positive and 226 HIV-negative women in 2005 with follow-up every 6 months. The outcome assessed in this study was change in CD4 count at 6, 12, and 24 months after ART initiation. Nutritional status measures taken prior to ART initiation were BMI; height adjusted fat free mass (FFMI); height adjusted fat mass (FMI), and sum of skinfold measurements. 475 women initiated ART. Mean (within 6 months) pre-ART CD4 count was 216 cells/µL. Prior to ART initiation, the mean (±SD) BMI was 21.6 (±3.78) kg/m2 (18.3% malnourished with BMI<18.5); and among women for whom the following were measured, mean FFMI was 17.10 (±1.76) kg/m2; FMI 4.7 (±3.5) kg/m2 and sum of skinfold measurements 4.9 (±2.7) cm. FFMI was significantly associated with a smaller change in CD4 count at 6 months in univariate analysis (−6.7 cells/uL per kg/m2, p  = 0.03) only. In multivariate analysis after adjustment for covariates, no nutritional variable was associated with change in CD4 count at any follow up visit.
In this cohort of African women initiating ART, no measure of malnutrition prior to ART was consistently associated with change in CD4 count at 6, 12, and 24 months of follow up, suggesting that poorer pre-treatment nutritional status does not prevent an excellent response to ART.
PMCID: PMC3247268  PMID: 22216334
17.  Adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment in HIV-Infected Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27832.
Scale-up of highly active antiretroviral treatment therapy (HAART) programs in Rwanda has been highly successful but data on adherence is limited. We examined HAART adherence in a large cohort of HIV+ Rwandan women.
The Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study Assessment (RWISA) was a prospective cohort study that assessed effectiveness and toxicity of ART. We analyzed patient data 12±3 months after HAART initiation to determine adherence rates in HIV+ women who had initiated HAART.
Of the 710 HIV+ women at baseline, 490 (87.2%) initiated HAART. Of these, 6 (1.2%) died within 12 months, 15 others (3.0%) discontinued the study and 80 others (19.0%) remained in RWISA but did not have a post-HAART initiation visit that fell within the 12±3 month time points leaving 389 subjects for analysis. Of these 389, 15 women stopped their medications without being advised to do so by their doctors. Of the remaining 374 persons who reported current HAART use 354 completed the adherence assessment. All women, 354/354, reported 100% adherence to HAART at the post-HAART visit. The high self-reported level of adherence is supported by changes in laboratory measures that are influenced by HAART. The median (interquartile range) CD4 cell count measured within 6 months prior to HAART initiation was 185 (128, 253) compared to 264 (182, 380) cells/mm3 at the post-HAART visit. Similarly, the median (interquartile range) MCV within 6 months prior to HAART initiation was 88 (83, 93) fL compared to 104 (98, 110) fL at the 12±3 month visit.
Self-reported adherence to antiretroviral treatment 12±3 months after initiating therapy was 100% in this cohort of HIV-infected Rwandan women. Future studies should explore country-specific factors that may be contributing to high levels of adherence to HAART in this population.
PMCID: PMC3219684  PMID: 22114706
18.  Prevalence of Kidney Disease in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e18352.
In the United States, HIV-related kidney disease disproportionately affects individuals of African descent; however, there are few estimates of kidney disease prevalence in Africa. We evaluated the prevalence of kidney disease among HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women.
The Rwandan Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment prospectively enrolled 936 women. Associations with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)<60 mL/min/1.73 m2 and proteinuria were assessed in separate logistic regression models.
Among 891 non-pregnant women with available data, 2.4% had an eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (calculated by the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation, MDRD eGFR) and 8.7% had proteinuria ≥1+. The prevalence of decreased eGFR varied markedly depending on the estimating method used, with the highest prevalence by Cockcroft-Gault. Regardless of the method used to estimate GFR, the proportion with decreased eGFR or proteinuria did not differ significantly between HIV-infected and -uninfected women in unadjusted analysis. After adjusting for age and blood pressure, HIV infection was associated with significantly higher odds of decreased MDRD eGFR but not proteinuria.
In a well-characterized cohort of Rwandan women, HIV infection was associated with decreased MDRD eGFR. The prevalence of decreased eGFR among HIV-infected women in our study was lower than that previously reported in African-Americans and in other Central and East African HIV populations, although there was substantial variability depending on the equation used to estimate GFR. Future studies are needed to optimize GFR estimates and to determine the impact of antiretroviral therapy on kidney disease in this population.
PMCID: PMC3065469  PMID: 21464937
19.  Risk Factors for Cervical Precancer and Cancer in HIV-Infected, HPV-Positive Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13525.
Although cervical cancer is an AIDS-defining condition, infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may only modestly increase the risk of cervical cancer. There is a paucity of information regarding factors that influence the natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV) in HIV-infected women. We examined factors associated with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or cancer (CIN3+) in Rwandan women infected with both HIV and HPV (HIV+/HPV+).
In 2005, 710 HIV+ Rwandan women ≥25 years enrolled in an observational cohort study; 476 (67%) tested HPV+. Each woman provided sociodemographic data, CD4 count, a cervical cytology specimen and cervicovaginal lavage (CVL), which was tested for >40 HPV genotypes by MY09/MY11 PCR assay. Logistic regression models calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of associations of potential risk factors for CIN3+ among HIV+/HPV+ women.
Of the 476 HIV+/HPV+ women 42 (8.8%) were diagnosed with CIN3+. Factors associated with CIN3+ included ≥7 (vs. 0-2) pregnancies, malarial infection in the previous six months (vs. never), and ≥7 (vs. 0-2) lifetime sexual partners. Compared to women infected by non-HPV16 carcinogenic HPV genotypes, HPV16 infection was positively associated and non-carcinogenic HPV infection was inversely associated with CIN3+. CD4 count was significantly associated with CIN3+ only in analyses of women with non-HPV16 carcinogenic HPV (OR = 0.62 per 100 cells/mm3, CI = 0.40-0.97).
In this HIV+/HPV+ population, lower CD4 was significantly associated with CIN3+ only in women infected with carcinogenic non-HPV16. We found a trend for higher risk of CIN3+ in HIV+ women reporting recent malarial infection; this association should be investigated in a larger group of HIV+/HPV+ women.
PMCID: PMC2958122  PMID: 20976000
20.  Lipoprotein levels and cardiovascular risk in HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women 
Lipoprotein profiles in HIV-infected African women have not been well described. We assessed associations of lipoprotein levels and cardiovascular risk with HIV-infection and CD4 count in Rwandan women.
Cross-sectional study of 824 (218 HIV-negative, 606 HIV+) Rwandan women. Body composition by body impedance analysis, CD4 count, and fasting serum total cholesterol (total-C), triglycerides (TG) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels were measured. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) was calculated from Friedewald equation if TG < 400 and measured directly if TG ≥ 400 mg/dl.
BMI was similar in HIV+ and -negative women, < 1% were diabetic, and HIV+ women were younger. In multivariate models LDL was not associated with HIV-serostatus. HDL was lower in HIV+ women (44 vs. 54 mg/dL, p < 0.0001) with no significant difference by CD4 count (p = 0.13). HIV serostatus (p = 0.005) and among HIV+ women lower CD4 count (p = 0.04) were associated with higher TG. BMI was independently associated with higher LDL (p = 0.01), and higher total body fat was strongly associated with higher total-C and LDL. Framingham risk scores were < 2% in both groups.
In this cohort of non-obese African women HDL and TG, but not LDL, were adversely associated with HIV infection. As HDL is a strong predictor of cardiovascular (CV) events in women, this HIV-associated difference may confer increased risk for CV disease in HIV-infected women.
PMCID: PMC2940781  PMID: 20796311
21.  Human Papillomavirus Infection and Cervical Cytology in HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Rwandan Women 
Data on human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence are essential for developing cost-effective cervical cancer prevention programs.
In 2005, 710 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–positive and 226 HIV-negative Rwandan women enrolled in an observational prospective cohort study. Sociodemographic data, CD4+ cell counts, and cervical specimens were obtained. Cervicovaginal lavage specimens were collected from each woman and tested for >40 HPV types by a polymerase chain reaction assay; HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, and 68 were considered primary carcinogenic HPV types.
The prevalence of HPV was higher in HIV-positive women than in HIV-negative women in all age groups. Among HIV-infected women, 69% were positive for ≥1 HPV type, 46% for a carcinogenic HPV type, and 10% for HPV-16. HPV prevalence peaked at 75% in the HIV-positive women aged 25–34 years and then declined with age to 37.5% in those ≥55 years old (Ptrend < .001). A significant trend of higher prevalence of HPV and carcinogenic HPV with lower CD4+ cell counts and increasing cytologic severity was seen among HIV-positive women.
We found a higher prevalence of HPV infection in HIV-positive than in HIV-negative Rwandan women, and the prevalence of HPV and carcinogenic HPV infection decreased with age.
PMCID: PMC2814215  PMID: 19435429

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