• The future role of CD4 cell count for monitoring antiretroviral therapy

      Ford, Nathan; Meintjes, Graeme; Pozniak, Anton; Bygrave, Helen; Hill, Andrew; Peter, Trevor; Davies, Mary-Ann; Grinsztejn, Beatriz; Calmy, Alexandra; Kumarasamy, N; et al. (Elsevier, 2014-11-19)
      For more than two decades, CD4 cell count measurements have been central to understanding HIV disease progression, making important clinical decisions, and monitoring the response to antiretroviral therapy (ART). In well resourced settings, the monitoring of patients on ART has been supported by routine virological monitoring. Viral load monitoring was recommended by WHO in 2013 guidelines as the preferred way to monitor people on ART, and efforts are underway to scale up access in resource-limited settings. Recent studies suggest that in situations where viral load is available and patients are virologically suppressed, long-term CD4 monitoring adds little value and stopping CD4 monitoring will have major cost savings. CD4 cell counts will continue to play an important part in initial decisions around ART initiation and clinical management, particularly for patients presenting late to care, and for treatment monitoring where viral load monitoring is restricted. However, in settings where both CD4 cell counts and viral load testing are routinely available, countries should consider reducing the frequency of CD4 cell counts or not doing routine CD4 monitoring for patients who are stable on ART.
    • Preferred antiretroviral drugs for the next decade of scale up

      Andrieux-Meyer, Isabelle; Calmy, Alexandra; Cahn, Pedro; Clayden, Polly; Raguin, Gilles; Katlama, Christine; Vitoria, Marco; Levin, Andrew; Lynch, Sharonann; Goemaere, Eric; et al. (2012-09-18)
      Global commitments aim to provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) to 15 million people living with HIV by 2015, and recent studies have demonstrated the potential for widespread ART to prevent HIV transmission. Increasingly, countries are adapting their national guidelines to start ART earlier, for both clinical and preventive benefits. To maximize the benefits of ART in resource-limited settings, six key principles need to guide ART choice: simplicity, tolerability and safety, durability, universal applicability, affordability and heat stability. Currently available drugs, combined with those in late-stage clinical development, hold great promise to simplify treatment in the short term. Over the longer-term, newer technologies, such as long-acting formulations and nanotechnology, could radically alter the treatment paradigm. This commentary reviews recommendations made in an expert consultation on treatment scale up in resource-limited settings.