• Early initiation of antiretroviral therapy and associated reduction in mortality, morbidity and defaulting in a nurse-managed, community cohort in Lesotho.

      Ford, Nathan; Kranzer, Katharina; Hilderbrand, Katherine; Jouquet, Guillaume; Goemaere, Eric; Vlahakis, Nathalie; Triviño, Laura; Makakole, Lipontso; Bygrave, Helen; Médecins Sans Frontières, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Nathan.ford@msf.org (2010-11-13)
      INTRODUCTION: The latest WHO guidelines recommend initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) at CD4 cell counts less than 350 cells/μl. However, donors and national governments are reluctant to support implementation owing to uncertainty regarding feasibility and relative benefit. Lesotho has supported earlier initiation since 2008. We assessed outcomes comparing early (CD4 cell counts >200 cells/μl) and late (CD4 cell counts ≤200 cells/μl) initiation. METHODS: We describe survival probability among patients initiating ART at CD4 cell counts 200 or less and more than 200 cells/μl and assess associations between baseline CD4 cell counts and mortality, morbidity, loss to follow-up and hospitalization using Cox regression adjusting for confounders identified a priori. RESULTS: Our analysis included 1177 patients; median age was 38 years and the majority (67%) were women. Median time on ART for the overall cohort was 506 days (interquartile range 396-608). Five hundred and thirty eight patients initiated ART at a CD4 cell count 200 cells/μl or less (interquartile range 54-160) and 639 patients initiated at CD4 cell count more than 200 cells/μl (interquartile range 238-321). In multivariate analysis, we found that patients initiating at CD4 cell count more than 200 cells/μl were 68% less likely to die (adjusted hazard ratio 0.32, 95% confidence interval 0.20-0.50), and 39% less likely to be lost to follow-up (adjusted hazard ratio 0.61, 95% confidence interval 0.43-0.87). Initiating ART at CD4 cell count more than 200 cells/μl was also associated with a 27% reduction in the rate of incident morbidity (adjusted hazard ratio 0.73, 95% confidence interval 0.65-0.82) and a 63% decreased rate of hospitalization (adjusted hazard ratio 0.37, 95% confidence interval 0.19-0.73). CONCLUSION: Earlier initiation is feasible in a low resource, high HIV prevalence setting, and provides important benefits in terms of reduced mortality, morbidity, retention and hospitalization. Donors should fully support the implementation of the latest WHO recommendations.
    • Implementing a tenofovir-based first-line regimen in rural Lesotho: clinical outcomes and toxicities after two years.

      Bygrave, Helen; Ford, Nathan; van Cutsem, Gilles; Hilderbrand, Katherine; Jouquet, Guillaume; Goemaere, Eric; Vlahakis, Nathalie; Triviño, Laura; Makakole, Lipontso; Kranzer, Katharina; et al. (2011-03)
      The latest World Health Organization guidelines recommend replacing stavudine with tenofovir or zidovudine in first-line antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. We report on outcomes and toxicities among patients on these different regimens in a routine treatment cohort in Lesotho.
    • Renal safety of a tenofovir-containing first line regimen: experience from an antiretroviral cohort in rural lesotho.

      Bygrave, Helen; Kranzer, Katharina; Hilderbrand, Katherine; Jouquet, Guillaume; Goemaere, Eric; Vlahakis, Nathalie; Triviño, Laura; Makakole, Lipontso; Ford, Nathan; Médecins Sans Frontières, Morija, Lesotho. (2011-03)
      Current guidelines contraindicate TDF use when creatinine clearance (CrCl) falls below 50 ml/min. We report prevalence of abnormal renal function at baseline and factors associated with abnormal renal function from a community cohort in Lesotho.
    • Trends in loss to follow-up among migrant workers on antiretroviral therapy in a community cohort in Lesotho.

      Bygrave, Helen; Kranzer, Katharina; Hilderbrand, Katherine; Whittall, Jonathan; Jouquet, Guillaume; Goemaere, Eric; Vlahakis, Nathalie; Triviño, Laura; Makakole, Lipontso; Ford, Nathan; et al. (2010-10-08)
      BACKGROUND: The provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to migrant populations raises particular challenges with respect to ensuring adequate treatment support, adherence, and retention in care. We assessed rates of loss to follow-up for migrant workers compared with non-migrant workers in a routine treatment programme in Morjia, Lesotho. DESIGN: All adult patients (≥18 years) initiating ART between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, and followed up until the end of 2009, were included in the study. We described rates of loss to follow-up according to migrant status by Kaplan-Meier estimates, and used Poisson regression to model associations between migrant status and loss to follow-up controlling for potential confounders identified a priori. RESULTS: Our cohort comprised 1185 people, among whom 12% (148) were migrant workers. Among the migrant workers, median age was 36.1 (29.6-45.9) and the majority (55%) were male. We found no statistically significant differences between baseline characteristics and migrant status. Rates of lost to follow up were similar between migrants and non-migrants in the first 3 months but differences increased thereafter. Between 3 and 6 months after initiating antiretroviral therapy, migrants had a 2.78-fold increased rate of defaulting (95%CI 1.15-6.73); between 6 and 12 months the rate was 2.36 times greater (95%CI 1.18-4.73), whereas after 1 year the rate was 6.69 times greater (95%CI 3.18-14.09). CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights the need for programme implementers to take into account the specific challenges that may influence continuity of antiretroviral treatment and care for migrant populations.