• High levels of viral repression, malnutrition and second-line ART use in adolescents living with HIV: a mixed methods study from Myanmar

      Murray, J; Whitehouse, K; Ousley, J; Bermudez, E; Soe, TT; Hilbig, A; Soe, KP; Mon, PE; Tun, KT; Ei, WLSS; et al. (BioMed Central, 2020-03-20)
      BACKGROUND: Adolescents living with HIV/AIDS (ALHIV) are a particularly vulnerable but often overlooked group in the HIV response despite additional disease management challenges. METHODS: All ALHIV (10-19 years), on ART for ≥6 months, presenting to care at a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic in Myanmar from January-April 2016 were eligible for the quantitative study component (clinical history, medical examination, laboratory investigation). A subset of these respondents were invited to participate in qualitative interviews. Interviews and focus groups were also conducted with other key informants (care givers, clinicians). RESULTS: Of 177 ALHIV, 56% (100) were aged 9-13 years and 77 (44%) were 14-19. 49% (86) had been orphaned by one parent, and 19% (33) by both. 59% (104) were severely underweight (BMI < 16). 47% presented with advanced HIV (WHO stage III/IV). 93% were virally supressed (< 250 copies/mL). 38 (21%) of ALHIV were on a second-line ART after first-line virological failure. Qualitative interviewing highlighted factors limiting adherence and the central role that HIV counsellors play for both ALHIV patients and caregivers. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows good clinical, immunological, and virological outcomes for a cohort of Myanmar adolescents living with HIV, despite a majority being severely underweight, presenting with Stage III or IV illness, and the prevalence of comorbid infections (TB). Many treatment and adherence challenges were articulated in qualitative interviewing but emphasized the importance of actively engaging adolescents in their treatment. Comprehensive HIV care for this population must include routine viral load testing and social support programs.
    • Person-centred care in practice: perspectives from a short course regimen for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan.

      Horter, S; Stringer, B; Gray, N; Parpieva, N; Safaev, K; Tigay, Z; Singh, J; Achar, J (BMC, 2020-09-16)
      Introduction: Person-centred care, an internationally recognised priority, describes the involvement of people in their care and treatment decisions, and the consideration of their needs and priorities within service delivery. Clarity is required regarding how it may be implemented in practice within different contexts. The standard multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment regimen is lengthy, toxic and insufficiently effective. 2019 World Health Organisation guidelines include a shorter (9-11-month) regimen and recommend that people with MDR-TB be involved in the choice of treatment option. We examine the perspectives and experiences of people with MDR-TB and health-care workers (HCW) regarding person-centred care in an MDR-TB programme in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, run by Médecins Sans Frontières and the Ministry of Health. Methods: A qualitative study comprising 48 interviews with 24 people with MDR-TB and 20 HCW was conducted in June-July 2019. Participants were recruited purposively to include a range of treatment-taking experiences and professional positions. Interview data were analysed thematically using coding to identify emerging patterns, concepts, and categories relating to person-centred care, with Nvivo12. Results: People with MDR-TB were unfamiliar with shared decision-making and felt uncomfortable taking responsibility for their treatment choice. HCW were viewed as having greater knowledge and expertise, and patients trusted HCW to act in their best interests, deferring the choice of appropriate treatment course to them. HCW had concerns about involving people in treatment choices, preferring that doctors made decisions. People with MDR-TB wanted to be involved in discussions about their treatment, and have their preference sought, and were comfortable choosing whether treatment was ambulatory or hospital-based. Participants felt it important that people with MDR-TB had knowledge and understanding about their treatment and disease, to foster their sense of preparedness and ownership for treatment. Involving people in their care was said to motivate sustained treatment-taking, and it appeared important to have evidence of treatment need and effect. Conclusions: There is a preference for doctors choosing the treatment regimen, linked to shared decision-making unfamiliarity and practitioner-patient knowledge imbalance. Involving people in their care, through discussions, information, and preference-seeking could foster ownership and self-responsibility, supporting sustained engagement with treatment.