• Factors associated with antiretroviral treatment failure among people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy in resource-poor settings: a systematic review and metaanalysis

      Lailulo, Y; Kitenge, M; Jaffer, S; Aluko, O; Nyasulu, PS (BMC, 2020-12-12)
      Background Despite the increase in the number of people accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART), there is limited data regarding treatment failure and its related factors among HIV-positive individuals enrolled in HIV care in resource-poor settings. This review aimed to identify factors associated with antiretroviral treatment failure among individuals living with HIV on ART in resource-poor settings. Methods We conducted a comprehensive search on MEDLINE (PubMed), Excerpta Medica Database (EMBASE), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) library database, and Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS). We included observational studies (cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies) where adolescents and adults living with HIV were on antiretroviral treatment regardless of the ART regimen. The primary outcomes of interest were immunological, virological, and clinical failure. Some of the secondary outcomes were mm3 opportunistic infections, WHO clinical stage, and socio-demographic factors. We screened titles, abstracts, and the full texts of relevant articles in duplicate. Disagreements were resolved by consensus. We analyzed the data by doing a meta-analysis to pool the results for each outcome of interest. Results Antiretroviral failure was nearly 6 times higher among patients who had poor adherence to treatment as compared to patients with a good treatment adherence (OR = 5.90, 95% CI 3.50, 9.94, moderate strength of evidence). The likelihood of the treatment failure was almost 5 times higher among patients with CD4 < 200 cells/mm3 compared to those with CD4 ≥ 200 CD4 cells/mm3 (OR = 4.82, 95% CI 2.44, 9.52, low strength of evidence). This result shows that poor adherence and CD4 count below < 200 cells/mm3 are significantly associated with treatment failure among HIV-positive patients on ART in a resource-limited setting. Conclusion This review highlights that low CD4 counts and poor adherence to ART were associated to ART treatment failure. There is a need for healthcare workers and HIV program implementers to focus on patients who have these characteristics in order to prevent ART treatment failure.
    • Field suitability and diagnostic accuracy of the Biocentric open real-time PCR platform for plasma-based HIV viral load quantification in Swaziland

      Kerschberger, B; Mpala, Q; Uribe, PAD; Maphalala, G; de la Tour, R; Kalombola, S; Bekele, A; Chawinga, T; Mliba, M; Ntshalintshali, N; et al. (BMC, 2018-11-14)
      Viral load (VL) testing is being scaled up in resource-limited settings. However, not all commercially available VL testing methods have been evaluated under field conditions. This study is one of a few to evaluate the Biocentric platform for VL quantification in routine practice in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    • HIV epidemic and cascade of care in 12 east African rural fishing communities: results from a population-based survey in Uganda

      Burgos-Soto, J; Farhat, JB; Alley, I; Ojuka, P; Mulogo, E; Kise-Sete, T; Bouhenia, M; Salumu, L; Mathela, R; Langendorf, C; et al. (BMC, 2020-06-19)
      Background In East Africa, fishing communities are considered most-at-risk populations for the acquisition of HIV. We estimated HIV prevalence and assessed progress towards the UNAIDS 90–90-90 targets along the HIV treatment cascade in 12 fishing communities surrounding Lakes Edward and George, Uganda. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional household-based survey between September and November 2016. All adults between 15 and 69 years old were eligible to participate. Children below 15 years old were eligible for HIV testing if either parent was HIV-positive. Viral load testing was done for all HIV-infected individuals. Logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic-behavioral variables were used to assess the association between occupation and HIV positivity. Results Overall, 1738 adults (959 women, 779 men) and 148 children were included. Adult inclusion rate was 96.0%. Of the men, 58% reported to be fishermen. The HIV-prevalence among adults was 17.5% (95%CI: 15.8–19.4) and 6.1% (95%CI: 3.1–11.4) among HIV-exposed children. HIV prevalence was higher among women than among men (20.9% vs. 13.5%, p < 0.001). Among men, fishermen had a higher HIV prevalence (18.7%; 95%CI: 15.1–22.3) and a higher risk of being HIV-positive (aOR: 4.2; 95%CI: 2.0–9.1) than men of other occupations (p < 0.001). Progress towards the UNAIDS 90–90-90 targets was as follows: 86.5% (95%CI: 82.3–90.1%) of the HIV-positive participants were diagnosed, 98.7% (95%CI: 96.1–99.6%) of those aware were on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 87.3% (95%CI: 82.3–91.0%) of those on ART were virally suppressed. Overall, 73% of all HIV-positive individuals were virally suppressed. Viral suppression was lower among individuals 15–24 years (45.5%) than among those 25–44 years (74.0%) and 45–69 years (85.0%), p < 0.001. Fishermen did not to have significant differences in the HIV cascade of care compared to men with other occupations. Conclusions HIV prevalence was high in these fishing communities, particularly among women and fishermen. Important progress has been made along the HIV treatment cascade, and the UNAIDS goal for viral suppression in population was achieved. However, gaps remain and HIV care strategies focusing on young people are urgently needed. HIV preventive interventions should target particularly women, young people and fishermen though HIV preventive and care services should remain available to the whole fishing communities.
    • Impact of the implementation of new guidelines on the management of patients with HIV infection at an advanced HIV clinic in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

      Mangana, F; Massaquoi, L D; Moudachirou, R; Harrison, R; Kaluangila, T; Mucinya, G; Ntabugi, N; van Cutsem, G; Burton, R; Isaakidis, P (BMC, 2020-10-07)
      Background: HIV continues to be the main determinant morbidity with high mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a high number of patients being late presenters with advanced HIV. Clinical management of advanced HIV patients is thus complex and requires strict adherence to updated, empirical and simplified guidelines. The current study investigated the impact of the implementation of a new clinical guideline on the management of advanced HIV in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Methods: A retrospective analysis of routine clinical data of advanced HIV patients was conducted for the periods; February 2016 to March 2017, before implementation of new guidelines, and November 2017 to July 2018, after the implementation of new guidelines. Eligible patients were patients with CD4 < 200 cell/μl and presenting with at least 1 of 4 opportunistic infections. Patient files were reviewed by a medical doctor and a committee of 3 other doctors for congruence. Statistical significance was set at 0.05%. Results: Two hundred four and Two hundred thirty-one patients were eligible for inclusion before and after the implementation of new guidelines respectively. Sex and age distributions were similar for both periods, and median CD4 were 36 & 52 cell/μl, before and after the new guidelines implementation, respectively. 40.7% of patients had at least 1 missed/incorrect diagnosis before the new guidelines compared to 30% after new guidelines, p < 0.05. Clinical diagnosis for TB and toxoplasmosis were also much improved after the implementation of new guidelines. In addition, only 63% of patients had CD4 count test results before the new guidelines compared to 99% of patients after new guidelines. Death odds after the implementation of new guidelines were significantly lower than before new guidelines in a multivariate regression model that included patients CD4 count and 10 other covariates, p < 0.05. Conclusions: Simplification and implementation of a new and improved HIV clinical guideline coupled with the installation of laboratory equipment and point of care tests potentially helped reduce incorrect diagnosis and improve clinical outcomes of patients with advanced HIV. Regulating authorities should consider developing simplified versions of guidelines followed by the provision of basic diagnostic equipment to health centers.
    • "It's a secret between us": a qualitative study on children and care-giver experiences of HIV disclosure in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Sumbi, EM; Venables, E; Harrison, R; Garcia, M; Iakovidi, K; van Cutsem, G; Chalachala, JL (BMC, 2021-02-06)
      Background: It is estimated that 64,000 children under 15 years of age are living with HIV in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Non-disclosure - in which the child is not informed about their HIV status - is likely to be associated with poor outcomes during adolescence including increased risk of poor adherence and retention, and treatment failure. Disclosing a child's HIV status to them can be a difficult process for care-givers and children, and in this qualitative study we explored child and care-giver experiences of the process of disclosing, including reasons for delay. Methods: A total of 22 in-depth interviews with care-givers and 11 in-depth interviews with HIV positive children whom they were caring for were conducted in one health-care facility in the capital city of Kinshasa. Care-givers were purposively sampled to include those who had disclosed to their children and those who had not. Care-givers included biological parents, grandmothers, siblings and community members and 86% of them were female. Interviews were conducted in French and Lingala. All interviews were translated and/or transcribed into French before being manually coded. Thematic analysis was conducted. Verbal informed consent/assent was taken from all interviewees. Results: At the time of interview, the mean age of children and care-givers was 17 (15-19) and 47 (21-70) years old, respectively. Many care-givers had lost family members due to HIV and several were HIV positive themselves. Reasons for non-disclosure included fear of stigmatisation; wanting to protect the child and not having enough knowledge about HIV or the status of the child to disclose. Several children had multiple care-givers, which also delayed disclosure, as responsibility for the child was shared. In addition, some care-givers were struggling to accept their own HIV status and did not want their child to blame them for their own positive status by disclosing to them. Conclusions: Child disclosure is a complex process for care-givers, health-care workers and the children themselves. Care-givers may require additional psycho-social support to manage disclosure. Involving multiple care-givers in the care of HIV positive children could offer additional support for disclosure.
    • Mean CD4 cell count changes in patients failing a first-line antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings.

      Calmy, Alexandra; Balestre, Eric; Bonnet, Fabrice; Boulle, Andrew; Sprinz, Eduardo; Wood, Robin; Delaporte, Eric; Messou, Eugène; McIntyre, James; El Filali, Kamal Marhoum; et al. (BMC, 2012-12)
      Changes in CD4 cell counts are poorly documented in individuals with low or moderate-level viremia while on antiretroviral treatment (ART) in resource-limited settings. We assessed the impact of on-going HIV-RNA replication on CD4 cell count slopes in patients treated with a first-line combination ART.
    • Outcomes of AIDS-associated Kaposi sarcoma in Mozambique after treatment with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin

      Coldiron, ME; Gutierrez Zamudio, AG; Manuel, R; Luciano, G; Rusch, B; Ciglenecki, I; Telnov, A; Grais, RF; Trellu, LT; Molfino, L (BMC, 2021-01-07)
      Background Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is a common HIV-associated malignancy frequently associated with poor outcomes. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in major cities of Mozambique. Antiretroviral therapy is the cornerstone of KS treatment, but many patients require cytotoxic chemotherapy. The traditional regimen in Mozambique includes conventional doxorubicin, bleomycin and vincristine, which is poorly tolerated. In 2016, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin was introduced at a specialized outpatient center in Maputo, Mozambique. Methods We performed a prospective, single-arm, open-label observational study to demonstrate the feasibility, safety, and outcomes of treatment with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) in patients with AIDS-associated Kaposi sarcoma (KS) in a low-resource setting. Chemotherapy-naïve adults with AIDS-associated KS (T1 or T0 not responding to 6 months of antiretroviral therapy) were eligible if they were willing to follow up for 2 years. Patients with Karnofsky scores < 50 or contraindications to PLD were excluded. One hundred eighty-three patients were screened and 116 participants were enrolled. Patients received PLD on three-week cycles until meeting clinical stopping criteria. Follow-up visits monitored HIV status, KS disease, side effects of chemotherapy, mental health (PHQ-9) and quality of life (SF-12). Primary outcome measures included vital status and disease status at 6, 12, and 24 months after enrollment. Results At 24 months, 23 participants (20%) had died and 15 (13%) were lost to follow-up. Baseline CD4 < 100 was associated with death (HR 2.7, 95%CI [1.2–6.2], p = 0.016), as was T1S1 disease compared to T1S0 disease (HR 2.7, 95%CI [1.1–6.4], p = 0.023). Ninety-two participants achieved complete or partial remission at any point (overall response rate 80%), including 15 (13%) who achieved complete remission. PLD was well-tolerated, and the most common AEs were neutropenia and anemia. Quality of life improved rapidly after beginning PLD. Discussion PLD was safe, well-tolerated and effective as first-line treatment of KS in Mozambique. High mortality was likely due to advanced immunosuppression at presentation, underscoring the importance of earlier screening and referral for KS.
    • Success with antiretroviral treatment for children in Kigali, Rwanda: experience with health center/nurse-based care.

      van Griensven, J; De Naeyer, L; Uwera, J; Asiimwe, A; Gazille, C; Reid, T; Médecins Sans Frontières, Kigali, Rwanda. jvgrie@yahoo.com (BMC, 2008-10)
      BACKGROUND: Although a number of studies have shown good results in treating children with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) in hospital settings, there is limited published information on results in pediatric programs that are nurse-centered and based in health centers, in particular on the psychosocial aspects of care. METHODS: Program treatment and outcome data were reported from two government-run health centers that were supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Kigali, Rwanda between October 2003 and June 2007. Interviews were held with health center staff and MSF program records were reviewed to describe the organization of the program. Important aspects included adequate training and supervision of nurses to manage ARV treatment. The program also emphasized family-centered care addressing the psychosocial needs of both caregivers and children to encourage early diagnosis, good adherence and follow-up. RESULTS: A total of 315 children (< 15 years) were started on ARVs, at a median age of 7.2 years (range: 0.7-14.9). Sixty percent were in WHO clinical stage I/II, with a median CD4% of 14%. Eighty-nine percent (n = 281) started a stavudine-containing regimen, mainly using the adult fixed-dose combination. The median follow-up time after ARV initiation was 2 years (interquartile range 1.2-2.6). Eighty-four percent (n = 265) of children were still on treatment in the program. Thirty (9.5%) were transferred out, eight (2.6%) died and 12 (3.8%) were lost to follow-up. An important feature of the study was that viral loads were done at a median time period of 18 months after starting ARVs and were available for 87% of the children. Of the 174 samples, VL was < 400 copies/ml in 82.8% (n = 144). Two children were started on second-line ARVs. Treatment was changed due to toxicity for 26 children (8.3%), mainly related to nevirapine. CONCLUSION: This report suggests that providing ARVs to children in a health center/nurse-based program is both feasible and very effective. Adequate numbers and training of nursing staff and an emphasis on the psychosocial needs of caregivers and children have been key elements for the successful scaling-up of ARVs at this level of the health system.
    • Treating HIV-associated cytomegalovirus retinitis with oral valganciclovir and intra-ocular ganciclovir by primary HIV clinicians in southern Myanmar: a retrospective analysis of routinely collected data

      Murray, J; Hilbig, A; Soe, TT; Ei, WLSS; Soe, KP; Ciglenecki, I (BMC, 2020-11-13)
      Background Cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMVR) is an opportunistic infection in HIV-infected people. Intraocular or intravenous ganciclovir was gold standard for treatment; however, oral valganciclovir replaced this in high-income countries. Low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) frequently use intraocular injection of ganciclovir (IOG) alone because of cost. Methods Retrospective review of all HIV-positive patients with CMVR from February 2013 to April 2017 at a Médecins Sans Frontièrs HIV clinic in Myanmar. Treatment was classified as local (IOG) or systemic (valganciclovir, or valganciclovir and IOG). The primary outcome was change in visual acuity (VA) post-treatment. Mortality was a secondary outcome. Results Fifty-three patients were included. Baseline VA was available for 103 (97%) patient eyes. Active CMVR was present in 72 (68%) eyes. Post-treatment, seven (13%) patients had improvement in VA, 30 (57%) had no change, and three (6%) deteriorated. Among patients receiving systemic therapy, four (12.5%) died, compared with five (24%) receiving local therapy (p = 0.19). Conclusions Our results from the first introduction of valganciclovir for CMVR in LMIC show encouraging effectiveness and safety in patients with advanced HIV. We urge HIV programmes to include valganciclovir as an essential medicine, and to include CMVR screening and treatment in the package of advanced HIV care.