• Changes in Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate Over Time in South African HIV-1-Infected Patients Receiving Tenofovir: a Retrospective Cohort Study

      De Waal, R; Cohen, K; Fox, MP; Stinson, K; Maartens, G; Boulle, A; Igumbor, EU; Davies, MA (International AIDS Society, 2017-04-10)
      Tenofovir has been associated with decline in kidney function, but in patients with low baseline kidney function, improvements over time have been reported. Additionally, the magnitude and trajectory of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) changes may differ according to how eGFR is calculated. We described changes in eGFR over time, and the incidence of, and risk factors for, kidney toxicity, in a South African cohort.
    • Closer to 90-90-90. The Cascade of Care After 10 Years of ART Scale-Up in Rural Malawi: a Population Study

      Maman, D; Chilima, B; Masiku, C; Ayouba, A; Masson, S; Szumilin, E; Peeters, M; Ford, N; Heinzelmann, A; Riche, B; Etard, JF (International AIDS Society, 2016-02-15)
      The antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme supported by Médecins Sans Frontières in the rural Malawian district of Chiradzulu was one of the first in sub-Saharan Africa to scale up ART delivery in 2002. After more than a decade of continuous involvement, we conducted a population survey to evaluate the cascade of care, including population viral load, in the district.
    • Delivering HIV Care in Challenging Operating Environments: The MSF Experience Towards Differentiated Models of Care for Settings with Multiple Basic Health Care Needs

      Ssonko, C; Gonzalez, L; Mesic, A; da Fonseca, M; Achar, J; Safar, N; Martin, B; Wong, S; Casas, E (International AIDS Society, 2017-07-21)
      Introduction: Countries in the West and Central African regions struggle to offer quality HIV care at scale, despite HIV prevalence being relatively low. In these challenging operating environments, basic health care needs are multiple, systems are highly fragile and conflict disrupts health care. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working to integrate HIV care in basic health services in such settings since 2000. We review the implementation of differentiated HIV care and treatment approaches in MSF-supported programmes in South Sudan (RoSS), Central African Republic (CAR) and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Methods: A descriptive analysis from CAR, DRC and RoSS programmes reviewing methodology and strategies of HIV care integration between 2010 and 2015 was performed. We describe HIV care models integrated within the provision of general health care and highlight best practices and challenges. Results: Services included provision of general health care, with out-patient care (range between countries 43,343 and 287,163 consultations/year in 2015) and in-patient care (range 1076–16,595 in 2015). By the end of 2015 antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiations reached 12–255 patients/year. A total of 1101 and 1053 patients were on ART in CAR and DRC, respectively. In RoSS 186 patients were on ART when conflict recommenced late in 2013. While ART initiation and monitoring were mostly clinically driven in the early phase of the programmes, DRC implemented CD4 monitoring and progressively HIV viral load (VL) monitoring during study period. Attacks to health care facilities in CAR and RoSS disrupted service provision temporarily. Programmatic challenges include: competing health priorities influencing HIV care and need to integrate within general health services. Differentiated care approaches that support continuity of care in these programmes include simplification of medical protocols, multi-month ART prescriptions, and community strategies such as ART delivery groups, contingency plans and peer support activities. Conclusions: The principles of differentiated HIV care for high-quality ART delivery can successfully be applied in challenging operating environments. However, success heavily depends on specific adaptations to each setting.
    • High Rates of Retention and Viral Suppression in the Scale-Up of Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence Clubs in Cape Town, South Africa

      Tsondai, P; Wilkinson, L; Grimsrud, A; Mdlalo, P; Ullauri, A; Boulle, A (International AIDS Society, 2017-07-21)
      Increasingly, there is a need for health authority scale up of successfully piloted differentiated models of antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery. However, there is a paucity of evidence on system-wide outcomes after scale-up. In the Cape Town health district, stable adult patients were referred to adherence clubs (ACs) - a group model of ART delivery with five visits per year. By the end of March 2015, over 32,000 ART patients were in an AC. We describe patient outcomes of a representative sample of AC patients during this scale-up.
    • HIV Misdiagnosis in Sub-Saharan Africa: Performance of Diagnostic Algorithms at Six Testing Sites

      Kosack, C; Shanks, L; Beelaert, G; Benson, T; Savane, A; Ng'ang'a, A; Andre, B; Zahinda, J; Fransen, K; Page, A (International AIDS Society, 2017-07-03)
      We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of HIV testing algorithms at six programmes in five sub-Saharan African countries.
    • HIV Viral Load as an Independent Risk Factor for Tuberculosis in South Africa: Collaborative Analysis of Cohort Studies

      Fenner, L; Atkinson, A; Boulle, A; Fox, M; Prozesky, H; Zürcher, K; Ballif, M; Furrer, H; Zwahlen, M; Davies, M; Egger, M (International AIDS Society, 2017-06-23)
      Chronic immune activation due to ongoing HIV replication may lead to impaired immune responses against opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis (TB). We studied the role of HIV replication as a risk factor for incident TB after starting antiretroviral therapy (ART).
    • Impact of point-of-care CD4 testing on linkage to HIV care: a systematic review

      Wynberg, Elke; Cooke, Graham; Shroufi, Amir; Reid, Steven D; Ford, Nathan (International AIDS Society, 2014-01-20)
      Introduction: Point-of-care testing for CD4 cell count is considered a promising way of reducing the time to eligibility assessment for antiretroviral therapy (ART) and of increasing retention in care prior to treatment initiation. In this review, we assess the available evidence on the patient and programme impact of point-of-care CD4 testing. Methods: We searched nine databases and two conference sites (up until 26 October 2013) for studies reporting patient and programme outcomes following the introduction of point-of-care CD4 testing. Where appropriate, results were pooled using random-effects methods. Results: Fifteen studies, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, were included for review, providing evidence for adults, adolescents, children and pregnant women. Compared to conventional laboratory-based testing, point-of-care CD4 testing increased the likelihood of having CD4 measured [odds ratio (OR) 4.1, 95% CI 3.5-4.9, n=2] and receiving a CD4 result (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.5-5.6, n=6). Time to being tested was significantly reduced, by a median of nine days; time from CD4 testing to receiving the result was reduced by as much as 17 days. Evidence for increased treatment initiation was mixed. Discussion: The results of this review suggest that point-of-care CD4 testing can increase retention in care prior to starting treatment and can also reduce time to eligibility assessment, which may result in more eligible patients being initiated on ART.
    • Implications of Differentiated Care for Successful ART Scale-Up in a Concentrated HIV Epidemic in Yangon, Myanmar

      Mesic, A; Fontaine, J; Aye, T; Greig, J; Thwe, T; Moretó-Planas, L; Kliesckova, J; Khin, K; Zarkua, N; Gonzales, L; Guillergan, E; O’Brien, D (International AIDS Society, 2017-07-21)
      Introduction: National AIDS Programme in Myanmar has made significant progress in scaling up antiretroviral treatment (ART) services and recognizes the importance of differentiated care for people living with HIV. Indeed, long centred around the hospital and reliant on physicians, the country’s HIV response is undergoing a process of successful decentralization with HIV care increasingly being integrated into other health services as part of a systematic effort to expand access to HIV treatment. This study describes implementation of differentiated care in Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-supported programmes and reports its outcomes. Methods: A descriptive cohort analysis of adult patients on antiretroviral treatment was performed. We assessed stability of patients as of 31 December 2014 and introduced an intervention of reduced frequency of physicians’ consultations for stable patients, and fast tract ART refills. We measured a number of saved physician’s visits as the result of this intervention. Main outcomes, remained under care, death, lost to follow up, treatment failure, were assessed on 31 December 2015 and reported as rates for different stable groups. Results: On 31 December 2014, our programme counted 16, 272 adult patients enrolled in HIV care, of whom 80.34% were stable. The model allowed for an increase in the average number of patients one medical team could care for – from 745 patients in 2011 to 1, 627 in 2014 – and, thus, a reduction in the number of teams needed. An assessment of stable patients enrolled on ART one year after the implementation of the new model revealed excellent outcomes, aggregated for stable patients as 98.7% remaining in care, 0.4% dead, 0.8% lost to follow-up, 0.8% clinical treatment failure and 5.8% with immunological treatment failure. Conclusions: Implementation of a differentiated model reduced the number of visits between stable clients and physicians, reduced the medical resources required for treatment and enabled integrated treatment of the main co-morbidities. We hope that these findings will encourage other stakeholders to implement innovative models of HIV care in Myanmar, further expediting the scale up of ART services, the decentralization of treatment and the integration of care for the main HIV co-morbidities in this context.
    • "Is it making any difference?" A qualitative study examining the treatment-taking experiences of asymptomatic people living with HIV in the context of Treat-all in Eswatini

      Horter, S; Wringe, A; Thabede, Z; Dlamini, V; Kerschberger, B; Pasipamire, M; Lukhele, N; Rusch, B; Seeley, J (International AIDS Society, 2019-01)
      Treat-all is being implemented in several African settings, in accordance with 2015 World Health Organisation guidelines. The factors known to undermine adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) may change in the context of Treat-all, where people living with HIV (PLHIV) increasingly initiate ART at earlier, asymptomatic stages of disease, soon after diagnosis. This paper aimed to examine the asymptomatic PLHIV's experiences engaging with early ART initiation under the Treat-all policy, including how they navigate treatment-taking over the longer term.
    • The Last and First Frontier--Emerging Challenges for HIV Treatment and Prevention in the First week of Life With Emphasis on Premature and Low Birth Weight Infants

      Cotton, MF; Holgate, S; Nelson, A; Rabie, H; Wedderburn, C; Mirochnick, M (International AIDS Society, 2015-12-02)
      There is new emphasis on identifying and treating HIV in the first days of life and also an appreciation that low birth weight (LBW) and preterm delivery (PTD) frequently accompany HIV-related pregnancy. Even in the absence of HIV, PTD and LBW contribute substantially to neonatal and infant mortality. HIV-exposed and -infected infants with these characteristics have received little attention thus far. As HIV programs expand to meet the 90-90-90 target for ending the HIV pandemic, attention should focus on newborn infants, including those delivered preterm or of LBW.
    • Paediatric HIV Treatment Failure: A Silent Epidemic

      Bernheimer, Jonathan M; Patten, Gem; Makeleni, Thembisa; Mantangana, Nompumelelo; Dumile, Nombasa; Goemaere, Eric; Cox, Vivian (International AIDS Society, 2015-07-23)
      Paediatric antiretroviral treatment (ART) failure is an under-recognized issue that receives inadequate attention in the field of paediatrics and within HIV treatment programmes. With paediatric ART failure rates ranging from 19.3% to over 32% in resource limited settings, a comprehensive evaluation of the causes of failure along with approaches to address barriers to treatment adherence are urgently needed. In partnership with the local Department of Health, a pilot programme has been established by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Khayelitsha, South Africa, to identify and support paediatric HIV patients with high viral loads and potential treatment failure. Through detailed clinical and psychosocial evaluations and adherence support with an innovative counselling model, treatment barriers are identified and addressed. Demographic and clinical characteristics from the cohort show a delayed median start date for ART, prolonged viraemia including a large number of patients who have never achieved viral load (VL) suppression, a low rate of regimen changes despite failure, and a high percentage of pre-adolescent and adolescent patients who have not gone through the disclosure process. Stemming this epidemic of paediatric treatment failure requires programmatic responses to high viral loads in children, starting with improved "case finding" of previously undiagnosed HIV-infected children and adolescents. Viral load testing needs to be prioritized over CD4 count monitoring, and flagging systems to identify high VL results should be developed in clinics. Clinicians must understand that successful treatment begins with good adherence, and that simple adherence support strategies can often dramatically improve adherence. Moreover, appropriate adherence counselling should begin not when the child fails to respond to treatment. Establishing good adherence from the beginning of treatment, and supporting ongoing adherence during the milestones in these children's lives is key to sustaining treatment success in this vulnerable HIV-infected patient population.
    • Reimagining HIV Service Delivery: The Role Of Differentiated Care From Prevention to Suppression

      Grimsrud, A; Bygrave, H; Doherty, M; Ehrenkranz, P; Ellman, T; Ferris, R; Ford, N; Killingo, B; Mabote, L; Mansell, T; Reinisch, A; Zulu, I; Bekker, LG (International AIDS Society, 2016-12-01)
    • Response to Comment on "Alert, but not Alarmed" - A Comment on "Towards More Accurate HIV Testing in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Multi-Site Evaluation of HIV RDTs and Risk Factors for False Positives (Kosack et al. 2017)"

      Kosack, C; Page, A; Beelaert, G; Benson, T; Savane, A; Ng'ang'a, A; Andre, B; Zahinda, J; Shanks, L; Fransen, K (International AIDS Society, 2017-06-19)
    • Risk Factors for Mortality During Antiretroviral Therapy in Older Populations in Resource-Limited Settings

      O'Brien, D; Spelman, T; Greig, J; McMahon, J; Ssonko, C; Casas, E; Mesic, A; Du Cros, P; Ford, N (International AIDS Society, 2016-01-14)
      An increasing proportion of adult patients initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) in resource-limited settings are aged >50 years. Older populations on ART appear to have heightened risk of death, but little is known about factors influencing mortality in this population.
    • Risk of death among those awaiting treatment for HIV infection in Zimbabwe: adolescents are at particular risk

      Shroufi, Amir; Ndebele, Wedu; Nyathi, Mary; Gunguwo, Hilary; Dixon, Mark; Saint-Sauveur, Jean F; Taziwa, Fabian; Viñoles, Mari C; Ferrand, Rashida A (International AIDS Society, 2015-02-23)
      Mortality among HIV-positive adults awaiting antiretroviral therapy (ART) has previously been found to be high. Here, we compare adolescent pre-ART mortality to that of adults in a public sector HIV care programme in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
    • Superior Virologic and Treatment Outcomes When Viral Load is Measured at 3 Months Compared to 6 Months on Antiretroviral Therapy

      Kerschberger, Bernhard; Boulle, Andrew M; Kranzer, Katharina; Hilderbrand, Katherine; Schomaker, Michael; Coetzee, David; Goemaere, Eric; Van Cutsem, Gilles (International AIDS Society, 2015-09-28)
      Routine viral load (VL) monitoring is utilized to assess antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and virologic failure, and it is currently scaled-up in many resource-constrained settings. The first routine VL is recommended as late as six months after ART initiation for early detection of sub-optimal adherence. We aimed to assess the optimal timing of first VL measurement after initiation of ART.
    • Sustainability of a community-based anti-retroviral care delivery model - a qualitative research study in Tete, Mozambique

      Rasschaert, Freya; Decroo, Tom; Remartinez, Daniel; Telfer, Barbara; Lessitala, Faustino; Biot, Marc; Candrinho, Baltazar; Van Damme, Wim (International AIDS Society, 2014-10-06)
      To overcome patients' reported barriers to accessing anti-retroviral therapy (ART), a community-based delivery model was piloted in Tete, Mozambique. Community ART Groups (CAGs) of maximum six patients stable on ART offered cost- and time-saving benefits and mutual psychosocial support, which resulted in better adherence and retention outcomes. To date, Médecins Sans Frontières has coordinated and supported these community-driven activities.
    • Sustaining the Future of HIV Counselling to Reach 90-90-90: a Regional Country Analysis

      Bemelmans, M; Baert, S; Negussie, E; Bygrave, H; Biot, M; Jamet, C; Ellman, T; Banda, A; van den Akker, T; Ford, N (International AIDS Society, 2016-05-13)
      Introduction: Counselling services are recommended by the World Health Organization and have been partially adopted by national HIV guidelines. In settings with a high HIV burden, patient education and counselling is often performed by lay workers, mainly supported with international funding. There are few examples where ministries of health have been able to absorb lay counsellors into their health systems or otherwise sustain their work. We document the role of lay cadres involved in HIV testing and counselling and adherence support and discuss approaches to sustainability. Methods: We focused on a purposive sample of eight sub-Saharan African countries where Médecins Sans Frontières supports HIV programmes: Guinea, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We reviewed both published and grey literature, including national policies and donor proposals, and interviewed key informants, including relevant government staff, donors and non-governmental organizations. Results and discussion: Lay counsellors play a critical role in scaling up HIV services and addressing gaps in the HIV testing and treatment cascade by providing HIV testing and counselling and adherence support at both the facility and community levels. Countries have taken various steps in recognizing lay counsellors, including harmonizing training, job descriptions and support structures. However, formal integration of this cadre into national health systems is limited, as lay counsellors are usually not included in national strategies or budgeting. Conclusions: The current trend of reduced donor support for lay counsellors, combined with lack of national prioritization, threatens the sustainability of this cadre and thereby quality HIV service delivery.
    • A three-tier framework for monitoring antiretroviral therapy in high HIV burden settings

      Osler, Meg; Hilderbrand, Katherine; Hennessey, Claudine; Arendse, Juanita; Goemaere, Eric; Ford, Nathan; Boulle, Andrew (International AIDS Society, 2014-04)
      The provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low and middle-income countries is a chronic disease intervention of unprecedented magnitude and is the dominant health systems challenge for high-burden countries, many of which rank among the poorest in the world. Substantial external investment, together with the requirement for service evolution to adapt to changing needs, including the constant shift to earlier ART initiation, makes outcome monitoring and reporting particularly important. However, there is growing concern at the inability of many high-burden countries to report on the outcomes of patients who have been in care for various durations, or even the number of patients in care at a particular point in time. In many instances, countries can only report on the number of patients ever started on ART. Despite paper register systems coming under increasing strain, the evolution from paper directly to complex electronic medical record solutions is not viable in many contexts. Implementing a bridging solution, such as a simple offline electronic version of the paper register, can be a pragmatic alternative. This paper describes and recommends a three-tiered monitoring approach in low- and middle-income countries based on the experience implementing such a system in the Western Cape province of South Africa. A three-tier approach allows Ministries of Health to strategically implement one of the tiers in each facility offering ART services. Each tier produces the same nationally required monthly enrolment and quarterly cohort reports so that outputs from the three tiers can be aggregated into a single database at any level of the health system. The choice of tier is based on context and resources at the time of implementation. As resources and infrastructure improve, more facilities will transition to the next highest and more technologically sophisticated tier. Implementing a three-tier monitoring system at country level for pre-antiretroviral wellness, ART, tuberculosis and mother and child health services can be an efficient approach to ensuring system-wide harmonization and accurate monitoring of services, including long term retention in care, during the scale-up of electronic monitoring solutions.
    • Towards More Accurate HIV Testing in Sub-Saharan Africa: a Multi-Site Evaluation of HIV RDTs and Risk Factors For False Positives

      Kosack, CS; Page, AL; Beelaert, G; Benson, T; Savane, A; Ng'ang'a, A; Andre, B; Zahinda, JP; Shanks, L; Fransen, K (International AIDS Society, 2017-03-22)
      Although individual HIV rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) show good performance in evaluations conducted by WHO, reports from several African countries highlight potentially significant performance issues. Despite widespread use of RDTs for HIV diagnosis in resource-constrained settings, there has been no systematic, head-to-head evaluation of their accuracy with specimens from diverse settings across sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted a standardized, centralized evaluation of eight HIV RDTs and two simple confirmatory assays at a WHO collaborating centre for evaluation of HIV diagnostics using specimens from six sites in five sub-Saharan African countries.