• Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence Interruptions Are Associated With Systemic Inflammation Among Ugandans Who Achieved Viral Suppression

      Musinguzi, N; Castillo-Mancilla, J; Morrow, M; Byakwaga, H; Mawhinney, S; Burdo, TH; Boum, Y; Muzoora, C; Bwana, BM; Siedner, MJ; et al. (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2019-12-01)
      Background: Residual systemic inflammation, which is associated with non-AIDS clinical outcomes, may persist despite viral suppression. We assessed the effect of antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence interruptions on systemic inflammation among Ugandans living with HIV who were virally suppressed. Setting: We evaluated adults initiating first-line ART at a regional referral hospital clinic in Mbarara, Uganda. Methods: Plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6), D-dimer, soluble sCD14, sCD163, the kynurenine/tryptophan (K/T) ratio, and CD8+ T-cell activation (HLA-DR+/CD38+ coexpression) were measured at baseline and 6 months after ART initiation among participants who achieved viral suppression (<400 copies/mL) at 6 months. ART adherence was monitored electronically. Time spent in an adherence interruption was computed as the percentage of days when the running average adherence was ≤10%. We fit adjusted linear regressions to evaluate the effect of time spent in an interruption on the log-transformed plasma concentrations of the inflammation biomarkers. Results: Of 282 participants, 70% were women, and the median age was 34 years. At baseline, median CD4 and median log viral load were 135 cells per microliter and 5.1 copies per milliliter, respectively. In the adjusted analysis, a running average adherence of <10% was associated with higher sCD14 (+3%; P < 0.008), sCD163 (+5%; P = 0.002), D-dimer (+10%; P = 0.007), HLA-DR+/CD8+ (+3%; P < 0.025), IL-6 (+14%; P = 0.008), and K:T ratio (+5%; P = 0.002). These findings were largely robust to adjustment for average adherence, as well as higher thresholds of running average adherence, albeit with decreased statistical significance. Conclusions: Increased time spent in adherence interruptions is associated with increased levels of inflammation, despite viral suppression above and beyond average adherence.
    • Extremely Low Hepatitis C prevalence among HIV co-infected individuals in 4 countries in sub-Saharan Africa

      Loarec, A; Carnimeo, V; Molfino, L; Kizito, W; Muyindike, W; Andrieux-Meyer, I; Balkan, S; Nzomukunda, Y; Mwanga-Amumpaire, J; Ousley, J; et al. (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2018-11-16)
      : A multicentric, retrospective case-series analysis (facility-based) in five sites across Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Uganda screened HIV-positive adults for hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies using Oraquick rapid testing and viral confirmation (in three sites). Results found substantially lower prevalence than previously reported for these countries compared with previous reports, suggesting that targeted integration of HCV screening in African HIV programs may be more impactful than routine screening.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0.
    • Field Suitability and Diagnostic Accuracy of the Biocentric Open Real-Time PCR Platform for Dried Blood Spot-Based HIV Viral Load Quantification in Eswatini.

      Kerschberger, B; Ntshalintshali, N; Mpala, Q; Diaz Uribe, PA; Maphalala, G; Kalombola, S; Telila, AB; Chawinga, T; Maphalala, M; Jani, A; et al. (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2019-09-01)
      BACKGROUND: To assess the performance and suitability of dried blood spot (DBS) sampling using filter paper to collect blood for viral load (VL) quantification under routine conditions. METHODS: We compared performance of DBS VL quantification using the Biocentric method with plasma VL quantification using Roche and Biocentric as reference methods. Adults (≥18 years) were enrolled at 2 health facilities in Eswatini from October 12, 2016 to March 1, 2017. DBS samples were prepared through finger-prick by a phlebotomist (DBS-1), and through the pipetting of whole venous blood by a phlebotomist (DBS-2) and by a laboratory technologist (DBS-3). We calculated the VL-testing completion rate, correlation, and agreement, as well as diagnostic accuracy estimates at the clinical threshold of 1000 copies/mL. RESULTS: Of 362 patients enrolled, 1066 DBS cards (DBS-1: 347; DBS-2: 359; DBS-3: 360) were tested. Overall, test characteristics were comparable between DBS-sampling methods, irrespective of the reference method. The Pearson correlation coefficients ranged from 0.67 to 0.82 (P < 0.001) for different types of DBS sampling using both reference methods, and the Bland-Altman difference ranged from 0.15 to 0.30 log10 copies/mL. Sensitivity estimates were from 85.3% to 89.2% and specificity estimates were from 94.5% to 98.6%. The positive predictive values were between 87.0% and 96.5% at a prevalence of 30% VL elevations, and negative predictive values were between 93.7% and 95.4%. CONCLUSIONS: DBS VL quantification using the newly configured Biocentric method can be part of contextualized VL-testing strategies, particularly for remote settings and populations with higher viral failure rates.