• Challenge and co-operation: civil society activism for access to HIV treatment in Thailand.

      Ford, N; Wilson, D; Cawthorne, P; Kumphitak, A; Kasi-Sedapan, S; Kaetkaew, S; Teemanka, S; Donmon, B; Preuanbuapan, C; Médecins Sans Frontières, Bangkok, Thailand. david.wilson.thai@gmail.com (Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2009-03)
      Civil society has been a driving force behind efforts to increase access to treatment in Thailand. A focus on HIV medicines brought civil society and non-governmental and government actors together to fight for a single cause, creating a platform for joint action on practical issues to improve care for people with HIV/AIDS (PHA) within the public health system. The Thai Network of People with HIV/AIDS, in partnership with other actors, has provided concrete support for patients and for the health system as a whole; its efforts have contributed significantly to the availability of affordable generic medicines, early treatment for opportunistic infections, and an informed and responsible approach towards antiretroviral treatment that is critical to good adherence and treatment success. This change in perception of PHA from 'passive receiver' to 'co-provider' of health care has led to improved acceptance and support within the healthcare system. Today, most PHA in Thailand can access treatment, and efforts have shifted to supporting care for excluded populations.
    • Monitoring the South African National Antiretroviral Treatment Programme, 2003-2007: the IeDEA Southern Africa collaboration.

      Cornell, Morna; Technau, Karl; Fairall, Lara; Wood, Robin; Moultrie, Harry; van Cutsem, Gilles; Giddy, Janet; Mohapi, Lerato; Eley, Brian; MacPhail, Patrick; Prozesky, Hans; Rabie, Helena; Davies, Mary-Ann; Maxwell, Nicola; Boulle, Andrew; Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town. morna@global.co.za (2009-09)
      OBJECTIVES: To introduce the combined South African cohorts of the International epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS Southern Africa (IeDEA-SA) collaboration as reflecting the South African national antiretroviral treatment (ART) programme; to characterise patients accessing these services; and to describe changes in services and patients from 2003 to 2007. DESIGN AND SETTING: Multi-cohort study of 11 ART programmes in Gauteng, Western Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. SUBJECTS: Adults and children (<16 years old) who initiated ART with > or =3 antiretroviral drugs before 2008. RESULTS: Most sites were offering free treatment to adults and children in the public sector, ranging from 264 to 17,835 patients per site. Among 45,383 adults and 6,198 children combined, median age (interquartile range) was 35.0 years (29.8-41.4) and 42.5 months (14.7-82.5), respectively. Of adults, 68% were female. The median CD4 cell count was 102 cells/microl (44-164) and was lower among males than females (86, 34-150 v. 110, 50-169, p<0.001). Median CD4% among children was 12% (7-17.7). Between 2003 and 2007, enrolment increased 11-fold in adults and 3-fold in children. Median CD4 count at enrolment increased for all adults (67-111 cells/microl, p<0.001) and for those in stage IV (39-89 cells/microl, p<0.001). Among children <5 years, baseline CD4% increased over time (11.5-16.0%, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: IeDEA-SA provides a unique opportunity to report on the national ART programme. The study describes dramatically increased enrolment over time. Late diagnosis and ART initiation, especially of men and children, need attention. Investment in sentinel sites will ensure good individual-level data while freeing most sites to continue with simplified reporting.
    • Promoting adherence to antiretroviral therapy: the experience from a primary care setting in Khayelitsha, South Africa.

      Coetzee, D; Boulle, A; Hildebrand, K; Asselman, V; Van Cutsem, G; Goemaere, E; Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. dcoetzee@phfm.uct.ac.za (2004-06)
      OBJECTIVE: To describe the approach used to promote adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and to present the outcomes in the first primary care public sector ART project in South Africa. DESIGN: The study is a prospective open cohort, including all adult patients naive to previous ART who received antiretroviral treatment in Khayelitsha, from May 2001 to the end of 2002. Patients were followed until their most recent visit before 31 July 2003. METHODS: Plasma viral load was determined at 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after ART was initiated, and CD4 cell counts 6-monthly. Kaplan-Meier estimates were determined for the cumulative proportions of patients surviving, and patients with viral load suppression and viral rebound. RESULTS: A total of 287 patients were initiated on triple therapy. The probability of survival was 86.3% at 24 months. The median CD4 cell count gain was 288 cells/microliters at 24 months. Viral load was less than 400 copies/ml in 89.2, 84.2 and 69.7% of patients at 6, 12 and 24 months, respectively. The cumulative probability of viral rebound (two consecutive HIV-RNA measurements above 400 copies/ml) after achieving an HIV-RNA measurement below 400 copies/ml was 13.2% at 18 months. CONCLUSION: The study shows that, with a standard approach to patient preparation and strategies to enhance adherence, a cohort of patients on ART can be retained in a resource-limited setting in a developing country. A high proportion of patients achieved suppression of viral replication. The subsequent probability of viral rebound was low.