• 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.
    • High prevalence of lipoatrophy among patients on stavudine-containing first-line antiretroviral therapy regimens in Rwanda.

      van Griensven, J; De Naeyer, L; Mushi, T; Ubarijoro, S; Gashumba, D; Gazille, C; Zachariah, R; Médecins Sans Frontières, Kimihurura, Kacyiru, 1361 Kigali, Rwanda. jvgrie@yahoo.com <jvgrie@yahoo.com> (Elsevier, 2007-08)
      This study was conducted among individuals placed on WHO-recommended first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) at two urban health centres in Kigali, Rwanda, in order to determine (a) the overall prevalence of lipodystrophy and (b) the risk factors for lipoatropy. Consecutive individuals on ART for >1 year were systematically subjected to a standardised case definition-based questionnaire and clinical assessment. Of a total of 409 individuals, 370 (90%) were on an ART regimen containing stavudine (d4T), whilst the rest were receiving a zidovudine (AZT)-containing regimen. Lipodystrophy was apparent in 140 individuals (34%), of whom 40 (9.8%) had isolated lipoatrophy, 20 (4.9%) had isolated lipohypertrophy and 80 (19.6%) had mixed patterns. Fifty-six percent of patients reported the effects as disturbing. The prevalence of lipoatrophy was more than three times higher when taking d4T compared with AZT-containing regimens (31.4% vs. 10.3%). Being female, d4T-based ART, baseline body mass index >or=25 kg/m(2) or baseline CD4 count >or=150 cells/microl and increasing duration of ART were all significantly associated with lipoatrophy. Lipoatrophy appears to be an important long-term complication of WHO-recommended first-line ART regimens. These data highlight the urgent need for access to more affordable and less toxic ART regimens in resource-limited settings.