• Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis for HIV-positive TB patients in developing countries.

      Zachariah, R; Massaquoi, M; Medecins sans Frontieres, Operational Research HIV-TB, Medical department, Brussels Operational Center, 68 Rue de Gaspench, L-1617 Luxemburg. zachariah@internet.lu (2006-04)
      Despite provisional recommendations from the World Health Organization and UNAIDS that cotrimoxazole (CTX) prophylaxis be offered to all individuals living with AIDS, including HIV-positive patients with TB, its routine use in developing countries particularly Africa has been minimal. Concerns were expressed regarding its effectiveness in areas of high bacterial resistance, that its widespread use might substantially increase bacterial cross-resistance in the community and that this intervention might promote resistance of malaria parasites to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine. We review the current evidence on the above concerns and highlight the main operational considerations related to implementing CTX prophylaxis as a basic component of care for HIV-positive TB patients in developing countries.
    • Scaling-up co-trimoxazole prophylaxis in HIV-exposed and HIV-infected children in high HIV-prevalence countries.

      Zachariah, R; Harries, A D; Luo, C; Bachman, G; Graham, S M; Médecins Sans Frontières, Medical department (Operational Research), Brussels Operational Center, Brussels, Belgium. zachariah@internet.lu (Elsevier, 2007-10)
      Co-trimoxazole (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) is a widely available antibiotic that substantially reduces HIV-related morbidity and mortality in both adults and children. Prophylaxis with co-trimoxazole is a recommended intervention of proven benefit that could serve not only as an initial step towards improving paediatric care in young children with limited access to antiretroviral treatment, but also as an important complement to antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. Despite co-trimoxazole's known clinical benefits, the potential operational benefits, and favourable recommendations by WHO, UNAIDS, and UNICEF, its routine use in developing countries--particularly sub-Saharan Africa--has remained limited. Out of an estimated 4 million children in need of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis (HIV-exposed and HIV-infected), only 4% are currently receiving this intervention. We discuss some of the major barriers preventing the scale-up of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis for children in countries with a high prevalence of HIV and propose specific actions required to tackle these challenges.
    • Voluntary Counselling, HIV Testing and Adjunctive Cotrimoxazole Reduces Mortality in Tuberculosis Patients in Thyolo, Malawi.

      Zachariah, R; Spielmann M P; Chinji, C; Gomani, P; Arendt, V; Hargreaves, N J; Salaniponi, F M L; Harries, A D; Medecins Sans Frontieres-Luxembourg, Blantyre, Malawi. zachariah@internet.Lu (2003-05-02)
      OBJECTIVES: To assess the feasibility and effectiveness of voluntary counselling, HIV testing and adjunctive cotrimoxazole in reducing mortality in a cohort of tuberculosis (TB) patients registered under routine programme conditions in a rural district of Malawi. DESIGN: 'Before' and 'after' cohort study using historical controls. METHODS: Between 1 July 1999 and 30 June 2000 all TB patients were started on standardized anti-TB treatment, and offered voluntary counselling and HIV testing (VCT). Those found to be HIV-positive were offered cotrimoxazole at a dose of 480 mg twice daily, provided there were no contraindications. Side-effects were monitored clinically. End-of-treatment outcomes in this cohort (intervention group) were compared with a cohort registered between 1 July 1998 and 30 June 1999 in whom VCT and cotrimoxazole was not offered (control group). FINDINGS: A total of 1986 patients was registered in the study: 1061 in the intervention group and 925 in the control cohort. In the intervention group, 1019 (96%) patients were counselled pre-test, 964 (91%) underwent HIV testing and 938 (88%) were counselled post-test. The overall HIV-seroprevalence rate was 77%. A total of 693 patients were given cotrimoxazole of whom 14 (2%) manifested minor dermatological reactions. The adjusted relative risk of death in the intervention group compared with the control group was 0.81 (P < 0.001). The number needed to treat with VCT and adjunctive cotrimoxazole to prevent one death during anti-TB treatment was 12.5. INTERPRETATION: This study shows that VCT and adjunctive cotrimoxazole is feasible, safe and reduces mortality rates in TB patients under routine programme conditions.