• 'Face Up to the Truth': Helping Gay Men in Vietnam Protect Themselves from AIDS.

      Wilson, D; Cawthorne, P; Médecins Sans Frontières, Belgium. msfbthai@asianet.co.th (1999-01)
      Appropriate AIDS prevention information is not available in Vietnam for men who have sex with men. Current AIDS prevention messages can be misunderstood with potentially dangerous results. We outline some features of gay culture in a provincial city in Vietnam. We describe the activities of a peer educator who made contact with a small group of young gay men during 1996 and 1997. All the young men were ill-informed about AIDS. Their attitudes and sexual practices made them vulnerable to AIDS. The peer educator provided clear information and emotional support. The peer education was done without government endorsement and on a very low budget.
    • Factors Associated with HIV Status Awareness and Linkage to Care Following Home Based Testing in Rural Malawi

      Maman, D; Ben-Farhat, J; Chilima, B; Masiku, C; Salumu, L; Ford, N; Mendiharat, P; Szumilin, E; Masson, S; Etard, JF; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016-10)
    • Factors Associated with Virological Failure and Suppression after Enhanced Adherence Counselling, in Children, Adolescents and Adults on Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV in Swaziland

      Jobanputra, Kiran; Parker, Lucy Anne; Azih, Charles; Okello, Velephi; Maphalala, Gugu; Kershberger, Bernard; Khogali, Mohammed; Lujan, Johnny; Antierens, Annick; Teck, Roger; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2015-02-19)
      This study explores factors associated with virological detectability, and viral re-suppression after enhanced adherence counselling, in adults and children on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Swaziland.
    • False positive HIV diagnoses in resource limited settings: operational lessons learned for HIV programmes

      Shanks, Leslie; Klarkowski, Derryck; O'Brien, Daniel P; Médecins Sans Frontières, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Public Library of Science, 2013-03-20)
      Access to HIV diagnosis is life-saving; however the use of rapid diagnostic tests in combination is vulnerable to wrongly diagnosing HIV infection when both screening tests give a false positive result. Misclassification of HIV patients can also occur due to poor quality control, administrative errors and lack of supervision and training of staff. Médecins Sans Frontières discovered in 2004 that HIV negative individuals were enrolled in some HIV programmes. This paper describes the result of an audit of three sites to review testing practices, implement improved testing algorithms and offer re-testing to clients enrolled in the HIV clinic.
    • Feasibility and effectiveness of two community based HIV testing models in rural Swaziland

      Parker, Lucy Anne; Jobanputra, Kiran; Rusike, Lorraine; Mazibuko, Sikhathele; Okello, Velephi; Kerschberger, Bernhard; Jouquet, Guillaume; Cyr, Joanne; Teck, Roger (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015-03-07)
      To evaluate the feasibility (population reached, costs) and effectiveness (positivity rates, linkage to care) of two strategies of community-based HIV testing and counselling (HTC) in rural Swaziland.
    • Feasibility of antiretroviral therapy initiation under the treat‐all policy under routine conditions: a prospective cohort study from Eswatini

      Kerschberger, B; Jobanputra, K; Schomaker, M; Kabore, SM; Teck, R; Mabhena, E; Lukhele, N; Rusch, B; Boulle, A; Ciglenecki, I (Wiley Open Access, 2019-10-24)
      Introduction The World Health Organization recommends the Treat‐All policy of immediate antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation, but questions persist about its feasibility in resource‐poor settings. We assessed the feasibility of Treat‐All compared with standard of care (SOC) under routine conditions. Methods This prospective cohort study from southern Eswatini followed adults from HIV care enrolment to ART initiation. Between October 2014 and March 2016, Treat‐All was offered in one health zone and SOC according to the CD4 350 and 500 cells/mm3 treatment eligibility thresholds in the neighbouring health zone, each of which comprised one secondary and eight primary care facilities. We used Kaplan–Meier estimates, multivariate flexible parametric survival models and standardized survival curves to compare ART initiation between the two interventions. Results Of the 1726 (57.3%) patients enrolled under Treat‐All and 1287 (42.7%) under SOC, cumulative three‐month ART initiation was higher under Treat‐All (91%) than SOC (74%; p < 0.001) with a median time to ART of 1 (IQR 0 to 14) and 10 (IQR 2 to 117) days respectively. Under Treat‐All, ART initiation was higher in pregnant women (vs. non‐pregnant women: adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 1.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.70 to 2.26), those with secondary education (vs. no formal education: aHR 1.48, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.95), and patients with an HIV‐positive diagnosis before care enrolment (aHR 1.22, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.36). ART initiation was lower in patients attending secondary care facilities (aHR 0.64, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.72) and for CD4 351 to 500 when compared with CD4 201 to 350 cells/mm3 (aHR 0.84, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.00). ART initiation varied over time for TB cases, with lower hazard during the first two weeks after HIV care enrolment and higher hazards thereafter. Of patients with advanced HIV disease (n = 1085; 36.0%), crude 3‐month ART initiation was similar in both interventions (91% to 92%) although Treat‐All initiated patients more quickly during the first month after HIV care enrolment. Conclusions ART initiation was high under Treat‐All and without evidence of de‐prioritization of patients with advanced HIV disease. Additional studies are needed to understand the long‐term impact of Treat‐All on patient outcomes.
    • Female Genital Schistosomiasis and HIV: Research urgently needed to improve understanding of the health impacts of this important co-infection

      O’Brien, DP; Ford, N; Djirmay, AG; Calmy, A; Vitoria, M; Jensen, TO; Christinet, V (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2019-01)
      Evidence suggests that there are important interactions between HIV and Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) that may have significant effects on individual and population health. However, the exact way they interact and the health impacts of the interactions are not well understood. In this paper we discuss what is known about the interactions between FGS and HIV, and the potential impact of the interactions. This includes the likelihood that FGS is an important health problem for HIV positive women in schistosoma-endemic areas potentially associated with an increased risk of mortality, cancer and infertility. Additionally, it may be significantly impacting the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa by making young women more susceptible to HIV. We call for immediate action and argue that research is urgently required to address these knowledge gaps and propose a research agenda to achieve this.
    • Female Genital Schistosomiasis and HIV: Research Urgently Needed to Improve Understanding of the Health Impacts of This Important Coinfection

      O'Brien, D; Ford, N; Djirmay, AG; Calmy, A; Vitoria, M; Jensen, TO; Christinet, V (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2019-04-15)
      Evidence suggests that there are important interactions between HIV and female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) that may have significant effects on individual and population health. However, the exact way they interact and the health impacts of the interactions are not well understood. In this article, we discuss what is known about the interactions between FGS and HIV, and the potential impact of the interactions. This includes the likelihood that FGS is an important health problem for HIV-positive women in Schistosoma-endemic areas potentially associated with an increased risk of mortality, cancer, and infertility. In addition, it may be significantly impacting the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa by making young women more susceptible to HIV. We call for immediate action and argue that research is urgently required to address these knowledge gaps and propose a research agenda to achieve this.
    • 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.
    • Field suitability and diagnostic accuracy of the Biocentric open real-time PCR platform for plasma-based HIV viral load quantification in Swaziland

      Kerschberger, B; Mpala, Q; Uribe, PAD; Maphalala, G; de la Tour, R; Kalombola, S; Bekele, A; Chawinga, T; Mliba, M; Ntshalintshali, N; et al. (BMC, 2018-11-14)
      Viral load (VL) testing is being scaled up in resource-limited settings. However, not all commercially available VL testing methods have been evaluated under field conditions. This study is one of a few to evaluate the Biocentric platform for VL quantification in routine practice in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    • The first decade of antiretroviral therapy in Africa.

      Ford, Nathan; Calmy, Alexandra; Mills, Edward J; Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva, Switzerland. nathan.ford@msf.org. (2011-09-29)
      ABSTRACT: The past decade has seen remarkable progress in increasing access to antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. Early concerns about the cost and complexity of treatment were overcome thanks to the efforts of a global coalition of health providers, activists, academics, and people living with HIV/AIDS, who argued that every effort must be made to ensure access to essential care when millions of lives depended on it. The high cost of treatment was reduced through advocacy to promote access to generic drugs; care provision was simplified through a public health approach to treatment provision; the lack of human resources was overcome through task-shifting to support the provision of care by non-physicians; and access was expanded through the development of models of care that could work at the primary care level. The challenge for the next decade is to further increase access to treatment and support sustained care for those on treatment, while at the same time ensuring that the package of care is continuously improved such that all patients can benefit from the latest improvements in drug development, clinical science, and public health.
    • First-line and second-line antiretroviral therapy.

      Calmy, A; Pascual, F; Ford, N (Elsevier, 2004)
    • First-Line Antiretroviral Drug Discontinuations in Children

      Fortuin-de Smidt, M; de Waal, R; Cohen, K; Technau, KG; Stinson, K; Maartens, G; Boulle, A; Igumbor, EU; Davies, MA (Public Library of Science, 2017-02-13)
      There are a limited number of paediatric antiretroviral drug options. Characterising the long term safety and durability of different antiretrovirals in children is important to optimise management of HIV infected children and to determine the estimated need for alternative drugs in paediatric regimens. We describe first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) durability and reasons for discontinuations in children at two South African ART programmes, where lopinavir/ritonavir has been recommended for children <3 years old since 2004, and abacavir replaced stavudine as the preferred nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor in 2010.
    • For Family-Centered Differentiated Service Delivery for HIV

      Grimsrud, A; Bygrave, H; Wilkinson, L (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2018-08-15)
      Differentiated care, or differentiated service delivery (DSD), is increasingly being promoted as one of the possible ways to address and improve access, quality, and efficiency of HIV prevention, care, and treatment. Family-centered care has long been promoted within the provision of HIV services, but the full benefits have not necessarily been realized. In this article, we bring together these two approaches and make the case for how family-centered DSD can offer benefits to both people affected by HIV and the health system. Family-centered DSD approaches are presented for HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery, referencing policies, best practice examples, and evidence from the field. With differentiated family-centered ART delivery, the potential efficiencies gained by extending ART refills can both benefit clients by reducing the frequency and intensity of contact with the health service and lead to health system gains by not requiring multiple providers to care for one family. A family-centered DSD approach should also be leveraged along the HIV care cascade in the provision of prevention technologies and mobilizing family members to receive regular HIV testing. Furthermore, a family-centered lens should be applied wherever DSD is implemented to ensure that, for example, adolescents who are pregnant receive an adapted package of quality care.
    • The future role of CD4 cell count for monitoring antiretroviral therapy

      Ford, Nathan; Meintjes, Graeme; Pozniak, Anton; Bygrave, Helen; Hill, Andrew; Peter, Trevor; Davies, Mary-Ann; Grinsztejn, Beatriz; Calmy, Alexandra; Kumarasamy, N; et al. (Elsevier, 2014-11-19)
      For more than two decades, CD4 cell count measurements have been central to understanding HIV disease progression, making important clinical decisions, and monitoring the response to antiretroviral therapy (ART). In well resourced settings, the monitoring of patients on ART has been supported by routine virological monitoring. Viral load monitoring was recommended by WHO in 2013 guidelines as the preferred way to monitor people on ART, and efforts are underway to scale up access in resource-limited settings. Recent studies suggest that in situations where viral load is available and patients are virologically suppressed, long-term CD4 monitoring adds little value and stopping CD4 monitoring will have major cost savings. CD4 cell counts will continue to play an important part in initial decisions around ART initiation and clinical management, particularly for patients presenting late to care, and for treatment monitoring where viral load monitoring is restricted. However, in settings where both CD4 cell counts and viral load testing are routinely available, countries should consider reducing the frequency of CD4 cell counts or not doing routine CD4 monitoring for patients who are stable on ART.
    • Gender differences in immune reconstitution: a multicentric cohort analysis in sub-saharan Africa

      Maman, David; Pujades-Rodriguez, Mar; Subtil, Fabien; Pinoges, Loretxu; McGuire, Megan; Ecochard, Rene; Etard, Jean-François; Epicentre, Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France; Hospices Civils de Lyon, Service de Biostatistique, Lyon, France; TransVIHMI, Montpellier, France; Université de Lyon, Lyon, France; Université Lyon I, Villeurbanne, France; 6 Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Equipe Biostatistique Santé, Pierre-Bénite, France (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2012-02-17)
      In sub-Saharan Africa, men living with HIV often start ART at more advanced stages of disease and have higher early mortality than women. We investigated gender difference in long-term immune reconstitution.
    • Gender differences in survival among adult patients starting antiretroviral therapy in South Africa: a multicentre cohort study.

      Cornell, Morna; Schomaker, Michael; Garone, Daniela Belen; Giddy, Janet; Hoffmann, Christopher J; Lessells, Richard; Maskew, Mhairi; Prozesky, Hans; Wood, Robin; Johnson, Leigh F; et al. (2012-09)
      Increased mortality among men on antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been documented but remains poorly understood. We examined the magnitude of and risk factors for gender differences in mortality on ART.
    • Generic Fixed-Dose Combination Antiretroviral Treatment in Resource-Poor Settings: Multicentric Observational Cohort

      Calmy, A; Pinoges, L; Szumilin, E; Zachariah, R; Ford, N; Ferradini, L; MSF, Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, 78 rue de Lausanne, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland. acalmy@stvincents.com.au (2006-05-12)
      BACKGROUND: The use fixed-dose combination (FDC) is a critical tool in improving HAART. Studies on the effectiveness of combined lamivudine, stavudine and nevirapine (3TC/d4T/NVP) are scarce. OBJECTIVE: To analyse 6861 patients in a large observational cohort from 21 Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) HIV/AIDS programmes taking 3TC/d4T/NVP, with subcohort analyses of patients at 12 and 18 months of treatment. METHODS: Survival was analysed using Kaplan-Meier method and factors associated with progression to death with Cox proportional hazard ratio. RESULTS: Median baseline CD4 cell count at initiating of FDC was 89 cells/microl [interquartile range (IQR), 33-158]. The median follow-up time was 4.1 months (IQR, 1.9-7.3). The incidence rate of death during follow-up was 14.2/100 person-years [95% confidence interval (CI), 13.8-14.5]. Estimates of survival (excluding those lost to follow-up) were 0.93 (95% CI, 92-94) at 6 months (n = 2,231) and 0.90 (95% CI, 89-91) at 12 months (n = 472). Using a Cox model, the following factors were associated with death: male gender, symptomatic infection, body mass index < 18 kg/m and CD4 cell count 15-50 cells/microl or < 15 cells/microl. Subcohort analysis of 655 patients after 1 year of follow-up (M12 FDC cohort) revealed that 77% remained on HAART, 91% of these still on the FDC regimen; 5% discontinued the FDC because of drug intolerance. At 18 months, 77% of the patients remained on HAART. CONCLUSIONS: Positive outcomes for d4T/3TC/NVP are reported for up to 18 months in terms of efficacy and safety.