• Implementation of community and facility-based HIV self-testing under routine conditions in southern Eswatini

      Pasipamire, L; Nesbitt, R; Dube, L; Mabena, E; Nzima, M; Dlamini, M; Rugongo, N; Maphalala, N; Obulutsa, TA; Ciglenecki, I; et al. (Wiley, 2020-03-27)
      OBJECTIVES: WHO recommends HIV self-testing (HIVST) as an additional approach to HIV testing services. The study describes the strategies used during phase-in of HIVST under routine conditions in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). METHODS: Between May 2017 and January 2018, assisted and unassisted oral HIVST was offered at HIV testing services (HTS) sites to people aged ≥ 16 years. Additional support tools were available, including a telephone hotline answered 24/7, HIVST demonstration videos and printed educational information about HIV prevention and care services. Demographic characteristics of HIVST users were described and compared with standard blood-based HTS in the community. HIVST results were monitored with follow-up phone calls and the hotline. RESULTS: During the 9-month period, 1895 people accessed HIVST and 2415 HIVST kits were distributed. More people accessed HIVST kits in the community (n = 1365, 72.0%) than at health facilities (n = 530, 28.0%). The proportion of males and median age among those accessing HIVST and standard HTS in the community were similar (49.3%, 29 years HIVST vs. 48.7%, 27 years standard HTS). In total, 34 (3.9%) reactive results were reported from 938 people with known HIVST results; 32.4% were males, and median age was 30 years (interquartile range 25-36). Twenty-one (62%) patients were known to have received confirmatory blood-based HTS; of these, 20 (95%) had concordant reactive results and 19 (95%) were linked to HIV care at a clinic. CONCLUSION: Integration of HIVST into existing HIV facility- and community-based testing strategies in Eswatini was found to be feasible, and HIVST has been adopted by national testing bodies in Eswatini.
    • Implementing a tenofovir-based first-line regimen in rural Lesotho: clinical outcomes and toxicities after two years.

      Bygrave, Helen; Ford, Nathan; van Cutsem, Gilles; Hilderbrand, Katherine; Jouquet, Guillaume; Goemaere, Eric; Vlahakis, Nathalie; Triviño, Laura; Makakole, Lipontso; Kranzer, Katharina; et al. (2011-03)
      The latest World Health Organization guidelines recommend replacing stavudine with tenofovir or zidovudine in first-line antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. We report on outcomes and toxicities among patients on these different regimens in a routine treatment cohort in Lesotho.
    • Implementing antiretroviral therapy in rural communities: the Lusikisiki model of decentralized HIV/AIDS care.

      Bedelu, M; Ford, N; Hilderbrand, K; Reuter, H; Médecins Sans Frontières, Lusikisiki, South Africa. (Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2007-12-01)
      Health worker shortages are a major bottleneck to scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART), particularly in rural areas. In Lusikisiki, a rural area of South Africa with a population of 150,000 serviced by 1 hospital and 12 clinics, Médecins Sans Frontières has been supporting a program to deliver human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services through decentralization to primary health care clinics, task shifting (including nurse-initiated as opposed to physician-initiated treatment), and community support. This approach has allowed for a rapid scale-up of treatment with satisfactory outcomes. Although the general approach in South Africa is to provide ART through hospitals-which seriously limits access for many people, if not the majority of people-1-year outcomes in Lusikisiki are comparable in the clinics and hospital. The greater proximity and acceptability of services at the clinic level has led to a faster enrollment of people into treatment and better retention of patients in treatment (2% vs. 19% lost to follow-up). In all, 2200 people were receiving ART in Lusikisiki in 2006, which represents 95% coverage. Maintaining quality and coverage will require increased resource input from the public sector and full acceptance of creative approaches to implementation, including task shifting and community involvement.
    • Implications of Differentiated Care for Successful ART Scale-Up in a Concentrated HIV Epidemic in Yangon, Myanmar

      Mesic, A; Fontaine, J; Aye, T; Greig, J; Thwe, T; Moretó-Planas, L; Kliesckova, J; Khin, K; Zarkua, N; Gonzales, L; et al. (International AIDS Society, 2017-07-21)
      Introduction: National AIDS Programme in Myanmar has made significant progress in scaling up antiretroviral treatment (ART) services and recognizes the importance of differentiated care for people living with HIV. Indeed, long centred around the hospital and reliant on physicians, the country’s HIV response is undergoing a process of successful decentralization with HIV care increasingly being integrated into other health services as part of a systematic effort to expand access to HIV treatment. This study describes implementation of differentiated care in Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-supported programmes and reports its outcomes. Methods: A descriptive cohort analysis of adult patients on antiretroviral treatment was performed. We assessed stability of patients as of 31 December 2014 and introduced an intervention of reduced frequency of physicians’ consultations for stable patients, and fast tract ART refills. We measured a number of saved physician’s visits as the result of this intervention. Main outcomes, remained under care, death, lost to follow up, treatment failure, were assessed on 31 December 2015 and reported as rates for different stable groups. Results: On 31 December 2014, our programme counted 16, 272 adult patients enrolled in HIV care, of whom 80.34% were stable. The model allowed for an increase in the average number of patients one medical team could care for – from 745 patients in 2011 to 1, 627 in 2014 – and, thus, a reduction in the number of teams needed. An assessment of stable patients enrolled on ART one year after the implementation of the new model revealed excellent outcomes, aggregated for stable patients as 98.7% remaining in care, 0.4% dead, 0.8% lost to follow-up, 0.8% clinical treatment failure and 5.8% with immunological treatment failure. Conclusions: Implementation of a differentiated model reduced the number of visits between stable clients and physicians, reduced the medical resources required for treatment and enabled integrated treatment of the main co-morbidities. We hope that these findings will encourage other stakeholders to implement innovative models of HIV care in Myanmar, further expediting the scale up of ART services, the decentralization of treatment and the integration of care for the main HIV co-morbidities in this context.
    • Improving first-line antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings

      Ford, Nathan; Calmy, Alexandra (Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010-01)
    • Improving Treatment Outcome for Children with HIV

      Calmy, Alexandra L; Ford, Nathan; Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva, Switzerland; Division of Infectious Diseases, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland; Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa (2011-04-19)
    • Incidence of WHO stage 3 and 4 conditions following initiation of Anti-Retroviral Therapy in resource limited settings

      Curtis, Andrea J; Marshall, Catherine S; Spelman, Tim; Greig, Jane; Elliot, Julian H; Shanks, Leslie; Du Cros, Philipp; Casas, Esther C; Da Fonseca, Marcio Silveria; O'Brien, Daniel P; et al. (2012-12-20)
      To determine the incidence of WHO clinical stage 3 and 4 conditions during early anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in resource limited settings (RLS).
    • Incidence Rate of Kaposi Sarcoma in HIV-Infected Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy in Southern Africa: A Prospective Multicohort Study

      Rohner, Eliane; Valeri, Fabio; Maskew, Mhairi; Prozesky, Hans; Rabie, Helena; Garone, Daniela; Dickinson, Diana; Chimbetete, Cleophas; Lumano-Mulenga, Priscilla; Sikazwe, Izukanji; et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2014-12-15)
      The risk of Kaposi sarcoma (KS) among HIV-infected persons on antiretroviral therapy (ART) is not well defined in resource-limited settings. We studied KS incidence rates and associated risk factors in children and adults on ART in Southern Africa.
    • Incidence, risk factors and causes of death in an HIV care programme with a large proportion of injecting drug users.

      Spillane, Heidi; Nicholas, Sarala; Tang, Zhirong; Szumilin, Elisabeth; Balkan, Suna; Pujades-Rodriguez, Mar; Médecins Sans Frontières, Nanning, China;Epicentre, Paris, France; Guangxi Centre for Disease Control, Nanning, China; Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France. (2012-08-05)
      Objectives  To identify factors influencing mortality in an HIV programme providing care to large numbers of injecting drug users (IDUs) and patients co-infected with hepatitis C (HCV). Methods  A longitudinal analysis of monitoring data from HIV-infected adults who started antiretroviral therapy (ART) between 2003 and 2009 was performed. Mortality and programme attrition rates within 2 years of ART initiation were estimated. Associations with individual-level factors were assessed with multivariable Cox and piece-wise Cox regression. Results  A total of 1671 person-years of follow-up from 1014 individuals was analysed. Thirty-four percent of patients were women and 33% were current or ex-IDUs. 36.2% of patients (90.8% of IDUs) were co-infected with HCV. Two-year all-cause mortality rate was 5.4 per 100 person-years (95% CI, 4.4-6.7). Most HIV-related deaths occurred within 6 months of ART start (36, 67.9%), but only 5 (25.0%) non-HIV-related deaths were recorded during this period. Mortality was higher in older patients (HR = 2.50; 95% CI, 1.42-4.40 for ≥40 compared to 15-29 years), and in those with initial BMI < 18.5 kg/m(2) (HR = 3.38; 95% CI, 1.82-5.32), poor adherence to treatment (HR = 5.13; 95% CI, 2.47-10.65 during the second year of therapy), or low initial CD4 cell count (HR = 4.55; 95% CI, 1.54-13.41 for <100 compared to ≥100 cells/μl). Risk of death was not associated with IDU status (P = 0.38). Conclusion  Increased mortality was associated with late presentation of patients. In this programme, death rates were similar regardless of injection drug exposure, supporting the notion that satisfactory treatment outcomes can be achieved when comprehensive care is provided to these patients.
    • The initial effectiveness of liposomal amphotericin B (AmBisome) and miltefosine combination for treatment of visceral leishmaniasis in HIV co-infected patients in Ethiopia: A retrospective cohort study

      Abongomera, C; Diro, E; de Lima Pereira, A; Buyze, J; Stille, K; Ahmed, F; van Griensven, J; Ritmeijer, K (Public Library of Science, 2018-05-25)
      North-west Ethiopia faces the highest burden world-wide of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and HIV co-infection. VL-HIV co-infected patients have higher (initial) parasitological failure and relapse rates than HIV-negative VL patients. Whereas secondary prophylaxis reduces the relapse rate, parasitological failure rates remain high with the available antileishmanial drugs, especially when administered as monotherapy. We aimed to determine the initial effectiveness (parasitologically-confirmed cure) of a combination of liposomal amphotericin B (AmBisome) and miltefosine for treatment of VL in HIV co-infected patients.
    • Integrating tuberculosis and HIV care in the primary care setting in South Africa.

      Coetzee, D; Hilderbrand, K; Goemaere, E; Matthys, F; Boelaert, M; Infectious Disease Research Unit, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Observatory, South Africa. dcoetzee@cormack.uct.ac.za (2004-06)
      BACKGROUND: In many countries including South Africa, the increasing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics have impacted significantly on already weakened public health services. This paper reviews the scope, process and performance of the HIV and TB services in a primary care setting where antiretroviral therapy is provided, in Khayelitsha, South Africa, in order to assess whether there is a need for some form of integration. METHODS: The scope and process of both services were assessed through observations of the service and individual and group interviews with key persons. The performance was assessed by examining the 2001-2002 reports from the health information system and clinical data. RESULTS: The TB service is programme oriented to the attainment of an 85% cure rate amongst smear-positive patients while the HIV service has a more holistic approach to the patient with HIV. The TB service is part of a well-established programme that is highly standardized. The HIV service is in the pilot phase. There is a heavy load at both services and there is large degree of cross-referral between the two services. There are lessons that can be learnt from each service. There is an overlap of activities, duplication of services and under-utilization of staff. There are missed opportunities for TB and HIV prevention, diagnosis and management. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that there may be benefits to integrating HIV and TB services. Constraints to this process are discussed.
    • Investigating the addition of oral HIV self-tests among populations with high testing coverage - Do they add value? Lessons from a study in Khayelitsha, South Africa.

      Moore, HA; Metcalf, CA; Cassidy, T; Hacking, D; Shroufi, A; Steele, SJ; Duran, LT; Ellman, T (Public Library of Science, 2019-05-02)
      INTRODUCTION: HIV self-testing (HIVST) offers a useful addition to HIV testing services and enables individuals to test privately. Despite recommendations to the contrary, repeat HIV testing is frequent among people already on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) and there are concerns that oral self-testing might lead to false negative results. A study was conducted in Khayelitsha, South Africa, to assess feasibility and uptake of HIVST and linkage-to-care following HIVST. METHODS: Participants were recruited at two health facilities from 1 March 2016 to 31 March 2017. People under 18 years, or with self-reported previously-diagnosed HIV infection, were excluded. Participants received an OraQuick Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody kit, and reported their HIVST results by pre-paid text message (SMS) or by returning to the facility. Those not reporting within 7 days were contacted by phone. Electronic and paper-based clinical and laboratory records were retrospectively examined for all participants to identify known HIV outcomes, after matching for name, date of birth, and sex. These findings were compared with self-reported HIVST results where available. RESULTS: Of 639 participants, 401 (62.8%) self-reported a negative HIVST result, 27 (4.2%) a positive result, and 211 (33.0%) did not report. The record search identified that of the 401 participants self-reporting a negative HIVST result, 19 (4.7%) were already known to be HIV positive; of the 27 self-reporting positive, 12 (44%) were known HIV positive. Overall, records showed 57/639 (8.9%) were HIV positive of whom 39/57 (68.4%) had previously-diagnosed infection and 18/57 (31.6%) newly-diagnosed infection. Of the 428 participants who self-reported a result, 366 (85.5%) reported by SMS. CONCLUSIONS: HIVST can improve HIV testing uptake and linkage to care. SMS is acceptable for reporting HIVST results but negative self-reports by participants may be unreliable. Use of HIVST by individuals on ART is frequent despite recommendations to the contrary and its implications need further consideration.
    • An investigation into the health-related quality of life of individuals living with HIV who are receiving HAART.

      Jelsma, J; Maclean, E; Hughes, J; Tinise, X; Darder, M; Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. jjelsma@uctgsh1.uct.ac.za (2005-07)
      The health authorities have recently accepted the routine provision of highly active antiretroviral therapy to persons living with AIDS in South Africa. There is a need to investigate the impact of HAART on the health-related quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in a resource-poor environment, as this will have an influence on compliance and treatment outcome. The aim of this study was to explore whether HAART is efficacious in improving the self-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a group of PWLA in WHO Stages 3 and 4 living in a resource-poor community. A quasi-experimental, prospective repeated measures design was used to monitor the HRQoL over time in participants recruited to an existing HAART programme. The HRQoL of 117 participants was determined through the use of the Xhosa version of the EQ-5D and measurements were taken at baseline, one, six and 12 months. At the time of the 12-month questionnaire, 95 participants had been on HAART for 12 months. Not all participants attended all follow-up visits, but only two participants had withdrawn from the HAART programme, after two or three months. At baseline, the rank order of problems reported in all domains of the EQ-5D was significantly greater than at 12 months. The mean score on the global rating of health status increased significantly (p < 0.001) from a mean of 61.7 (SD = 22.7) at baseline to 76.1 at 12 months (SD = 18.5) It is concluded that, even in a resource-poor environment, HRQoL can be greatly improved by HAART, and that the possible side effects of the drugs seem to have a negligible impact on the wellbeing of the subjects. This bodes well for the anticipated roll-out of HAART within the public health sector in South Africa.
    • Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Treatment Preparedness in Thailand

      Kasi-Sedapan, S; Laetkaew, S; Sae-Lim, A; Teemanka, S; Upakaew, K; Kasi-Sedapan, S; Laetkaew, S; Sae-Lim, A; Teemanka, S; Upakaew, K; et al. (WHO, 2004)
    • Involving Traditional Healers in AIDS Education and Counselling in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review

      King, R; Homsy, J; Médecins Sans Frontières-Switzerland in Kampala, Uganda. (1997)
    • IPT during HIV treatment in Myanmar: high rates of coverage, completion and drug adherence

      Ousley, J; Soe, KP; Kyaw, NTT; Anicete, R; Mon, PE; Lwin, H; Win, T; Cristofani, S; Telnov, A; Fernandez, M; et al. (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2018-03-21)
      Setting: A southern Myanmar district providing isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) in one of the last countries to formally recommend it as part of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care.Objective:To assess coverage and adherence and the feasibility of IPT scale-up in a routine care setting in Myanmar.Design:A retrospective analysis of people living with HIV (PLHIV) screened for tuberculosis (TB) and enrolled in IPT over a 3-year period (July 2011-June 2014) using clinical databases.Results:Among 3377 patients under HIV care and screened for TB, 2740 (81.1%) initiated IPT, with 2651 (96.8%) completing a 6- or 9-month course of IPT; 83 (3.1%) interrupted treatment for different reasons, including loss to follow-up (n= 41), side effects (n= 15) or drug adherence issues (n= 9); 6 (0.2%) died. Among the IPT patients, 33 (1.2%) were diagnosed with TB, including 9 (0.3%) while on IPT and 24 (0.9%) within 1 year of completion of therapy. Among the PLHIV who completed IPT, one case of isoniazid resistance was detected.Conclusion:Scaling up IPT in Myanmar HIV settings is feasible with high rates of drug adherence and completion, and a low rate of discontinuation due to side effects. IPT scale-up should be prioritised in HIV clinical settings in Myanmar.
    • "Is it making any difference?" A qualitative study examining the treatment-taking experiences of asymptomatic people living with HIV in the context of Treat-all in Eswatini

      Horter, S; Wringe, A; Thabede, Z; Dlamini, V; Kerschberger, B; Pasipamire, M; Lukhele, N; Rusch, B; Seeley, J (International AIDS Society, 2019-01)
      Treat-all is being implemented in several African settings, in accordance with 2015 World Health Organisation guidelines. The factors known to undermine adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) may change in the context of Treat-all, where people living with HIV (PLHIV) increasingly initiate ART at earlier, asymptomatic stages of disease, soon after diagnosis. This paper aimed to examine the asymptomatic PLHIV's experiences engaging with early ART initiation under the Treat-all policy, including how they navigate treatment-taking over the longer term.
    • Is it safe to drop CD4+ monitoring among virologically suppressed patients: a cohort evaluation from Khayelitsha, South Africa

      Ford, Nathan; Stinson, Kathryn; Davies, Mary-Ann; Cox, Vivian; Patten, Gabriela; Cragg, Carol; Van Cutsem, Gilles; Boulle, Andrew (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2014-09-10)
    • Is There a Need for Viral Load Testing to Assess Treatment Failure in HIV-Infected Patients Who Are about to Change to Tenofovir-Based First-Line Antiretroviral Therapy? Programmatic Findings from Myanmar

      Thiha, N; Chinnakali, P; Harries, AD; Shwe, M; Balathandan, TP; Thein Than Tun, S; Das, M; Tin, HH; Yi, Y; Babin, FX; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2016-08-09)
      WHO recommends that stavudine is phased out of antiretroviral therapy (ART) programmes and replaced with tenofovir (TDF) for first-line treatment. In this context, the Integrated HIV Care Program, Myanmar, evaluated patients for ART failure using HIV RNA viral load (VL) before making the change. We aimed to determine prevalence and determinants of ART failure in those on first-line treatment.