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Progress Toward Eliminating Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in Kenya: Review of Treatment Guideline Uptake and Pediatric Transmission at Four Government Hospitals Between 2010 and 2012.
AIDS and Behavior. 2016 Nov; 20(11):2602-2611.We analyzed prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) data from a retrospective cohort of n = 1365 HIV+ mothers who enrolled their HIV-exposed infants in early infant diagnosis services in four Kenyan government hospitals from 2010 to 2012. Less than 15 and 20 % of mother-infant pairs were provided with regimens that met WHO Option A and B/B+ guidelines, respectively. Annually, the gestational age at treatment initiation decreased, while uptake of Option B/B+ increased (all p's < 0.001). Pediatric HIV infection was halved (8.6-4.3 %), yet varied significantly by hospital. In multivariable analyses, HIV-exposed infants who received no PMTCT (AOR 4.6 [2.49, 8.62], p < 0.001), mixed foods (AOR 5.0 [2.77, 9.02], p < 0.001), and care at one of the four hospitals (AOR 3.0 [1.51, 5.92], p = 0.002) were more likely to be HIV-infected. While the administration and uptake of WHO PMTCT guidelines is improving, an expanded focus on retention and medication adherence will further reduce pediatric HIV transmission.
AIDS. 2016 Nov 28; 30(18):2865-2873.OBJECTIVE: In 2015, the WHO recommended initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in all HIV-positive patients regardless of CD4 cell count. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of immediate versus deferred ART initiation among patients with CD4 cell counts exceeding 500cells/mul in four resource-limited countries (South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, and India). DESIGN: A 5-year Markov model with annual cycles, including patients at CD4 cell counts more than 500 cells/mul initiating ART or deferring therapy until historic ART initiation criteria of CD4 cell counts more than 350 cells/mul were met. METHODS: The incidence of opportunistic infections, malignancies, cardiovascular disease, unscheduled hospitalizations, and death, were informed by the START trial results. Risk of HIV transmission was obtained from a systematic review. Disability weights were based on published literature. Cost inputs were inflated to 2014 US dollars and based on local sources. Results were expressed in cost per disability-adjusted life years averted and measured against WHO cost-effectiveness thresholds. RESULTS: Immediate initiation of ART is associated with a cost per disability-adjusted life years averted of -$317 [95% confidence interval (CI): -$796-$817] in South Africa; -$507 (95% CI: -$765-$837) in Nigeria; -$136 (-$382-$459) in Uganda; and -$78 (-$256-$374) in India. The results are largely driven by the impact of ART on reducing the risk of new HIV transmissions. CONCLUSIONS: In HIV-positive patients with CD4 counts above 500 cells/mul in the four studied countries, immediate initiation of ART versus deferred therapy until historic eligibility criteria are met is cost-effective and likely even cost-saving over time.
Do countries rely on the World Health Organization for translating research findings into clinical guidelines? A case study.
Globalization and Health. 2016 Oct 6; 12(1):58.BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization's (WHO) antiretroviral therapy (ART) guidelines have generally been adopted rapidly and with high fidelity by countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus far, however, WHO has not published specific guidance on nutritional care and support for (non-pregnant) adults living with HIV despite a solid evidence base for some interventions. This offers an opportunity for a case study on whether national clinical guidelines in sub-Saharan Africa provide concrete recommendations in the face of limited guidance by WHO. This study, therefore, aims to determine if national HIV treatment guidelines in sub-Saharan Africa contain specific guidance on nutritional care and support for non-pregnant adults living with HIV. METHODS: We identified the most recent national HIV treatment guidelines in sub-Saharan African countries with English as an official language. Using pre-specified criteria, we determined for each guideline whether it provides guidance to clinicians on each of five components of nutritional care and support for adults living with HIV: assessment of nutritional status, dietary counseling, micronutrient supplementation, ready-to-use therapeutic or supplementary foods, and food subsidies. RESULTS: We found that national HIV treatment guidelines in sub-Saharan Africa generally do not contain concrete recommendations on nutritional care and support for non-pregnant adults living with HIV. CONCLUSIONS: Given that decisions on nutritional care and support are inevitably being made at the clinician-patient level, and that clinicians have a relative disadvantage in systematically identifying, summarizing, and weighing up research evidence compared to WHO and national governments, there is a need for more specific clinical guidance. In our view, such guidance should at a minimum recommend daily micronutrient supplements for adults living with HIV who are in pre-ART stages, regular dietary counseling, periodic assessment of anthropometric status, and additional nutritional management of undernourished patients. More broadly, our findings suggest that countries in sub-Saharan Africa look to WHO for guidance in translating evidence into clinical guidelines. It is, thus, likely that the development of concrete recommendations by WHO on nutritional interventions for people living with HIV would lead to more specific guidelines at the country-level and, ultimately, better clinical decisions and treatment outcomes.
An assessment of staffing needs at a HIV clinic in a Western Kenya using the WHO workload indicators of staffing need WISN, 2011.
Human Resources For Health. 2017 Jan 26; 15(1):9.BACKGROUND: An optimal number of health workers, who are appropriately allocated across different occupations and geographical regions, are required to ensure population coverage of health interventions. Health worker shortages in HIV care provision are highest in areas that are worst hit by the HIV epidemic. Kenya is listed among countries that experience health worker shortages (<2.5 health workers per 1000 population) and have a high HIV burden (HIV prevalence 5.6 with 15.2% in Nyanza province). We set out to determine the optimum number of clinicians required to provide quality consultancy HIV care services at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, JOOTRH, HIV Clinic, the premier HIV clinic in Nyanza province with a cumulative client enrolment of PLHIV of over 20,000 persons. CASE PRESENTATION: The World Health's Organization's Workload Indicators of Staffing Needs (WISN) was used to compute the staffing needs and sufficiency of staffing needs at the JOOTRH HIV clinic in Kisumu, Kenya, between January and December 2011. All people living with HIV (PLHIV) who received HIV care services at the HIV clinic at JOOTRH and all the clinicians attending to them were included in this analysis. The actual staffing was divided by the optimal staff requirement to give ratios of staffing excesses or shortages. A ratio of 1.0 indicated optimal staffing, less than 1.0 indicated suboptimal staffing, and more than 1 indicated supra optimal staffing. The HIV clinic is served by 56 staff of various cadres. Clinicians (doctors and clinical officers) comprise approximately one fifth of this population (n = 12). All clinicians (excluding the clinic manager, who is engaged in administrative duties and supervisory roles that consumes approximately one third of his time) provide full-time consultancy services. To operate at maximum efficiency, the clinic therefore requires 19 clinicians. The clinic therefore operates with only 60% of its staffing requirements. CONCLUSIONS: Our assessment revealed a severe shortage of clinicians providing consultation services at the HIV clinic. Human resources managers should oversee the rational planning, training, retention, and management of human resources for health using the WISN which is an objective and reliable means of estimating staffing needs.
Decreased emergence of HIV-1 drug resistance mutations in a cohort of Ugandan women initiating option B+ for PMTCT.
PloS One. 2017; 12(5):e0178297.BACKGROUND: Since 2012, WHO guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV-1 in resource-limited settings recommend the initiation of lifelong antiretroviral combination therapy (cART) for all pregnant HIV-1 positive women independent of CD4 count and WHO clinical stage (Option B+). However, long-term outcomes regarding development of drug resistance are lacking until now. Therefore, we analysed the emergence of drug resistance mutations (DRMs) in women initiating Option B+ in Fort Portal, Uganda, at 12 and 18 months postpartum (ppm). METHODS AND FINDINGS: 124 HIV-1 positive pregnant women were enrolled within antenatal care services in Fort Portal, Uganda. Blood samples were collected at the first visit prior starting Option B+ and postpartum at week six, month six, 12 and 18. Viral load was determined by real-time RT-PCR. An RT-PCR covering resistance associated positions in the protease and reverse transcriptase HIV-1 genomic region was performed. PCR-positive samples at 12/18 ppm and respective baseline samples were analysed by next generation sequencing regarding HIV-1 drug resistant variants including low-frequency variants. Furthermore, vertical transmission of HIV-1 was analysed. 49/124 (39.5%) women were included into the DRM analysis. Virological failure, defined as >1000 copies HIV-1 RNA/ml, was observed in three and seven women at 12 and 18 ppm, respectively. Sequences were obtained for three and six of these. In total, DRMs were detected in 3/49 (6.1%) women. Two women displayed dual-class resistance against all recommended first-line regimen drugs. Of 49 mother-infant-pairs no infant was HIV-1 positive at 12 or 18 ppm. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the WHO-recommended Option B+ for PMTCT is effective in a cohort of Ugandan HIV-1 positive pregnant women with regard to the low selection rate of DRMs and vertical transmission. Therefore, these results are encouraging for other countries considering the implementation of lifelong cART for all pregnant HIV-1 positive women.
Pretreatment HIV-1 drug resistance in Argentina: results from a surveillance study performed according to WHO-proposed new methodology in 2014-15.
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 2017 Feb; 72(2):504-510.BACKGROUND: In Argentina, current national guidelines recommend starting with NNRTI-based regimens. Recently, there have been some local reports regarding concerning levels of NNRTI-transmitted resistance, but surveillance has never been carried out at a national level. OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of HIV drug resistance in people starting ART in Argentina using a WHO-proposed methodology. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional, nationally representative study. Twenty-five antiretroviral-dispensing sites throughout the country were randomly chosen to enrol at least 330 persons starting ART, to generate a point prevalence estimate of resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) with a 5% CI (for the total population and for those without antiretroviral exposure). All consecutive patients older than 18 years starting or restarting ART in the chosen clinics were eligible. Samples were processed with Trugene and analysed using the Stanford algorithm. RESULTS: Between August 2014 and March 2015, we obtained 330 samples from people starting ART. The mean +/- SD age was 35 +/- 11 years, 63.4% were male, 16.6% had prior antiretroviral exposure and the median (IQR) CD4 count was 275 cells/mm3 (106-461). The prevalence of RAMs found was 14% (+/-4%) for the whole population (3% NRTI-RAMs; 11% NNRTI-RAMs and 2% PI-RAMs) and 13% (+/-4%) for those without prior antiretroviral exposure (3%, 10% and 2%, respectively). The most common mutation was K103N. CONCLUSIONS: This surveillance study showed concerning levels of HIV drug resistance in Argentina, especially to NNRTIs. Due to this finding, Argentina's Ministry of Health guidelines will change, recommending performing a resistance test for everyone before starting ART. If this is taken up properly, it also might function as a continuing surveillance tool. (c) The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Projected Uptake of New Antiretroviral (ARV) Medicines in Adults in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Forecast Analysis 2015-2025.
PloS One. 2016; 11(10):e0164619.With anti-retroviral treatment (ART) scale-up set to continue over the next few years it is of key importance that manufacturers and planners in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic are able to anticipate and respond to future changes to treatment regimens, generics pipeline and demand, in order to secure continued access to all ARV medicines required. We did a forecast analysis, using secondary WHO and UNAIDS data sources, to estimate the number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and the market share and demand for a range of new and existing ARV drugs in LMICs up to 2025. UNAIDS estimates 24.7 million person-years of ART in 2020 and 28.5 million person-years of ART in 2025 (24.3 million on first-line treatment, 3.5 million on second-line treatment, and 0.6 million on third-line treatment). Our analysis showed that TAF and DTG will be major players in the ART regimen by 2025, with 8 million and 15 million patients using these ARVs respectively. However, as safety and efficacy of dolutegravir (DTG) and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) during pregnancy and among TB/HIV co-infected patients using rifampicin is still under debate, and ART scale-up is predicted to increase considerably, there also remains a clear need for continuous supplies of existing ARVs including TDF and EFV, which 16 million and 10 million patients-respectively-are predicted to be using in 2025. It will be important to ensure that the existing capacities of generics manufacturers, which are geared towards ARVs of higher doses (such as TDF 300mg and EFV 600mg), will not be adversely impacted due to the introduction of lower dose ARVs such as TAF 25mg and DTG 50mg. With increased access to viral load testing, more patients would be using protease inhibitors containing regimens in second-line, with 1 million patients on LPV/r and 2.3 million on ATV/r by 2025. However, it will remain important to continue monitoring the evolution of ARV market in LMICs to guarantee the availability of these medicines.
Prevalence of Malnutrition and Associated Factors among Hospitalized Patients with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in Jimma University Specialized Hospital, Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences. 2016 May; 26(3):217-26.BACKGROUND: HIV/AIDS predisposes to malnutrition. Malnutrition exacerbates HIV/AIDS progression resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. The magnitude of malnutrition in HIV/AIDS patients has not been well studied in Ethiopian setup. Our objective was to assess the prevalence of malnutrition and associated factors among HIV/AIDS patients admitted to Jimma University Specialized Hospital (JUSH). METHOD: A cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the nutritional status of 109 HIV/AIDS patients admitted from November 2013 to July 2014. Cohort design was also used for outcome assessment. Serum levels of hemoglobin, albumin and CD4 counts were determined. Data were organized, coded, cleaned, entered into a computer and analyzed using SPSS version 16.0. Descriptive analysis was done initially. Those variables in the bivariate analysis with P-value < 0.25 were then considered as candidates to be included in the multivariable logistic regression model. A P-vale of < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. RESULTS: The mean age of the patients was 32.7+/-8.12 with male to female ratio of 1:1.9. Patients were in either clinical stage, 3(46.8%), or stage, 4(53.2%). Forty nine (45%) of the respondents had a CD4 count of < 200 cells/microL. The overall prevalence of malnutrition was 46.8% (BMI<18.5kg/m2) and 44.1% (MUAC= 20cm). Eighty four (77.1%) of the patients had a serum albumin level of =3.5g/dl while 76 (69.6%) of the patients had anemia (Hg<12g/dl). CONCLUSION: The prevalence of malnutrition was found to be high. WHO Stage 4 disease and CD4 count <200cells/microl were independent predictors of malnutrition.
Progress with Scale-Up of HIV Viral Load Monitoring - Seven Sub-Saharan African Countries, January 2015-June 2016.
MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2016 Dec 02; 65(47):1332-1335.The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends viral load testing as the preferred method for monitoring the clinical response of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection to antiretroviral therapy (ART) (1). Viral load monitoring of patients on ART helps ensure early diagnosis and confirmation of ART failure and enables clinicians to take an appropriate course of action for patient management. When viral suppression is achieved and maintained, HIV transmission is substantially decreased, as is HIV-associated morbidity and mortality (2). CDC and other U.S. government agencies and international partners are supporting multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa to provide viral load testing of persons with HIV who are on ART. This report examines current capacity for viral load testing based on equipment provided by manufacturers and progress with viral load monitoring of patients on ART in seven sub-Saharan countries (Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda) during January 2015-June 2016. By June 2016, based on the target numbers for viral load testing set by each country, adequate equipment capacity existed in all but one country. During 2015, two countries tested >85% of patients on ART (Namibia [91%] and South Africa [87%]); four countries tested <25% of patients on ART. In 2015, viral suppression was >80% among those patients who received a viral load test in all countries except Cote d'Ivoire. Sustained country commitment and a coordinated global effort is needed to reach the goal for viral load monitoring of all persons with HIV on ART.
[Quality of life and its related factors among HIV/AIDS patients from HIV serodiscordant couples in Zhoukou of Henan province].
Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi [Chinese Journal of Preventive Medicine]. 2016 Apr; 50(4):339-45.OBJECTIVE: To investigate the quality of life and its related factors among HIV/AIDS patients from HIV serodiscordant couples in Zhoukou city of Henan province. METHODS: During January to May in 2015, by the convenience sample, World Health Organization Quality of Life Questionnaire for Brief Version (WHOQOL-BREF) (Chinese version) and a self-edited questionnaire were used to investigate 1 251 HIV/AIDS patients who were confirmed with HIV positive by local CDC, registered in"HIV serodiscordant family" and agreed to participate in a face-to-face interview with above 18 year-old based on the local CDC , township hospitals and village clinics of 9 counties and 1 district of Zhoukou city, excluding the HIV/AIDS patients who were in divorce, death by one side, unknowing about his HIV status, with mental illness and disturbance of consciousness, incorrectly understanding the content of the questionnaire, and reluctant to participate in this study. The scores of quality of life of physical, psychological, social relations, and environmental domain were calculated. The related factors of the scores of different domains were analyzed by Multiple Two Classification Unconditioned Logistic Regression. RESULTS: The scores of investigation objects in the physical, psychological, social relations, and environmental domain were 12.00+/- 2.02, 12.07 +/- 2.07, 11.87 +/- 1.99, and 11.09 +/- 1.84, respectively. The multiple Unconditioned Logistic Regression analysis indicated that age <40 years, on ART and no other sickness in last two weeks were beneficial factors associated with physical domain with OR (95%CI): 0.61 (0.35-1.06), 0.52 (0.30-0.90), and 1.66 (1.09-2.52), respectively. The possibility of no poverty and no other sickness in last two weeks increased to 0.15(0.09-0.26) and 1.57(1.06-2.33) times of those who was in poverty and with other sickness in last two weeks in physical domain. The possibility of participants who were below 40 years old and with children increased to 0.58 (0.34-0.98) and 0.37 (0.23-0.57) times of who were above 40 years old and without children in psychological domain. The factors of with AIDS related symptoms, no children and with other sickness in last two week were found to be significantly associated with environmental domain with OR (95%CI): 0.65 (0.48-0.88), 0.66 (0.51-0.85), and 0.65 (0.51-0.84), respectively . CONCLUSION: The scores of every domain of quality of life in HIV serodiscordant couples of Zhoukou city were good. Age, whether having AIDS related symptoms, whether to accept ART , children, status of poverty, and whether suffering from other diseases in last two weeks were the main factors associated with the quality of life.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2016; 94:782-784.In conclusion, WHO clinical guidelines have become increasingly evidence-based through the use of rigorous methods of synthesizing the evidence. Over the past decade, high-quality, pairwise meta-analyses have been widely used in this context, but network meta-analysis methods are increasingly important for the optimal evaluation of competing interventions. We expect that network meta-analysis will increasingly be used and adapted for developing other guidelines. (Excerpt)
MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2016 Feb 12; 65(5):115-9.Blood transfusion is a life-saving medical intervention; however, challenges to the recruitment of voluntary, unpaid or otherwise nonremunerated whole blood donors and insufficient funding of national blood services and programs have created obstacles to collecting adequate supplies of safe blood in developing countries (1). Since 2004, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has provided approximately $437 million in bilateral financial support to strengthen national blood transfusion services in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean* that have high prevalence rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. CDC analyzed routinely collected surveillance data on annual blood collections and HIV prevalence among donated blood units for 2011-2014. This report updates previous CDC reports (2,3) on progress made by these 14 PEPFAR-supported countries in blood safety, summarizes challenges facing countries as they strive to meet World Health Organization (WHO) targets, and documents progress toward achieving the WHO target of 100% voluntary, nonremunerated blood donors by 2020 (4). During 2011-2014, overall blood collections among the 14 countries increased by 19%; countries with 100% voluntary, nonremunerated blood donations remained stable at eight, and, despite high national HIV prevalence rates, 12 of 14 countries reported an overall decrease in donated blood units that tested positive for HIV. Achieving safe and adequate national blood supplies remains a public health priority for WHO and countries worldwide. Continued success in improving blood safety and achieving WHO targets for blood quality and adequacy will depend on national government commitments to national blood transfusion services or blood programs through increased public financing and diversified funding mechanisms for transfusion-related activities.
Current Opinion In HIV and AIDS. 2015 Nov 16;PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We summarize key lessons learned from contraceptive development and introduction, and implications for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). RECENT FINDINGS: New approaches to HIV prevention are urgently needed. PrEP is a new technology for HIV prevention. Uncertainty remains about its acceptance, use and potential to have an impact on the HIV epidemic. Despite imperfect use and implementation of programs, the use of modern contraception has led to significant reproductive health and social gains, making it one of the public health's major achievements. Guided by the WHO strategic approach to contraception introduction, we identified the following lessons for PrEP introduction from contraception: the importance of a broader focus on the method mix rather than promotion of a single technology, new technologies alone do not increase choice - service delivery systems and providers are equally important to success, and that failure to account for user preferences and social context can undermine the potential of new methods to provide benefit. SUMMARY: Taking a strategic approach to PrEP introduction that includes a broader focus on the technology/user interface, the method mix, delivery strategies, and the context in which methods are introduced will benefit HIV prevention programs, and will ensure greater success.
Assessment of clinico-immunological profile of newly diagnosed HIV patients presenting to a teaching hospital of eastern India.
Indian Journal of Medical Research. 2014 Jun; 139(6):903-12.BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Newly diagnosed HIV patients may be asymptomatic or present with a wide range of symptoms related to opportunistic infections, acute seroconversion illness or other medical illnesses. This study was designed to evaluate the socio-demographic parameters, spectrum of the presenting clinical conditions and concurrent immunological status of newly diagnosed HIV patients and document the WHO clinical stages at the time of HIV diagnosis. METHODS: This cross-sectional, observational study was undertaken over a 12 month period at a tertiary referral hospital in eastern India. Three hundred sixty consecutive newly diagnosed HIV patients were selected for the study from the HIV clinic and medicine wards of this hospital. Demographic and clinical data and relevant laboratory investigations of the patients were recorded and analyzed. RESULTS: Mean age of patients was 36.38+/-10.62 yr, while 63.89 per cent were males. The main mode of transmission of HIV for males and females were unprotected exposure to commercial sex (139, 60.44%) and intercourse with HIV seropositive spouses (89, 68.46%), respectively. Fever (104, 28.89%), weight loss (103, 28.61%) and generalized weakness (80, 22.22%) were the predominant symptoms. Overall mean CD4 count was 176.04+/-163.49 cells/mul (males 142.19+/-139.33 cells/mul; females 235.92+/-185.11 cells/mul). Overall, 224 opportunistic infections were documented in 160 patients, opportunistic diarrhoea (44, 12.22%) and pulmonary tuberculosis (39, 10.83%) being the commonest. There were 83 and 133 patients in WHO clinical stages 3 and 4, respectively; 291 (80.83%) patients were eligible for initiation of first-line antiretrovirals at presentation. INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSIONS: Advanced immunodeficiency and burden of opportunistic infections characterize newly diagnosed HIV patients in eastern India. The physicians should keep in mind that these patients may have more than one clinical condition at presentation.
Adoption of national recommendations related to use of antiretroviral therapy before and shortly following the launch of the 2013 WHO consolidated guidelines.
AIDS. 2014 Mar; 28 Suppl 2:S217-24.OBJECTIVE: To determine the status of key national policies on the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the time of the launch of the 2013 WHO consolidated guidelines as well as to track early progress towards adoption of these recommendations following dissemination. DESIGN: Descriptive analysis of global data on baseline ART policies as of June 2013 and early intentions to adopt the 2013 WHO for use of antiretroviral drugs guidelines as of November 2013. METHODS: Compilation of existing global reports on key HIV policies, review of national guidelines, data collection through annual drug procurement surveys and through guidelines dissemination meetings in each of the six WHO regions. RESULTS: Data were available from 124 low- and middle-income countries, including 97% of the 57 high-priority countries that have been identified by WHO and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). At baseline, only one country reported recommending antiretroviral therapy (ART) at a CD4 T-cell count 250 cells/mul or less for adults and adolescents in 2013, whereas nine countries already recommended using CD4 T-cell count 500 cells/mul or less. Recommendations for ART initiation regardless of CD4 T-cell count for HIV-infected patients with tuberculosis (86%), hepatitis B (75%), all HIV-infected women who were pregnant or breastfeeding (option B+: 40%) or HIV-infected persons in a serodiscordant relationship (26%) had been nationally adopted as of June 2013. Eight of 67 countries (12%) already recommended treating all children less than 5 years of age. The triple antiretroviral combination of tenofovir + lamivudine (or emtricitabine) + efavirenz was recommended as the preferred first-line option for adults and adolescents more frequently (51%) than for pregnant women (38%), or for both adults/adolescents and pregnant women (28%; P < 0.05). Fewer than half (37%) of all countries reported recommending lopinavir/ritonavir for all HIV-infected children less than 3 years of age; 54% of countries reported recommending routine viral load monitoring, whereas only 41% recommended nurse-initiated ART. CONCLUSIONS: A number of key WHO policy recommendations on antiretroviral drug use were adopted rapidly by countries in advance of or shortly following the launch of the 2013 guidelines. Efforts are needed to support and track ongoing policy adoption and ensure that it is accompanied by the scale-up of evidence-based interventions.
Best Practice and Research. Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 2014 Aug; 28(6):917-30.Many women in the reproductive years have chronic medical conditions that are affected by pregnancy or in which the fetus is placed at increased risk. In most of these women, ongoing medical management of their conditions is greatly improved, even compared with a decade or two ago. However, their condition may still be seriously exacerbated by the physiological changes of pregnancy, and close monitoring of a carefully planned pregnancy is optimal. This requires effective and safe contraceptive use until pregnancy is desired and the medical condition is stabilised. Many contraceptives will also have adverse effects on some medical conditions, and there is now a considerable awareness of the complexities of some of these interactions. For this reason the World Health Organization has developed an excellent, simple and pragmatic programme of guidelines on a four point scale (the WHO "Medical Eligibility Criteria": WHO-MEC), summarising risk of specific contraceptive methods in women with specified chronic medical conditions. The general approach to contraceptive management of many of these conditions is addressed in this article. Copyright (c) 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Towards the WHO target of zero childhood tuberculosis deaths: an analysis of mortality in 13 locations in Africa and Asia.
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. 2013 Dec; 17(12):1518-23.SETTING: Achieving the World Health Organization (WHO) target of zero paediatric tuberculosis (TB) deaths will require an understanding of the underlying risk factors for mortality. OBJECTIVE: To identify risk factors for mortality and assess the impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing during anti-tuberculosis treatment in children in 13 TB-HIV programmes run by Medecins Sans Frontieres. DESIGN: In a retrospective cohort study, we recorded mortality and analysed risk factors using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. Diagnosis was based on WHO algorithm and smear microscopy. RESULTS: A total of 2451 children (mean age 5.2 years, SD 3.9) were treated for TB. Half (51.0%) lived in Asia, the remainder in sub-Saharan Africa; 56.0% had pulmonary TB; 6.4% were diagnosed using smear microscopy; 211 (8.6%) died. Of 1513 children tested for HIV, 935 (61.8%) were positive; 120 (12.8%) died compared with 30/578 (5.2%) HIV-negative children. Risk factors included being HIV-positive (OR 2.6, 95%CI 1.6-4.2), age <5 years (1.7, 95%CI 1.2-2.5) and having tuberculous meningitis (2.6, 95%CI 1.0-6.8). Risk was higher in African children of unknown HIV status than in those who were confirmed HIV-negative (1.9, 95%CI 1.1-3.3). CONCLUSIONS: Strategies to eliminate childhood TB deaths should include addressing the high-risk groups identified in this study, enhanced TB prevention, universal HIV testing and the development of a rapid diagnostic test.
Comparative effectiveness of congregation- versus clinic-based approach to prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission: Study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial.
Implementation Science. 2013 Jun 8; 8(62):p.Background: A total of 22 priority countries have been identified by the WHO that account for 90% of pregnant women living with HIV. Nigeria is one of only 4 countries among the 22 with an HIV testing rate for pregnant women of less than 20%. Currently, most pregnant women must access a healthcare facility (HF) to be screened and receive available prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) interventions. Finding new approaches to increase HIV testing among pregnant women is necessary to realize the WHO/ President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) goal of eliminating new pediatric infections by 2015. Methods: This cluster randomized trial tests the comparative effectiveness of a congregation-based Healthy Beginning Initiative (HBI) versus a clinic-based approach on the rates of HIV testing and PMTCT completion among a cohort of church attending pregnant women. Recruitment occurs at the level of the churches and participants (in that order), while randomization occurs only at the church level. The trial is unblinded, and the churches are informed of their randomization group. Eligible participants, pregnant women attending study churches, are recruited during prayer sessions. HBI is delivered by trained community health nurses and church-based health advisors and provides free, integrated on-site laboratory tests (HIV plus hemoglobin, malaria, hepatitis B, sickle cell gene, syphilis) during a church-organized 'baby shower.' The baby shower includes refreshments, gifts exchange, and an educational game show testing participants' knowledge of healthy pregnancy habits in addition to HIV acquisition modes, and effective PMTCT interventions. Baby receptions provide a contact point for follow-up after delivery. This approach was designed to reduce barriers to screening including knowledge, access, cost and stigma. The primary aim is to evaluate the effect of HBI on the HIV testing rate among pregnant women. The secondary aims are to evaluate the effect of HBI on the rate of HIV testing among male partners of pregnant women and the rate of PMTCT completion among HIV-infected pregnant women. Discussion: Results of this study will provide further understanding of the most effective strategies for increasing HIV testing among pregnant women in hard-to-reach communities.
[Prevalence of HIV infection and associated factors in the Central African Republic in 2010] Prévalence de l’infection VIH et facteurs associés en République Centrafricaine en 2010.
Calverton, Maryland, ICF International, 2012 Apr.  p.Nearly 68 percent of all HIV-positive individuals worldwide live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region remains the most severely affected in the world, even though only 12 percent of the world's population lives there. Central Africa, which is less afflicted than Southern and Eastern Africa, nevertheless has a high enough level of infection for it to be characterized as a generalized epidemic. This is the case in the Central African Republic. The Central African Republic has long lacked reliable data on the epidemic, which has slowed the national response that otherwise would have occurred with more factual data. In response to the perceived need, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), and Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have financed HIV testing in two multiple indicator cluster surveys--the 2006 MICS and 2010 MICS. This partnership has led to collection of reliable data to monitor trends in HIV prevalence and distribution among the population age 15 to 49. Also monitored are distribution of the epidemic by geographic region and population group. Because the decrease in HIV prevalence between 2006 and 2010 will be interpreted as an encouraging sign of progress, it is important to remain vigilant. The disaggregated results show that the epidemic continues to grow in scope and provokes disastrous consequences in certain groups. For the first time since 2006, the Central African Republic has reliable data to inform decision-making and intervention planning. These data have permitted the pandemic areas in the Central African Republic to emerge from the shadows. For the future, we wish to put in place systematic HIV testing similar to that of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS). The UNFPA office in the Central African Republic is committed to improving knowledge about HIV and reinforcing the availability of information for planning, implementation, and follow-up of the country's National Strategic Plan for the Fight against AIDS.
Impact of cotrimoxazole prophylaxis on the health of breast-fed, HIV-exposed, HIV-negative infants in a resource-limited setting.
AIDS. 2011 Sep 10; 25(14):1797-9.WHO guidelines recommend cotrimoxazole prophylaxis (CTXP) in all HIV-exposed negative infants who are still breastfeeding. This is based on the evidence of efficacy in HIV-infected infants, but there is no evidence of benefit in HIV-negative, breast-fed infants. We assessed the impact of CTXP on diarrhoeal and respiratory morbidity in breast-fed, HIV-exposed negative infants in a community programme. CTXP for more than 60 days showed no consistent evidence of benefit for incidence of lower respiratory tract infection [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.71, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.39-1.26; P = 0.241] but an increased incidence of diarrhoea (IRR = 1.38, 95% CI 0.98-1.94; P = 0.065). The guidelines should be reconsidered by conducting a randomized control trial.
Implications of the new WHO guidelines on HIV and infant feeding for child survival in South Africa.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2011 Jan 1; 89(1):62-7.The World Health Organization released revised principles and recommendations for HIV and infant feeding in November 2009. The recommendations are based on programmatic evidence and research studies that have accumulated over the past few years within African countries. This document urges national or subnational health authorities to decide whether health services should mainly counsel and support HIV-infected mothers to breastfeed and receive antiretroviral interventions, or to avoid all breastfeeding, based on estimations of which strategy is likely to give infants in those communities the greatest chance of HIV-free survival. South Africa has recently revised its clinical guidelines for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, adopting many of the recommendations in the November 2009 World Health Organization's rapid advice on use of antiretroviral drugs for treating pregnant women and preventing HIV infection in infants. However, one aspect of the new South African guidelines gives cause for concern: the continued provision of free formula milk to HIV-infected women through public health facilities. This paper presents the latest evidence regarding mortality and morbidity associated with feeding practices in the context of HIV and suggests a modification of current policy to prioritize child survival for all South African children.
Journal of the International AIDS Society. 2010; 13:2.BACKGROUND: Back in 1987, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that the screening of international travellers was an ineffective way to prevent the spread of HIV. However, some countries still restrict the entrance and/or residency of foreigners with an HIV infection. HIV-related travel restrictions have serious implications for individual and public health, and violate internationally recognized human rights. In this study, we reviewed the current situation regarding HIV-related travel restrictions in the 53 countries of the WHO European Region. METHODS: We retrieved the country-specific information chiefly from the Global Database on HIV Related Travel Restrictions at hivtravel.org. We simplified and standardized the database information to enable us to create an overview and compare countries. Where data was outdated, unclear or contradictory, we contacted WHO HIV focal points in the countries or appropriate non-governmental organizations. The United States Bureau of Consular Affairs website was also used to confirm and complement these data. RESULTS: Our review revealed that there are no entry restrictions for people living with HIV in 51 countries in the WHO European Region. In 11 countries, foreigners living with HIV applying for long-term stays will not be granted a visa. These countries are: Andorra, Armenia, Cyprus (denies access for non-European Union citizens), Hungary, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. In Uzbekistan, an HIV-positive foreigner cannot even enter the country, and in Georgia, we were not able to determine whether there were any HIV-related travel restrictions due to a lack of information. CONCLUSIONS: In 32% of the countries in the European Region, either there are some kind of HIV-related travel restrictions or we were unable to determine if such restrictions are in force. Most of these countries defend restrictions as being justified by public health concerns. However, there is no evidence that denying HIV-positive foreigners access to a country is effective in protecting public health. Governments should revise legislation on HIV-related travel restrictions. In the meantime, a joint effort is needed to draw attention to the continuing discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV that takes place in those European Region countries where such laws and policies are still in force.
Clinics In Perinatology. 2010 Dec; 37(4):765-76, viii.The World Health Organization's Strategic Approaches to the Prevention of HIV Infection in Infants includes 4 components: primary prevention of HIV-1 infection; prevention of unintended pregnancies among HIV-1-infected women; prevention of transmission of HIV-1 infection from mothers to children; and provision of ongoing support, care, and treatment to HIV-1-infected women and their families. This review focuses on antiretrovirals for secondary prevention of HIV-1 infection-prevention of HIV-1 transmission from an HIV-1-infected woman to her child. Antiretroviral strategies to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 in nonbreastfeeding populations comprise antiretroviral treatment of HIV-1-infected pregnant women needing antiretrovirals for their own health, antiretroviral prophylaxis for HIV-1-infected pregnant women not yet meeting criteria for treatment, and antiretroviral prophylaxis for infants of HIV-1-infected mothers. The review primarily addresses antiretroviral strategies for nonbreastfeeding, HIV-1-infected women and their infants in resource-rich settings, such as the United States. Antiretroviral strategies to prevent antepartum, intrapartum, and early postnatal transmission in resource-poor settings are also addressed, albeit more briefly. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Early initiation of antiretroviral therapy and universal HIV testing in sub-Saharan Africa: has WHO offered a milestone for HIV prevention?
Journal of Public Health Policy. 2010 Dec; 31(4):385-400.The majority of new HIV infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries with scarce financial resources and meagre health system infrastructure. Expansion of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) may overwhelm health services capacity, result in suboptimal care, and divert attention from crucial preventive measures. A 2009 WHO guideline recommends earlier initiation of ART for adults and adolescents, treatment at CD4 counts of 350 cells/mm(3) along with universal testing. For sub-Saharan Africa, WHO previously recommended a threshold of 200 cells/mm(3). Despite vast potential benefits of early ART initiation at individual and community levels, it does not necessary follow that clinical experience in industrialised countries can be replicated in resource-limited settings with moderate to high HIV burdens. Adherence to the 2009 WHO guidelines is unlikely to be sustainable without guarantees of adequate national and donor support--something all developing countries need to consider before adoption of the new policy.
Journal of Health Care Finance. 2010; 36(4):75-79.When the United Nations declared "health care for all" (at the conferences at Alma-Ata in 1978 and the Ottawa Charter in 1986),(1) the declarations were largely premature to impact the upcoming HIV/AIDS epidemic. These UN declarations still apply today, as multitudes of humanity continue to die from what amounts now to be a treatable chronic disease. Can the wealthier, industrialized countries stand by and watch the decimation of the populations of the developing world by HIV / AIDS? The global "health 9/10 gap," relates that only 10 percent of global heath resources go to developing countries - i.e., those having 90 percent of the poorest world populations. (2) The World Bank/World Health Organization has been at the forefront of providing resources for the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, (3) but for many countries of the developing world (especially Sub-Saharan Africa) it may be too little, too late. This work explores the application of an ecological model to global policy against HIV/AIDS, highlighting access to antiretroviral drugs (ARV). ARV distribution is constrained by patents and laws protecting the intellectual property rights of the international pharmaceutical corporations. In response to this situation, more questions arise. Will governments in the developing world invoke compulsory licensing (patent-breaking) in their negotiations with the international pharmaceutical corporations to provide medications against HIV/AIDS in their countries? Can international political and financial negotiations with these pharmaceutical corporations speed the growing push for a solution to this solvable crisis? The answers may lie in the "Brazilian model," that is a developing world government using all means available to provide ARV drugs for all its citizens with HIV/AIDS. The basis of this model includes negotiating with the pharmaceutical corporations over patent rights and importation of copied drugs from the Far East.