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American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011 Dec; 94(6):1683S-1689S.To establish whether there is new evidence to inform changes to WHO 2003 recommendations for micronutrient intake in persons with HIV/AIDS, we conducted a narrative review of the literature published from 2003 to 2010. Although the review focused on new randomized controlled trials of multiple micronutrients in HIV-infected adults, including pregnant and lactating women, we also considered randomized trials of single micronutrients. The review found that there are few published randomized controlled trials of micronutrients in HIV-infected persons and that most trials used high-dose multiple micronutrient supplementation. The trials were heterogeneous with respect to the composition and dose of micronutrients used and the target population studied. Despite this heterogeneity, 5 of 6 trials that used high-dose multiple micronutrients showed benefits in terms of either improved CD4 cell counts or survival. However, many of these trials were small and of short duration, and therefore the long-term risks and benefits of high-dose multiple micronutrients are not established. The current WHO recommendation for an intake of micronutrients at Recommended Dietary Allowance amounts continues to be a reasonable target for persons with clinically stable HIV infection. In light of new data that show adverse effects of high-dose vitamin A, the current recommendation for a single high dose of vitamin A in HIV-infected women within 6 wk of delivery should be reviewed.
Alternative antiretroviral monitoring strategies for HIV-infected patients in east Africa: opportunities to save more lives?
Journal of the International AIDS Society. 2011; 14:38.BACKGROUND: Updated World Health Organization guidelines have amplified debate about how resource constraints should impact monitoring strategies for HIV-infected persons on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). We estimated the incremental benefit and cost effectiveness of alternative monitoring strategies for east Africans with known HIV infection. METHODS: Using a validated HIV computer simulation based on resource-limited data (USAID and AMPATH) and circumstances (east Africa), we compared alternative monitoring strategies for HIV-infected persons newly started on cART. We evaluated clinical, immunologic and virologic monitoring strategies, including combinations and conditional logic (e.g., only perform virologic testing if immunologic testing is positive). We calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) in units of cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY), using a societal perspective and a lifetime horizon. Costs were measured in 2008 US dollars, and costs and benefits were discounted at 3%. We compared the ICER of monitoring strategies with those of other resource-constrained decisions, in particular earlier cART initiation (at CD4 counts of 350 cells/mm3 rather than 200 cells/mm3). RESULTS: Monitoring strategies employing routine CD4 testing without virologic testing never maximized health benefits, regardless of budget or societal willingness to pay for additional health benefits. Monitoring strategies employing virologic testing conditional upon particular CD4 results delivered the most benefit at willingness-to-pay levels similar to the cost of earlier cART initiation (approximately $2600/QALY). Monitoring strategies employing routine virologic testing alone only maximized health benefits at willingness-to-pay levels (> $4400/QALY) that greatly exceeded the ICER of earlier cART initiation. CONCLUSIONS: CD4 testing alone never maximized health benefits regardless of resource limitations. Programmes routinely performing virologic testing but deferring cART initiation may increase health benefits by reallocating monitoring resources towards earlier cART initiation.
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.