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Adoption of the 2015 World Health Organization guidelines on antiretroviral therapy: Programmatic implications for India.
WHO South - East Asia Journal of Public Health. 2017 Apr; 6(1):90-93.The therapeutic and preventive benefits of early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV are now well established. Reflecting new research evidence, in 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended initiation of ART for all people living with HIV (PLHIV), irrespective of their clinical staging and CD4 cell count. The National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in India is currently following the 2010 WHO ART guidelines for adults and the 2013 guidelines for pregnant women and children. This desk study assessed the number of people living with HIV who will additionally be eligible for ART on adoption of the 2015 WHO recommendations on ART. Data routinely recorded for all PLHIV registered under the NACP up to 31 December 2015 were analysed. Of the 250 865 individuals recorded in pre-ART care, an estimated 135 593 would be eligible under the WHO 2013 guidelines. A further 100 221 would be eligible under the WHO 2015 guidelines. Initiating treatment for all PLHIV in pre-ART care would raise the number on ART from 0.92 million to 1.17 million. In addition, nearly 0.07 million newly registered PLHIV will become eligible every year if the WHO 2015 guidelines are adopted, of which 0.028 million would be attributable to implementation of the WHO 2013 guidelines alone. In addition to drugs, there will be a need for additional CD4 tests and tests of viral load, as the numbers on ART will increase significantly. The outlay should be seen in the context of potential health-care savings due to early initiation of ART, in terms of the effect on disease progression, complications, deaths and new infections. While desirable, adoption of the new guidance will have significant programmatic and resource implications for India. The programme needs to plan and strengthen the service-delivery mechanism, with emphasis on newer and innovative approaches before implementation of these guidelines.
Should trained lay providers perform HIV testing? A systematic review to inform World Health Organization guidelines.
AIDS Care. 2017 Dec; 29(12):1473-1479.New strategies for HIV testing services (HTS) are needed to achieve UN 90-90-90 targets, including diagnosis of 90% of people living with HIV. Task-sharing HTS to trained lay providers may alleviate health worker shortages and better reach target groups. We conducted a systematic review of studies evaluating HTS by lay providers using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). Peer-reviewed articles were included if they compared HTS using RDTs performed by trained lay providers to HTS by health professionals, or to no intervention. We also reviewed data on end-users' values and preferences around lay providers preforming HTS. Searching was conducted through 10 online databases, reviewing reference lists, and contacting experts. Screening and data abstraction were conducted in duplicate using systematic methods. Of 6113 unique citations identified, 5 studies were included in the effectiveness review and 6 in the values and preferences review. One US-based randomized trial found patients' uptake of HTS doubled with lay providers (57% vs. 27%, percent difference: 30, 95% confidence interval: 27-32, p < 0.001). In Malawi, a pre/post study showed increases in HTS sites and tests after delegation to lay providers. Studies from Cambodia, Malawi, and South Africa comparing testing quality between lay providers and laboratory staff found little discordance and high sensitivity and specificity (>/=98%). Values and preferences studies generally found support for lay providers conducting HTS, particularly in non-hypothetical scenarios. Based on evidence supporting using trained lay providers, a WHO expert panel recommended lay providers be allowed to conduct HTS using HIV RDTs. Uptake of this recommendation could expand HIV testing to more people globally.
Application opportunities of geographic information systems analysis to support achievement of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets in South Africa.
South African Medical Journal. 2017 Nov 27; 107(12):1065-1071.In an effort to achieve control of the HIV epidemic, 90-90-90 targets have been proposed whereby 90% of the HIV-infected population should know their status, 90% of those diagnosed should be receiving antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of those on treatment should be virologically suppressed. In this article we present approaches for using relatively simple geographic information systems (GIS) analyses of routinely available data to support HIV programme management towards achieving the 90-90-90 targets, with a focus on South Africa (SA) and other high-prevalence settings in low- and middle-income countries. We present programme-level GIS applications to map aggregated health data and individual-level applications to track distinct patients. We illustrate these applications using data from City of Johannesburg Region D, demonstrating that GIS has great potential to guide HIV programme operations and assist in achieving the 90-90-90 targets in SA.
Contraceptive method considerations for clients with HIV including those on ART: provider reference tool.
[Washington, D.C.], FHI 360, 2017 Nov. 2 p.This is an at-a-glance resource for clinical providers to determine whether clients with HIV, including those on antiretroviral therapy (ART), may initiate or continue using common contraceptive methods. This chart is based on the World Health Organization's Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (2016). The tool provides foundational information for clinical providers on how the effectiveness of different types of hormonal contraceptive methods is affected by interaction with antiretroviral drugs. It also provides guidance on how to promote informed decision-making and help women with HIV who are taking antiretroviral drugs use their chosen hormonal contraceptive method successfully.
The continuum of HIV care in South Africa: implications for achieving the second and third UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets.
AIDS. 2017 Feb 20; 31(4):545-552.BACKGROUND: We characterize engagement with HIV care in South Africa in 2012 to identify areas for improvement towards achieving global 90-90-90 targets. METHODS: Over 3.9 million CD4 cell count and 2.7 million viral load measurements reported in 2012 in the public sector were extracted from the national laboratory electronic database. The number of persons living with HIV (PLHIV), number and proportion in HIV care, on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and with viral suppression (viral load <400 copies/ml) were estimated and stratified by sex and age group. Modified Poisson regression approach was used to examine associations between sex, age group and viral suppression among persons on ART. RESULTS: We estimate that among 6511 000 PLHIV in South Africa in 2012, 3300 000 individuals (50.7%) accessed care and 32.9% received ART. Although viral suppression was 73.7% among the treated population in 2012, the overall percentage of persons with viral suppression among all PLHIV was 23.8%. Linkage to HIV care was lower among men (38.5%) than among women (57.2%). Overall, 47.1% of those aged 0-14 years and 47.0% of those aged 15-49 years were linked to care compared with 56.2% among those aged above 50 years. CONCLUSION: Around a quarter of all PLHIV have achieved viral suppression in South Africa. Men and younger persons have poorer linkage to HIV care. Expanding HIV testing, strengthening prompt linkage to care and further expansion of ART are needed for South Africa to reach the 90-90-90 target. Focus on these areas will reduce the transmission of new HIV infections and mortality in the general population.
Has the phasing out of stavudine in accordance with changes in WHO guidelines led to a decrease in single-drug substitutions in first-line antiretroviral therapy for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa?
AIDS. 2017 Jan 2; 31(1):147-157.OBJECTIVE: We assessed the relationship between phasing out stavudine in first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) in accordance with WHO 2010 policy and single-drug substitutions (SDS) (substituting the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor in first-line ART) in sub-Saharan Africa. DESIGN: Prospective cohort analysis (International epidemiological Databases to Evaluate AIDS-Multiregional) including ART-naive, HIV-infected patients aged at least 16 years, initiating ART between January 2005 and December 2012. Before April 2010 (July 2007 in Zambia) national guidelines called for patients to initiate stavudine-based or zidovudine-based regimen, whereas thereafter tenofovir or zidovudine replaced stavudine in first-line ART. METHODS: We evaluated the frequency of stavudine use and SDS by calendar year 2004-2014. Competing risk regression was used to assess the association between nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor use and SDS in the first 24 months on ART. RESULTS: In all, 33 441 (8.9%; 95% confience interval 8.7-8.9%) SDS occurred among 377 656 patients in the first 24 months on ART, close to 40% of which were amongst patients on stavudine. The decrease in SDS corresponded with the phasing out of stavudine. Competing risks regression models showed that patients on tenofovir were 20-95% less likely to require a SDS than patients on stavudine, whereas patients on zidovudine had a 75-85% decrease in the hazards of SDS when compared to stavudine. CONCLUSION: The decline in SDS in the first 24 months on treatment appears to be associated with phasing out stavudine for zidovudine or tenofovir in first-line ART in our study. Further efforts to decrease the cost of tenofovir and zidovudine for use in this setting is warranted to substitute all patients still receiving stavudine.
Allocation of antiretroviral drugs to HIV-infected patients in Togo: Perspectives of people living with HIV and healthcare providers.
Journal of Medical Ethics. 2017 Dec; 43(12):845-851.Aim To explore the way people living with HIV and healthcare providers in Togo judge the priority of HIV-infected patients regarding the allocation of antiretroviral drugs. Method From June to September 2015, 200 adults living with HIV and 121 healthcare providers living in Togo were recruited for the study. They were presented with stories of a few lines depicting the situation of an HIV-infected patient and were instructed to judge the extent to which the patient should be given priority for antiretroviral drugs. The stories were composed by systematically varying the levels of four factors: (a) the severity of HIV infection, (b) the financial situation of the patient, (c) the patient's family responsibilities and (d) the time elapsed since the first consultation. Results Five clusters were identified: 65% of the participants expressed the view that patients who are poor and severely sick should be treated as a priority, 13% prioritised treatment of patients who are poor and parents of small children, 12% expressed the view that the poor should be treated as a priority, 4% preferred that the sickest be treated as a priority and 6% wanted all patients to get treatment. Conclusions WHO's guideline regarding antiretroviral therapy allocation (the sickest first as the sole criterion) currently in use in many African countries does not reflect the preferences of Togolese people living with HIV. For most HIV-infected patients in Togo, patients who cannot get treatment on their own should be treated as a priority.
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2017. 12 p.People who use and inject drugs are among the groups at highest risk of exposure to HIV, but remain marginalized and out of reach of health and social services.
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2017. 8 p.HIV testing services are an essential gateway to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) endorse and encourage universal access to knowledge of HIV status. Increased access to and uptake of HIV testing is central to achieving the 90–90–90 targets1 endorsed in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. However, at the end of 2016, approximately 30% of people living with HIV were still unaware of their HIV status. Young people aged 15–24, adult males and people from key populations (men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, people who inject drugs and people in prisons and other closed settings) often have significantly lower access to HIV testing services, are less likely to be linked to treatment and care and have lower levels of viral suppression. (excerpt)
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: email@example.com.
Using GRADE as a framework to guide research on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women living with HIV - methodological opportunities and challenges.
AIDS Care. 2017 Sep; 29(9):1088-1093.In March 2016, WHO reviewed evidence to develop global recommendations on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women living with HIV. Systematic reviews and a global survey of women living with HIV informed the guideline development decision-making process. New recommendations covered abortion, Caesarean section, safe disclosure, and empowerment and self-efficacy interventions. Identification of key research gaps is part of the WHO guidelines development process, but consistent methods to do so are lacking. Our method aimed to ensure consistency and comprised the systematic application of a framework based on GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) to the process. The framework incorporates the strength and quality rating of recommendations and the priorities reported by women in the survey to inform research prioritisation. For each gap, we also articulated: (1) the most appropriate and robust study design to answer the question; (2) alternative pragmatic designs if the ideal design is not feasible; and (3) the methodological challenges facing researchers through identifying potential biases. We found 12 research gaps and identified five appropriate study designs to address the related questions: (1) Cross-sectional surveys; (2) Qualitative interview-driven studies; (3) Registries; (4) Randomised controlled trials; and (5) Medical record audit. Methodological challenges included selection, recruitment, misclassification, measurement and contextual biases, and confounding. In conclusion, a framework based on GRADE can provide a systematic approach to identifying research gaps from a WHO guideline. Incorporation of the priorities of women living with HIV into the framework systematically ensures that women living with HIV can shape future policy decisions affecting their lives. Implementation science and participatory research are appropriate over-arching approaches to enhance uptake of interventions and to ensure inclusion of women living with HIV at all stages of the research process.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2017. 144 p.HIV is not only driven by gender inequality, but it also entrenches gender inequality, leaving women more vulnerable to its impact. Providing sexual and reproductive health interventions for women living with HIV that are grounded in principles of gender equality and human rights can have a positive impact on their quality of life; it is also a step towards long-term improved health status and equity.
Dietary Inadequacies in HIV-infected and Uninfected School-aged Children in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2017 Mar 22;OBJECTIVES: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that HIV-infected children increase energy intake and maintain a balanced macronutrient distribution for optimal growth and nutrition. Few studies have evaluated dietary intake of HIV-infected children in resource-limited settings. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the dietary intake of 220 perinatally HIV-infected children and 220 HIV-uninfected controls ages 5–9 years in Johannesburg, South Africa. A standardized 24-hour recall questionnaire and software developed specifically for the South African population was used to estimate intake of energy, macronutrients, and micronutrients. Intake was categorized based on recommendations by the WHO and Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDRs) established by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). RESULTS: The overall mean age was 6.7 years and 51.8% were boys. Total energy intake was higher in HIV-infected than HIV-uninfected children (1341 vs. 1196 kcal/day, p=0.002), but proportions below the recommended energy requirement were similar in the two groups (82.5 vs. 85.2%, p=0.45). Overall, 51.8% of the macronutrient energy intake was from carbohydrates, 13.2% from protein, and 30.8% from fat. The HIV-infected group had a higher percentage of their energy intake from carbohydrates and lower percentage from protein compared to the HIV-uninfected group. Intakes of folate, vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, and selenium were suboptimal for both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the typical diet of HIV-infected children as well as uninfected children in Johannesburg, South Africa does not meet energy or micronutrient requirements. There appear to be opportunities for interventions to improve dietary intake for both groups.