AIDS Research and Therapy

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ISSN / EISSN : 1742-6405 / 1742-6405
Total articles ≅ 593
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, Maude Velghe-Lenelle, Yannick Manigart, Déborah Konopnicki, Serge Rozenberg
Published: 23 July 2021
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-11; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00371-x

Background This study compares the management and outcome of high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) in HIV-positive and -negative women and identifies risk factors for treatment failure. Methods This retrospective, controlled study includes 146 HIV-positive women, matched for HSIL, age and year of diagnosis, with 146 HIV-negative women. Differences were analysed using parametric and non-parametric tests and Kaplan–Meier survival curves. A binary logistic regression was used to assess risk factors for treatment failure. Results Persistence of cervical disease was observed most frequently in HIV-positive women (42 versus 17%) (p < 0.001) and the cone biopsy margins were more often invaded in HIV-positive-women than in HIV-negative ones. (37 versus 16%; p < 0.05). HIV-positive women, with successful cervical treatment had better HIV disease control: with significantly longer periods of undetectable HIV viral loads (VL) (19 versus 5 months; p < 0.001) and higher CD4 counts (491 versus 320 cells/mm3; p < 0.001). HIV-positive women with detectable VL at the time of dysplasia had 3.5 times (95% IC: 1.5–8.3) increased risk of treatment failure. Being treated through ablative therapy was associated with a 7.4, four-fold (95% IC: 3.2–17.3) increased risk of treatment failure compared to conization Conclusion HIV-positive women have a higher risk of treatment failure of HSIL than do HIV-negative women, especially when ablative therapy is used and in women with poor control of their HIV infection. The management and the follow- up of HSIL’s guidelines in this high-risk population should be adapted consequently: for HIV-positive women with uncontrolled viral load, excisional treatment should be the preferred therapy, whereas for women with undetectable viral load, CD4 + lymphocytes higher than 500 cells/mm3 and with a desire of pregnancy, ablative therapy may be considered.
, Hippolyte Situakibanza Nani-Tuma, Marcel Mbula Mambimbi, Murielle Longokolo Mashi, Ben Bepouka Izizag, Faustin Kitetele Ndolumingu, Nathalie Maes, Michel Moutschen,
Published: 16 July 2021
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-7; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00366-8

Introduction Late presentation for HIV care is a well-described issue for the success of ART outcomes and the cause of higher morbidity, mortality and further transmission. Monitoring the level of late presentation and understanding the factors associated with it would help to tailor screening and information strategies for better efficiency. We performed a retrospective cohort study in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC. The studied population included HIV-positive adults newly enrolled in HIV care between January 2006 and June 2020 at 25 HIV urban care facilities. Patient information collected at presentation for HIV care included age, sex, WHO clinical stage and screening context. We used 2 definitions of late presentation: the WHO definition of advanced HIV disease (WHO stage 3/4 or CD4 cell count < 200 cells/mm3) and a more inclusive definition (WHO stage 3/4 or CD4 cell count < 350 cells/mm3). Results A total of 10,137 HIV-infected individuals were included in the analysis. The median age was 40 years; 68% were female. A total of 45.9% or 47.5% of the patients were late presenters, depending on the definition used. The percentage of patients with late presentation (defined as WHO stage 3/4 or CD4 cell count < 350 cells/mm3) decreased during recent years, from 70.7% in 2013 to 46.5% in 2017 and 23.4% in 2020. Age was associated with a significantly higher risk of LP (p < 0.0001). We did not observe any impact of sex. Conclusions The frequency of late presentation for care is decreasing in Kinshasa, DRC. Efforts have to be continued. In particular, the issue of late diagnosis in older individuals should be addressed.
Published: 15 July 2021
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-9; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00367-7

Background HIV/AIDS is still one of the major public health concerns globally. It is one of the major contributory causes of deaths among women in the reproductive age (15–49 years) and has resulted in about 14 million orphaned children globally. Knowledge of Mother-to Child transmission is one of the strategies to fight against HIV. This study, therefore, sought to assess the knowledge and determinants of women’s knowledge on vertical transmission of HIV and AIDS in their reproductive age in South Africa. Methods Data were obtained from the South Africa Demographic and Health Survey (SADHS) 2016. Both descriptive (frequencies and percentages) and inferential analysis (multilevel mixed-effects complementary log–log regression model) were conducted and the statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. Results The prevalence of knowledge of mother to child transmission of HIV and AIDS during pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding and at least knowledge of one source are 87.0%, 81.1%, 80.3% and 91.4% respectively. At the individual level, those with secondary [AOR = 1.28, CI = 1.04,1.57] and higher [AOR = 1.55, CI = 1.21,1.99], those who read newspaper less than once a week [AOR = 1.16, CI = [1.05,1.28], at least once a week [AOR = 1.14, CI = 1.04,1.25], and those who listen to the radio less than once a week [AOR = 1.22, CI = 1.03,1.43] had higher odds of knowledge on MTCT of HIV and AIDS. However, those with parity 0 [AOR = 0.73, CI = [0.63,0.85] had lower odds of knowledge of MTCT of HIV and AIDS compared with those with parity 4 or more. At the contextual level, those in the poorest wealth quintile [AOR = 0.82,CI = 0.69,0.97] had lower odds of having knowledge of MTCT of HIV and AIDS. Those in the urban areas [AOR = 1.17, CI = [1.04,1.31], those in Limpopo [AOR = 1.35, CI = [1.12,1.64], Gauteng [AOR = 1.35, CI = [1.12,1.62] and North west[AOR = 1.49, CI = [1.22,1.81] had higher odds of knowledge of mother to child transmission of HIV and AIDS. Conclusion The study has demonstrated that there is relatively high knowledge of mother to child transmission of HIV and AIDS in South Africa. The factors associated with the knowledge are educational level, exposure to mass media, parity, wealth status, place of residence and the region of residence. To further increase the knowledge, it is imperative to adopt various messages and target respondents in different part of SSA through the mass media channels. This should be done taking cognizant of the rural–urban variations and socio-economic status.
, Betelhem Walelgn
Published: 13 July 2021
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-9; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00365-9

Introduction World health organization defined adherence as the extent to which a person’s behavior – taking medications, following a diet, or executing lifestyle changes correspond with agreed recommendations from the health care provider. There is a contradiction among studies and previous studies conducted in the study area used a cross-sectional study design. This study aimed to identify determinant factors for adherence to antiretroviral treatment among people living with HIV at Dessie Referral Hospital by using an unmatched case–control study design. Methods and materials an institution-based unmatched case–control study design was used on a total sample of 582 (146 controls and 436 cases). Each respondent was selected by consecutive random sampling. The collected data were entered and analyzed by using Statistical Package for Social Science version 25.0. Multivariable binary logistic regression analysis was used to identify variables that were statistically significant determinants. Result The mean age of the respondents was 41.64 years. About 61.5% of the participants were females. Patients with baseline HIV stage I was more likely to be adherent to the prescribed HIV medicine (AOR: 2.194 95% CI: 1.116, 4.314) as compared with those with baseline WHO stage IV. Patients who did not take anti-tuberculosis medication collaterally with the prescribed HIV medicine were more likely to be adherent (AOR: 2.271 95% CI: 1.257, 4.102). Patients who took antiretroviral therapy for more than 24 months were more likely to be adherent (AOR: 3.665 95% CI: 1.321, 10.170). Conclusion Initiation of antiretroviral therapy at the later stage of the disease and taking anti-tuberculosis concomitantly were negatively associated with adherence. Being on antiretroviral therapy for a longer duration has a positive association. Health facilities and professionals should strictly apply strategies for the prevention of tuberculosis among HIV patients to avoid concomitant use of anti-tuberculosis medications.
, Athanase Lilungulu, Shakilu Jumanne, Mzee M. Nassoro, Bonaventura C. Mpondo
Published: 3 July 2021
by 10.1186
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-11; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00362-y

Background Provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling (PITC) is a recommended approach to screen for HIV to all pregnant women during antenatal care (ANC) visits, and all with HIV positive results have to be enrolled into prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) program. However, little is known about the relationship between facility readiness and the uptake of PITC to pregnant women attending ANC in Tanzania. Therefore, this study assessed whether the facility readiness promotes the uptake of PITC to the pregnant women attending ANC for the purpose of improving the PMTCT interventions in Tanzania. Methods This study analyzed data for health facilities obtained from the 2014–2015 Tanzania service provision assessment survey. The Primary outcome measure was a composite variable (with score of 0–5) in which its higher scores indicates provision of high-quality of PITC. Also, facilities scored higher in the PMTCT service readiness index were considered to have high readiness to provide PMTCT services. In Poisson regression analyses, a series of models were fitted to assess whether there is an association between provision of high-quality of PITC and facility readiness. In all statistical analysis, a P < 0.05 was considered significant. Results Out of 1853 included first-visit ANC consultations, only about one-third of pregnant women received all five components required for PITC. The mean percentage of PMTCT readiness score was moderate 63.96 [61.32–66.59]%. In adjusted model, we found that facility with high readiness to provide PMTCT services was significantly associated with the provision of high-quality of PITC (model 2: [β = 0.075, P = 0.00]). Conclusion In order to increase high-quality of PITC services, efforts should be made to improve the PMTCT facility readiness by increasing availability of trained staffs, diagnostic tools, and ARTs among health facilities in Tanzania.
, Winfried V. Kern, Susanne Usadel, Marie-Christin Pauly, Toni Cathomen, Ulrich Salzer
Published: 30 June 2021
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-9; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00361-z

Background Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is one of the main driving forces of T-cell senescence in the general population, whereas its differential impact in people living with HIV (PLWH) is less well characterized. The study explores the effect of latent CMV infection on T-cell subsets, monocyte/macrophages activation markers, and CRP in PLWH on long-term ART. Methods Cross-sectional cohort study including PLWH on long-term suppressive ART. Individuals of 4 groups (HIV+CMV−, HIV+CMV+, HIV−CMV+, and HIV−CMV−) were matched 1:1:1:1 for age and sex. Immunophenotyping of lymphocyte and T-cell subsets by multicolor flow cytometry was performed in fresh blood samples collected from patients and healthy donors. Results Both, latent CMV and treated HIV infection were associated with an expansion of CD8 T cells, a reduced CD4/CD8 ratio, and with CD8 T-cell activation with a cumulative effect in CMV/HIV-coinfected individuals. CMV was associated with elevated numbers of late effector and terminally differentiated CD8 T-cells. Compared to CMV monoinfection, CMV/HIV coinfection showed to be associated with lower proportion of CD28−CD8+ T cells expressing CD57 suggesting that HIV preferentially expands CD28−CD57−CD8+ T cells and impedes terminal differentiation of CD28−CD8+ T cells. We could not show any association between HIV or CMV infection status and concentration of CRP and CD163. Conclusions CMV infection is associated with phenotypic signs of T-cell senescence, promoting exacerbation and persistence of alterations of the T-cell compartment in PLWH on effective ART, which are associated with adverse clinical outcomes and may be an attractive target for therapeutic interventions.
Published: 26 June 2021
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-8; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00358-8

Background When considering adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV, many different cut-points are used. The primary goals of this study were to identify a level of self-reported medication adherence that best distinguished HIV viral suppression from non-suppression, and to compare the ability of a single-item and a 3-item adherence questionnaire to predict HIV viral suppression. Methods This cross-sectional analysis included 380 persons with HIV (PWH) from the Florida Cohort study who completed a self-reported ART adherence measure within 30-days of having an HIV viral load test. We used Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analyses and ROCContrast to compare the ability of a single-item and a 3-item self-reported adherence measure to predict HIV viral suppression (defined as ≤ 200 copies/mL). We used the Youden index and chi square statistics to assess specific cut-points, and repeated the analysis with a different definition of HIV viral suppression (≤ 1000 copies/mL). Results The mean percent adherence was 92.4% using the single-item score and 90.4% using the 3-item score; 81.6% had viral suppression. The areas under the curve for the single-item and 3-item adherence measures were generally poor overall and not significantly different from each other (0.589 and 0.580, p = 0.67). The Youden index identified cut-points of 93% and 89% as maximizing the sensitivity and specificity for the single-item and 3-item measures, respectively, whereas a cut-point of 80% on the single-item measure was best able to discriminate those with viral suppression (58% vs. 84%, p < 0.001). Results were similar with viral suppression defined as ≤ 1000 copies/mL. Conclusions In this sample of PWH, a single question on medication adherence was as good as a 3-item questionnaire in predicting HIV viral suppression, although neither had good discriminatory ability. A cut-point close to 90% adherence maximized sensitivity and specificity, although viral suppression was very similar for nearly all measures above 80%.
, Ivan Lukabwe, Irene Kyamwine, Benon Kwesiga, Alex R. Ario, Linda Nabitaka, Lilian Bulage, Julie Harris, Peter Mudiope
Published: 24 June 2021
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-7; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00360-0

Background Uganda has registered a reduction in new HIV infections among children in recent years. However, mother-to-child transmission of HIV still occurs, especially among pregnant women who present late. To eliminate this transmission, all HIV-positive pregnant women should be identified during antenatal HIV testing. We described women newly identified HIV-positive during pregnancy and postnatal period 2015–2018. Methods We extracted surveillance data for women identified as HIV-positive during pregnancy and the postnatal period reported through the Health Management Information System from 2015–2018. We calculated proportions newly positive at antenatal, labor, and postnatal periods nationally and at district levels. We disaggregated data into ‘tested early’ (during antenatal care) and ‘tested late’ (during labor or postnatal period) and calculated the proportion positive. We evaluated trends in these parameters at national and district levels. Results Overall, 8,485,854 mothers were tested for HIV during this period. Of these, 2.4% tested HIV-positive for the first time. While the total number of mothers tested increased from 1,327,022 in 2015 to 2,514,212 in 2018, the proportion testing HIV-positive decreased from 3.0% in 2015 to 1.7% in 2018 (43% decline over the study period, p < 0.001). Of 6,781,047 tested early, 2.2% tested HIV-positive. The proportion positive among those tested early dropped from 2.5% in 2015 to 1.7% in 2018. Of 1,704,807 tested late, 3.2% tested HIV-positive. The proportion positive among those tested late dropped from 5.2% in 2015 to 1.6% in 2018. At the district level, Kalangala District had the highest proportion testing positive at 13% (909/11,312) in 2015; this dropped to 5.2% (169/3278) in 2018. Conclusion The proportion of women newly testing HIV-positive during pregnancy and postnatal declined significantly during 2015–2018. A higher proportion of mothers who tested late vs early were HIV-positive. Failure to identify HIV early represents an increased risk of transmission. Ministry of Health should strengthen Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (eMTCT) services to sustain this decrease through targeted interventions for poorly-performing districts. It should strengthen community-based health education on antenatal care and HIV testing and enhance the implementation of other primary prevention strategies targeting adolescents and young women.
Nori Krabbenborg, Ralph Spijker, Anna Maria Żakowicz, Milo de Moraes, Titia Heijman,
Published: 23 June 2021
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-10; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00357-9

Background The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF-Checkpoint) in The Netherlands offers rapid HIV testing for key populations by lay providers. We explored the experiences and needs of lay providers and end users of HIV testing at AHF-Checkpoint, taking into account the WHO 5C-(consent, confidentiality, counselling, correct-results, connection-to-care) criteria for HIV test services. Methods Qualitative evaluation with 15 semi-structured interviews conducted during 2020 with ten lay providers and five gay or bisexual end users. Recorded interviews were thematically analysed, taking data triangulation into account. Results Four domains were identified: (1) accessibility of HIV testing, (2) quality of test procedures, (3) bridging (transitional care), and (4) future strategies for service delivery. AHF-Checkpoint fills a gap for key populations including LGBTQ and refugees, who experience HIV testing barriers at sexual health centres or general practices. The level of trust between lay providers and end users was highly valued by end users. They appreciated the low threshold to test at no costs, and the absence of waiting lists or triaging. Needs expressed by lay providers included more preparedness for emotionally charged situations, and extra training to improve STI knowledge. End users expressed a need for a full STI test package. Of the 5Cs, consent, counselling, and correct results were realised but confidentiality was sometimes difficult to achieve at pop-up locations, and referral barriers for confirmation testing (connection-to-care) were occasionally experienced by lay providers during weekends. Conclusion AHF-Checkpoint was described as a convenient and easily accessible service by end users and lay providers. Of the WHO 5Cs, connection-to-care could be optimised to ensure HIV confirmation and STI testing through a liaison approach with professionals from the regular healthcare sector.
, Jonathan M. Grund, Evans Muchiri, Matt A. Price, Mary H. Latka, Salome Charalambous
Published: 22 June 2021
AIDS Research and Therapy, Volume 18, pp 1-9; doi:10.1186/s12981-021-00359-7

Background Beliefs about gender roles and high-risk sexual behaviours underlie the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic in South Africa. Yet, there is limited information on the relationships between beliefs about gender roles and risky sexual behaviours. Few studies have explored the association between beliefs about gender roles, high risk sexual behaviour, and health-seeking behaviour among men. Methods We investigated associations between gender beliefs (dichotomised as traditional or progressive) and high-risk sexual behaviour among South African men presenting for medical male circumcision (Apr 2014 to Nov 2015). Results Of 2792 enrolled men, 47.4% reported traditional gender beliefs. Participant ages ranged between 18–46 years (median age 26 years; interquartile range, 21–31 years). Most participants had at least one sex partner over the last 12 months (68.2%). Younger men (18–24 years old vs. 25–46 years old) (odds ratio [OR], 1.5 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0–2.0]), those with multiple partners ([OR], 1.5 (CI) 1.3–1.8]) and participants unsure of their last partner’s HIV status (OR, 1.4 [95% CI 1.1–1.7]) were more likely to have traditional beliefs on gender roles. Conclusion Young men with traditional beliefs on gender roles may be more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviour and could be good candidates for HIV prevention programmes. N = 206 (max 350) Trial registration Name of registry:; Trial registration number: NCT02352961; Date of registration: 30 January 2015 “Retrospectively registered”; URL of trial registry record:
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