Other HIV publications


Apr, 2019

Global Trends in CD4 Cell Count at the Start of Antiretroviral Therapy: Collaborative Study of Treatment Programs.


Authors: IeDEA and COHERE Cohort Collaborations.

Published in: Clin Infect Dis. 2018;66(6):893-903.

Background Early initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), at higher CD4 cell counts, prevents disease progression and reduces sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We describe the temporal trends in CD4 cell counts at the start of cART in adults from low-income, lower-middle-income, upper-middle-income, and high-income countries (LICs, LMICs, UMICs, and HICs, respectively).

Methods We included HIV-infected individuals aged ≥16 years who started cART between 2002 and 2015 in a clinic participating in the International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) or the Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research in Europe (COHERE). Missing CD4 cell counts at the start of cART were estimated through multiple imputation. Weighted mixed-effect models were used to smooth trends in median CD4 cell counts.

Results A total of 951855 adults from 16 LICs, 11 LMICs, 9 UMICs, and 19 HICs were included. Overall, the modeled median CD4 cell count at the start of cART increased from 2002 to 2015, from 78/µL (95% confidence interval, 58–104/µL) to 287/µL (250–328/µL) in LICs, from 99/µL (71–140/µL) to 234/µL (192–285/µL) in LMICs, from 71/µL (49–104/µL) to 311/µL (255–379/µL) in UMICs, and from 161/µL (143–181/µL) to 327/µL (286–372/µL) in HICs. In LICs, LMICs, and UMICs, the increase was more pronounced in women; in HICs, the opposite was observed.

Conclusions Median CD4 cell counts at the start of cART increased in all income groups, but generally remained below 350/μL in 2015. Substantial additional efforts and resources are required to achieve earlier diagnosis, linkage to care, and initiation of cART.



Apr, 2019

Incidence of switching to second-line antiretroviral therapy and associated factors in children with HIV: an international cohort collaboration


Authors: Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) Global Cohort Collaboration.

Published in: Lancet HIV. 2019;6(2):e105-e115.

Background Estimates of incidence of switching to second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) among children with HIV are necessary to inform the need for paediatric second-line formulations. We aimed to quantify the cumulative incidence of switching to second-line ART among children in an international cohort collaboration.

Methods In this international cohort collaboration study, we pooled individual patient-level data for children younger than 18 years who initiated ART (two or more nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors [NRTI] plus a non-NRTI [NNRTI] or boosted protease inhibitor) between 1993 and 2015 from 12 observational cohort networks in the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) Global Cohort Collaboration. Patients who were reported to be horizontally infected with HIV and those who were enrolled in trials of treatment monitoring, switching, or interruption strategies were excluded. Switch to second-line ART was defined as change of one or more NRTI plus either change in drug class (NNRTI to protease inhibitor or vice versa) or protease inhibitor change, change from single to dual protease inhibitor, or addition of a new drug class. We used cumulative incidence curves to assess time to switching, and multivariable proportional hazards models to explore patient-level and cohort-level factors associated with switching, with death and loss to follow-up as competing risks.

Findings At the data cutoff of Sept 16, 2015, 182 747 children with HIV were included in the CIPHER dataset, of whom 93 351 were eligible, with 83 984 (90·0%) from sub-Saharan Africa. At ART initiation, the median patient age was 3·9 years (IQR 1·6–6·9) and 82 885 (88·8%) patients initiated NNRTI-based and 10 466 (11·2%) initiated protease inhibitor-based regimens. Median duration of follow-up after ART initiation was 26 months (IQR 9–52). 3883 (4·2%) patients switched to second-line ART after a median of 35 months (IQR 20–57) of ART. The cumulative incidence of switching at 3 years was 3·1% (95% CI 3·0–3·2), but this estimate varied widely depending on the cohort monitoring strategy, from 6·8% (6·5–7·2) in settings with routine monitoring of CD4 (CD4% or CD4 count) and viral load to 0·8% (0·6–1·0) in settings with clinical only monitoring. In multivariable analyses, patient-level factors associated with an increased likelihood of switching were male sex, older age at ART initiation, and initial NNRTI-based regimen (p<0·0001). Cohort-level factors that increased the likelihood of switching were higher-income country (p=0·0017) and routine or targeted monitoring of CD4 and viral load (p<0·0001), which was associated with a 166% increase in likelihood of switching compared with CD4 only monitoring (subdistributional hazard ratio 2·66, 95% CI 2·22–3·19).

Interpretation Our global paediatric analysis found wide variations in the incidence of switching to second-line ART across monitoring strategies. These findings suggest the scale-up of viral load monitoring would probably increase demand for paediatric second-line ART formulations.


Apr, 2019

The epidemiology of adolescents living with perinatally acquired HIV: a cross-region global cohort analysis


Authors: Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CHIPER) Global Cohort Collaboration

Published in: PLoS Med. 2018;15(3):e1002514.

Background Globally, the population of adolescents living with perinatally acquired HIV (APHs) continues to expand. In this study, we pooled data from observational pediatric HIV cohorts and cohort networks, allowing comparisons of adolescents with perinatally acquired  HIV in “real-life” settings across multiple regions. We describe the geographic and temporal characteristics and mortality outcomes of APHs across multiple regions, including South America and the Caribbean, North America, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

Methods and Findings Through the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER), individual retrospective longitudinal data from 12 cohort networks were pooled. All children infected with HIV who entered care before age 10 years, were not known to have horizontally acquired HIV, and were followed up beyond age 10 years were included in this analysis conducted from May 2016 to January 2017. Our primary analysis describes patient and treatment characteristics of APHs at key time points, including first HIV-associated clinic visit, antiretroviral therapy (ART) start, age 10 years, and last visit, and compares these characteristics by geographic region, country income group (CIG), and birth period. Our secondary analysis describes mortality, transfer out, and lost to follow-up (LTFU) as outcomes at age 15 years, using competing risk analysis among the 38,187 APHs included, 51% were female, 79% were from sub-Saharan Africa and 65% lived in low-income countries. APHs from 51 countries were included (Europe: 14 countries and 3,054 APHs; North America: 1 country and 1,032 APHs; South America and the Caribbean: 4 countries and 903 APHs; South and Southeast Asia: 7 countries and 2,902 APHs; sub-Saharan Africa, 25 countries and 30,296 APHs). Observation started as early as 1982 in Europe and 1996 in sub-Saharan Africa, and continued until at least 2014 in all regions. The median (interquartile range [IQR]) duration of adolescent follow-up was 3.1 (1.5-5.2) years for the total cohort and 6.4 (3.6-8.0) years in Europe, 3.7 (2.0-5.4) years in North America, 2.5 (1.2-4.4) years in South and Southeast Asia, 5.0 (2.7-7.5) years in South America and the Caribbean, and 2.1 (0.9-3.8) years in sub-Saharan Africa. Median (IQR) age at first visit differed substantially by region, ranging from 0.7 (0.3-2.1) years in North America to 7.1 (5.3-8.6) years in sub-Saharan Africa. The median age at ART start varied from 0.9 (0.4-2.6) years in North America to 7.9 (6.0-9.3) years in sub-Saharan Africa. The cumulative incidence estimates (95% confidence interval [CI]) at age 15 years for mortality, transfers out, and LTFU for all APHs were 2.6% (2.4%-2.8%), 15.6% (15.1%-16.0%), and 11.3% (10.9%-11.8%), respectively. Mortality was lowest in Europe (0.8% [0.5%-1.1%]) and highest in South America and the Caribbean (4.4% [3.1%-6.1%]). However, LTFU was lowest in South America and the Caribbean (4.8% [3.4%-6.7%]) and highest in sub-Saharan Africa (13.2% [12.6%-13.7%]). Study limitations include the high LTFU rate in sub-Saharan Africa, which could have affected the comparison of mortality across regions; inclusion of data only for APHs receiving ART from some countries; and unavailability of data from high-burden countries such as Nigeria.

Conclusion To our knowledge, our study represents the largest multiregional epidemiological analysis of APHs. Despite probable under-ascertained mortality, mortality in APHs remains substantially higher in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and South America and the Caribbean than in Europe. Collaborations such as CIPHER enable us to monitor current global temporal trends in outcomes over time to inform appropriate policy responses.



Apr, 2019

Pathways of care for HIV infected children in Beira, Mozambique: pre-post intervention study to assess impact of task shifting


Authors: Marotta C, Giaquinto C, Di Gennaro F, et al.

Published in: BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1):703.

Background In 2013, Mozambique implemented task-shifting (TS) from clinical officers to maternal and child nurses to improve care for HIV positive children < 5 years old. A retrospective, pre-post intervention study was designed to evaluate effectiveness of a new pathway of care in a sample of Beira District Local Health Facilities (LHFs), the primary, local, community healthcare services.

Methods The study was conducted by accessing registries of At Risk Children Clinics (ARCCs) and HIV Health Services. Two time periods, pre- and post-intervention, were compared using a set of endpoints. Variables distribution was explored using descriptive statistics. T-student, Mann Whitney and Chi-square tests were used for comparisons.

Results Overall, 588 HIV infected children (F = 51.4%) were recruited, 330 belonging to the post intervention period. The mean time from referral to ARCC until initiation of ART decreased from 2.3 (± 4.4) to 1.1 (± 5.0) months after the intervention implementation (p-value: 0.000). A significant increase of Isoniazid prophylaxis (O.R.: 2.69; 95%CI: 1.7-4.15) and a decrease of both regular nutritional assessment (O.R. = 0.45; 95%CI: 0.31-0.64) and CD4 count at the beginning of ART (O.R. = 0.46; 95%CI: 0.32-0.65) were documented after the intervention.

Conclusions Despite several limitations and controversial results on nutrition assessment and CD4 count at the initiation of ART reported after the intervention, it could be assumed that TS alone may play a role in the improvement of the global effectiveness of care for HIV infected children only if integrated into a wider range of public health measures.



Apr, 2019

Optimizing clinical trial design to maximize evidence generation in paediatric HIV


Authors: Ford D, Turner R, Turkova A, et al.

Published in: J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2018;78(1):S40-S48.

Abstract For HIV-infected children, formulation development, pharmacokinetic (PK) data, and evaluation of early toxicity are critical for licensing new antiretroviral drugs; direct evidence of efficacy in children may not be needed if acceptable safety and PK parameters are demonstrated in children. However, it is important to address questions where adult trial data cannot be extrapolated to children. In this fast-moving area, interventions need to be tailored to resource-limited settings where most HIV-infected children live and take account of decreasing numbers of younger HIV-infected children after successful prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Innovative randomized controlled trial (RCT) designs enable several questions relevant to children’s treatment and care to be answered within the same study. We reflect on key considerations, and, with examples, discuss the relative merits of different RCT designs for addressing multiple scientific questions including parallel multi-arm RCTs, factorial RCTs, and cross-over RCTs. We discuss inclusion of several populations (eg, untreated and pretreated children; children and adults) in “basket” trials; incorporation of secondary randomizations after enrollment and use of nested substudies (particularly PK and formulation acceptability) within large RCTs. We review the literature on trial designs across other disease areas in pediatrics and rare diseases and discuss their relevance for addressing questions relevant to HIV-infected children; we provide an example of a Bayesian trial design in prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and consider this approach for future pediatric trials. Finally, we discuss the relevance of these approaches to other areas, in particular, childhood tuberculosis and hepatitis.



Apr, 2019

Strategies for prevention of mother-to-child transmission adopted in the “real-world” setting: data from the italian register for HIV-1 infection in children.


Authors: Chiappini E, Galli L, Lisi C, et al.

Published in: J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2018;79(1):54-61.

Background Strategies for prevention of HIV-1 mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) have been continuously optimized. However, cases of vertical transmission continue to occur in high-income countries.

Objectives To investigate changes in PMTCT strategies adopted by Italian clinicians over time and to evaluate risk factors for transmission.

Methods Data from mother-child pairs prospectively collected by the Italian Register, born in Italy in 1996-2016, were analyzed. Risk factors for MTCT were explored by logistic regression analyses.

Results Six thousand five hundred three children (348 infections) were included. In our cohort, the proportion of children born to foreign mothers increased from 18.3% (563/3078) in 1996%-2003% to 66.2% (559/857) in 2011-2016 (P < 0.0001). Combination neonatal prophylaxis use significantly (P < 0.0001) increased over time, reaching 6.3% (56/857) after 2010, and it was largely (4.2%) adopted in early preterm infants. The proportion of vaginal deliveries in women with undetectable viral load (VL) increased over time and was 9.9% (85/857) in 2011-2016; no infection occurred among them. In children followed up since birth MTCT, rate was 3.5% (96/2783) in 1996-2003; 1.4% (36/2480) in 2004-2010; and 1.1% (9/835) in 2011-2016. At a multivariate analysis, factors associated with MTCT were vaginal delivery with detectable or missing VL or nonelective caesarean delivery, prematurity, breastfeeding, lack of maternal or neonatal antiretroviral therapy, detectable maternal VL, and age at first observation. Previously described increased risk of offspring of immigrant women was not confirmed.

Conclusions Risk of MTCT in Italy is ongoing, even in recent years, underling the need for implementation of the current screening program in pregnancy. Large combination neonatal prophylaxis use in preterm infants was observed, even if data on safety and efficacy in prematures are poor.


Apr, 2019

Reactivity of routine HIV antibody tests in children with perinatally acquired HIV-1 in England: cross-sectional analysis


Authors: Fidler KJ, Foster C, Lim EJ, et al.; for Collaborative HIV Paediatric Study (CHIPS) Steering Committee

Published in: Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2019;38(2):146-148

Abstract We assessed HIV antibody prevalence in children with perinatally acquired HIV in England. Eighteen percent (10/55) of those starting combination antiretroviral therapy <6 months of age were seronegative at median age 9.1 years and had lower viral load at diagnosis and combination antiretroviral therapy start and fewer viral rebounds, than 45 of 55 seropositives. Implications for patient selection for HIV cure research, and interpretation of routine antibody testing, are discussed.


Apr, 2019

Accelerated aging in perinatally HIV-infected children: clinical manifestations and pathogenetic mechanisms


Authors: Chiappini E, Bianconi M, Dalzini A, et al.

Published in: Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2019;8:13

Background Premature aging and related diseases have been documented in HIV-infected adults. Data are now emerging also regarding accelerated aging process in HIV-infected children.

Methods A narrative review was performed searching studies on PubMed published in English language in 2004-2017, using appropriate key words, including “aging”, “children”, “HIV”, “AIDS”, “immunosenescence”, “pathogenesis”, “clinical conditions”.

Results Premature immunosenescence phenotype of B and T cells in HIV-infected children is mediated through immune system activation and chronic inflammation. Ongoing inflammation processes have been documented by increased levels of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPS), increased mitochondrial damage, higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and a positive correlation between sCD14 levels and percentages of activated CD8+ cells. Other reported features of premature aging include cellular replicative senescence, linked to an accelerated telomeres shortening. Finally, acceleration of age-associated methylation pattern and other epigenetic modifications have been described in HIV-infected children. All these features may favor the clinical manifestations related to premature aging. Lipid and bone metabolism, cancers, cardiovascular, renal, and neurological systems should be carefully monitored, particularly in children with detectable viremia and/or with CD4/CD8 ratio inversion.

Conclusion Aging processes in children with HIV infection impact their quality and length of life. Further studies regarding the mechanisms involved in premature aging are needed to search for potential targets of treatment.



Sep, 2016

Higher rates of triple class virologic failure in perinatally HIV-infected teenagers compared to heterosexually infected young adults in Europe


Authors: Judd A, Lodwick R, Noguera-Julian A, et al.. Pursuing Later Treatment Options II (PLATO II) Project Team for the Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research Europe (COHERE) in EuroCoord.

Published in: HIV Med. 2017;18(3):171-180

Objectives The aim of the study was to determine the time to, and risk factors for, triple‐class virological failure (TCVF) across age groups for children and adolescents with perinatally acquired HIV infection and older adolescents and adults with heterosexually acquired HIV infection.

Methods We analysed individual patient data from cohorts in the Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research Europe (COHERE). A total of 5972 participants starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) from 1998, aged < 20 years at the start of ART for those with perinatal infection and 15–29 years for those with heterosexual infection, with ART containing at least two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and a nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) or a boosted protease inhibitor (bPI), were followed from ART initiation until the most recent viral load (VL) measurement. Virological failure of a drug was defined as VL > 500 HIV‐1 RNA copies/mL despite ≥ 4 months of use. TCVF was defined as cumulative failure of two NRTIs, an NNRTI and a bPI.

Results The median number of weeks between diagnosis and the start of ART was higher in participants with perinatal HIV infection compared with participants with heterosexually acquired HIV infection overall [17 (interquartile range (IQR) 4–111) vs. 8 (IQR 2–38) weeks, respectively], and highest in perinatally infected participants aged 10–14 years [49 (IQR 9–267) weeks]. The cumulative proportion with TCVF 5 years after starting ART was 9.6% [95% confidence interval (CI) 7.0−12.3%] in participants with perinatally acquired infection and 4.7% (95% CI 3.9−5.5%) in participants with heterosexually acquired infection, and highest in perinatally infected participants aged 10–14 years when starting ART (27.7%; 95% CI 13.2−42.1%). Across all participants, significant predictors of TCVF were those with perinatal HIV aged 10–14 years, African origin, pre‐ART AIDS, NNRTI‐based initial regimens, higher pre‐ART viral load and lower pre‐ART CD4.

Conclusions The results suggest a beneficial effect of starting ART before adolescence, and starting young people on boosted PIs, to maximize treatment response during this transitional stage of development




Apr, 2012

Phylodynamic and Phylogeographic Patterns of the HIV-1 Subtype F1 Parenteral Epidemic in Romania.


Authors: Mbisa JL, Hue S, Buckton AJ, et al.

Published in: AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2012;28(9):1161-1166

Abstract In the late 1980s an HIV-1 epidemic emerged in Romania that was dominated by subtype F1. The main route of infection is believed to be parenteral transmission in children. We sequenced partial pol coding regions of 70 subtype F1 samples from children and adolescents from the PENTA-EPPICC network of which 67 were from Romania. Phylogenetic reconstruction using the sequences and other publically available global subtype F sequences showed that 79% of Romanian F1 sequences formed a statistically robust monophyletic cluster. The monophyletic cluster was epidemiologically linked to parenteral transmission in children. Coalescent-based analysis dated the origins of the parenteral epidemic to 1983 [1981–1987; 95% HPD]. The analysis also shows that the epidemic’s effective population size has remained fairly constant since the early 1990s suggesting limited onward spread of the virus within the population. Furthermore, phylogeographic analysis suggests that the root location of the parenteral epidemic was Bucharest.