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AIDS. 2014 Sep 24;28(15):2241-9. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000401.

Successful antiretroviral therapy delivery and retention in care among asymptomatic individuals with high CD4+ T-cell counts above 350 cells/μl in rural Uganda.

Author information

1
aHIV/AIDS Division, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), California, USA bMakerere University-UCSF (MU-UCSF) Research Collaboration cMakerere University Joint AIDS Program (MJAP), Kampala, Uganda dGilead Sciences, Foster City, California, USA eCenter for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), UCSF, California, USA fDepartment of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) is being rapidly scaled up in sub-Saharan Africa, including recently patients with CD4 T-cell counts above 350 cells/μl. However, concerns persist about adherence and virologic suppression among these asymptomatic, high CD4 cell count individuals.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the virologic efficacy and safety of ART among asymptomatic HIV-positive Ugandan adults with high CD4 cell counts above 350 cells/μl via a streamlined model of care.

DESIGN:

Prospective nonrandomized clinical study (EARLI Study: clinicaltrials.gov NCT#01479634).

SETTING:

Prototypic rural Ugandan HIV clinic.

PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS:

Asymptomatic, ART-naive adults (aged >18 years, N = 197) with CD4 at least 350 cells/μl, without pregnancy or WHO stage 3/4 illness.

INTERVENTIONS:

ART included tenofovir/emtricitabine/efavirenz, with ritonavir/lopinavir substitution for efavirenz available. Streamlined ART model included nurse-driven visits with physician back-up, basic safety laboratory monitoring with HIV viral load, clinician telephone contact, and defaulter tracking. No incentives were provided.

OUTCOMES:

Undetectable viral load (≤400 copies/ml) at 24 and 48 weeks [intention to treat (ITT); missing = detectable), self-reported ART adherence, retention in care, and laboratory/clinical ART toxicities.

RESULTS:

Of the 197 patients with CD4 above 350 cells/μl, median CD4 cell count was 569 cells/μl (interquartile range 451-716). Undetectable viral load was achieved in 189 of 197 (95.9%, ITT) and 189 of 195 (96.9%, ITT) of participants at weeks 24 and 48, respectively. Self-reported adherence was 98% and 192 of 197 (97%) of the patients were retained at week 48. Laboratory adverse events and hospitalizations were rare.

CONCLUSIONS:

We demonstrate high virologic suppression, retention, and safety among asymptomatic individuals with CD4 above 350 cells/μl in a prototypic Ugandan clinic. Our results challenge current concerns that individuals with high CD4 cell count lack motivation for ART, and may not achieve sustained virologic suppression.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01479634.

PMID:
25022596
PMCID:
PMC4894849
DOI:
10.1097/QAD.0000000000000401
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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