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Lancet. 2015 May 30;385(9983):2173-82. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60164-7. Epub 2015 Mar 10.

Cryptococcal meningitis screening and community-based early adherence support in people with advanced HIV infection starting antiretroviral therapy in Tanzania and Zambia: an open-label, randomised controlled trial.

Author information

1
National Institute for Medical Research, Muhimbili Medical Research Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
2
Institute for Medical Research and Training, University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia.
3
Faculty of Public Health Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
4
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
5
Institute for Infection and Immunity, St Georges University of London, London, UK.
6
National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program, Ministry of Health and Socio-Welfare, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
7
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK. Electronic address: shabbar.jaffar@lshtm.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Mortality in people in Africa with HIV infection starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) is high, particularly in those with advanced disease. We assessed the effect of a short period of community support to supplement clinic-based services combined with serum cryptococcal antigen screening.

METHODS:

We did an open-label, randomised controlled trial in six urban clinics in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Lusaka, Zambia. From February, 2012, we enrolled eligible individuals with HIV infection (age ≥18 years, CD4 count of <200 cells per μL, ART naive) and randomly assigned them to either the standard clinic-based care supplemented with community support or standard clinic-based care alone, stratified by country and clinic, in permuted block sizes of ten. Clinic plus community support consisted of screening for serum cryptococcal antigen combined with antifungal therapy for patients testing antigen positive, weekly home visits for the first 4 weeks on ART by lay workers to provide support, and in Tanzania alone, re-screening for tuberculosis at 6-8 weeks after ART initiation. The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality at 12 months, analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered with the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number registry, number ISCRTN 20410413.

FINDINGS:

Between Feb 9, 2012, and Sept 30, 2013, 1001 patients were randomly assigned to clinic plus community support and 998 to standard care. 89 (9%) of 1001 participants in the clinic plus community support group did not receive their assigned intervention, and 11 (1%) of 998 participants in the standard care group received a home visit or a cryptococcal antigen screen rather than only standard care. At 12 months, 25 (2%) of 1001 participants in the clinic plus community support group and 24 (2%) of 998 participants in the standard care group had been lost to follow-up, and were censored at their last visit for the primary analysis. At 12 months, 134 (13%) of 1001 participants in the clinic plus community support group had died compared with 180 (18%) of 998 in the standard care group. Mortality was 28% (95% CI 10-43) lower in the clinic plus community support group than in standard care group (p=0·004).

INTERPRETATION:

Screening and pre-emptive treatment for cryptococcal infection combined with a short initial period of adherence support after initiation of ART could substantially reduce mortality in HIV programmes in Africa.

FUNDING:

European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.

PMID:
25765698
DOI:
10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60164-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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