Distinguishing sources of HIV transmission from the distribution of newly acquired HIV infections: why is it important for HIV prevention planning?Abstract:10.1136/sextrans-2013-051250
OBJECTIVE: The term 'source of HIV infections' has been referred to as the source of HIV transmission. It has also been interpreted as the distribution of newly acquired HIV infections across subgroups. We illustrate the importance of distinguishing the two interpretations for HIV prevention planning.
METHODS: We used a dynamical model of heterosexual HIV transmission to simulate three HIV epidemics, and estimated the sources of HIV transmission (cumulative population attributable fraction) and the single-year distribution of new HIV infections. We focused an intervention guided by the largest transmission source versus the largest single-year distribution of new HIV infections, and compared the fraction of discounted HIV infections averted over 30 years.
RESULTS: The single-year distribution of newly acquired HIV infections underestimated the source of HIV transmission in the long term, when the source was unprotected sex in high-risk groups. Under equivalent and finite resources, an intervention strategy directed by the long-term transmission source was shown to achieve a greater impact than a distribution-directed strategy, particularly in the long term.
CONCLUSIONS: Impact of HIV prevention strategies may vary depending on whether they are directed by the long-term transmission source or by the distribution of new HIV infections. Caution is required when interpreting the 'source of HIV infections' to avoid misusing the distribution of new HIV infections in HIV prevention planning.
Towards an improved investment approach for an effective response to HIV/AIDS.Abstract:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60702-2
Substantial changes are needed to achieve a more targeted and strategic approach to investment in the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that will yield long-term dividends. Until now, advocacy for resources has been done on the basis of a commodity approach that encouraged scaling up of numerous strategies in parallel, irrespective of their relative effects. We propose a strategic investment framework that is intended to support better management of national and international HIV/AIDS responses than exists with the present system. Our framework incorporates major efficiency gains through community mobilisation, synergies between programme elements, and benefits of the extension of antiretroviral therapy for prevention of HIV transmission. It proposes three categories of investment, consisting of six basic programmatic activities, interventions that create an enabling environment to achieve maximum effectiveness, and programmatic efforts in other health and development sectors related to HIV/AIDS. The yearly cost of achievement of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support by 2015 is estimated at no less than US$22 billion. Implementation of the new investment framework would avert 12·2 million new HIV infections and 7·4 million deaths from AIDS between 2011 and 2020 compared with continuation of present approaches, and result in 29·4 million life-years gained. The framework is cost effective at $1060 per life-year gained, and the additional investment proposed would be largely offset from savings in treatment costs alone.
What drives the US and Peruvian HIV epidemics in men who have sex with men (MSM)?Abstract:10.1371/journal.pone.0050522
In this work, we estimate the proportions of transmissions occurring in main vs. casual partnerships, and by the sexual role, infection stage, and testing and treatment history of the infected partner, for men who have sex with men (MSM) in the US and Peru. We use dynamic, stochastic models based in exponential random graph models (ERGMs), obtaining inputs from multiple large-scale MSM surveys. Parallel main partnership and casual sexual networks are simulated. Each man is characterized by age, race, circumcision status, sexual role behavior, and propensity for unprotected anal intercourse (UAI); his history is modeled from entry into the adult population, with potential transitions including HIV infection, detection, treatment, AIDS diagnosis, and death. We implemented two model variants differing in assumptions about acute infectiousness, and assessed sensitivity to other key inputs. Our two models suggested that only 4-5% (Model 1) or 22-29% (Model 2) of HIV transmission results from contacts with acute-stage partners; the plurality (80-81% and 49%, respectively) stem from chronic-stage partners and the remainder (14-16% and 27-35%, respectively) from AIDS-stage partners. Similar proportions of infections stem from partners whose infection is undiagnosed (24-31%), diagnosed but untreated (36-46%), and currently being treated (30-36%). Roughly one-third of infections (32-39%) occur within main partnerships. Results by country were qualitatively similar, despite key behavioral differences; one exception was that transmission from the receptive to insertive partner appears more important in Peru (34%) than the US (21%). The broad balance in transmission contexts suggests that education about risk, careful assessment, pre-exposure prophylaxis, more frequent testing, earlier treatment, and risk-reduction, disclosure, and adherence counseling may all contribute substantially to reducing the HIV incidence among MSM in the US and Peru.
Viral load monitoring of antiretroviral therapy, cohort viral load and HIV transmission in Southern Africa: a mathematical modelling analysis.Abstract:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283536988
OBJECTIVES: In low-income settings, treatment failure is often identified using CD4 cell count monitoring. Consequently, patients remain on a failing regimen, resulting in a higher risk of transmission. We investigated the benefit of routine viral load monitoring for reducing HIV transmission.
DESIGN: Mathematical model.
METHODS: We developed a stochastic mathematical model representing the course of individual viral load, immunological response and survival in a cohort of 1000 HIV-infected patients receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in southern Africa. We calculated cohort viral load (CVL; sum of individual viral loads) and used a mathematical relationship between individual viral load values and transmission probability to estimate the number of new HIV infections. Our model was parameterized with data from the International epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS Southern African collaboration. Sensitivity analyses were performed to assess the validity of the results in a universal 'test and treat' scenario, wherein patients start ART earlier after HIV infection.
RESULTS: If CD4 cell count alone was regularly monitored, the CVL was 2.6 × 10 copies/ml and the treated patients transmitted on average 6.3 infections each year. With routine viral load monitoring, both CVL and transmissions were reduced by 31% to 1.7 × 10 copies/ml and 4.3 transmissions, respectively. The relative reduction of 31% between monitoring strategies remained similar for different scenarios.
CONCLUSION: Although routine viral load monitoring enhances the preventive effect of ART, the provision of ART to everyone in need should remain the highest priority.
Successes and challenges of HIV prevention in men who have sex with men.Abstract:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60955-6
Men who have sex with men (MSM) have been substantially affected by HIV epidemics worldwide. Epidemics in MSM are re-emerging in many high-income countries and gaining greater recognition in many low-income and middle-income countries. Better HIV prevention strategies are urgently needed. Our review of HIV prevention strategies for MSM identified several important themes. At the beginning of the epidemic, stand-alone behavioural interventions mostly aimed to reduce unprotected anal intercourse, which, although somewhat efficacious, did not reduce HIV transmission. Biomedical prevention strategies reduce the incidence of HIV infection. Delivery of barrier and biomedical interventions with coordinated behavioural and structural strategies could optimise the effectiveness of prevention. Modelling suggests that, with sufficient coverage, available interventions are sufficient to avert at least a quarter of new HIV infections in MSM in diverse countries. Scale-up of HIV prevention programmes for MSM is difficult because of homophobia and bias, suboptimum access to HIV testing and care, and financial constraints.
Population health impact and cost-effectiveness of tuberculosis diagnosis with Xpert MTB/RIF: a dynamic simulation and economic evaluation.Abstract:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001347
BACKGROUND: The Xpert MTB/RIF test enables rapid detection of tuberculosis (TB) and rifampicin resistance. The World Health Organization recommends Xpert for initial diagnosis in individuals suspected of having multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) or HIV-associated TB, and many countries are moving quickly toward adopting Xpert. As roll-out proceeds, it is essential to understand the potential health impact and cost-effectiveness of diagnostic strategies based on Xpert.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: We evaluated potential health and economic consequences of implementing Xpert in five southern African countries--Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland--where drug resistance and TB-HIV coinfection are prevalent. Using a calibrated, dynamic mathematical model, we compared the status quo diagnostic algorithm, emphasizing sputum smear, against an algorithm incorporating Xpert for initial diagnosis. Results were projected over 10- and 20-y time periods starting from 2012. Compared to status quo, implementation of Xpert would avert 132,000 (95% CI: 55,000-284,000) TB cases and 182,000 (97,000-302,000) TB deaths in southern Africa over the 10 y following introduction, and would reduce prevalence by 28% (14%-40%) by 2022, with more modest reductions in incidence. Health system costs are projected to increase substantially with Xpert, by US$460 million (294-699 million) over 10 y. Antiretroviral therapy for HIV represents a substantial fraction of these additional costs, because of improved survival in TB/HIV-infected populations through better TB case-finding and treatment. Costs for treating MDR-TB are also expected to rise significantly with Xpert scale-up. Relative to status quo, Xpert has an estimated cost-effectiveness of US$959 (633-1,485) per disability-adjusted life-year averted over 10 y. Across countries, cost-effectiveness ratios ranged from US$792 (482-1,785) in Swaziland to US$1,257 (767-2,276) in Botswana. Assessing outcomes over a 10-y period focuses on the near-term consequences of Xpert adoption, but the cost-effectiveness results are conservative, with cost-effectiveness ratios assessed over a 20-y time horizon approximately 20% lower than the 10-y values.
CONCLUSIONS: Introduction of Xpert could substantially change TB morbidity and mortality through improved case-finding and treatment, with more limited impact on long-term transmission dynamics. Despite extant uncertainty about TB natural history and intervention impact in southern Africa, adoption of Xpert evidently offers reasonable value for its cost, based on conventional benchmarks for cost-effectiveness. However, the additional financial burden would be substantial, including significant increases in costs for treating HIV and MDR-TB. Given the fundamental influence of HIV on TB dynamics and intervention costs, care should be taken when interpreting the results of this analysis outside of settings with high HIV prevalence.
Effect on transmission of HIV-1 resistance of timing of implementation of viral load monitoring to determine switches from first to second-line antiretroviral regimens in resource-limited settings.Abstract:10.1097/QAD.0b013e328344037a
BACKGROUND: There is concern that antiretroviral therapy (ART) use with only clinical monitoring for failure will result in high rates of transmission of virus with resistance to drugs currently in use.
METHODS: A stochastic simulation model of transmission of HIV, natural history and the effect of ART, was developed and used to predict the proportion of new infections with resistance according to whether and when viral load monitoring is introduced.
RESULTS: In our base model, there was predicted to be 12.4% of new HIV infections with primary antiretroviral resistance in 2020 if clinical monitoring is used throughout, compared with 5.4 and 6.1% if viral load-guided switching (based on viral load measured every 6 months, with switch determined by a value >500 copies/ml) was introduced in 2010 or 2015, respectively. The death rate for those on ART was lowest when viral load monitoring was used, but the overall death rate in all infected people was higher if viral load monitoring was introduced at the expense of scale-up in HIV diagnosis and ART initiation beyond their 2010 coverage levels (4.7 compared with 3.1 per 100 person-years).
INTERPRETATION: To preserve current first-line drugs for the long term there is an eventual need for some form of cheap and practical viral load monitoring in resource-limited settings. However, a delay in introduction of 5 years has limited consequences for resistance transmission so the current priority for countries' ART programmes is to increase HIV testing and provide treatment for all those in need of ART.
Trends over calendar time in antiretroviral treatment success and failure in HIV clinic populations.Abstract:10.1111/j.1468-1293.2009.00809.x
OBJECTIVE: Effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) has transformed the care of people with HIV, but it is important to monitor time trends in indicators of treatment success and antic future changes.
METHODS: We assessed time trends from 2000 to 2007 in several indicators of treatment success in the UK Collaborative HIV Cohort (CHIC) Study, and using national HIV data from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) we developed a model to project future trends.
RESULTS: The proportion of patients on ART with a viral load50 copies/mL rose fromz 118 (0.7%) to 857 (1.9%). Projections to 2012 suggest sustained high levels of success, with a continued increase in the number of patients who have failed multiple drugs but a relatively stable number of such patients experiencing viral loads >50 copies/mL. Numbers of deaths are projected to remain low.
CONCLUSIONS: There have been continued improvements in key indicators of success in patients with HIV from 2000 to 2007. Although the number of patients who have ETCF is projected to rise in the future, the number of such patients with viral loads >50 copies/mL is not projected to increase up to 2012. New drugs may be needed in future to sustain these positive trends.