Early versus Standard Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV-Infected Adults in Haiti.

Groupe Haitien d'Etude du Sarcome de Kaposi et des Infections Opportunistes, Port au Prince, Haiti.
New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 54.42). 07/2010; 363(3):257-65. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0910370
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT For adults with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection who have CD4+ T-cell counts that are greater than 200 and less than 350 per cubic millimeter and who live in areas with limited resources, the optimal time to initiate antiretroviral therapy remains uncertain.
We conducted a randomized, open-label trial of early initiation of antiretroviral therapy, as compared with the standard timing for initiation of therapy, among HIV-infected adults in Haiti who had a confirmed CD4+ T-cell count that was greater than 200 and less than 350 per cubic millimeter at baseline and no history of an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) illness. The primary study end point was survival. The early-treatment group began taking zidovudine, lamivudine, and efavirenz therapy within 2 weeks after enrollment. The standard-treatment group started the same regimen of antiretroviral therapy when their CD4+ T-cell count fell to 200 per cubic millimeter or less or when clinical AIDS developed. Participants in both groups underwent monthly follow-up assessments and received isoniazid and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole prophylaxis with nutritional support.
Between 2005 and 2008, a total of 816 participants--408 per group--were enrolled and were followed for a median of 21 months. The CD4+ T-cell count at enrollment was approximately 280 per cubic millimeter in both groups. There were 23 deaths in the standard-treatment group, as compared with 6 in the early-treatment group (hazard ratio with standard treatment, 4.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6 to 9.8; P=0.001). There were 36 incident cases of tuberculosis in the standard-treatment group, as compared with 18 in the early-treatment group (hazard ratio, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2 to 3.6; P=0.01).
Early initiation of antiretroviral therapy decreased the rates of death and incident tuberculosis. Access to antiretroviral therapy should be expanded to include all HIV-infected adults who have CD4+ T-cell counts of less than 350 per cubic millimeter, including those who live in areas with limited resources. ( number, NCT00120510.)

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Determining when to start antiretroviral treatment (ART) is vitally important for people living with HIV. Yet the optimal point at which to start to maximize clinical benefit remains unknown. In the absence of randomized studies, current guidelines rely on conflicting observational data and expert opinion, and consequently diverge on this point. In the USA, ART is recommended irrespective of CD4 cell count. The World Health Organization now recommends starting ART at a CD4 cell count of 500 cells/μL, while the threshold for the UK and South Africa remains at 350 cells/μL. The Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) study, one of the largest clinical trials on the treatment of HIV infection, will answer this question. START compares two treatment strategies: immediate treatment at a CD4 cell count of 500 cells/μL or higher versus deferring treatment until the CD4 cell count decreases to 350 cells/μL or until AIDS develops. START includes seven substudies, five of which will clarify the relative contributions of HIV and ART in common comorbidities. START is fully enrolled and expected to be completed in 2016. HIV advocates support the study's design and have been involved from inception to enrolment. The trial will produce rigorous data on the benefits and risks of earlier treatment. It will inform policy and treatment advocacy globally, benefitting the health of HIV-positive people. © 2015 British HIV Association.
    HIV Medicine 04/2015; 16 Suppl 1(S1):10-3. DOI:10.1111/hiv.12228 · 3.45 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background In the Mitra plus study of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1, which included 501 women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, triple antiretroviral therapy (ART) was given from late pregnancy throughout breastfeeding up to 6 months postnatally. Here we report findings in a sub-cohort of women with ≤200 CD4cells/μL at enrolment who were continued on ART for life and followed up during 24 months after delivery to determine virologic and immunologic responses, drug resistance and mortality. Methods Blood samples for viral load and CD4 counts testing were collected at enrolment and at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months postpartum. HIV drug resistance testing was performed at 12 months. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis using Generalized Estimated Equations of 73 women with at least two postpartum assessments. The mortality analysis included 84 women who had delivered. Results The proportion of women with a viral load ≥400 copies/mL was 97% (71/73) at enrolment, 16% (11/67), 22% (15/69), 61% (36/59) and 86% (48/56) at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months postpartum, respectively. The proportion of women with immunologic failure was 12% (8/69), 25% (15/60) and 41% (24/58) at 6, 12 and 24 months, respectively. At 12 months, drug resistance was demonstrated in 34% (20/59), including 12 with dual-class resistance. Self-report on drug adherence was 95% (64/68), 85% (56/66), 74% (39/53) and 65% (30/46) at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months, respectively. The mortality rate was 5.9% (95% CI 2.5-13.7%) at 24 months. The probability of virologic and immunologic failure was significantly higher among women who reported non-perfect adherence to ART at month 24 postpartum. Conclusions Following an initial decline of viral load, virologic failure was common at 12 and 24 months postpartum among women initiated on ART for life during pregnancy because of low CD4 cell counts. A high proportion of viremic mothers also had resistance mutations. However, at 24 months follow-up, the mortality rate was still fairly low. Continuous adherence counseling and affordable means of monitoring of the virologic response are crucial for successful implementation of the WHO Option B+ guidelines to start all HIV-infected pregnant women on ART for life.
    BMC Infectious Diseases 04/2015; 15(1). DOI:10.1186/s12879-015-0914-z · 2.56 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The risks and benefits of initiating antiretroviral treatment (ART) at high CD4 cell counts have not been reliably quantified. The Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) study is a randomized international clinical trial that compares immediate with deferred initiation of ART for HIV-positive individuals with CD4 cell counts above 500 cells/μL. We describe the demographics, HIV-specific characteristics and medical history of this cohort. Data collected at baseline include demographics, HIV-specific laboratory values, prior medical diagnoses and concomitant medications. Baseline characteristics were compared by geographical region, gender and age. START enrolled 4685 HIV-positive participants from 215 sites in 35 countries. The median age is 36 years [interquartile range (IQR) 29-44 years], 27% are female, and 45% self-identify as white, 30% as black, 14% as Latino/Hispanic, 8% as Asian and 3% as other. The route of HIV acquisition is reported as men who have sex with men in 55% of participants, heterosexual sex in 38%, injecting drug use in 1% and other/unknown in 5%. Median time since HIV diagnosis is 1.0 year (IQR 0.4-3.0 years) and the median CD4 cell count and HIV RNA values at study entry are 651 cells/μL (IQR 584-765 cells/μL) and 12 754 HIV RNA copies/mL (IQR 3014-43 607 copies/mL), respectively. START has enrolled a diverse group of ART-naïve individuals with high CD4 cell counts who are comparable to the HIV-positive population from the regions in which they were enrolled. The information collected with this robust study design will provide a database with which to evaluate the risks and benefits of early ART use for many important outcomes. © 2015 British HIV Association.

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 2, 2014