Natural History and Risk Factors Associated with Early and Established HIV Type 1 Infection among Reproductive-Age Women in Malawi
ABSTRACT Data evaluating the biological events and determinants of early human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection are limited in sub-Saharan Africa. We examined plasma viral levels and trends during early and established HIV-1 infection among reproductive-age women who participated in a randomized trial to treat genital tract infection in Malawi. We also assessed the association of injectable hormonal contraceptive use with HIV-1 infection.
We studied 3 groups of women who were infected or uninfected with HIV-1: seroconverters, seroprevalent women, and seronegative women. Questionnaires and blood samples were collected at baseline and every 3 months for 1 year. The virus set point in seroconverters and levels and trends of viral load over time were determined. The associations of injectable hormonal contraceptive use with HIV-1 infection and viral load were assessed using conditional logistic regression and mixed-effect models, respectively.
In the original clinical trial, 844 women infected with HIV-1 and 842 women not infected with HIV-1 were enrolled. Of 31 women who experienced seroconversion during 12 months, 27 were matched with 54 seroprevalent and 54 seronegative women. The estimated median plasma virus set point was 4.45 log(10) copies/mL (interquartile range, 4.32-5.14 log(10) copies/mL). Injectable hormonal contraceptive use was significantly associated with HIV-1 seroconversion (adjusted odds ratio, 10.42; P = .03) but not with established HIV-1 infection. Among the seroconverters, a statistically significant interaction was found between the linear association of viral load and time of injectable hormonal contraceptive use (regression coefficient, -0.14; P = .02).
Knowledge of virus set point and trends of viral load in HIV-1 seroincident and seroprevalent asymptomatic women could assist in antiretroviral treatment management.
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- "Observations of viremia during early HIV infection have revealed an early peak in viral load that is 2 logs (±1 log) higher than the setpoint viral load [48-52]. The time of the acute phase peak has been reported in the range of 12–31 days  or 5–19 days . "
ABSTRACT: Background Population transmission models of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use simplistic assumptions – typically constant, homogeneous rates – to represent the short-term risk and long-term effects of drug resistance. In contrast, within-host models of drug resistance allow for more detailed dynamics of host immunity, latent reservoirs of virus, and drug PK/PD. Bridging these two levels of modeling detail requires an understanding of the “levers” – model parameters or combinations thereof – that change only one independent observable at a time. Using the example of accidental tenofovir-based pre-exposure prophyaxis (PrEP) use during HIV infection, we will explore methods of implementing host heterogeneities and their long-term effects on drug resistance. Results We combined and extended existing models of virus dynamics by incorporating pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and adherence behavior. We identified two “levers” associated with the host immune pressure against the virus, which can be used to independently modify the setpoint viral load and the shape of the acute phase viral load peak. We propose parameter relationships that can explain differences in acute and setpoint viral load among hosts, and demonstrate their influence on the rates of emergence and reversion of drug resistance. The importance of these dynamics is illustrated by modeling long-lived latent reservoirs of virus, through which past intervals of drug resistance can lead to failure of suppressive drug regimens. Finally, we analyze assumptions about temporal patterns of drug adherence and their impact on resistance dynamics, finding that with the same overall level of adherence, the dwell times in drug-adherent versus not-adherent states can alter the levels of drug-resistant virus incorporated into latent reservoirs. Conclusions We have shown how a diverse range of observable viral load trajectories can be produced from a basic model of virus dynamics using immunity-related “levers”. Immune pressure, in turn, influences the dynamics of drug resistance, with increased immune activity delaying drug resistance and driving more rapid return to dominance of drug-susceptible virus after drug cessation. Both immune pressure and patterns of drug adherence influence the long-term risk of drug resistance. In the case of accidental PrEP use during infection, rapid transitions between adherence states and/or weak immunity fortifies the “memory” of previous PrEP exposure, increasing the risk of future drug resistance. This model framework provides a means for analyzing individual-level risks of drug resistance and implementing heterogeneities among hosts, thereby achieving a crucial prerequisite for improving population-level models of drug resistance.BMC Systems Biology 02/2013; 7(1):11. DOI:10.1186/1752-0509-7-11 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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- "One study of high-risk women demonstrated that HC users were more likely than non-users to become simultaneously infected with more than one variant of HIV-1  . Kumwenda and colleagues  who measured HIV viral load quarterly among women attending general reproductive health services in Malawi, demonstrated both a strong association of DMPA with seroconversion, as well as an interaction of DMPA use with increased viral load around the time of acute infection. No association of DMPA was seen for disease progression. "
ABSTRACT: A recent multi-country study on hormonal contraceptives (HC) and HIV acquisition and transmission among African HIV-serodiscordant couples reported a statistically significant doubling of risk for HIV acquisition among women as well as transmission from women to men for injectable contraceptives. Together with a prior cohort study on African women seeking health services, these data are the strongest yet to appear on the HC-HIV risk. This paper will briefly review the Heffron study strengths and relevant biological and epidemiologic evidence; address the futility of further trials; and propose instead an alternative framework for next steps. The weight of the evidence calls for a discontinuation of progestin-dominant methods. We propose here five types of productive activities: (1) scaling injectable hormones down and out of the contraceptive mix; (2) strengthening and introducing public health strategies with proven potential to reduce HIV spread; (3) providing maximal choice to reduce unplanned pregnancy, starting with quality sexuality education through to safe abortion access; (4) expanding provider training, end-user counseling and access to male and female barriers, with a special renewed focus on female condom; (5) initiating a serious research agenda to determine anti-STI/HIV potential of the contraceptive cervical cap. Trusting women to make informed choices is critical to achieve real progress in dual protection.AIDS research and treatment 11/2012; 2012:524936. DOI:10.1155/2012/524936
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- "The median viral load in a cohort of 62 acutely and recently HIV-1 subtype C-infected individuals from Botswana was 4.10 log10 . The median (IQR) plasma HIV-1 RNA set point was estimated at 4.45 log10 (4.32 to 5.14 log10) in a cohort of 31 seroconverters from Malawi . Median (IQR) plasma HIV-1 RNA in a cohort of 377 subtype C-infected infants from South Africa was as high as 5.90 (5.6–5.9) "
ABSTRACT: The first aim of the study is to assess the distribution of HIV-1 RNA levels in subtype C infection. Among 4,348 drug-naïve HIV-positive individuals participating in clinical studies in Botswana, the median baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA levels differed between the general population cohorts (4.1-4.2 log(10)) and cART-initiating cohorts (5.1-5.3 log(10)) by about one log(10). The proportion of individuals with high (> or = 50,000 (4.7 log(10)) copies/ml) HIV-1 RNA levels ranged from 24%-28% in the general HIV-positive population cohorts to 65%-83% in cART-initiating cohorts. The second aim is to estimate the proportion of individuals who maintain high HIV-1 RNA levels for an extended time and the duration of this period. For this analysis, we estimate the proportion of individuals who could be identified by repeated 6- vs. 12-month-interval HIV testing, as well as the potential reduction of HIV transmission time that can be achieved by testing and ARV treating. Longitudinal analysis of 42 seroconverters revealed that 33% (95% CI: 20%-50%) of individuals maintain high HIV-1 RNA levels for at least 180 days post seroconversion (p/s) and the median duration of high viral load period was 350 (269; 428) days p/s. We found that it would be possible to identify all HIV-infected individuals with viral load > or = 50,000 (4.7 log(10)) copies/ml using repeated six-month-interval HIV testing. Assuming individuals with high viral load initiate cART after being identified, the period of high transmissibility due to high viral load can potentially be reduced by 77% (95% CI: 71%-82%). Therefore, if HIV-infected individuals maintaining high levels of plasma HIV-1 RNA for extended period of time contribute disproportionally to HIV transmission, a modified "test-and-treat" strategy targeting such individuals by repeated HIV testing (followed by initiation of cART) might be a useful public health strategy for mitigating the HIV epidemic in some communities.PLoS ONE 04/2010; 5(4):e10148. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0010148 · 3.23 Impact Factor