[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BackgroundUNAIDS has called for greater HIV/syphilis testing worldwide just as local HIV/syphilis testing programs are cut or altered. New models are needed to make HIV/syphilis testing services sustainable while retaining their essential public health function. Social entrepreneurship, using business principles to promote a social cause, provides a framework to pilot programs that sustainably expand testing. Drawing on fieldwork in two South Chinese cities, we examined organizational and financial characteristics of current HIV/syphilis testing systems for men who have sex with men (MSM) in addition to new pilot programs focused on revenue-generation for sustainability.Methods
We undertook a qualitative study to explore organizational and financial characteristics of HIV/syphilis testing for MSM. Data were collected from men who have sex with men and policy stakeholders in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Framework analysis was used to identify themes and then code the data.ResultsOur qualitative research study included MSM and policy stakeholders (n¿=¿84). HIV/syphilis testing services were implemented at a wide range of organizations which we grouped broadly as independent community-based organizations (CBOs), independent clinics, and hybrid CBO-clinic sites. From an organizational perspective, hybrid CBO-clinic sites offered the inclusive environment of an MSM CBO linked to the technical capacity and trained staff of a clinic. From a financial perspective, stakeholders expressed concern about the sustainability and effectiveness of sexual health services reliant on external funding. We identified four hybrid CBO-clinic organizations that launched pilot testing programs in order to generate revenue while expanding HIV testing.Conclusion
Many MSM CBOs are searching for new organizational models to account for decreased external support. Hybrid CBO-clinic organizations create a strong foundation to increase HIV/syphilis testing using social entrepreneurship models in China.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Medical devices and in vitro diagnostic tests (IVD) are vital components of health delivery systems but access to these important tools is often limited in Africa. The regulation of health commodities by National Regulatory Authorities is intended to ensure their safety and quality whilst ensuring timely access to beneficial new products. Streamlining and harmonizing regulatory processes may reduce delays and unnecessary expense and improve access to new products. Whereas pharmaceutical products are widely regulated less attention has been placed on the regulation of other health products. A study was undertaken to assess regulation of medical diagnostics and medical devices across Partner States of the East African Community (EAC).Methods
Data was collected during October 2012 through desk based review of documents and field research, including face to face interviews with the assistance of a structured questionnaire with closed and open ended questions. Key areas addressed were (i) existence and role of National Regulatory Authorities; (ii) policy and legal framework for regulation; (iii) premarket control; (iv) marketing controls; (v) post-marketing control and vigilance; (vi) country capacity for regulation; (vii) country capacity for evaluation studies for IVD and (viii) priorities and capacity building for harmonization in EAC Partner States.ResultsControl of medical devices and IVDs in EAC Partner States is largely confined to national disease programmes such as tuberculosis, HIV and malaria. National Regulatory Authorities for pharmaceutical products do not have the capacity to regulate medical devices and in some countries laboratory based organisations are mandated to ensure quality of products used. Some activities to evaluate IVDs are performed in research laboratories but post market surveillance is rare. Training in key areas is considered essential to strengthening regulatory capacity for IVDs and other medical devices.Conclusions
Regulation of medical devices and in vitro diagnostics has been neglected in EAC Partner States. Regulation is weak across the region, and although the majority of States have a legal mandate to regulate medical devices there is limited capacity to do so. Streamlining regulation in the EAC is seen as a positive aspiration with diagnostic tests considered a priority area for harmonisation.
BMC Health Services Research 10/2014; 14(1):524. · 1.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Home-based, voluntary counselling and testing (HBCT) can help scale up early diagnosis. We aimed to evaluate the acceptance of HBCT for HIV and syphilis, estimate the prevalence among home-tested individuals and assess the performance of point-of-care testing by health staff using dried tube specimens (DTS) in a remote municipality of the Amazon region.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Commercially available diagnostic test kits for detection of dengue virus (DENV) non-structural protein 1 (NS1) and anti-DENV IgM were evaluated for their sensitivity and specificity and other performance characteristics by a diagnostic laboratory network developed by World Health Organization (WHO), the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (PDVI). Each network laboratory contributed characterized serum specimens for the panels used in the evaluation. Microplate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and rapid diagnostic test (RDT formats) were represented by the kits. Each ELISA was evaluated by 2 laboratories and RDTs were evaluated by at least 3 laboratories. The reference tests for IgM anti-DENV were laboratory developed assays produced by the Armed Forces Research Institute for Medical Science (AFRIMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the NS1 reference test was reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results were analyzed to determine sensitivity, specificity, inter-laboratory and inter-reader agreement, lot-to-lot variation and ease-of-use. NS1 ELISA sensitivity was 60-75% and specificity 71-80%; NS1 RDT sensitivity was 38-71% and specificity 76-80%; the IgM anti-DENV RDTs sensitivity was 30-96%, with a specificity of 86-92%, and IgM anti-DENV ELISA sensitivity was 96-98% and specificity 78-91%. NS1 tests were generally more sensitive in specimens from the acute phase of dengue and in primary DENV infection, whereas IgM anti-DENV tests were less sensitive in secondary DENV infections. The reproducibility of the NS1 RDTs ranged from 92-99% and the IgM anti-DENV RDTs from 88-94%.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Practical diagnostic tools of sufficient sensitivity to detect levels of infection that can lead to transmission have been identified as a critical component of successful disease elimination programmes. In this review we describe the diagnostic tests currently available for six neglected tropical diseases that have been targeted for elimination; assess their performance in the light of the requirements for surveillance, certification of elimination and post-elimination surveillance; consider the unmet need for diagnostic tests for these diseases; and review recent technical developments that could meet these needs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emerging molecular technologies to diagnose infectious diseases at the point at which care is delivered have the potential to save many lives in developing countries where access to laboratories is poor. Molecular tests are needed to improve the specificity of syndromic management, monitor progress towards disease elimination and screen for asymptomatic infections with the goal of interrupting disease transmission and preventing long-term sequelae. In simplifying laboratory-based molecular assays for use at point-of-care, there are inevitable compromises between cost, ease of use and test performance. Despite significant technological advances, many challenges remain for the development of molecular diagnostics for resource-limited settings. There needs to be more advocacy for these technologies to be applied to infectious diseases, increased efforts to lower the barriers to market entry through streamlined and harmonized regulatory approaches, faster policy development for adoption of new technologies and novel financing mechanisms to enable countries to scale up implementation.
Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics 05/2014; · 4.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this review was to examine different monitoring strategies (clinical, immunologic (CD4 T cell count measurement) and virologic (viral load measurement)) to inform revision of the 2013 WHO guidelines for antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low and middle-income countries.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dried blood spots (DBS) have been used as alternative specimens to plasma to increase access to HIV viral load (VL) monitoring and early infant diagnosis (EID) in remote settings. We systematically reviewed evidence on the performance of DBS compared to plasma for VL monitoring and EID.
Thirteen peer reviewed HIV VL publications and five HIV EID papers were included. Depending on the technology and the viral load distribution in the study population, the percentage of DBS samples that are within 0.5 log of VL in plasma ranged from 52-100%. Because the input sample volume is much smaller in a blood spot, there is a risk of false negatives with DBS. Sensitivity of DBS VL was found to be 78-100% compared to plasma at VL below 1000 copies/ml, but this increased to 100% at a threshold of 5000 copies/ml. Unlike a plasma VL test which measures only cell free HIV RNA, a DBS VL also measures proviral DNA as well as cell-associated RNA, potentially leading to false positive results when using DBS. The systematic review showed that specificity was close to 100% at DBS VL above 5000 copies/ml, and this threshold would be the most reliable for predicting true virologic failure using DBS. For early infant diagnosis, DBS has a sensitivity of 100% compared to fresh whole blood or plasma in all studies.
Although limited data are available for EID, DBS offer a highly sensitive and specific sampling strategy to make viral load monitoring and early infant diagnosis more accessible in remote settings. A standardized approach for sampling, storing, and processing DBS samples would be essential to allow successful implementation.
PROSPERO Registration #: CRD42013003621.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e86461. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Viral load (VL) monitoring is the standard of care in developing country settings for detecting HIV treatment failure. Since 2010 the World Health Organization has recommended a phase-in approach to VL monitoring in resource-limited settings. We conducted a systematic review of the accuracy and precision of HIV VL technologies for treatment monitoring.
A search of Medline and Embase was conducted for studies evaluating the accuracy or reproducibility of commercially available HIV VL assays. 37 studies were included for review including evaluations of the Amplicor Monitor HIV-1 v1.5 (n = 25), Cobas TaqMan v2.0 (n = 11), Abbott RealTime HIV-1 (n = 23), Versant HIV-1 RNA bDNA 3.0 (n = 15), Versant HIV-1 RNA kPCR 1.0 (n = 2), ExaVir Load v3 (n = 2), and NucliSens EasyQ v2.0 (n = 1). All currently available HIV VL assays are of sufficient sensitivity to detect plasma virus levels at a lower detection limit of 1,000 copies/mL. Bias data comparing the Abbott RealTime HIV-1, TaqMan v2.0 to the Amplicor Monitor v1.5 showed a tendency of the Abbott RealTime HIV-1 to under-estimate results while the TaqMan v2.0 overestimated VL counts. Compared to the Amplicor Monitor v1.5, 2-26% and 9-70% of results from the Versant bDNA 3.0 and Abbott RealTime HIV-1 differed by greater than 0.5log10. The average intra and inter-assay variation of the Abbott RealTime HIV-1 were 2.95% (range 2.0-5.1%) and 5.44% (range 1.17-30.00%) across the range of VL counts (2log10-7log10).
This review found that all currently available HIV VL assays are of sufficient sensitivity to detect plasma VL of 1,000 copies/mL as a threshold to initiate investigations of treatment adherence or possible treatment failure. Sources of variability between VL assays include differences in technology platform, plasma input volume, and ability to detect HIV-1 subtypes. Monitoring of individual patients should be performed on the same technology platform to ensure appropriate interpretation of changes in VL. Prospero registration # CD42013003603.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e85869. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tropical infectious diseases diagnosis and surveillance are often hampered by difficulties of sample collection and transportation. Filter paper potentially provides a useful medium to help overcome such problems. We reviewed the literature on the use of filter paper, focusing on the evaluation of nucleic acid and serological assays for diagnosis of infectious diseases using dried blood spots (DBSs) compared with recognized gold standards. We reviewed 296 eligible studies: 101 studies evaluating DBSs and 192 studies on other aspects of filter paper use. We also discuss the use of filter paper with other body fluids and for tropical veterinary medicine. In general, DBSs perform with sensitivities and specificities similar or only slightly inferior to gold standard sample types. However, important problems were revealed with the uncritical use of DBS, inappropriate statistical analysis, and lack of standardized methodology. DBSs have great potential to empower healthcare workers by making laboratory-based diagnostic tests more readily accessible, but additional and more rigorous research is needed.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 12/2013; · 2.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Syphilis remains an important and entirely preventable cause of stillbirth and neonatal mortality. More than 1 million women with active syphilis become pregnant each year. Without treatment, 25% of them will deliver a stillborn baby, 33% will deliver a live low-birth weight baby with an increased chance of dying in the first month of life. Adverse pregnancy outcomes due to syphilis can be prevented by screening pregnant women, and treating those who test positive with a single dose of penicillin before 28 weeks gestation. Until recently access to screening in low- and middle-income countries has been limited, since screening tests have been laboratory based, requiring equipment, electricity and trained laboratory staff. Now a number of rapid, cheap, simple and accurate screening tests are available and can give a result in 15-20 min, enabling those who require treatment to be treated at their first visit.
Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy 11/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: External quality assurance (EQA) programmes, which are routinely used in laboratories, have not been widely implemented for point-of- care tests (POCTs). A study was performed in ten health centres in Tanzania, to implement the use of dried blood spots (DBS) as an EQA method for HIV and syphilis (POCTs).
DBS samples were collected for retesting at a reference laboratory and the results compared to the POCT results obtained at the clinic. In total, 2341 DBS samples were collected from 10 rural health facilities over a period of nine months, of which 92.5% were correctly collected and spotted.
The EQA method was easily implemented by healthcare workers under routine conditions in Northern Tanzania. For HIV, 967 out of 972 samples (99.5%) were concordant between DBS and POCT results. For syphilis, the sensitivity of syphilis tests varied between clinics with a median of 96% (25th and 75th quartile; 95-98%). The specificity of syphilis POCT was consistent compared to laboratory based test using DBS, with a median of 96% (25th and 75th quartiles; 95-98%).
Overall, the quality of testing varied at clinics and EQA results can be used to identify clinics where healthcare workers require remedial training, suggesting the necessity for stringent quality assurance programmes for POC testing. As Tanzania embarks on scaling up HIV and syphilis testing, DBS can be a useful and robust tool to monitor the quality of testing performed by healthcare workers and trigger corrective action to ensure accuracy of test results.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bartonella bacilliformis is the etiological agent of a life-threatening illness. Thin blood smear is the most common diagnostic method for acute infection in endemic areas of Peru but remains of limited value because of low sensitivity. The aim of this study was to adapt a B. bacilliformis-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for use with dried blood spots (DBS) as a sampling method and assess its performance and use for the diagnosis and surveillance of acute Bartonella infection. Only two of 65 children (3%) that participated in this study had positive blood smears for B. bacilliformis, whereas 16 (including these two) were positive by PCR performed on DBS samples (24.6%). The use of DBS in combination with B. bacilliformis-specific PCR could be a useful tool for public health in identifying and monitoring outbreaks of infection and designing control programs to reduce the burden of this life-threatening illness.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 09/2013; · 2.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The availability of point-of-care (POC) tests for infectious diseases has revolutionised the provision of healthcare for remote rural populations without access to laboratories. However, quality assurance for POC tests has been largely overlooked. We have evaluated the use and stability of dry tube specimens (DTS) for External Quality Assurance (EQA) for HIV and syphilis screening in remote indigenous populations in the Amazon region of Brazil.
All healthcare workers (HCWs) participating in the community-screening were trained. We used HIV and syphilis DTS panels developed by the reference laboratory, containing samples with negative and positive results at different antibody concentrations, for both infections. DTS panels were distributed to HCWs in the communities for reconstitution and testing using POC HIV and syphilis tests. The results of testing were sent to the reference laboratory for marking and remedial action taken where necessary.
In total 268 HCWs tested 1607 samples for syphilis and 1608 samples for HIV. Results from HCWs showed a concordance rate of 90% for syphilis and 93% for HIV (κ coefficients of 0.74 and 0.78, respectively) with reference laboratories. Most false negatives were in samples of very low antibody concentration. DTS syphilis specimens produced the expected results after storage at 2-8°C or at 18-24°C for up to 3 weeks.
The results show that POC tests for syphilis and HIV give valid results in environments where traditional tests do not work, but errors in the interpretation of POC test results were identified by the EQA programme using DTS. EQA using DTS can help to improve the quality of screening programmes using POC tests in remote regions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES To determine the costs of Rapid Syphilis Test (RSTs) as compared with rapid plasma reagin (RPR) when implemented in a Tanzanian setting, and to determine the relative impact of a quality assurance (QA) system on the cost of RST implementation. METHODS The incremental costs for RPR and RST screening programmes in existing antenatal care settings in Geita District, Tanzania were collected for 9 months in subsequent years from nine health facilities that varied in size, remoteness and scope of antenatal services. The costs per woman tested and treated were estimated for each facility. A sensitivity analysis was constructed to determine the impact of parameter and model uncertainty.Findings In surveyed facilities, a total of 6362 women were tested with RSTs compared with 224 tested with RPR. The range of unit costs was $1.76-$3.13 per woman screened and $12.88-$32.67 per woman treated. Unit costs for the QA system came to $0.51 per woman tested, of which 50% were attributed to salaries and transport for project personnel. CONCLUSIONS Our results suggest that rapid syphilis diagnostics are very inexpensive in this setting and can overcome some critical barriers to ensuring universal access to syphilis testing and treatment. The additional costs for implementation of a quality system were found to be relatively small, and could be reduced through alterations to the programme design. Given the potential for a quality system to improve quality of diagnosis and care, we recommend that QA activities be incorporated into RST roll-out.
Health Policy and Planning 07/2013; · 2.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infections are a leading cause of life-threatening neuropathology worldwide. In central African countries affected by endemic diseases such as human African trypanosomiasis, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and schistosomiasis, delayed diagnosis and treatment often lead to avoidable death or severe sequelae. Confirmatory microbiological and parasitological tests are essential because clinical features of most neurological infections are not specific, brain imaging is seldom feasible, and treatment regimens are often prolonged or toxic. Recognition of this diagnostic bottleneck has yielded major investment in application of advances in biotechnology to clinical microbiology in the past decade. We review the neurological pathogens for which rapid diagnostic tests are most urgently needed in central Africa, detail the state of development of putative rapid diagnostic tests for each, and describe key technical and operational challenges to their development and implementation. Promising field-suitable rapid diagnostic tests exist for the diagnosis of human African trypanosomiasis and cryptococcal meningoencephalitis. For other infections-eg, syphilis and schistosomiasis-highly accurate field-validated rapid diagnostic tests are available, but their role in diagnosis of disease with neurological involvement is still unclear. For others-eg, tuberculosis-advances in research have not yet yielded validated tests for diagnosis of neurological disease.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases 04/2013; · 19.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stigma, discrimination, lack of privacy, and long waiting times partly explain why six out of ten individuals living with HIV do not access facility-based testing. By circumventing these barriers, self-testing offers potential for more people to know their sero-status. Recent approval of an in-home HIV self test in the US has sparked self-testing initiatives, yet data on acceptability, feasibility, and linkages to care are limited. We systematically reviewed evidence on supervised (self-testing and counselling aided by a health care professional) and unsupervised (performed by self-tester with access to phone/internet counselling) self-testing strategies.
Seven databases (Medline [via PubMed], Biosis, PsycINFO, Cinahl, African Medicus, LILACS, and EMBASE) and conference abstracts of six major HIV/sexually transmitted infections conferences were searched from 1st January 2000-30th October 2012. 1,221 citations were identified and 21 studies included for review. Seven studies evaluated an unsupervised strategy and 14 evaluated a supervised strategy. For both strategies, data on acceptability (range: 74%-96%), preference (range: 61%-91%), and partner self-testing (range: 80%-97%) were high. A high specificity (range: 99.8%-100%) was observed for both strategies, while a lower sensitivity was reported in the unsupervised (range: 92.9%-100%; one study) versus supervised (range: 97.4%-97.9%; three studies) strategy. Regarding feasibility of linkage to counselling and care, 96% (n = 102/106) of individuals testing positive for HIV stated they would seek post-test counselling (unsupervised strategy, one study). No extreme adverse events were noted. The majority of data (n = 11,019/12,402 individuals, 89%) were from high-income settings and 71% (n = 15/21) of studies were cross-sectional in design, thus limiting our analysis.
Both supervised and unsupervised testing strategies were highly acceptable, preferred, and more likely to result in partner self-testing. However, no studies evaluated post-test linkage with counselling and treatment outcomes and reporting quality was poor. Thus, controlled trials of high quality from diverse settings are warranted to confirm and extend these findings. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
PLoS Medicine 04/2013; 10(4):e1001414. · 15.25 Impact Factor