JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes

Published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Print ISSN: 1525-4135
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To determine the feasibility of switching therapy for HIV-1-infected patients with plasma viral loads of <50 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL who are receiving twice-daily saquinavir soft-gelatin capsules (SQV-SGC) plus dual nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) to a regimen containing once-daily SQV-SGC/ritonavir (RTV). Therapy for patients with plasma viral loads of <50 copies/mL after 2 years of treatment with twice-daily SQV-SGC (1400 mg) plus zidovudine/lamivudine or didanosine/stavudine was switched to once-daily SQV-SGC/RTV (1600/100 mg) with continuing NRTI treatment. Safety and efficacy (determined by plasma viral load and CD4 cell count) were evaluated (week 24). For 12 patients, steady-state plasma pharmacokinetics of SQV was determined (week 4). Once-daily SQV-SGC/RTV was well tolerated. No patient changed regimens. After 24 weeks, 64 (93%) of 69 patients had plasma viral loads of <50 copies/mL (the remaining 5 patients had plasma viral loads of <300 copies/mL). The median CD4 cell count increased from 534/mL at the start of once-daily SQV-SGCs/RTV to 695/mL after 24 weeks (p <.001). Compared with the preceding 24 weeks of treatment with twice-daily SQV-SGC, the CD4 cell count improved significantly during once-daily SQV-SGC/RTV therapy (p <.001). All patients maintained SQV trough concentrations (C(24h)) of >0.05 mg/L. Median values for the area under the plasma concentration-versus-time curve from 0 to 24 hours (AUC(0-24h)), maximal concentration (C(max)), and C(24h) for SQV were 48.1 (h.mg)/L, 6.98 mg/L, and 0.17 mg/L, respectively. Body weight was inversely correlated with SQV AUC(24h) and C(24h) (p <.01). Clinical and pharmacokinetic data support once-daily SQV-SGC/RTV (1600/100 mg) with two NRTIs as a convenient and safe therapeutic regimen to maintain viral suppression and immune function in HIV-1-infected patients with plasma viral loads of <50 copies/mL.
 
To assess the safety of 2 intermittent treatment strategies compared with continuous therapy for patients with virologic suppression on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) at baseline. Seventy-four nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) and protease inhibitor (PI) pretreated patients with an HIV RNA level <50 copies at screening were randomized to continuous treatment, CD4-guided treatment, or week-on-week-off treatment with 2 NRTIs plus 1600 mg/100 mg of saquinavir/ritonavir once daily. At week 96 (end of the randomized phase of the study), all patients were given continuous HAART for 12 weeks to week 108. Primary outcomes were the proportion of patients with a CD4 count >350 cells/microL and HIV RNA level <400 copies/mL at week 108. Patients were followed up every 12 weeks for CD4 count, HIV RNA level, and clinical and laboratory toxicities. In the CD4-guided arm, treatment was stopped and restarted using a CD4 count threshold (above or below 350 cells/microL or reduction of 30%). Seventy-four patients were enrolled with a median CD4 count of 644 cells/microL before the structured treatment interruption (STI). The week-on-week-off arm (n=26) was discontinued at week 72 because of high rates (46%) of HIV RNA rebound above 50 copies/mL. In the continuous arm, 25 (100%) of 25 patients and 24 (96%) of 25 patients had an HIV RNA level <400 copies/mL and <50 copies/mL, respectively, at week 108, and 96% had a CD4 count above 350 cells/microL, with a median CD4 count of 661 cells/microL. Patients in the CD4-guided arm had a significantly lower median CD4 count (489 cells/microL) than the patients in the continuous arm (P=0.03), but all had a CD4 count above 350 cells/microL and 1 had a new HIV-related illness. At week 108, 21 (91%) of 23 patients and 13 (57%) of 23 patients had an HIV RNA level <400 copies/mL and <50 copies/mL, respectively. Those who did not achieve an HIV RNA level <50 copies/mL had a higher HIV RNA load before retreatment, and 4 of 5 patients subsequently achieved viral suppression after an additional 12 weeks of HAART (week 120). Therefore, 17 (94%) of 18 evaluable CD4-guided arm patients achieved viral suppression after retreatment. Antiretroviral (ARV) side effects were similar in all arms. CD4-guided treatment had a 54% ARV cost savings. This pilot study suggests that CD4-guided HAART is a well-tolerated and cost-saving treatment strategy for patients with high pre-ARV and pre-STI CD4 counts. Week-on-week-off treatment had a high virologic failure rate and was discontinued. The HIV RNA suppression rate was similar in patients treated with continuous HAART and in those retreated with 12 to 24 weeks of HAART after CD4-guided therapy.
 
Raltegravir as initial HIV therapy was examined in a double-blind study; 160 patients were randomized to raltegravir (400 mg bid after dose-ranging), 38 to efavirenz, both with tenofovir/lamivudine. At week 240, HIV-RNA remained <50 copies per milliliter in 68.8% (raltegravir) versus 63.2% (efavirenz), and CD4 increases were 302 versus 276 cells per microliter, respectively. Early HIV-RNA decline predicted later CD4 increases in both groups. Raltegravir resistance was observed in 3 of 10 raltegravir recipients with virologic failure. Few drug-related adverse events were reported after week 48. Raltegravir had minimal effect on laboratory values, including lipids. Raltegravir with tenofovir/lamivudine showed durable efficacy and good tolerability over 5 years.
 
Innate immune activation was a strong predictor of HIV acquisition in women at risk for HIV in CAPRISA004. Identifying the cause/s of activation could enable targeted prevention interventions. In this study, plasma concentrations of lipopolysaccharide, soluble CD14 and intestinal fatty-acid binding protein did not differ between subjects who did or did not subsequently acquire HIV, nor were these levels correlated with plasma cytokines or natural killer cell activation. There was no difference between HIV-acquirers and non-acquirers in the chemokine and cytokine responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with TLR2, 4 or 7/8 agonists. Further studies are required.
 
The Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa 004 trial demonstrated reduction of sexual HIV-1 acquisition in women using a vaginal microbicide containing tenofovir. A better understanding of the consequences of antiretroviral-containing microbicides for immune responses in individuals with intercurrent HIV-1 infection is needed for future trials combining the use of microbicides with HIV-1 vaccines. Investigation of immune responses in women who acquired HIV-1 although using tenofovir gel showed significantly higher (P = 0.01) Gag-specific IFNγ+ CD4+ T-cell responses. The use of tenofovir-containing gel around the time of infection can modulate HIV-1 immunity, and these immunological changes need to be considered in future trials combining vaccines and microbicides.
 
: We previously reported that a combination of ART with four monthly injections of each patients own autologous DC (AGS-004) electroporated with CD40L and with HIV RNA antigens obtained from each patients own pre-ART plasma, induced HIV-specific CD8 T-cell response in 10 patients. To assess other AGS-004-induced immune changes, we evaluated the modifications in B and T-cell subsets and the level of immune activation in these patients. The proportion of Bm1 naïve cells was increased along with an augmentation of the proliferation marker Ki67. Memory B-cell frequency, CD4 and CD8 T-cell subsets, Treg frequency and CD38/HLA-DR/PD-1 T-cell activation levels remained unchanged following AGS-004 DC-immunotherapy.
 
Correlation between monocyte subsets and HIV viral load and CD4 T-cell counts. Plots of proportion of monocyte subsets from untreated HIV-infected patients vs HIV viral load or CD4 T-cell count are shown in the left and right panel, respectively. Correlations were performed using the Pearson correlation test. Of note, only the proportion of CD14 high CD16 + monocytes was correlated positively with HIV viral load and inversely with CD4 T-cell count.
HAART recovered the proportion of CD14 high CD16 + but not CD14 low CD16 + monocytes in patients with AIDS. Cross-sectional (left panel) and longitudinal (right panel) profiles of the monocyte subsets, plasma HIV RNA level, and CD4 + T-cell count in HIV-infected patients receiving HAART.
CD14(+)CD16(+) monocytes are an important cellular target for HIV-1 entry and expand in the peripheral blood of HIV-infected individuals. Because CD14(+)CD16(+) monocytes are a heterogeneous population and consist of CD14(high)CD16(+) and CD14(low)CD16(+) subsets, we evaluated the effects of HIV infection on distinct subsets of CD16(+) monocytes. Untreated HIV-infected patients were recruited to investigate the relationship between the proportions of monocyte subsets with plasma viral loads and CD4(+) T-cell counts. Patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) were followed up in a cross-sectional and a longitudinal study. Compared with CD14(low)CD16(+), CD14(high)CD16(+) monocytes showed higher levels of CD64 and HLA-DR antigens, which imply that these 2 distinct subsets have different immunoregulatory phenotypes. In HAART-naive patients, elevated proportions of CD14(high)CD16(+) monocytes were correlated with increased viral loads and decreased CD4(+) T-cell counts, whereas CD14(low)CD16(+) monocytes did not show such correlation with disease progression. Of importance, HAART recovered the proportion of CD14(high)CD16(+) monocytes, whereas CD14(low)CD16(+) monocytes did not decrease during 1 year of antiviral therapy. Taken together, our observations elucidate distinct immune responses of monocyte subsets during HIV infection and antiviral therapy and provide new insight into the roles of innate immunity in HIV-related pathogenesis.
 
Three dose levels of the protease inhibitor (PI) atazanavir (200, 400, and 500 mg once daily) were compared with nelfinavir (750 mg three times daily) when given both as monotherapy and in combination with didanosine and stavudine in 420 antiretroviral-naive subjects infected with HIV-1. Subjects received monotherapy for 2 weeks, followed by combination therapy for 46 weeks. After 48 weeks, mean change from baseline in HIV RNA (-2.57 to -2.33 log 10 copies/mL), the proportion of subjects with HIV RNA <400 copies/mL (56%-64%) and <50 copies/mL (28%-42%), and mean increases in CD4 cell count (185-221 cells/mm 3) were comparable across treatment groups. Diarrhea was two to three times more common in the nelfinavir group (61% of subjects) than in the atazanavir groups (23%-30% of subjects, <.0001 versus nelfinavir), and jaundice occurred only in atazanavir-treated subjects (6%, 6%, and 12% in the 200-, 400-, and 500-mg groups, respectively) ( <.03 for all atazanavir regimens vs. nelfinavir). Mean percent change from baseline in fasting low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was significantly less in the atazanavir groups (-7% to 4%) than in the nelfinavir group (31%) ( <.0001). In conclusion, once-daily atazanavir is a potent, safe, and well tolerated PI that rapidly and durably suppresses HIV RNA and durably increases CD4 cell count in antiretroviral-naive subjects. Through 48 weeks, atazanavir was not associated with clinically relevant increases in total cholesterol, fasting LDL cholesterol, or fasting triglycerides. In comparison, nelfinavir was associated with prompt, marked, and sustained elevations in these parameters of a magnitude that suggests they are clinically relevant.
 
Rash is the most frequent adverse event associated with nevirapine. The use of antihistamines remains unclear in this setting. A double-blind placebo-controlled study was performed to evaluate the efficacy of cetirizine in the prevention of nevirapine rash. A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with cetirizine (10 mg/d x 30 days) was conducted. Inclusion criteria were HIV-1 infection and nevirapine therapy started with any CD4 cell count or plasma viral load and without simultaneous use of abacavir, cotrimoxazole, or rifampin. Clinical follow-up was performed at 15, 30, and 90 days. Two hundred seventeen evaluable patients were enrolled (107 patients receiving cetirizine and 110 patients receiving placebo), 32.3% of whom were women. The median baseline CD4 cell count and plasma viral load were 341 cells/mm and 11,000 copies/mL, respectively. Overall, 29 rashes (13.4%) were detected: 16 (15.0%) in the cetirizine group and 13 (11.8%) in the placebo group (odds ratio [OR] = 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.60-2.88; P = 0.50). The incidence of moderate to severe rashes leading to nevirapine withdrawal was 10.3% (11 of 107 patients) in the cetirizine group and 7.3% (8 of 110 patients) in the placebo group (OR = 1.46, 95% CI: 0.52-4.18; P = 0.43). Adverse events leading to withdrawal of therapy appeared in 14 patients (13.1%) from the cetirizine group and 10 (9.1%) from the placebo group (P = 0.34). Cetirizine does not prevent the incidence or affect the severity of nevirapine-associated rash.
 
Study 934 was an open-label, randomized Phase III study of emtricitabine + tenofovir DF + efavirenz (FTC + TDF + EFV) compared with lamivudine + zidovudine + efavirenz (3TC + ZDV + EFV) in antiretroviral therapy-naïve HIV-1 infected subjects. Baseline genotyping revealed the presence of primary nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor resistance (NNRTI-R) in 22 of 509 enrolled patients (4.3%, 11 subjects in each group). The 487 subjects without baseline NNRTI-R formed the primary efficacy population (modified intent-to-treat population). Through 144 weeks, 50 of 487 modified intent-to-treat subjects (FTC + TDF + EFV, n = 19; 3TC + ZDV + EFV, n = 31) were analyzed for resistance development after virologic failure. NNRTI-R, primarily the K103N mutation, was the most common form of resistance that developed in both groups. No subject on FTC + TDF + EFV developed the K65R mutation. Significantly fewer subjects on FTC + TDF + EFV compared with 3TC + ZDV + EFV developed the M184V/I mutation (two versus 10, respectively, P = 0.021). Thymidine analog mutations developed in two subjects on 3TC + ZDV + EFV. Subjects with baseline NRTI genotypic resistance (TAMs, n = 13) or non-B HIV-1 subtypes (n = 28) showed no evidence of reduced treatment responses in either group. Nine of 22 patients with baseline NNRTI-R experienced virologic failure (FTC + TDF + EFV, n = 4; 3TC + ZDV + EFV, n = 5); seven of nine developed M184V/I and/or additional NNRTI-R, but none developed K65R. Baseline NNRTI-R was significantly associated with virologic failure in both groups (P < 0.001).
 
The Single-Tablet Regimen (STaR) study (GS-US-264-0110) is a 96-week phase 3b study evaluating the safety and efficacy of 2 single-tablet regimens, rilpivirine/emtricitabine/tenofovir DF (RPV/FTC/TDF), and efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir DF (EFV/FTC/TDF) in treatment-naive HIV-1-infected subjects. Genotypic analyses (population sequencing) of HIV-1 protease and reverse transcriptase were performed at screening; subjects with pre-existing resistance to study drugs were excluded. The primary protocol-defined resistance analysis population (RAP) had genotypic/phenotypic analyses at failure and baseline for protease and reverse transcriptase. At week 48, the primary RAP included 20/394 subjects (5.1%) receiving RPV/FTC/TDF and 7/392 subjects (1.8%) receiving EFV/FTC/TDF. In the RPV/FTC/TDF arm, isolates from 17/394 subjects (4.3%) developed nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) and/or nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) resistance mutations, and 16/17 isolates had both NNRTI and NRTI resistance mutations. In the EFV/FTC/TDF arm, isolates from 3/392 subjects (0.8%) developed NNRTI and/or NRTI resistance mutations. When stratified by baseline viral load of either ≤100,000 or >100,000 copies/mL, 5/260 (1.9%) versus 12/134 (9.0%) RPV/FTC/TDF-treated subjects and 2/250 (0.8%) versus 1/142 (0.7%) EFV/FTC/TDF-treated subjects developed resistant isolates, respectively. The presence of pre-existing NRTI- and NNRTI-associated resistance mutations not excluded at screening (not related to study drugs) did not impact treatment response to either regimen. Among subjects in the primary RAP, resistance development to RPV/FTC/TDF consisted of NNRTI and NRTI mutations and was more frequent than resistance development to EFV/FTC/TDF. In subjects with baseline viral load ≤100,000 copies/mL, resistance development was low (<2%) for both RPV/FTC/TDF and EFV/FTC/TDF arms and less frequent compared with subjects with baseline viral load >100,000 copies/mL, for RPV/FTC/TDF.
 
Virologic factors may influence survival of HIV-1-infected infants. We compared survival of Ugandan infants with subtype A and subtype D HIV-1 infection. This study was performed in the context of the Ugandan clinical trial HIVNET 012, which compared the efficacy of single-dose nevirapine (NVP) and short-course zidovudine (AZT) for prevention of HIV-1 mother-to-child transmission. HIV-1 subtypes were determined by phylogenetic analysis of HIV-1 protease and reverse transcriptase sequences from 32 women in the NVP arm and 54 women in the AZT arm of HIVNET 012 whose infants were HIV-1 infected by 6 to 8 weeks of age. We found no association between HIV-1 subtype (A vs. D) and infant survival in this cohort. Further studies are needed to evaluate whether HIV-1 subtype influences clinical outcome in pediatric HIV-1 infection.
 
To compare the number and type of nevirapine (NVP) resistance mutations detected in Ugandan women with subtype A vs. D HIV-1 infection after single-dose NVP prophylaxis. In the HIVNET 012 trial, a higher rate of NVP resistance (NVPR) was seen in women with subtype D than A after single-dose NVP. In this study, the number and type of NVPR mutations detected 6-8 weeks after NVP were compared in women with subtypes A vs. D. Plasma samples were available for 282 (92%) of 306 women who received NVP in HIVNET 012. Samples were analyzed with the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA). Subtyping was performed by phylogenetic analysis of pol region sequences. Results were obtained for 279 women, including 147 with subtype A, 98 with subtype D, 6 with subtype C, and 28 with recombinant HIV-1. NVPR mutations were detected in 70 (25%) of 279 women. NVPR was more common in women with subtype D vs. A (35.7 vs. 19%, P = 0.0035). Complex patterns of NVPR mutations were detected in both subtypes. Among women with NVPR, 43% of women with subtype A and 46% of women with subtype D had >/=2 NVPR mutations. The mean number and pattern of NVPR mutations detected in women with subtypes A and D were similar. This study confirms a higher rate of NVPR in women with subtype D than A and further defines the pattern of NVPR mutations that emerge 6-8 weeks after single-dose NVP prophylaxis in these subtypes.
 
To compare the rate of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) in women with subtype A versus D HIV-1 who received single-dose nevirapine (NVP). The MTCT rates were compared in women with subtype A versus D at birth and at 8 weeks and 18 months of age of the infants. The rate of late MTCT (after 8 weeks of age) was also analyzed. HIV-1 subtypes were determined for 300 of 306 women who received NVP in the HIV Network for Prevention Trials 012 study (158 women with subtype A and 105 women with subtype D). Infant infection status was known for 297 women. The cumulative rate of MTCT at 18 months was 13.2% for subtype A and 18.3% for subtype D (P=0.34). The rate of late transmission was 3.8% for subtype A and 7.6% for subtype D (P=0.28). Maternal baseline viral load was a significant predictor of MTCT, but maternal baseline CD4 cell count and subtype were not. No significant difference was observed in the rate of MTCT in women with subtype A versus D. There was a trend toward a higher rate of MTCT among women with subtype D, however, which was also apparent among women whose infants were infected after 8 weeks of age.
 
To determine the predictors for early versus later (breastfeeding) transmission of HIV-1. Secondary data analysis was performed on HIV Network for Prevention Trials 012, a completed randomized clinical trial assessing the relative efficacy of nevirapine (NVP) versus zidovudine in reducing mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1. We used Cox regression analysis to assess risk factors for MTCT. The ViroSeq HIV genotyping and a sensitive point mutation assay were used to detect NVP resistance mutations. In this subset analyses, 122 of 610 infants were HIV infected, of whom 99 (81.1%) were infected early (first positive polymerase chain reaction < or =56 days). Incidence of MTCT after 56 days was low [0.7% per month (95% confidence interval, CI: 0.4 to 1.0)], but continued through 18 months. In multivariate analyses, early MTCT "factors" included NVP versus zidovudine (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.57, 95% CI: 0.38 to 0.86), pre-entry maternal viral load (VL, HR = 1.76, 95% CI: 1.28 to 2.41), and CD4 cell count (HR = 1.16, 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.28). Maternal VL (6-8 weeks) was associated with late MTCT (HR = 3.66, 95% CI: 1.78 to 7.50), whereas maternal NVP resistance (6-8 weeks) was not. Maternal VL was the best predictor of both early and late transmission. Maternal NVP resistance at 6-8 weeks did not predict late transmission.
 
To describe five year growth, survival and long-term safety among children exposed to nevirapine or zidovudine in an African perinatal prevention trial, HIVNET 012. All study children who were alive at eighteen months of age were eligible for an extended follow-up study. Children whose families consented were enrolled and evaluated every six months from 24 to 60 months. At each visit, history, physical exam and growth measures were taken. From these measurements Z scores based on World Health Organization (WHO) standards were computed. Serious adverse event data were collected. Data from the initial and extended follow-up cohorts were included in the analysis. 528 study children were alive at age 18 months, and 491 (426 HIV uninfected; 65 infected) were enrolled into the follow-up study. Both exposed but uninfected children and HIV infected children were substantially below WHO growth standards for weight and height. Head circumference Z scores for uninfected children were comparable to WHO norms. Five-year survival rates were 93% for uninfected children versus 43% for infected children. Long-term safety and growth outcomes in the two study arms were similar. Both infected and uninfected children in the five-year HIVNET 012 follow-up showed poor height and weight growth outcomes, underscoring the need for early nutritional interventions to improve long-term growth of all infants born to HIV-infected women in resource limited settings. Likewise, the low five year survival among HIV infected children support the importance of early initiation of antiretroviral therapy. Both peripartum nevirapine and zidovudine were safe.
 
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia. Multiepitope T-cell vaccines are more likely to generate a broad long-lasting immune response than those composed of single epitopes. We recently reported a novel multivalent cytotoxic T-lymphocyte peptide construct derived from the Tax protein of HTLV-1 separated by arginine spacers that elicited high cellular responses against individual epitopes simultaneously in human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A*0201 transgenic mice. We now report the effect of epitope orientation on the processing of the multiepitope construct by 20s proteasomes and the effect of the processing rates on the immunogenicity of the intended epitopes. A positive correlation was found between processing rates and the immunogenicity of the intended epitopes. The construct with the highest immunogenicity for each epitope was tested for protective efficacy in a preclinical model of infection using HTLV-1 Tax recombinant vaccinia virus and HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice. Mice vaccinated with the multiepitope construct displayed a statistically significant reduction in viral replication that was dependent on CD8 T cells. Reduction in viral replication was also confirmed to be specific to Tax-vaccinia virus. These results demonstrate the activation of Tax-specific CD8+ T cells by vaccination and are supportive of a multivalent peptide vaccine approach against HTLV-1 infections.
 
To evaluate the effectiveness of low-dose oral alpha-interferon (alpha-IFN), 247 HIV-infected study subjects received placebo, Alferon LDO, Veldona, or Ferimmune in a randomized, double-blind trial. Subjects had CD4+ counts between 50 and 350 cells/mm3 and HIV-related symptoms at entry. Study subjects rated the severity of eight symptoms using a symptom burden index (SBI). Study endpoints included changes in SBI, weight, CD4+ count, and Karnofsky score between baseline and the 24-week visit. The SBI outcome and weight were measured in 99 and 106 study subjects, respectively, at both the baseline and 24-week visits. Baseline SBI scores ranged from 5.4 to 7.9 in the four arms. No clinically important or statistically significant differences were found among the four arms with regard to SBI or weight change over the 24-week period. There were also no significant differences among the arms for CD4+ cell count and Karnofsky score. Few adverse reactions were noted in any arm, and there were no significant differences between arms. Although the trial was designed to enroll 560 study subjects and was prematurely terminated because of slow accrual and discontinuations of participants, the small differences among the arms in the primary and secondary endpoints do not support claims of efficacy for the measures studied.
 
To test the safety and immunogenicity of a high-titered preparation of ALVAC-HIV vCP205 in both high-risk and low-risk persons and to evaluate variations in dosing schedule, we conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial of this vector in combination with recombinant subunit gp120 in 150 HIV-1-seronegative volunteers. The high-titered ALVAC vaccine was well tolerated; adverse events were minimal and not influenced by dosing. At day 728, the cumulative probability of a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response was 76% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 64%-89%) among volunteers receiving vaccine, and the net amount attributable to vaccination was 50% (CI: 16%; 74%). The net probability of a repeated positive CTL response by day 728 was 50% (CI: 21%; 64%). There was a significant difference in CTL response at day 182 between volunteers who had received four doses versus three doses of vCP205 (42% vs. 24%, p =.052). The CTL response was similar in high-risk volunteers and vaccinia-naive volunteers compared with vaccinia-immune volunteers. Neutralizing antibody responses were detected in 95% of vaccinees at day 287, with higher geometric mean titers in recipients of sequential versus simultaneous dosing of the two vaccines and in vaccinia-naive volunteers. This high-titered preparation of ALVAC-HIV vCP205 in combination with gp120 was safe and immunogenic in a diverse group of HIV-1-seronegative volunteers.
 
Our objectives were to assess clinical signs and diagnoses associated with primary HIV-1 infection among infants. We analyzed data from a clinical trial (HIV Prevention Trials Network Protocol 024) in sub-Saharan Africa. Study visits were conducted at birth, at 4-6 weeks, and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. The study population comprised live born, singleton, first-born infants of HIV-1-infected women with negative HIV-1 RNA assays who were still breastfeeding at 4-6 weeks. Of 1317 HIV-1-exposed infants, 84 became HIV-1 infected after 4-6 weeks and 1233 remained uninfected. There were 102 primary and 5650 nonprimary infection visits. The most common signs were cough and diarrhea, and the most common diagnoses were malaria and pneumonia. Primary infection was associated with significantly increased odds of diarrhea [odds ratio (OR) = 2.4], pneumonia (OR = 3.5), otitis media (OR = 3.1), and oral thrush (OR = 2.9). For the clinical signs and diagnoses evaluated, sensitivity was low (1%-16.7%) and specificity was high (88.2%-99%). Positive predictive values ranged from 0.1%-1.4%. Negative predictive values ranged from 28.0%-51.1%. Certain clinical signs and diagnoses, although more common during primary HIV-1 infection, had low sensitivity and high specificity. Efforts to expand access to laboratory assays for the diagnosis of primary HIV-1 infection among infants of HIV-1-infected women should be emphasized.
 
There is a continuing need to evaluate sustainable interventions for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV type 1. We evaluated different concentrations (0.25%, 1%, and 2%) of chlorhexidine (CHX) for perinatal maternal and infant washes to identify the maximum tolerable concentration of CHX for such an intervention. Women were enrolled during their third trimester at the maternity unit of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa, and perinatal maternal and infant washes were completed. Subjective maternal symptoms as well as infant examinations were used to assess tolerability of the washes. The 0.25% concentration of CHX was well tolerated by the mothers (n = 29). Ten of 79 women (13%) with 1% CHX washes complained of mild vaginal area burning or itching, and washes were stopped in 5 (6%). Twenty-three of 75 women (31%) in the 2% CHX wash group had subjective complaints, and the washes were stopped in 12 (16%). There were no clinical indications of toxicity of the CHX washes among infants. A 1% solution of CHX appears to be a safe and tolerable concentration of CHX for consideration in an MTCT prevention trial.
 
HIV-1 gp120/gp41 is heavily modified by n-linked carbohydrates that play important roles either in correct folding or in shielding vulnerable viral protein surfaces from antibody recognition. In our previous work, 25 potential N-linked glycosylation sites (PNGS) of a CRF07_BC isolate of HIV-1 were individually mutated, and the resulting effects on infectivity and antibody-mediated neutralization were evaluated. In order to further understand the functional role of these PNGS, we generated double and multiple mutants from selected individual PNGS mutants. The effects were then evaluated by examining infectivity and sensitivity to antibody-mediated neutralization by neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (nMAbs) and serum antibodies from HIV-1 positive donors. Infectivity results showed that, among the twelve combined PNGS mutants, only 197M.1 (N197D/N301Q) lost infectivity completely, while all others (except for 197M.6) showed reduced viral infectivity. In terms of neutralization sensitivity to known nMAbs, we found that adding N463Q mutation to all the gp120 mutants containing N197D significantly increased neutralization sensitivity to VRC01 and VRC03, suggesting N197 and N463 have a strong synergistic effect in regulating the neutralizing sensitivity of HIV-1 to the anti-CD4bs nMAbs VRC01/VRC03. Structural analysis based on the available structures of gp120 alone and in complex with CD4 and various nMAbs elucidates a molecular rationale for this experimental observation. The data indicate that N463 plays an important role in regulating the CD4bs MAbs VRC01/VRC03 sensitivity in the genetic background of N197D mutation of gp120, which should provide valuable information for a better understanding of the interplay between HIV-1 and VRC01/03.
 
Changing community norms to increase awareness of HIV status and reduce HIV-related stigma has the potential to reduce the incidence of HIV-1 infection in the developing world. We developed and implemented a multilevel intervention providing community-based HIV mobile voluntary counseling and testing, community mobilization, and posttest support services. Forty-eight communities in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Thailand were randomized to receive the intervention or clinic-based standard voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), the comparison condition. We monitored utilization of community-based HIV mobile voluntary counseling and testing and clinic-based standard VCT by community of residence at 3 sites, which was used to assess differential uptake. We also developed quality assurance procedures to evaluate staff fidelity to the intervention. In the first year of the study, a 4-fold increase in testing was observed in the intervention versus comparison communities. We also found an overall 95% adherence to intervention components. Study outcomes, including prevalence of recent HIV infection and community-level HIV stigma, will be assessed after 3 years of intervention. The provision of mobile services, combined with appropriate support activities, may have significant effects on utilization of voluntary counseling and testing. These findings also provide early support for community mobilization as a strategy for increasing testing rates.
 
HIV testing is necessary to curb the increasing epidemic. However, HIV-related stigma and perceptions of low likelihood of societal HIV testing may reduce testing rates. This study aimed to explore this association in South Africa, where HIV rates are extraordinarily high. Data were taken from the Soweto and Vulindlela, South African sites of Project Accept, a multinational HIV prevention trial. Self-reported HIV testing, stigma, and social norms items were used to study the relationship between HIV testing, stigma, and perceptions about societal testing rates. The stigma items were broken into 3 factors: negative attitudes, negative perceptions about people living with HIV, and perceptions of fair treatment for people living with HIV (equity). Results from a univariate logistic regression suggest that history of HIV testing was associated with decreased negative attitudes about people living with HIV/AIDS, increased perceptions that people living with HIV/AIDS experience discrimination, and increased perceptions that people with HIV should be treated equitably. Results from a multivariate logistic regression confirm these effects and suggest that these differences vary according to sex and age. Compared with people who had never tested for HIV, those who had previously tested were more likely to believe that the majority of people have tested for HIV. Data suggest that interventions designed to increase HIV testing in South Africa should address stigma and perceptions of societal testing.
 
As the numbers of HIV-positive diagnoses rise in South Africa, it is important to understand the determinants and consequences of HIV disclosure. Cross-sectional survey from random community samples of men and women in urban and rural South Africa (n = 217 HIV-positive individuals, 89% female). Two thirds of all known HIV-infected adults in these communities had disclosed their status to sexual partner(s). On average, individuals who disclosed were 2 years older, higher in socioeconomic assets, and had known their HIV status 7 months longer than those who had not told their sexual partner(s). The "need for privacy" was the most cited reason (45%) for nondisclosure among those who had never disclosed. People who eventually disclosed their HIV status to sexual partner(s) were significantly more likely to report always or more frequently using condoms, reducing their number of sexual partners, and/or becoming monogamous. Among individuals who disclosed their HIV status, 77% reported increases in social support, with families providing the most support. Disclosure is associated with reports of consequent safer sexual behavior and greater social support. Interventions might be informed by the costs and benefits of disclosure and differences in disclosure to sexual partner vs. to one's social network.
 
Starting lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV-infected pregnant women may decrease HIV progression and transmission but adherence after delivery may be difficult, especially for asymptomatic women. We evaluated disease progression among HIV-infected women not on ART with CD4+ lymphocyte counts above 200 cells/uL at delivery. We analysed risk of death, progression to AIDS (stage IV or CD4 < 200 cells/uL), or to CD4+ count < 350 one year after delivery among postpartum women enrolled to a prevention of breastfeeding transmission trial using Kaplan-Meier methods. In the primary analysis, women were censored if ART was initiated. Among 1285 women who were < WHO stage IV at 6 weeks postpartum, 49 (4.3%) progressed to stage IV/CD4 < 200 cells/uL or death by one year. Progression to CD4 < 200 or death occurred among 16 (4.3%) of 441 women with CD4 count of 350-549 and 10 (1.6%) of 713 with CD4 counts > 550 at delivery. CD4 < 350 by 12 months postpartum occurred among 116 (37.0%) of 350 women with CD4 count 400-549 and 48 (7.4%) of 713 > 550 at delivery. Progression to AIDS or CD4 count < 350 is uncommon through one year postpartum for women with CD4 counts over 550 at delivery, but occurred in over one third of those with CD4 counts under 550. ART should be continued after delivery or breastfeeding among women with CD4 counts < 550 if follow up and ARV adherence can be maintained.
 
CD8+ T lymphocytes play a key role in the control of HIV infection, through both cytotoxic and noncytotoxic mechanisms. To study in vivo effects of interleukin-2 (IL-2) treatment on this cell compartment, the level of activation of CD8+ T lymphocytes was evaluated before and just after 5-day administration of IL-2 in 16 HIV-infected patients. The serum level of soluble CD25 and of soluble CD8 significantly increased following IL-2 administration. The number of mRNA molecules coding for perforin and granzyme B, two enzymes that are contained in granules of cytotoxic cells, also significantly increased in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and in purified CD8+ cells (p < .001). Variations of plasma HIV viremia and perforin gene expression following IL-2 administration were inversely correlated (p = .023), suggesting that IL-2-induced activation of CD8+ T lymphocytes contributes to limit HIV replication in vivo. In contrast to perforin and granzyme B gene expression, IL-2 administration did not increase the expression of macrophage inhibitory protein-1alpha (MIP-1alpha), MIP-1beta, and regulated-on-activation normal T-expressed and secreted (RANTES) genes. These findings indicate that CD8+ T lymphocytes in HIV-infected patients are acutely activated by IL-2 treatment, which may improve long-term control of HIV infection.
 
MK-0518 is a novel HIV-1 integrase strand transfer inhibitor with potent in vitro activity against HIV-1 (95% inhibitory concentration [IC95] = 33 nM in 50% human serum) and good bioavailability in uninfected subjects. This study explored the antiretroviral activity and safety of MK-0518 versus placebo for 10 days as monotherapy in antiretroviral therapy-naive HIV-1-infected patients with plasma HIV-1 RNA levels of at least 5000 copies/mL and CD4 T-cell counts of at least 100 cells/mm. This was a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled 2-part study, with the first part using MK-0518 in 1 of 4 doses (100, 200, 400, and 600 mg) versus placebo (randomized 1:1:1:1:1) given twice daily for 10 days of monotherapy. Patients were monitored for safety, pharmacokinetic parameters, and antiretroviral effect. Thirty-five patients were enrolled (6-8 patients per treatment group) and completed 10 days of therapy; the mean baseline log10 HIV RNA level ranged from 4.5 to 5.0 copies/mL in each group. On day 10, the mean decrease from baseline in the log10 HIV RNA level was -0.2 copies/mL for the placebo group and -1.9, -2.0, -1.7 and -2.2 log10 copies/mL for the MK-0518 100-, 200-, 400-, and 600-mg treatment groups, respectively. All dose groups had superior antiretroviral activity compared with placebo (P < 0.001 for comparison of each dose with placebo). At least 50% of patients in each MK-0518 dose group achieved an HIV RNA level <400 copies/mL by day 10. Mean trough MK-0518 concentrations at each dose exceeded the IC95 of 33 nM. Study therapy was generally well tolerated. The most common adverse experiences were headache and dizziness; these were similar between active and control groups. There were no discontinuations because of adverse experiences and no serious adverse experiences. MK-0518 showed potent antiretroviral activity as short-term monotherapy and was generally well tolerated at all doses. Based on these results, part 2 of the study, a dose-ranging 48-week trial of MK-0518 versus efavirenz in a combination regimen, has been initiated.
 
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the biologic stability of mucosal parameters that might be used as endpoints in phase 1 rectal safety studies. Sixteen male participants were enrolled into 4 groups defined by HIV status, viral load, and sexual activity. Each participant underwent 3 flexible sigmoidoscopies at 2-week intervals with collection of blood, intestinal biopsies, and rectal secretions. Intestinal histology, phenotypic characterization of mucosal mononuclear cells, cytokine messenger RNA (mRNA) profiles (RANTES, interferon-gamma [IFNgamma], and interleukin-10), and immunoglobulin secretion were assessed. Intraclass correlation (ICC) was calculated to assess endpoint stability. Qualitative histology demonstrated minimal inflammation in >95% of biopsies and remained stable throughout the study period. ICC for the tissue cytokine mRNA measurements and several T-cell phenotypic markers was >0.7, indicating stability over time. Mucosal CD4 lymphopenia was seen in the HIV-positive participants and was more pronounced in those with higher viral loads. Modest differences were observed for cytokine expression (IFNgamma) and T-cell phenotype (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD19, CD4/CCR5, and CD4/CD38) between the tissue samples collected at 10 and 30 cm. These data help to provide a rationale for the selection of endpoints for future phase 1 rectal safety studies.
 
Differences in adverse events by gender and race/ethnicity have not been described extensively in randomized clinical trials of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART). Antiretroviral-naive HIV-infected participants enrolled in a long-term randomized clinical trial of 3 different initial ART strategies -- protease inhibitor (PI), nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), or PI plus NNRTI-based combinations -- with a median follow-up of 5 years, were compared by gender and race for 14 categories of grade 4 adverse events, discontinuation of initial antiretroviral regimen, and all-cause mortality. Multivariate analysis was used to identify predictors of events and death. Among 1301 participants with complete data, there were 701 blacks, 225 Latinos, and 263 women. Several baseline characteristics differed by gender and race, including age, HIV transmission risk, hepatitis B or C coinfection, viral load, diagnosis of AIDS, body mass index, and baseline hypertension. Grade 4 events occurred in 409 participants (rate: 8.9/100 person-years). There were 176 deaths (rate: 3.0/100 person-years) and 523 discontinuations of regimen for any toxicity (rate: 13/100 person-years). In the fully adjusted regressions, blacks had greater risk for cardiovascular (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.64, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04 to 6.67) and renal (HR = 3.83, 95% CI: 1.28 to 11.5) events. Black men had more psychiatric events (HR = 2.45, 95% CI: 1.13 to 5.30). Women had a higher risk for anemia (HR = 2.34, 95% CI: 1.09 to 4.99). Among HIV-infected participants initiating ART, there were significant risk-adjusted differences for specific adverse events by gender and race but not in the overall adverse event rates, all-cause mortality, or rates of toxicity-related treatment discontinuations.
 
The effect of intermittent courses of recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2) on HIV-1 load in patients receiving combination antiretroviral therapy remains uncertain. CPCRA 059 was an open-label, randomized, multicenter trial in which 511 patients with HIV-1 infection and CD4+ cell counts of > or = 300/mm3 who were receiving antiretroviral therapy were assigned to receive no rIL-2 (255 patients [controls]) or subcutaneous rIL-2 in dosages of 4.5 MIU (130) or 7.5 MIU (126) twice daily for 5-day courses every 8 weeks to maintain CD4+ cell counts that were twice the baseline value or > or = 1,000/mm3. The primary objective of this study was to compare the effects of the two doses of rIL-2 and no rIL-2 on viral load and CD4+ cell counts over 12 months. There was no difference in the following viral load measurements between the rIL-2 treatment groups and the control treatment group: percentage of patients with viral loads of <50 copies/mL at 12 months (p =.55), time to viral load of > or = 50 copies/mL for patients who had baseline viral loads of <50 copies/mL (p =.35), and change in viral load from baseline for patients who had viral loads of > or = 50 copies/mL at baseline (p =.63). At each follow-up visit, the change in CD4+ cell count from baseline was significantly greater in the rIL-2 treatment groups than in the control treatment group, with a mean difference of 251/mm3 at month 12 (95% confidence interval, 207-295; p <.0001). No unanticipated adverse experiences were seen in this trial, to our knowledge the largest randomized evaluation of rIL-2 treatment conducted to date.
 
HPTN 061 enrolled Black men who have sex with men in the United States. Some men with low/undetectable HIV RNA had unusual patterns of antiretroviral (ARV) drug use or had drugs detected in the absence of viral suppression. This report includes a comprehensive analysis of ARV drug use and drug resistance among men in HPTN 061 who were not virally suppressed. The analysis included 169 men who had viral loads >400 copies/mL at enrollment, including three with acute infection and 13 with recent infection. By self-report, 88 were previously diagnosed, including 31 in care; 137 men reported no ARV drug use. Samples from these 169 men and 23 seroconverters were analyzed with HIV genotyping and ARV drug assays. Forty-eight (28%) of the 169 men had ≥1 drug resistance mutation (DRM); 19 (11%) had multi-class resistance. Sixty men (36%) had ≥1 ARV drug detected, 42 (70%) of whom reported no ARV drug use. Nine (23%) of 39 newly-infected men had ≥1 DRM; 10 had ≥1 ARV drug detected. Unusual patterns of ARV drugs were detected more frequently in newly-diagnosed men than previously-diagnosed men. The rate of transmitted drug resistance (TDR) was 23% based on HIV genotyping and self-reported ARV drug use, but was 12% after adjusting for ARV drug detection. Many men in HPTN 061 had drug-resistant HIV and many were at risk of acquiring additional DRMs. ARV drug testing revealed unusual patterns of ARV drug use and provided a more accurate estimate of TDR.
 
Cellular HIV-1 DNA level was sequentially measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction in 141 patients not previously treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), who were enrolled in a 72-week randomized trial (ANRS 081 "Trianon") comparing 2 regimens, including 3 drugs from 2 classes (indinavir + stavudine + lamivudine, group 1) or 3 classes (indinavir + stavudine + nevirapine, group 2). The median decrease from baseline to week 72 in cellular HIV-1 DNA level was not significantly different between the 2 groups (0.54 and 0.45 log10 copies/10 peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMCs] in groups 1 and 2, respectively), whereas a higher proportion of patients maintained a plasma HIV-1 RNA level less than 20 copies/mL at week 72 in group 1 than in group 2 (79% and 52%; P = 0.0009). Furthermore, the difference in cellular HIV-1 DNA decrease from baseline to week 72 between patients who achieved a plasma HIV-1 RNA level less than 20 copies/mL at week 72 and those who did not was not statistically significant (0.54 and 0.45 log10 copies/10 PBMCs, respectively; P = 0.14). The decay in cellular HIV-1 DNA from baseline to week 72 was higher in antiretroviral-naive patients than in pretreated patients (0.55 and 0.23 log10 copies/10 PBMCs, respectively; P = 0.0008). The cellular HIV-1 DNA level change under therapy was best fitted to a 2-phase decay model with a junction point at week 16, from which its half-life was estimated at 18 weeks during the initial phase and at 104 weeks thereafter. In conclusion, the changes under therapy in cellular HIV-1 DNA level, which were mostly coincident to those of plasma HIV-1 RNA, did not add significant information to the comparison of the viral efficacy of the 2 studied regimens.
 
Adverse events judged by the investigators to be at least possibly related to drugs involved in the study
Baseline characteristics. HIV-1-infected patients treated with nevirapine combined with stavudine and didanosine
Rash is the most frequent adverse event associated with nevirapine. The use of prednisone has been controversial in this setting. A double-blind placebo-controlled study was performed to evaluate its efficacy in nevirapine-induced rash prevention. Multicentered, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with prednisone (30 mg/day x 2 weeks). Inclusion criteria: HIV-1 infection; CD4 count >200 cells/mm3; plasma viral load (PVL) <5 log10 copies/ml; nevirapine (200 mg/day x 2 weeks, followed by 200 mg twice daily) plus stavudine and didanosine. Clinical follow-up was performed at 15, 30, and 60 days and thereafter every 2 months. In all, 75 evaluable patients were enrolled (39 prednisone/36 placebo). Median baseline CD4 + cell count was 390 cells/mm3 and PVL, 20,200 copies/ml. Overall, nine cases of rash (12.5%) were detected, seven (18%) in the prednisone group and two (5.5%) in the placebo group (odds ratio [OR], 3.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.65-29.3; p =.11). Incidence of moderate-to-severe rashes leading to nevirapine withdrawal was 13.5% (5 of 37) in the prednisone group and 3% (1 of 35) in the placebo group ( p =.2). Median time to rash in both groups was 16 days. Adverse events that motivated withdrawal of therapy appeared in 6 patients from the prednisone group (15.4%) and 3 from the placebo group (8.3%) ( p =.3). Short-term prednisone administration does not prevent nevirapine rash, but might even increase its incidence.
 
The effect of HIV infection duration and CD4 cell count on short-term CD4 response was evaluated in treatment-naive seroconverters using logistic regression adjusted for CD4 count before highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) as well as for exposure category, age, sex, acute infection, and cohort. This association was also investigated in pretreated seroconverters, further adjusting for prior therapy. CD4 response (increase of >100 cells/microL at 6 months) was more likely if HAART was initiated in the first year following seroconversion (OR = 1.50 [95% CI: 1.07-2.10] compared with 2-5 years). There was no improvement in response from initiating HAART with CD4 count >350 cells/microL compared with 201 to 350 cells/microL. Below 200 cells/microL, however, the chance of a CD4 response appeared to be reduced (OR = 0.72 [95% CI: 0.40-1.28] for 0-200 cells/microL compared with 201-350 cells/microL, P = 0.26). Results were similar for pretreated individuals. Further, in pretreated individuals, a CD4 response was less likely if the CD4 nadir was lower than the pre-HAART CD4 count (OR = 0.18 [95% CI: 0.10-0.36] for >150 cells/microL difference between nadir and pre-HAART CD4 count vs. no difference, P < 0.001). Given the limitations of observational studies, particularly the inability to control for unmeasured confounders, these findings suggest that the initiation of HAART within the first year following seroconversion appears to improve short-term immunologic response. After that time, there is little to be gained in terms of short-term response from initiating HAART before reaching a CD4 count of 200 cells/microL.
 
Quantification of HIV-1 subtypes is essential for appropriate clinical management. Whereas viral load assays were initially developed to accurately quantify subtype B, the recent worldwide spread of non-B subtypes and the introduction of treatment programs in regions with non-B subtypes have prompted adaptations of these assays. The Bayer Versant HIV-1 RNA 3.0 Assay (branched DNA [bDNA] 3.0) and the Roche Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor version 1.5 (Amplicor 1.5) assays are reported to quantify all subtypes in group M; however, evaluation of performance characteristics remains limited. In this study, we evaluated the accuracy and reliability of bDNA 3.0 and Amplicor 1.5 on multiple serially diluted viral isolates from HIV-1 group M, subtypes A through F. Testing was conducted on both assay systems in two independent laboratories. Comparative pansubtype quantification from regression analysis showed that quantification by bDNA 3.0 was approximately 0.3 log-fold lower than that by Amplicor 1.5. Comparative pansubtype accuracy analysis showed data points more closely distributed about their respective regression lines and thus showing greater reliability by bDNA 3.0 than by Amplicor 1.5.
 
There is conflicting evidence regarding the impact of baseline plasma HIV RNA on virologic responses after the initiation of triple-drug antiretroviral therapy (highly active antiretroviral therapy [HAART]). This has made it difficult to interpret the recently reported association between baseline plasma HIV RNA and mortality. We evaluated whether baseline CD4 cell count and plasma HIV RNA predicted virologic suppression (<500 copies/mL) and rebound (> or =500 copies/mL) among adherent HIV-infected patients. Antiretroviral-naive HIV-infected patients were stratified by baseline CD4 cell count, plasma HIV RNA, and adherence level. Cox and logistic regression were used to evaluate the time to suppression and rebound and the odds of ever achieving HIV RNA suppression. A total of 1422 individuals initiated HAART between August 1, 1996 and July 31, 2000 and were followed to March 31, 2002. Adherent patients with HIV RNA levels > or =100,000 copies/mL and 50 to 99,999 copies/mL were slower to suppress HIV RNA than patients with baseline HIV RNA <50,000 copies/mL in Kaplan-Meier analyses. Although the odds of RNA suppression among adherent patients with baseline RNA levels <50,000 copies/mL and 50 to 99,999 copies/mL were similar (P = 0.197), patients with baseline HIV RNA > or =100,000 copies/mL were markedly less likely ever to achieve suppression during follow-up (adjusted odds ratio: 0.27 [95% confidence interval: 0.13-0.54]; P < 0.001). No differences in the rate of virologic rebound were observed between adherent patients in the various baseline HIV RNA strata, and CD4 cell count was not associated with suppression or rebound. Baseline HIV RNA > or =100,000 copies/mL was associated with a significantly lower likelihood of ever achieving HIV RNA suppression during follow-up. These findings likely explain the association between baseline HIV RNA levels and mortality and have important implications for the development of therapeutic guidelines.
 
Cervical tissue-based organ cultures have been used successfully to evaluate microbicides for toxicity and antiviral activity. The antimicrobial peptide retrocyclin RC-101 has been shown to have potent anti-HIV activity in cell culture. To evaluate RC-101 in organ culture for toxicity and its ability to block HIV-1 transmission across cervical mucosa. A cervical tissue-based organ culture was used to measure antiviral activity of RC-101. Cytotoxicity in tissues was determined by immunostaining of cellular proteins and by measuring inflammatory cytokines using real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and Luminex technology. RC-101 blocked transmission of both R5 and X4 HIV-1 across cervical mucosa in this organ culture model. Furthermore, film-formulated RC-101 exhibited potent antiviral activity in organ culture. Such antiviral activity of RC-101 was retained in the presence of semen and vaginal fluid. RC-101 showed no cytotoxicity in cervical tissue. Furthermore, RC-101 did not induce proinflammatory cytokine response in tissues. RC-101 also did not have any effect on natural killer cell activity and proliferation of CD4 and CD8 cells and did not show chemotactic activity. Therefore, because of strong antiviral activity and low cytotoxicity in cervical tissues, RC-101 should be considered as an excellent microbicide candidate against HIV-1.
 
To compare the safety of nelfinavir and nevirapine-based antiretroviral treatment in HIV-1-infected pregnant women. In Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group Protocol 1022, 38 antiretroviral-naive pregnant women at 10-30 weeks' gestation were randomized to nelfinavir or nevirapine with zidovudine plus lamivudine. The study was suspended because of greater than expected toxicity and changes in nevirapine prescribing information. The incidence of treatment-limiting hepatic or cutaneous toxicity was compared between groups for all subjects and for the subset with CD4 cell counts greater than 250 cells/microL at study entry. Toxicity was seen in 1 (5%) of 21 subjects randomized to nelfinavir and 5 (29%) of 17 subjects randomized to nevirapine (P = 0.07). Within the nevirapine group, 1 subject developed fulminant hepatic failure and died, and another developed Stevens-Johnson syndrome. The one adverse event associated with nelfinavir occurred in a subject with a CD4 cell count less than 250 cells/microL. All 5 events among subjects with a CD4 cell count greater than 250 cells/microL were associated with nevirapine (P = 0.04). Continuous nevirapine may be associated with increased toxicity among HIV-1-infected pregnant women with CD4 cell counts greater than 250 cells/microL, as has been observed in non-pregnant women.
 
The proviral HIV-1 reverse transcriptase gene for the 103K/N and 184M/V combinations were studied in tandem. The CD45RO T (memory) cell compartment was investigated. A new double-ARMS (amplification refractory mutation system) real-time polymerase chain reaction assay was developed to detect and quantify 4 populations (103K-184M, 103K-184V, 103N-184M, and 103N-184V) in the CD45RO T-cell compartment. Twenty-one patients, 18 lamivudine and efavirenz/nevirapine experienced, were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. None of the mutation combinations were detected in patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) (naive at start) with viremia suppression below detection limits. Conversely, all patients exposed to mono- or dual therapy (prior to HAART) carried at least 1 mutation combination regardless of viral load. In 9 patients, 17 mutations were detected in a mosaic of combinations. This study provides definite evidence of the existence of 103N and 184V mutation quasi-populations in tandem, and separately in combination with the wild-type codons, 184M and 103K, in the CD45RO T-cell compartment. The initiation and continuation of potent antiretroviral therapy effectively hinders the appearance of 103N and 184V mutations alone or in tandem in memory cells. When switching therapies because of failure, caution should be exercised with drugs associated with single-mutation threshold; they can appear in tandem with contemporary resistant virus populations, leading to multidrug resistance.
 
Incidence and risk factors for thrombocytopenia in patients discontinuing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) have not been fully investigated. Well-suppressed patients on HAART were randomized to continuous (CT) or intermittent therapy (IT) for 96 weeks. Incidence of thrombocytopenia (<150 x 10(3) platelets/mm(3)) was assessed and multivariate analysis performed to identify baseline predictors. Correlations were assessed between platelet, CD4, CD8 T-cell counts, and viral load after treatment interruption. Three hundred ninety-one patients were included, with a median baseline platelet count of 243,000/mm(3). The incidence of thrombocytopenia at week 96 was significantly higher in the IT versus the CT arm (25.4% versus 9.8%, respectively, P < 0.001) and median time to thrombocytopenia was 9 weeks. In multivariate analysis, the IT strategy: odds ratio (OR) = 4.1 (2.1-7.9; P < 0.0001), a history of thrombocytopenia: OR = 11.9 (2.4-57.9; P = 0.002), and a low baseline platelet count: OR = 3.4 (2.3-5.1; P < 0.0001) were associated with an increased risk of thrombocytopenia. Also, after treatment interruption, changes from baseline in platelet counts were correlated with changes in CD4 T-cell counts and plasma HIV RNA levels (P < 0.001 for both). Intermittent therapy is associated with a high incidence of thrombocytopenia, especially among patients with low platelet counts and a history of thrombocytopenia.
 
Structured treatment interruptions in chronic HIV infection have been explored as a drug-sparing strategy to reduce drug-related adverse events and costs while maintaining CD4 cell counts at a level high enough to prevent the risk of disease progression. To test the hypothesis and put a figure on the reduction in total medical costs, we conducted a cost study analysis in the setting of a randomized open-label study comparing an intermittent to a continuous antiretroviral regimen. Four hundred three HIV-1-infected adults who were tolerating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), with a nadir CD4 count of 100 cells per microliter or more and a CD4 count above 450 cells per microliter at screening, were randomly assigned to switch to a fixed 8-week off, 8-week on intermittent treatment (IT) or to maintain their current treatment (CT) strategy. The proportions of patients who reached a CD4 cell count below 300 cells per microliter through 96 weeks (primary end point) were not significantly different between arms. Costs were estimated from the viewpoint of the payer over the 96-week study period. Unit costs were provided from the national reimbursement schedules for hospital inpatient and outpatient admissions and ambulatory visits and the national selling price for medications. All analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis. Complete cost data were available for 391 patients (197 patients in the IT and 194 in the CT arms). The mean cost in euros (Euro) per patient over the 96 weeks of follow-up (excluding protocol-driven costs) was 9738 in the IT arm vs. 16,162 in the CT arm, a 6424 difference almost entirely due to the difference in HAART cost. Mean protocol-driven costs represented Euro290 in the IT vs. Euro280 in the CT arm. The use of IT achieved a 40% reduction in the total cost of HAART. Reducing by 40% the cost ofHAART medications in a treatment interruption strategy did not increase the costs related to adverse events or consultations.
 
"Option B+" is a World Health Organization-recommended approach to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission whereby all HIV-positive pregnant and lactating women initiate lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART). This review of early Option B+ implementation experience is intended to inform Ministries of Health and others involved in implementing Option B+. This implementation science study analyzed data from 11 African countries supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) to describe early experience implementing Option B+. Data are from 4 sources: (1) national guidelines for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and Option B+ implementation plans, (2) aggregated service delivery data between January 2013 and March 2014 from EGPAF-supported sites, (3) field visits to Option B+ implementation sites, and (4) relevant EGPAF research, quality improvement, and evaluation studies. Rapid adoption of Option B+ led to large increases in percentage of HIV-positive pregnant women accessing ART in antenatal care. By the end of 2013, most programs reached at least 50% of HIV-positive women in antenatal care with ART, even in countries using a phased approach to implementation. Scaling up Option B+ through integrating ART in maternal and child health settings has required expansion of the workforce, and task shifting to allow nurse-led ART initiation has created staffing pressure on lower-level cadres for counseling and community follow-up. Complex data collection needs may be impairing data quality. Early experiences with Option B+ implementation demonstrate promise. Continued program evaluation is needed, as is specific attention to counseling and support around initiation of lifetime ART in the context of pregnancy and lactation.
 
CXCR3A-associated chemokines (CXCL9-11) are implicated in the pathogenesis of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We analyzed the association between CXCL9-11 polymorphisms and significant liver fibrosis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/HCV-coinfected patients. We performed a cross-sectional study in 220 patients who were genotyped for CXCL9-11 polymorphisms (CXCL9 rs10336, CXCL10 rs3921, and CXCL11 rs4619915) using GoldenGate® assay. Three outcome variables related to liver fibrosis were studied: a) F≥2; b) APRI≥2; and c) FIB-4≥3.25. The percentage of patients with significant liver fibrosis (F≥2, APRI≥2, and FIB-4≥3.25) was significantly higher for CXCL9 rs10336 TT (p=0.046, p=0.010, and p=0.046; respectively), CXCL10 rs3921 GG (p=0.046, p=0.011, and p=0.049; respectively), and CXCL11 rs4619915 AA (p=0.035, p=0.014, and p=0.057; respectively) genotypes. Moreover, the greater likelihood of having significant liver fibrosis (F≥2, APRI≥2, and FIB-4≥3.25) was found in carriers of CXCL9 rs10336 TT and CXCL10 rs3921 GG (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)>2 (p<0.05)). These trends were significantly more pronounced in patients infected with HCV-genotype 1 (GT1) (aOR>3 (p<0.05)). Moreover, TGA haplotype showed higher odds for having values of APRI≥2 (aOR=2.4; p=0.012) when we considered all patients. This elevated risk for significant liver fibrosis was better represented in patients infected with HCV-GT1, where TGA haplotype had increased odds for having values of F≥2 (aOR=1.9; p=0.045), APRI≥2 (aOR=3.2; p=0.009) and FIB-4≥3.25 (aOR=3.3; p=0.026). The homozygosity for the minor alleles CXCL9 rs10336 (T), CXCL10 rs3921 (G) and CXCL11 rs4619915 (A) is associated with the higher likelihood of significant liver fibrosis in HIV infected patients coinfected with HCV-GT1.
 
Quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (QHPV) is > 95% effective in preventing infection with vaccine-type human papillomavirus. The safety and immunogenicity of QHPV are unknown in HIV-infected children. HIV-infected children (N = 126)-age > 7 to < 12 years, with a CD4% ≥ 15-and on stable antiretroviral therapy if CD4% was < 25-were blindly assigned to receive a dose of QHPV or placebo (3:1 ratio) at 0, 8, and 24 weeks. Adverse events were evaluated after each dose. Serum antibody against QHPV antigens was measured by a competitive Luminex immunoassay 1 month after the third QHPV dose. The safety profile of QHPV was similar in the 2 study arms and to that previously reported for QHPV recipients. QHPV did not alter the CD4% or plasma HIV RNA. Seroconversion to all 4 antigens occurred in > 96% of QHPV recipients and in no placebo recipients. Geometric mean titer was > 27 to 262 times greater than the seropositivity cutoff value, depending on the antigen, but was 30%-50% lower against types 6 and 18 than those of age-similar historical controls. QHPV was safe and immunogenic in this cohort of HIV-infected children. Efficacy trials are warranted.
 
Top-cited authors
Antonella d'Arminio Monforte
  • University of Milan
Kenneth Mayer
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Andrea Antinori
  • Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive "L.Spallanzani"
Kathryn Anastos
  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
David D Celentano
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health