Reaping the prevention benefits of highly active antiretroviral treatment: Policy implications of HIV Prevention Trials Network 052

ArticleinCurrent opinion in HIV and AIDS 7(2):111-6 · March 2012with10 Reads
DOI: 10.1097/COH.0b013e32834fcff6 · Source: PubMed
Abstract
This review explores the policy implications of findings from the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN 052) treatment as prevention (TasP) study. To date, the potential of antiretrovirals to prevent sexual transmission of HIV by infected persons has been grounded in observational cohort, ecological, mathematical modeling, and meta-analytic studies. HPTN 052 represents the first randomized controlled trial to test the secondary prevention benefit of HIV transmission using antiretroviral treatment in largely asymptomatic persons with high CD4 cell counts. The US National HIV/AIDS Strategy has among its key goals the reduction of incident HIV infections, improved access to quality care and associated outcomes, and the reduction in HIV-associated health disparities and inequities. HPTN 052 demonstrates that providing TasP, in combination with other effective prevention strategies offers the promise of achieving these life-saving goals. But HPTN 052 also highlights the need for cautious optimism and underscores the importance of addressing current gaps in the HIV prevention, treatment, and care continuum in order for 'TasP' strategies to achieve their full potential. Among these are necessary improvements in the capacity to expand HIV testing, facilitate effective linkage and retention in care, and improve treatment initiation, maintenance, and virus suppression.
    • "Key aims for HIV care in this chronic disease era include early and sustained engagement in treatment, viral suppression, enhanced immune functioning, significantly improved longevity, and heightened quality of life [7]. Also, with research showing that viral suppression resulting from ART has a role in reducing HIV transmission [8], an additional population-based public health objective of HIV treatment is to prevent new infections within a " Treatment-as-Prevention " paradigm [9, 10] . Efforts to achieve these aims are complicated by significant gaps in patterns of HIV health resource utilization across the continuum of care, including testing and diagnosis, linkage to health services, retention in care, and receipt of and adherence to ART [11]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advances in treatment are contributing to substantial increases in life expectancy for individuals living with HIV, prompting a need to develop care models for the effective management of HIV as a chronic illness. With many individuals continuing to experience symptoms and complications that add to the disease burden across the spectrum of HIV disease, the discussion herein explores the complementary role that early palliative care can play in HIV primary care as a strategy for enhancing long-term quality of life. After first defining the concept of early palliative care, its scope in the context of current clinical realities in HIV treatment and implications for HIV care models is described. After reviewing the emerging extant research literature on HIV palliative care outcomes, a program description is offered as an illustration of how palliative care integration with HIV primary care can be achieved.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014
    • "Issues related to the scarcity of HIV prevention and health promotion resources have also led to a set of arguments around targeting efforts at specific population sub-groups considered most at-risk for transmitting HIV for cost-specific reasons [36], though many acknowledge the ethical complexities associated with deciding how efforts ought to be prioritized during implementation [37,38]. For example, the literature generally acknowledges that population sub-groups that already face the highest levels of stigmatization (e.g., people who inject drugs) are likely the most at risk for HIV acquisition and transmission [39]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Despite the evidence showing the promise of HIV treatment as prevention (TasP) in reducing HIV incidence, a variety of ethical questions surrounding the implementation and “scaling up” of TasP have been articulated by a variety of stakeholders including scientists, community activists and government officials. Given the high profile and potential promise of TasP in combatting the global HIV epidemic, an explicit and transparent research priority-setting process is critical to inform ongoing ethical discussions pertaining to TasP. Methods We drew on the Arksey and O’Malley framework for conducting scoping review studies as well as systematic approaches to identifying empirical and theoretical gaps within ethical discussions pertaining to population-level intervention implementation and scale up. We searched the health science database PubMed to identify relevant peer-reviewed articles on ethical and implementation issues pertaining to TasP. We included English language articles that were published after 2009 (i.e., after the emergence of causal evidence within this field) by using search terms related to TasP. Given the tendency for much of the criticism and support of TasP to occur outside the peer-reviewed literature, we also included grey literature in order to provide a more exhaustive representation of how the ethical discussions pertaining to TasP have and are currently taking place. To identify the grey literature, we systematically searched a set of search engines, databases, and related webpages for keywords pertaining to TasP. Results Three dominant themes emerged in our analysis with respect to the ethical questions pertaining to TasP implementation and scale-up: (a) balancing individual- and population-level interests; (b) power relations within clinical practice and competing resource demands within health care systems; (c) effectiveness considerations and socio-structural contexts of HIV treatment experiences within broader implementation contexts. Conclusion Ongoing research and normative deliberation is required in order to successfully and ethically scale-up TasP within the continuum of HIV care models. Based on the results of this scoping review, we identify several ethical and implementation dimensions that hold promise for informing the process of scaling up TasP and that could benefit from new research.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014
    • "Although this finding has profound implications for HIV prevention, access to ART does not eliminate all the barriers that may interfere with the elimination of HIV transmission, including delayed diagnosis, lack of continuous care, suboptimal adherence, drug resistance and subsequent increases in risky sexual behaviour (i.e. risk compensation)678910. Findings from prior investigations of the association between ART provision and increased sexual risk behaviour are mixed11121314. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: To describe the prevalence and association of sexual risk behaviours and viral suppression among HIV-infected adults in the United States. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of weighted data from a probability sample of HIV-infected adults receiving outpatient medical care. The facility and patient response rates were 76 and 51%, respectively. Methods: We analysed 2009 interview and medical record data. Sexual behaviours were self-reported in the past 12 months. Viral suppression was defined as all viral load measurements in the medical record during the past 12 months less than 200 copies/ml. Results: An estimated 98 022 (24%) HIV-infected adults engaged in unprotected vaginal or anal sex; 50 953 (12%) engaged in unprotected vaginal or anal sex with at least one partner of negative or unknown HIV status; 23 933 (6%) did so while not virally suppressed. Persons who were virally suppressed were less likely than persons who were not suppressed to engage in vaginal or anal sex [prevalence ratio, 0.88; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.82-0.93]; unprotected vaginal or anal sex (prevalence ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.73-0.98); and unprotected vaginal or anal sex with a partner of negative or unknown HIV status (prevalence ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64-0.99). Conclusion: The majority of HIV-infected adults receiving medical care in the U.S. did not engage in sexual risk behaviours that have the potential to transmit HIV, and of the 12% who did, approximately half were not virally suppressed. Persons who were virally suppressed were less likely than persons who were not suppressed to engage in sexual risk behaviours.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014
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