Failure of immunologic criteria to appropriately identify antiretroviral treatment failure in Uganda

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
AIDS (London, England) (Impact Factor: 5.55). 02/2009; 23(6):697-700. DOI: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283262a78
Source: PubMed


Most antiretroviral treatment program in resource-limited settings use immunologic or clinical monitoring to measure response to therapy and to decide when to change to a second-line regimen. Our objective was to evaluate immunologic failure criteria against gold standard virologic monitoring.
Observational cohort.
Participants enrolled in an antiretroviral treatment program in rural Uganda who had at least 6 months of follow-up were included in this analysis. Immunologic monitoring was performed by CD4 cell counts every 3 months during the first year, and every 6 months thereafter. HIV-1 viral loads were performed every 6 months.
A total of 1133 participants enrolled in the Rakai Health Sciences Program antiretroviral treatment program between June 2004 and September 2007 were followed for up to 44.4 months (median follow-up 20.2 months; IQR 12.4-29.5 months). WHO immunologic failure criteria were reached by 125 (11.0%) participants. A virologic failure endpoint defined as HIV-1 viral load more than 400 copies/ml on two measurements was reached by 112 participants (9.9%). Only 26 participants (2.3%) experienced both an immunologic and virologic failure endpoint (2 viral load > 400 copies/ml) during follow-up.
Immunologic failure criteria performed poorly in our setting and would have resulted in a substantial proportion of participants with suppressed HIV-1 viral load being switched unnecessarily. These criteria also lacked sensitivity to identify participants failing virologically. Periodic viral load measurements may be a better marker for treatment failure in our setting.

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Available from: Thomas C Quinn, Jul 10, 2014
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    • "Several studies have made that assessment and found out that the benefit of screening patients with the WHO's immunological failure criteria is in ruling out virologic failure among those who don't have immunological failure according to those criteria. This is because the WHO's immunological failure criteria has very high negative predictive value (87% to 99% depending on the study) but low positive predictive value (9% to 37% depending on the study)343536 . For example , in this study it means that one is 87% to 99% sure that 82% of the study patients who were found not to have immunological failure were likely to be free of virological failure. "
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    ABSTRACT: Immunological monitoring is part of the standard of care for patients on antiretroviral treatment. Yet, little is known about the routine implementation of immunological laboratory monitoring and utilization in clinical care in Ethiopia. This study assessed the pattern of immunological monitoring, immunological response, level of immunological treatment failure and factors related to it among patients on antiretroviral therapy in selected hospitals in southern Ethiopia. A retrospective longitudinal analytic study was conducted using documents of patients started on antiretroviral therapy. Adequacy of timely immunological monitoring was assessed every six months the first year and every one year thereafter. Immunological response was assessed every six months at cohort level. Immunological failure was based on the criteria: fall of follow-up CD4 cell count to baseline (or below), or CD4 levels persisting below 100 cells/mm3, or 50% fall from on-treatment peak value. A total of 1,321 documents of patients reviewed revealed timely immunological monitoring were inadequate. There was adequate immunological response, with pediatric patients, females, those with less advanced illness (baseline WHO Stage I or II) and those with higher baseline CD4 cell count found to have better immunological recovery. Thirty-nine patients (3%) were not evaluated for immunological failure because they had frequent treatment interruption. Despite overall adequate immunological response at group level, the prevalence of those who ever experienced immunological failure was 17.6% (n=226), while after subsequent re-evaluation it dropped to 11.5% (n=147). Having WHO Stage III/IV of the disease or a higher CD4 cell count at baseline was identified as a risk for immunological failure. Few patients with confirmed failure were switched to second line therapy. These findings highlight the magnitude of the problem of immunological failure and the gap in management. Prioritizing care for high risk patients may help in effective utilization of meager resources.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    • "The successful roll-out of ART was achieved by adopting a public health approach to HIV care and treatment involving cost minimization strategies, delegation of tasks from highly skilled to less skilled health workers and simplification of the routine laboratory tests that are used to monitor ongoing efficacy of ART [1, 2]. Due to cost constraints, laboratory monitoring of ART efficacy is often limited to the CD4 cell count - a test that has low accuracy for identifying patients experiencing treatment failure to ART [3]. The gold standard for treatment failure, viral load testing, is largely unavailable because of its complexity and costs. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background In resource limited settings access to laboratory monitoring of HIV treatment is limited and therapeutic drug monitoring is generally unavailable. This study aimed to evaluate nevirapine concentrations in saliva using low-cost thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and nevirapine concentrations in plasma and saliva using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods; and to correlate nevirapine plasma concentrations to HIV treatment outcomes in Ugandan patients. Methods Paired plasma and stimulated saliva samples were obtained from Ugandan, HIV-infected adults on nevirapine-based ART. Nevirapine concentrations were measured using a validated HPLC method and a novel TLC method. Plasma nevirapine concentrations <3.0 mg/L using HPLC were considered subtherapeutic. Negative/positive predictive values of different thresholds for subtherapeutic nevirapine concentrations in saliva were determined. Virologic testing and, if applicable, HIV drug resistance testing was performed. Results Median (interquartile range, IQR) age of 297 patients was 39.1 (32.8-45.2) years. Three hundred saliva and 287 plasma samples were available for analysis. Attempts failed to determine nevirapine saliva concentrations by TLC. Using HPLC, median (IQR) nevirapine concentrations in saliva and plasma were 3.40 (2.59-4.47) mg/L and 6.17 (4.79-7.96) mg/L, respectively. The mean (coefficient of variation,%) nevirapine saliva/plasma ratio was 0.58 (62%). A cut-off value of 1.60 mg/L nevirapine in saliva was associated with a negative/positive predictive value of 0.99/0.72 and a sensitivity/specificity of 87%/98% for predicting subtherapeutic nevirapine plasma concentrations, respectively. Only 5% (15/287) of patients had subtherapeutic nevirapine plasma concentrations, of which 3 patients had viral load results > 400 copies/mL. Patients with nevirapine concentrations in plasma <3.0 mg/L had an Odds Ratio of 3.29 (95% CI: 1.00 – 10.74) for virological failure (viral load >400 copies/mL). Conclusions The low-cost TLC technique for monitoring nevirapine in saliva was unsuccessful but monitoring nevirapine saliva and plasma concentrations using HPLC was shown to be feasible in the research/specialist context in Uganda. Further optimization and validation is required for the low-cost TLC technique.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · BMC Infectious Diseases
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    • "As the global ART cohort continues to expand and mature, the need for ongoing monitoring is becoming increasingly important to ensure treatment efficacy and minimize the risk of HIV drug resistance. Clinical and immunological monitoring techniques have poor sensitivity and specificity for detecting virologic failure, leading to a substantial misclassification of treatment responses, resulting in delayed switching in some cases and inappropriate switching from first line regimens in others [2]–[7]. "
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
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