Mortality of HIV-Infected Patients Starting Antiretroviral Therapy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Comparison with HIV-Unrelated Mortality

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, Switzerland.
PLoS Medicine (Impact Factor: 14.43). 05/2009; 6(4):e1000066. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000066
Source: PubMed


Mortality in HIV-infected patients who have access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) has declined in sub-Saharan Africa, but it is unclear how mortality compares to the non-HIV-infected population. We compared mortality rates observed in HIV-1-infected patients starting ART with non-HIV-related background mortality in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Patients enrolled in antiretroviral treatment programmes in Côte d'Ivoire, Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe were included. We calculated excess mortality rates and standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Expected numbers of deaths were obtained using estimates of age-, sex-, and country-specific, HIV-unrelated, mortality rates from the Global Burden of Disease project. Among 13,249 eligible patients 1,177 deaths were recorded during 14,695 person-years of follow-up. The median age was 34 y, 8,831 (67%) patients were female, and 10,811 of 12,720 patients (85%) with information on clinical stage had advanced disease when starting ART. The excess mortality rate was 17.5 (95% CI 14.5-21.1) per 100 person-years SMR in patients who started ART with a CD4 cell count of less than 25 cells/microl and World Health Organization (WHO) stage III/IV, compared to 1.00 (0.55-1.81) per 100 person-years in patients who started with 200 cells/microl or above with WHO stage I/II. The corresponding SMRs were 47.1 (39.1-56.6) and 3.44 (1.91-6.17). Among patients who started ART with 200 cells/microl or above in WHO stage I/II and survived the first year of ART, the excess mortality rate was 0.27 (0.08-0.94) per 100 person-years and the SMR was 1.14 (0.47-2.77).
Mortality of HIV-infected patients treated with combination ART in sub-Saharan Africa continues to be higher than in the general population, but for some patients excess mortality is moderate and reaches that of the general population in the second year of ART. Much of the excess mortality might be prevented by timely initiation of ART.

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    • "Our primary analysis treats patients lost to follow-up in the first 6 months of treatment as permanent exits from the HIV program, and while a large systemic review found approximately 40% of African ART patients lost to follow-up early in treatment represent unrecorded deaths, a proportion of the lost patients will eventually return to care [33]. For this reason, we modeled the effect of 20% to 80% of patients classified as lost subsequently returning to care and contributing to lifetime ART costs and DALYs averted (we assumed they would not receive a second course of supplementation). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Low body mass index (BMI) individuals starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa have high rates of death and loss to follow-up in the first 6 months of treatment. Nutritional supplementation may improve health outcomes in this population, but the anticipated benefit of any intervention should be commensurate with the cost given resource limitations and the need to expand access to ART in the region. Methods We used Markov models incorporating historical data and program-wide estimates of treatment costs and health benefits from the Zambian national ART program to estimate the improvements in 6-month survival and program retention among malnourished adults necessary for a combined nutrition support and ART treatment program to maintain cost-effectiveness parity with ART treatment alone. Patients were stratified according to World Health Organization criteria for severe (BMI <16.0 kg/m2), moderate (16.00-16.99 kg/m2), and mild (17.00-18.49 kg/m2) malnutrition categories. Results 19,247 patients contributed data between May 2004 and October 2010. Quarterly survival and retention were lowest in the BMI <16.0 kg/m2 category compared to higher BMI levels, and there was less variation in both measures across BMI strata after 180 days. ART treatment was estimated to cost $556 per year and averted 7.3 disability-adjusted life years. To maintain cost-effectiveness parity with ART alone, a supplement needed to cost $10.99 per quarter and confer a 20% reduction in both 6-month mortality and loss to follow-up among BMI <16.0 kg/m2 patients. Among BMI 17.00-18.49 kg/m2 patients, supplement costs accompanying a 20% reduction in mortality and loss to follow-up could not exceed $5.18 per quarter. In sensitivity analyses, the maximum permitted supplement cost increased if the ART program cost rose, and fell if patients classified as lost to follow-up at 6 months subsequently returned to care. Conclusions Low BMI adults starting ART in sub-Saharan Africa are at high risk of early mortality and loss to follow-up. The expense of providing nutrition supplementation would require only modest improvements in survival and program retention to be cost-effective for the most severely malnourished individuals starting ART, but interventions are unlikely to be cost-effective among those in higher BMI strata.
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    • "A longitudinal study in western Kenya showed that caregiving by grandparents did not affect physical health, as measured by several clinical tests, but did have a negative impact on mental health and self-perceived health over time (Ice, Yogo, Heh, & Juma, 2010). Antiretroviral treatment (ART) has a major impact on survival of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa (Brinkhof et al., 2009). This positive effect includes older people, even though "
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    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · AIDS Care
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    • "However, controversy remains regarding the ideal CD4 threshold at which ART should be initiated [3-5,8], and data to inform guidelines are still limited, especially from resource-poor settings. A large proportion of excess adult mortality in sub-Saharan Africa is HIV-1-related [9]. Excess HIV-1-related mortality has been shown to be related to several clinical factors, such as use of ART, CD4 count, clinical stage of disease, as well as demographic factors, including migration, level of educational attainment, age, and economic status [9-15]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The risk of HIV-1 related mortality is strongly related to CD4 count. Guidance on optimal timing for initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) is still evolving, but the contribution of HIV-1 infection to excess mortality at CD4 cell counts above thresholds for HIV-1 treatment has not been fully described, especially in resource-poor settings. To compare mortality among HIV-1 infected and uninfected members of HIV-1 serodiscordant couples followed for up to 24 months, we conducted a secondary data analysis examining mortality among HIV-1 serodiscordant couples participating in a multicenter, randomized controlled trial at 14 sites in seven sub-Saharan African countries. Predictors of death were examined using Cox regression and excess mortality by CD4 count and plasma HIV-1 RNA was computed using Poisson regression for correlated data. Among 3295 HIV serodiscordant couples, we observed 109 deaths from any cause (74 deaths among HIV-1 infected and 25 among HIV-1 uninfected persons). Among HIV-1 infected persons, the risk of death increased with lower CD4 count and higher plasma viral levels. HIV-1 infected persons had excess mortality due to medical causes of 15.2 deaths/1000 person years at CD4 counts of 250 – 349 cells/μl and 8.9 deaths at CD4 counts of 350 – 499 cells/μl. Above a CD4 count of 500 cells/μl, mortality was comparable among HIV-1 infected and uninfected persons. Among African serodiscordant couples, there is a high rate of mortality attributable to HIV-1 infection at CD4 counts above the current threshold (200 – 350 cells/μl) for ART initiation in many African countries. These data indicate that earlier initiation of treatment is likely to provide clinical benefit if further expansion of ART access can be achieved. Trial Registration (NCT00194519)
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