Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=2078-675120200001&lang=pt vol. 21 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>'Covering the tail' after stopping efavirenz-based antiretroviral therapy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Transition to an in-facility electronic Tuberculosis register: Lessons from a South African pilot project</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: South Africa has one of the highest incidences of Tuberculosis (TB) globally. High co-morbid HIV prevalence complicates TB management and treatment outcomes. Growing evidence suggests that integrating the TB and HIV programmes will improve the overall results. OBJECTIVES: To describe how TB programme staff at various levels of the South African health system responded to the transition from a paper-based to an electronic register of TB data integrated with HIV programme data. METHOD: Three primary health service facilities in the Cape Winelands district, Western Cape province, South Africa served as pilot sites for implementation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 TB programme staff purposively selected at facility, sub-district, district and provincial levels of the health system, based on their involvement in implementing electronic TB data. An objective-driven thematic frame was used to analyse the data. RESULTS: Fears about the transition included reductions in data quality, changes to the status quo and a lack of computer literacy. Participants acknowledged benefits of reduced workloads, speed of accessing patient-level data and click-of-a-button reporting. Three factors influenced the ease of adopting the new system: firstly, implementation challenged the vertical position of the TB programme, TB data and staff's conventional roles and responsibilities; secondly, perceptions of the paper-based register as functional and reliable made the transition to electronic seem unnecessary; and thirdly, lack of a process of change management challenged staff's ability to internalise the proposed change. CONCLUSION: A process of change management is critical to facilitate the efficiency and effectiveness with which the electronic in-facility TB register is implemented. <![CDATA[<b>HIV viral load testing coverage and timeliness after implementation of the wellness anniversary in a paediatric and adolescent HIV clinic in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: The UNAIDS 2020 Global strategy to reduce the transmission of HIV includes ensuring HIV viral load (VL) testing coverage of at least 90% on all patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Routine VL monitoring has been shown to result in earlier detection of treatment failure, timely regimen switches, promotion of adherence to treatment and improved survival. We wanted to assess the introduction of the wellness anniversary in improving routine viral load monitoring. OBJECTIVES: We retrospectively assessed effects of the wellness anniversary on routine VL coverage, timeliness and suppression rates. METHOD: The month when the patient initiated ART was designated as the wellness anniversary. On the anniversary month a package of care, which included a routine VL, was delivered. We conducted a retrospective chart audit to assess VL coverage and timeliness between two time periods, from January 2016 to December 2016 (pre-implementation) and from January 2017 to December 2017 (post-implementation. RESULTS: Timeliness of VL testing improved from 27.5% in the pre-implementation cohort to 49.7% in the post-implementation cohort. Our study showed high VL testing coverage before the implementation of the wellness anniversary with an average of 98.3% VL. There was a significant correlation between timeliness and VL suppression (VLS) in the post-implementation group. CONCLUSION: Implementation of the wellness anniversary may improve timeliness of routine VL testing in settings with high VL coverage. Studies looking at the effect of timeliness on VLS and clinical outcomes are needed. <![CDATA[<b>The effects of Teen Clubs on retention in HIV care among adolescents in Windhoek, Namibia</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) are notably underserved by the national HIV programmes globally because of their unique needs. Of particular concern is limited access to and availability of adolescent-friendly antiretroviral therapy (ART) services, which contribute to poor retention in care in many sub-Saharan African countries. A Teen Club intervention was introduced in 2010 in Windhoek, Namibia, to improve retention in care among ALHIV through psychosocial support in a peer-group environment. OBJECTIVES: To compare the effects of the Teen Club intervention against standard care on retention in HIV care amongst adolescents at a Paediatric ART clinic. METHOD: A retrospective cohort analysis of adolescents aged 10-19 years receiving ART between July 2015 and June 2017 was conducted. Routine patient data were extracted from an electronic database and patient registers. A sample of 385 participants was analysed: 78 in the Teen Club and 307 in standard care. Retention was measured by assessing attendance to prescribed clinic visits up to 24 months. Comparisons were assessed with the Chi-square test, and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was conducted to analyse differences in retention rates. RESULTS: The overall retention rate at 24 months among all adolescents was 90.1%, with no statistically significant difference between those in Teen Club (91%) and those in standard care (89%) (p = 0.956). Younger adolescents (10-14 years) had better retention rates at 24 months compared to older adolescents (15-19 years) (94% vs. 86%; p = 0.016). Retention rates were significantly higher for adolescents on first-line ART regimen (vs. second line: hazard ratio [HR] = 0.333; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.125-0.889); on ART ≥ 12 months (vs. < 12 months: HR =0.988; 95% CI = 0.977-0.999); and those to whom their HIV status was disclosed (HR = 0.131; 95% CI = 0.025-0.686). CONCLUSION: Group-based adherence support interventions did not improve retention rates for younger adolescents in specialised paediatric ART clinics but may still hold the potential for improving retention rates of older adolescents. <![CDATA[<b>Perspectives on oral pre-exposure prophylaxis use amongst female sex workers in Harare, Zimbabwe</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) could provide protection from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in sexually active persons at risk. Limited data are available in Zimbabwe with regard to the perceptions about PrEP amongst female sex workers (FSWs OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to evaluate the knowledge levels of oral PrEP and the likelihood of its use amongst FSWs. METHOD: This was a cross-sectional study in the peri-urban areas of Harare, Zimbabwe. Human immunodeficiency virus-negative FSWs were interviewed to assess their awareness of and likelihood to use PrEP. The relative importance index was used to evaluate the levels of knowledge and the likelihood of, and barriers to, PrEP use. A set of 10 questions was designed and validated that evaluated participants' understanding of PrEP. A bivariate logistic regression model was utilised to identify predictors of PrEP use. RESULTS: A total of 131 FSWs with a median age of 25 years (interquartile range: 21-31) participated in this study. Of the 71 (54%) FSWs who had heard about PrEP, 46 (35%) participants had adequate knowledge of its use. A total of 102 (78%) participants revealed that they would be willing to continuously use PrEP if it was provided free of cost. Increasing age of the participants was associated with an increase in the likelihood of using PrEP (r = 0.0033, p = 0.038). More knowledge about PrEP increased the likelihood of its use (r = 0.21, p = 0.0153). This likelihood increased amongst participants with an unprotected sexual intercourse encounter in the preceding 3 months (r = 0.0448, p = 0.026). CONCLUSION: Knowledge of PrEP amongst FSWs was low. To increase the uptake of PrEP, there is a need to further sensitise FSWs about this intervention. Programmes should also promote awareness training in FSW subgroups that are less likely to use PrEP. <![CDATA[<b>Implementation of a PMTCT programme in a high HIV prevalence setting in Johannesburg, South Africa: 2002-2015</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Great strides have been made in decreasing paediatric human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa, new paediatric HIV infections decreased by 84% between 2009 and 2015. This achievement is a result of a strong political will and the rapid evolution of the country's prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) guidelines. OBJECTIVES: In this paper we report on the implementation of a large PMTCT programme in Soweto, South Africa. METHODS: We reviewed routinely collected PMTCT data from 13 healthcare facilities, for the period 2002-2015. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage among pregnant women living with HIV (PWLHIV) and the mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) rate at early infant diagnosis were evaluated. RESULTS: In total, 360 751 pregnant women attended the facilities during the review period, and the HIV prevalence remained high throughout at around 30%. The proportion of PWLHIV presenting with a known HIV status increased from 14.3% in 2009 when the indicator was first collected to 45% in 2015, p < 0.001. In 2006, less than 10% of the PWLHIV were initiated on ART, increasing to 88% by 2011. The MTCT rate decreased from 6.9% in 2007 to under 1% from 2013 to 2015, p < 0.001. CONCLUSION: The achievements in decreasing paediatric HIV infections have been hailed as one of the greatest public health achievements of our times. While there are inherent limitations with using routinely collected aggregate data, the Soweto data reflect progress made in the implementation of PMTCT programmes in South Africa. Progress with PMTCT has, however, not been accompanied by a decline in HIV prevalence among pregnant women. <![CDATA[<b>Drug resistance after cessation of efavirenz-based antiretroviral treatment started in pregnancy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: To reduce risk of antiretroviral resistance when stopping efavirenz (EFV)-based antiretroviral treatment (ART), staggered discontinuation of antiretrovirals (an NRTI tail) is recommended. However, no data directly support this recommendation OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the prevalence of HIV drug resistance mutations in pregnant women living with HIV who stopped efavirenz (EFV)/emtricitabine (FTC)/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) postpartum METHOD: In accordance with the prevailing Botswana HIV guidelines at the time, women with pre-treatment CD4 &gt; 350 cells/mm³, initiated EFV/FTC/TDF in pregnancy and stopped ART at 6 weeks postpartum if formula feeding, or 6 weeks after weaning. A 7-day tail of FTC/TDF was recommended per Botswana guidelines. HIV-1 RNA and genotypic resistance testing (bulk sequencing) were performed on samples obtained 4-6 weeks after stopping EFV. Stanford HIV Drug Resistance Database was used to identify major mutations RESULTS: From April 2014 to May 2015, 74 women who had stopped EFV/FTC/TDF enrolled, with median nadir CD4 of 571 cells/mm³. The median time from cessation of EFV to sample draw for genotyping was 5 weeks (range: 3-13 weeks). Thirty-two (43%) women received a 1-week tail of FTC/TDF after stopping EFV. HIV-1 RNA was available from delivery in 70 (95%) women, 58 (83%) of whom had undetectable delivery HIV-1 RNA (< 40 copies/mL). HIV-1 RNA was available for 71 women at the time of genotyping, 45 (63%) of whom had HIV-1 RNA < 40 copies/mL. Thirty-five (47%) of 74 samples yielded a genotype result, and four (11%) had a major drug resistance mutation: two with K103N and two with V106M. All four resistance mutations occurred among women who did not receive an FTC/TDF tail (4/42, 10%), whereas no mutations occurred among 18 genotyped women who had received a 1-week FTC/TDF tail (p = 0.053 CONCLUSIONS: Viral rebound was slow following cessation of EFV/FTC/TDF in the postpartum period. Use of an FTC/TDF tail after stopping EFV was associated with the lower prevalence of subsequent NNRTI drug resistance mutation <![CDATA[<b>Knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards people with HIV and AIDS among private higher education students in Johannesburg, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV and AIDS) is a global health and social problem, with South Africa having an estimated overall prevalence rate of 13.5%. Compared to young male participants, young female participants have been reported to have less knowledge about HIV and AIDS, including prevention strategies, and this is associated with risky sexual behaviours and negative attitudes towards condom use OBJECTIVES: The study investigated gender differences in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards HIV and AIDS among 542 private higher education students in Johannesburg, South Africa METHOD: Participants completed an online structured questionnaire measuring knowledge, attitudes and behaviours as well as demographics (including age, gender and relationship status RESULTS: The results indicate that overall there were no significant differences between male and female students in terms of HIV and AIDS knowledge. However, female students had significantly less knowledge with regard to unprotected anal sex as a risk factor for HIV and AIDS. In addition, young female students reported condom use at last sex less frequently than male students. Nonetheless, both genders reported a positive attitude towards condom use and towards people living with HIV and AIDS CONCLUSION: It is recommended that the relevant authorities at the state and the higher education level seriously consider implementing specific strategies for preventing HIV and AIDS through improved knowledge, attitudes and behaviours among young females <![CDATA[<b>Sexual function after voluntary medical male circumcision for human immunodeficiency virus prevention: Results from a programmatic delivery setting in Botswana</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Uptake of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) remains modest in Botswana in spite of the government's commitment and service provision availability. Data on sexual function post-VMMC in programmatic settings could help guide messaging tailored to Botswana OBJECTIVES: At 3-month post-VMMC, we evaluated changes in sexual function and satisfaction with the VMMC procedure amongst a cohort of HIV-negative, sexually active men aged 18-49 years who underwent VMMC in a public-sector clinic in Botswana METHODS: We assessed whether each of the following domains of sexual function had improved, stayed the same or worsened since VMMC: sexual desire, ability to use condoms, ease of vaginal penetration, ease of ejaculation, ability to achieve and maintain an erection and hygiene or cleanliness RESULTS: Data on sexual function were available for 378 men at 3-month post-VMMC. Median age was 27 years - 54% had a higher than secondary education, 72% were employed and 27% were married. Nearly all (96%) the men reported improvement in at least one domain of sexual function, while 19% reported improvement in all six domains. One-fourth (91/378, 24%) of the men reported that at least one domain of sexual function worsened post-VMMC. The most frequently reported domain that worsened was sexual desire (11%); in all other domains, < 10% of the men reported worsening. Men who reported any worsening sexual function were 2.3-fold as likely to be less than 'very satisfied' with the VMMC procedure (risk ratio 2.36, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.66-3.34, p < 0.001 CONCLUSION: Emphasising improved sexual function experienced after VMMC in demand-creation efforts could potentially increase VMMC uptake in Botswana <![CDATA[<b>Tobacco smoking and associated factors in human immunodeficiency virus-infected adults attending human immunodeficiency virus clinics in the Western Cape province, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: In human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals, smoking increases both HIV-related and non-related negative health outcomes OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and associations of smoking in HIV-infected adults receiving antiretroviral therapy at public healthcare facilities in the Western Cape province, South Africa METHODS: Participants comprised 827 HIV-infected patients, who were > 18 years old and randomly selected from 17 HIV healthcare facilities. Self-reported smoking was defined as smoking tobacco daily or occasionally. Serum cotinine levels confirmed smoking status RESULTS: Participants included 653 women and 174 men. The overall mean (standard deviation [SD]) age was 38.9 (9.0) years, 41.1 (8.9) years in men and 37.7 (8.9) years in women (p ˂ 0.001). The median diagnosed duration of HIV infection was 5 years. Smoking prevalence was 22% overall, and 26% in men and 21% in women (p = 0.022). The prevalence of former smoking was 14%. About a quarter of participants (185/751; 24.6%) had serum cotinine levels > 100 mg/mL with similar prevalence of high levels across smoking status (current smokers: 27.2%, former smokers: 29.6% and never smokers: 22.7%, p = 0.564) and did not vary by age, gender, cluster of differentiation 4 count or known duration of HIV. There was no agreement between self-reports and cotinine levels at ranking smoking exposure CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence of current tobacco smoking in HIV-infected patients on care is within the range of that in the general population. This highlights the potential missed opportunity or challenges of co-addressing smoking cessation in individuals already in regular contact with the health system <![CDATA[<b>Adolescent human immunodeficiency virus self-management: Associations with treatment adherence, viral suppression, sexual risk behaviours and health-related quality of life</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: With the advent of access to antiretroviral treatment (ART), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has become a chronic disease and self-management is an important component of its care. Research to date has not explored associations between adolescent HIV self-management and treatment adherence, viral suppression, sexual risk behaviour and health-related quality of life (HRQoL OBJECTIVES: To explore the associations between adolescent HIV self-management and treatment adherence, viral suppression, sexual risk behaviour and HRQoL METHODS: A quantitative cross-sectional study of 385 adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) aged 13-18 years, who were recruited from 11 healthcare facilities between March and August 2017 in the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape, South Africa, provided the data that were examined in this self-completed questionnaire. Validated scales were used to measure key variables. The most recent viral load (VL) was obtained from the participants' clinic folder, taking into account that VL is done annually RESULTS: Adolescents who reported higher HIV self-management were more likely to be adherent to treatment (t = 4.435 [336], p < 0.01), virally suppressed (t = 2.376 [305], p = 0.02) and to practise consistent condom use (t = 1.947 [95], p = 0.54). Structural equation modelling (SEM) indicated a significant relationship between self-management and HRQoL (r = 0.43, p < 0.01), whilst non-adherent treatment taking behaviour, correlated with elevated VL log values. No significant correlation was found between self-management and sexual risk behaviour CONCLUSION: Targeting adolescents' skills related to HIV self-management in the clinical setting may improve adolescents' treatment taking behaviour, viral suppression rates and their HRQoL <![CDATA[<b>Low CD4 count and educational status predict abnormal cervical smears amongst HIV-positive women initiating antiretroviral therapy in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: With the advent of access to antiretroviral treatment (ART), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has become a chronic disease and self-management is an important component of its care. Research to date has not explored associations between adolescent HIV self-management and treatment adherence, viral suppression, sexual risk behaviour and health-related quality of life (HRQoL OBJECTIVES: To explore the associations between adolescent HIV self-management and treatment adherence, viral suppression, sexual risk behaviour and HRQoL METHODS: A quantitative cross-sectional study of 385 adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) aged 13-18 years, who were recruited from 11 healthcare facilities between March and August 2017 in the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape, South Africa, provided the data that were examined in this self-completed questionnaire. Validated scales were used to measure key variables. The most recent viral load (VL) was obtained from the participants' clinic folder, taking into account that VL is done annually RESULTS: Adolescents who reported higher HIV self-management were more likely to be adherent to treatment (t = 4.435 [336], p < 0.01), virally suppressed (t = 2.376 [305], p = 0.02) and to practise consistent condom use (t = 1.947 [95], p = 0.54). Structural equation modelling (SEM) indicated a significant relationship between self-management and HRQoL (r = 0.43, p < 0.01), whilst non-adherent treatment taking behaviour, correlated with elevated VL log values. No significant correlation was found between self-management and sexual risk behaviour CONCLUSION: Targeting adolescents' skills related to HIV self-management in the clinical setting may improve adolescents' treatment taking behaviour, viral suppression rates and their HRQoL <![CDATA[<b>Impact of routine birth early infant diagnosis on neonatal HIV treatment cascade in eThekwini district, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Early infant diagnosis (EID) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV-infected infants can reduce the risk of mortality and improve clinical outcomes. Infant testing guidelines in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, changed from targeted birth EID (T-EID) only in high-risk infants to a routine birth EID (R-EID) testing strategy in 2015. OBJECTIVES: To describe the impact of the implementation of R-EID on the infant treatment cascade. METHOD: A retrospective analysis of a facility-based clinical database for the eThekwini district and the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) was conducted. All data on neonates (< 4 weeks of age) diagnosed with HIV between January 2013 and December 2017 (T-EID [2013-2015] and R-EID [2016-2017]) were extracted including follow-up until 1 year post-diagnosis. RESULTS: A total of 503 neonates were diagnosed HIV-infected, with 468 (93.0%) initiated on ART within a median of 6 days. There was a significant increase in the estimated percentage of HIV-infected neonates diagnosed (21% vs. 86%, p < 0.001) and initiated on ART (90% vs. 94.3%, p < 0.001) between the T-EID and R-EID periods. Despite achieving over 90% of HIV-infected neonates diagnosed and initiated on ART in 2017, retention in care and viral suppression remained low. CONCLUSION: Implementation of R-EID in eThekwini district improved diagnosis and initiation of ART in HIV-infected neonates and should be recommended as part of diagnostic guidelines. These gains are, however, lost because of poor retention in care and viral suppression rates and therefore required urgent attention. <![CDATA[<b>The updated South African National Guideline for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of Communicable Infections (2019)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100014&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Early infant diagnosis (EID) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV-infected infants can reduce the risk of mortality and improve clinical outcomes. Infant testing guidelines in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, changed from targeted birth EID (T-EID) only in high-risk infants to a routine birth EID (R-EID) testing strategy in 2015. OBJECTIVES: To describe the impact of the implementation of R-EID on the infant treatment cascade. METHOD: A retrospective analysis of a facility-based clinical database for the eThekwini district and the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) was conducted. All data on neonates (< 4 weeks of age) diagnosed with HIV between January 2013 and December 2017 (T-EID [2013-2015] and R-EID [2016-2017]) were extracted including follow-up until 1 year post-diagnosis. RESULTS: A total of 503 neonates were diagnosed HIV-infected, with 468 (93.0%) initiated on ART within a median of 6 days. There was a significant increase in the estimated percentage of HIV-infected neonates diagnosed (21% vs. 86%, p < 0.001) and initiated on ART (90% vs. 94.3%, p < 0.001) between the T-EID and R-EID periods. Despite achieving over 90% of HIV-infected neonates diagnosed and initiated on ART in 2017, retention in care and viral suppression remained low. CONCLUSION: Implementation of R-EID in eThekwini district improved diagnosis and initiation of ART in HIV-infected neonates and should be recommended as part of diagnostic guidelines. These gains are, however, lost because of poor retention in care and viral suppression rates and therefore required urgent attention. <![CDATA[<b>Spectrum of HIV-associated infectious diseases: A case series through the eyes of the histopathologist</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100015&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection increases the risk of infection by a host of other opportunistic pathogens. The clinical presentations of these co-infections in immunocompromised patients are often atypical; therefore diagnosis is delayed in the absence of investigations such as tissue biopsy. Infection may involve sites that are difficult to access for biopsy and, as a consequence, there is limited diagnostic tissue available for analysis. The histopathologist, aided by ancillary tests, is relied upon to make a timeous and accurate diagnosis. OBJECTIVES: To illustrate key histological features of HIV-associated infectious diseases encountered in a histopathology laboratory and to highlight, with the aid of literature, the relevance of histopathology in diagnosis. METHOD: A retrospective descriptive case series of biopsies histologically diagnosed with HIV-associated infectious diseases over four years (2015-2019) was performed at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital National Health Laboratory Services Histopathology department. These cases have been photographed to illustrate microscopic aspects and will be accompanied by a literature review of opportunistic infections in the context of HIV infection. RESULTS: This article highlights aspects of fungal, parasitic, viral and selected bacterial infections of people living with HIV for whom the histopathological examination of tissue was an essential component of the clinical diagnosis. Histological features are noted on routine slides and accompanied by diagnostic features revealed with histochemical and immunohistochemical stains. CONCLUSION: Medical practitioners working in areas of high HIV endemicity should be familiar with the variety of infectious diseases that are encountered and with the diagnostic importance of the histopathologist in clinical management. <![CDATA[<b>Case report: Emergence of dolutegravir resistance in a patient on second-line antiretroviral therapy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100016&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt INTRODUCTION: The integrase strand transfer inhibitor dolutegravir (DTG) has a high genetic barrier to resistance. Only rare cases of resistance to DTG have been reported when it is used as a component of antiretroviral therapy regimens in treatment-experienced patients unless there was prior use of a first-generation integrase inhibitor. PATIENT PRESENTATION: A 38-year-old woman diagnosed with tuberculosis was switched to a second-line antiretroviral regimen of zidovudine, lamivudine and dolutegravir 50 mg 12-hourly together with rifampicin-based TB treatment. Based on treatment history and a previous resistance test there was resistance to lamivudine but full susceptibility to zidovudine. The patient did not suppress her viral load on this regimen and later admitted to only taking dolutegravir 50 mg in the morning because of insomnia. MANAGEMENT AND OUTCOME: A second resistance test was performed which showed intermediate level of resistance to dolutegravir. Her regimen was changed to tenofovir, emtricitabine and ritonavir-boosted atazanavir with rifabutin replacing rifampicin for the remainder of her TB treatment. She achieved viral suppression on this regimen. CONCLUSION: To our knowledge this is the first case report from South Africa of emergent dolutegravir resistance in a treatment-experienced, integrase inhibitor-naïve patient. Factors that may have contributed to resistance emergence in this patient were that there was only one fully active nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor in the regimen and lower exposure to dolutegravir because of the reduced dosing frequency while on rifampicin. <![CDATA[<b>Feasibility of implementing a novel behavioural smoking cessation intervention amongst human immunodeficiency virus-infected smokers in a resource-limited setting: A single-arm pilot trial</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100017&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Tobacco use is prevalent amongst individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In resource-constrained settings, pharmacological smoking cessation interventions are unfeasible because of their high cost. There is a need to develop and evaluate behavioural interventions to address the unique challenges of tobacco use in the HIV-infected populations in these settings. OBJECTIVES: The authors aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the Behavioural Activation/Problem Solving for Smoking Cessation (BAPS-SC) intervention programme to determine whether it should be tested in an adequately powered randomised controlled trial METHOD: The authors merged behavioural activation therapy (BAT) with the principles of problem-solving therapy to create a novel five-session counselling model to address the unique challenges of tobacco cessation amongst those infected with HIV. Feasibility measures included the rate of enrolment amongst those eligible and the retention rate and descriptive analysis of intervention acceptability. The authors' secondary outcome was 7-day point smoking prevalence abstinence, confirmed with breath carbon monoxide. RESULTS: A total of 128 individuals were screened over 8 weeks with 50 deemed eligible and 40 enrolled (80%). Retention at week 12 was 53% (21/40). The 7-day point prevalence abstinence, co-confirmed, at week 12 was 37.5% (15/40). All respondents indicated that they would recommend BAPS-SC to other smokers who want to quit, and would be willing to participate in the programme again up to the point of exit if they did not stop smoking. CONCLUSION: A full-scale randomised control trial comparing BAPS-SC with usual practice is warranted to evaluate the efficacy of this novel intervention in these settings. <![CDATA[<b>Changes in the incidence and prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in the South African medical schemes environment: 2005-2015</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100018&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: The South African (SA) private medical schemes environment has over the past two decades respond to the evolving needs of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (PLWH) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). OBJECTIVE: To determine changes in the incidence and prevalence rate of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or AIDS in the SA private medical schemes environment from 2005 to 2015. METHOD: In this observational study, a single, pharmaceutical benefit management (PBM) company's medicine-claims database of members with HIV or AIDS has been retrospectively analysed from January 2005 to December 2015. The cohort includes all patients identified by the HIV or AIDS-related diagnostic ICD-10 codes, B20-B24, who also claimed antiretroviral medication during that period. RESULTS: From 2005 to 2015, the proportion of HIV or AIDS patients enrolled in the PBM-company increased from 0.63% to 2.10%, and the incidence rate of new cases among the beneficiaries increased 2.3 times. The highest HIV or AIDS prevalence and incidence rates were found in the age group ≥ 40 and < 60 years, followed by the age group ≥ 60 and < 70 years. The highest prevalence rates in 2015 were recorded in Gauteng, namely, 422.4/1000 beneficiaries, followed by Western Cape (149.4/1000), and KwaZulu-Natal (118.4/1000). CONCLUSION: There has been an increase in the number of SA-PLWH accessing treatment in the medical scheme environment. The high prevalence of HIV infection among older members should signal concern that HIV-related comorbid conditions are likely to become a growing component of care required by PLWH utilizing the SA private healthcare sector. <![CDATA[<b>Empowering parents for human immunodeficiency virus prevention: Health and sex education at home</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100019&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Improving health literacy amongst human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive mothers could strengthen child and adolescent HIV prevention. The Amagugu intervention included health literacy materials to strengthen maternal communication and has demonstrated success in low-resource HIV-endemic settings. OBJECTIVES: Our aims were to (1) evaluate whether Amagugu materials improved health literacy leading to changes in parental behaviour towards communicating on topics such as HIV, health behaviours and sex education, and (2) explore what additional information and materials mothers would find helpful. METHOD: The Amagugu evaluation included 281 HIV-positive mothers and their HIV-uninfected children (6-10 years). Process evaluation data from exit interviews were analysed using content analysis and logistic regression techniques. RESULTS: Of 281 mothers, 276 (98.0%) requested more educational storybooks: 99 (35.2%) on moral development/future aspirations, 92 (32.7%) on general health, safety and health promotion, and 67 (23.8%) on HIV and disease management. Compared to baseline, mothers reported that the materials increased discussion on the risks of bullying from friends (150; 53.4%), teacher problems (142; 50.5%), physical abuse (147; 52.3%) and sexual abuse (126; 44.8%). Most mothers used the 'HIV Body Map' for health (274; 97.5%) and sex education (267; 95.0%). The use of a low-cost doll was reported to enhance mother-child communication by increasing mother-child play (264; 94.3%) and maternal attentiveness to the child's feelings (262; 93.6%. CONCLUSION: Parent-led health education in the home seems feasible, acceptable and effective and should be capitalised on in HIV prevention strategies. Further testing in controlled studies is recommended. <![CDATA[<b>Late diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus infection is linked to higher rates of epilepsy in children in the Eastern Cape of South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100020&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive children may present with a wide range of neurological disorders. Among these, epilepsy is of key concern because of its lifelong impact and potential for damage to the central nervous system (CNS). Few studies in developing regions have investigated the prevalence and aetiology of epilepsy in HIV-infected children as a key population. OBJECTIVES: We describe the prevalence of epilepsy, associated neurological disabilities, immunological status, clinical stage and history of CNS infection at epilepsy diagnosis in a cohort of HIV-infected children receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective study (2004-2014) at two major referral sites for HIV-infected children diagnosed with epilepsy aged 0-16 years. Eligible subjects were extracted from the electronic medicine bridging access to care in excellence (EMBRACE) Paediatric Cohort using the Paediatric ART Data Management Tool (PADMT). Fixed data fields were interrogated for exposures to antiepileptic drugs. Unstructured 'comments' fields were searched for the terms: epilepsy, seizures, fits and szs, as well as abbreviated versions of common antiepileptic drug names. Eligible subject folders were then retrieved to validate the digital data. RESULTS: From 2139 children enrolled in the two sites, 53 children were diagnosed with epilepsy (2.48%). In these, the median CD4 count was 591 cells/mm³, and the mean viral load was 4.9 log copies/mL, with undetectable viral loads in only seven children (14.0%). World Health Organization (WHO) clinical HIV stage was available for 46 patients of the sample, with 3, 6, 26 and 11 children graded at stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively. Forty percent children had a history of CNS infection prior to the epilepsy diagnosis, and 55% children were reported to have school problems. CONCLUSIONS: In this descriptive study, the prevalence of epilepsy among children with HIV was 2.48%, mostly diagnosed in advanced HIV-disease stages. Our findings support the usefulness of early detection and initiation of ART in HIV-infected children in order to reduce the risk of epilepsy. In addition, our study demonstrates that novel techniques are effective in accessing cohort-level data that allow interrogation of both structured and unstructured clinical data. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of a mobile application to support HIV self-testing in Johannesburg, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100021&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus self-testing (HIVST) reduces barriers associated with facility-based testing; however, no formal mechanism exists for users to self-report results or link to care. The AspectTM HIVST mobile application (app) was developed for use in South Africa. OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the acceptability and feasibility of the AspectTM HIVST app for individuals from the inner city of Johannesburg. METHOD: This cross-sectional pilot, with a convenience sample of 300 adults, was conducted in July 2018. Participants were provided an OraQuick HIVST kit and a smartphone preloaded with the app, then asked to follow the in-app instructions for use (IFU) to complete the HIVST and upload results. Trained healthcare workers (HCWs) observed and recorded any deviations from the IFU, and conducted a post-test survey to assess acceptability. Feasibility was evaluated by the number of participants who agreed to participate, completed the self-test, and uploaded all information onto the app correctly. RESULTS: Most participants (98.7%) found the app easy to use. To reduce difficulties related to the IFU (26; 8.7%), participants suggested multimedia supplements (4; 1.3%), additional languages (4; 1.3%) and simplified instructions (5; 1.7%). All individuals approached, agreed to participate, 267 (89.0%) correctly completed all steps and 210 (78.7%) successfully captured all information on the app. Most errors (26; 8.7%) were testing errors and 1 (0.3%) was from the app sequence. Twelve (4.5%) errors were with test strip imaging and 72 (27.0%) discordances were with demographic information. CONCLUSION: Despite some challenges with IFU interpretation and data capture via the app, this pilot showed that the AspectTM HIVST app is an acceptable way to upload mobile HIVST results and demographic information to a central database. <![CDATA[<b>Characteristics and outcomes of older people on antiretroviral therapy in Tlokwe Clinics, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100022&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: South Africa (SA) has a large human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic but little is known of its effect on those ≥ 60 years of age viz. 'older-persons' living with HIV (OPLWH). Numbers in this age group are increasing and are expected to place a greater strain on existing resources. OBJECTIVES: To describe the demographic features and the co-morbidities of OPLWH in Tlokwe. This included an assessment of viral load (VL) suppression and the identification of associations between patient characteristics and clinical outcomes METHODS: A retrospective file review was undertaken to cover the period 01 May 2017 to 30 April 2018. Descriptive statistics were applied to demographic and clinical data and to treatment outcomes. Statistically significant associations were subjected to logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: Of the 191 participants, 111/191 (58.1%) were female and 167/191 (87.4%) were 60 ̶70 years of age. Of the participants, 154/191 (81.9%) were virally suppressed (< 400 copies/mL). Hypertension (n = 106/191, 55.5%) was the most frequently identified co-morbidity. A CD4 cell count of ≥ 350 cells/mm³ at last assessment correlated positively with VL suppression (odds ratio 2.3, confidence interval 1.05-5.02, p = 0.037. CONCLUSION: Although the level of VL suppression in this cohort was high, greater effort is required to bring this in line with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommendations viz. 90% viral suppression in PLWH by 2030. Further research is needed to define the evolving long-term needs of OPLWH and to facilitate entry into care of those currently not in care. <![CDATA[<b>Antiretroviral therapy optimisation in the time of COVID-19: Is it really different in North and South Africa?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100023&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: South Africa (SA) has a large human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic but little is known of its effect on those ≥ 60 years of age viz. 'older-persons' living with HIV (OPLWH). Numbers in this age group are increasing and are expected to place a greater strain on existing resources. OBJECTIVES: To describe the demographic features and the co-morbidities of OPLWH in Tlokwe. This included an assessment of viral load (VL) suppression and the identification of associations between patient characteristics and clinical outcomes METHODS: A retrospective file review was undertaken to cover the period 01 May 2017 to 30 April 2018. Descriptive statistics were applied to demographic and clinical data and to treatment outcomes. Statistically significant associations were subjected to logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: Of the 191 participants, 111/191 (58.1%) were female and 167/191 (87.4%) were 60 ̶70 years of age. Of the participants, 154/191 (81.9%) were virally suppressed (< 400 copies/mL). Hypertension (n = 106/191, 55.5%) was the most frequently identified co-morbidity. A CD4 cell count of ≥ 350 cells/mm³ at last assessment correlated positively with VL suppression (odds ratio 2.3, confidence interval 1.05-5.02, p = 0.037. CONCLUSION: Although the level of VL suppression in this cohort was high, greater effort is required to bring this in line with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommendations viz. 90% viral suppression in PLWH by 2030. Further research is needed to define the evolving long-term needs of OPLWH and to facilitate entry into care of those currently not in care. <![CDATA[<b>Paediatric antiretroviral overdose: A case report from a resource-poor area</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100024&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt INTRODUCTION: Toxic side effects from antiretroviral overdose in children have not been widely reported. Antiretroviral drugs are widely used as oral medications throughout sub-Saharan Africa. PATIENT PRESENTATION: We describe the clinical presentation and management of a 3-year-old male in rural Kenya, who accidentally overdosed on abacavir/lamivudine combination pills. The number of pills taken was approximately 250 tablets, that is 15 g of abacavir and 7.5 g of lamivudine. He presented 24 hours later to Homabay County Referral Hospital, with unresponsiveness, inability to feed and absence of playfulness. Physical examination revealed a sick-looking, 'unconscious' child, responding only to voice, with tachycardia, hypertension and moderate dehydration. MANAGEMENT AND OUTCOME: He was managed conservatively with rehydration, namely intravenous 1125 mL of 5% dextrose in 0.9% saline, and the monitoring of his neurologic status, urine output and all vital signs. He regained normal neurological function after 24 hours, and recovered uneventfully, but was lost to follow-up. CONCLUSION: In an area endemic for HIV and where antiretroviral drug use is commonplace, there is a need for health education to ensure that parents keep drugs out of the reach of children. In the case of a suspected overdose, parents need to be reminded to seek medical attention immediately. Physician awareness of the clinical presentation, management and challenges with an antiretroviral drug overdose is also important <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of the impact of delayed centrifugation on the diagnostic performance of serum creatinine as a baseline measure of renal function before antiretroviral treatment</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100025&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: The measurement of serum creatinine is a standard requirement of the medical management of people living with HIV. Renal dysfunction is common, both as a complication of HIV-infection and as a result of its treatment. The detection of abnormal renal function before the start of antiretroviral therapy will impact patient management and the outcome of treatment. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to determine if a time delay in the centrifugation of serum samples affected the creatinine level and the estimated glomerular filtration rate as recorded on the analytical platforms used in the laboratory. METHODS: Twenty-two (n = 22) HIV-positive, newly diagnosed and treatment-naïve patients were randomly recruited from Alexandra Health Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa. Serum samples were centrifuged at six time intervals following receipt of the sample viz. < 4 h (baseline), 6 h, 24 h, 48 h, 72 h and 96 h. Creatinine concentrations were measured on the Roche platform utilising the enzymatic and kinetic Jaffe methods. Whole blood samples were also analysed with the Abbott i-STAT point-of-care instrument. The estimated glomerular filtration rate was calculated using the Cockcroft Gault, CKD-Epidemiology Collaboration and Modified Diet and Renal Disease v3/4 equations. RESULTS: At baseline (< 4 h) there was good agreement between the enzymatic and kinetic Jaffe methods: bias 1.7 µmol/l. The enzymatic and i-STAT creatinine concentrations were stable over 96 h viz. changes of 1.8% and 5.7%. However, from 24 h onwards agreement between the enzymatic and kinetic Jaffe methods was poor with the latter measuring 43.7 µmol/l higher than the enzymatic method at 96 h. Creatinine concentrations measured with the kinetic Jaffe method increased significantly in samples centrifuged after 6 h (p < 0.001, 61.7% change), and resulted in a 95% decline in eGFR at 96 h as determined with the CKD-Epidemiology Collaboration equation. CONCLUSION: The analysis of serum creatinine using the isotope dilution mass spectrometry traceable kinetic Jaffe method is unreliable if performed on samples centrifuged ≥ 6 h after collection. The raised creatinine concentration can affect clinical decisions such as renal functional assessment, choice of antiretroviral drug or regimen, and the dose and frequency of medication. <![CDATA[<b>Patient acceptance of HIV testing services in rural emergency departments in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100026&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: South Africa faces the highest burden of HIV infection globally. The National Strategic Plan on HIV recommends provider-initiated HIV counselling and testing (HCT) in all healthcare facilities. However, HIV continues to overwhelm the healthcare system. Emergency department (ED)-based HCT could address unmet testing needs. OBJECTIVES: This study examines the reasons for accepting or declining HCT in South African EDs to inform the development of HCT implementation strategies. METHOD: We conducted a prospective observational study in two rural EDs, from June to September 2017. Patients presenting to the ED were systematically approached and offered a point-of-care test in accordance with national guidelines. Patients demographics, presenting compaint, medical history and reasons for accepting/declining testing, were recorded. A pooled analysis is presented. RESULTS: Across sites, 2074 adult, non-critical patients in the ED were approached; 1880 were enrolled in the study. Of those enrolled, 19.7% had a previously known positive diagnosis, and 80.3% were unaware of their HIV status. Of those unaware, 90% patients accepted and 10% declined testing. The primary reasons for declining testing were 'does not want to know status' (37.6%), 'in too much pain' (34%) and 'does not believe they are at risk' (19.9%). CONCLUSIONS: Despite national guidelines, a high proportion of individuals remain undiagnosed, of which a majority are young men. Our study demonstrated high patient acceptance of ED-based HCT. There is a need for investment and innovation regarding effective pain management and confidential service delivery to address patient barriers. Findings support a routine, non-targeted HCT strategy in EDs. <![CDATA[<b>Retention in care for adolescents who were newly initiated on antiretroviral therapy in the Cape Metropole in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100027&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Long-term retention of adolescents aged 10 -19 years on antiretroviral therapy (ART) is crucial to achieve viral load suppression. However, it is reported globally that adolescents have lower retention in care (RiC) on ART, compared with children and adults. OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and predictors of RiC of adolescents over 2 years following initiation onto ART in public health facilities in the Metropole District Health Services of the Western Cape province in 2013. METHODS: Data of 220 adolescent patients who were newly initiated on ART in 2013 were extracted from the provincial electronic database, and subjected to univariate and bivariate analyses using SPSS. RESULTS: The rate of RiC post-initiation was low throughout the study period, that is, 68.6%, 50.5% and 36.4% at 4, 12 and 24 months, respectively. The corresponding post-initiation viral load suppression levels on ART of those remaining in care and who had viral loads monitored were 84.1%, 77.4% and 68.8% at 4, 12 and 24 months, respectively. Retention in care after initiation on ART was higher amongst younger adolescents (10-14 years), compared with older adolescents (15-19 years). Male adolescents were significantly more likely to be retained, compared with females. Pregnant adolescents were significantly less likely to be retained compared with those who were not pregnant. CONCLUSION: Key interventions are needed to motivate adolescents to remain in care, and to adhere to their treatment regimen to achieve the target of 90% viral load suppression, with specific emphasis on older and pregnant adolescents. <![CDATA[<b>The spectrum of electrolyte abnormalities in black African people living with human immunodeficiency virus and diabetes mellitus at Edendale Hospital, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100028&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>The initial intravenous treatment of a human immunodeficiency virus-infected child with complicated abdominal tuberculosis</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100029&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt INTRODUCTION: There is very limited published experience with intravenous (IV) antituberculosis (anti-TB) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) especially in children. We have described a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected child with complicated abdominal tuberculosis who was initially treated with IV anti-TB and a partially IV ART regimen before transitioning to oral therapy PATIENT PRESENTATION: A 3-year-old boy presented with hypovolaemic shock with a 3-day history of inability to pass stools, abdominal distension and bile-stained vomiting. Abdominal ultrasound and X-ray showed small-bowel obstruction. Human immunodeficiency virus antibody testing was positive, and Cluster of Differentiation (CD)4+ lymphocyte count was 56 cells/mL (15%). Xpert Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)/Rifampicin (RIF) Ultra and TB culture on induced sputum detected MTB complex sensitive to rifampicin and isoniazid MANAGEMENT AND OUTCOME: Following laparotomy and closure of bowel perforations, the child was commenced on IV rifampicin, moxifloxacin and amikacin. Amikacin was stopped after 3 days because of nephrotoxicity, and meropenem and IV linezolid were added. After 20 days, ART comprising IV zidovudine, oral lamivudine solution, oral lopinavir/ritonavir solution and additional oral ritonavir solution for super boosting was commenced. By day 40, the patient was well established on oral feeds and was switched to standard oral anti-TB medications. Sputum examined 1 month after starting the treatment was found culture-negative for MTB. After 4 months of treatment, the HIV viral load was < 100 copies/mL. He completed a total of 12 months of anti-TB treatment. CONCLUSION: Despite limited experience and few available IV formulations of standard anti-TB and ARV medications, initial IV therapy may be beneficial for patients in whom oral medication is not an option <![CDATA[<b>Understanding adherence in virally suppressed and unsuppressed human immunodeficiency virus-positive urban patients on second-line antiretroviral treatment</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100030&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Feasibility of implementing same-day antiretroviral therapy initiation during routine care in Ekurhuleni District, South Africa: Retention and viral load suppression</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100031&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Same-day initiation (SDI) of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been advocated as an approach to increase linkage to care and overall ART initiation. Clinical trials have demonstrated impressive benefits. However, questions regarding patient preparedness and retention in care remain for routine implementation of this approach OBJECTIVES: In this study, we sought to describe SDI of ART during routine care delivery and compare time to ART initiation on longitudinal care outcomes METHOD: We performed a retrospective chart review of 100 consecutive individuals, newly diagnosed with HIV, from 10 health facilities across Ekurhuleni, from January to July 2017. Records were reviewed for a period of 1 year post-diagnosis. Abstracted data included demographics, time to ART initiation, clinic visits and laboratory test results (including viral load testing RESULTS: A total of 993 patient records were reviewed, of which 826 were included in the analysis. The majority of patients (752, 91%) had ART initiation recorded, of which 654 (79%) had ART initiated within 30 days, and 224 (27%) had SDI. Uptake of SDI of ART was higher among women (36% vs. 10.4%; p < 0.001) and in younger patients (33.7% in those < 29 years; p < 0.01). Retention in care at 6 months was achieved in 477 (58%) patients. Of those with 6-month viral loads, 350/430 (73%) had a viral load < 400 c/m. Retention in care and viral suppression were similar among those with SDI of ART and later ART initiation CONCLUSION: Same-day initiation of ART was successfully delivered with similar retention and viral load outcomes as subsequent initiation, providing re-assurance for scale-up of this strategy in routine care <![CDATA[<b>Future approaches to clearing the latent human immunodeficiency virus reservoir: Beyond latency reversal</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100032&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: While combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) allows near-normal life expectancy for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it is unable to cure the infection and so life long treatment is required OBJECTIVES: The main barrier to curing HIV is the latent reservoir of cells, which is stable and resistant to cART METHOD: Current approaches under investigation for clearing this reservoir propose a 'Shock and Kill' mechanism, in which active replication is induced in latent cells by latency reversal agents, theoretically allowing killing of the newly active cells RESULTS: However, previous studies have failed to achieve depletion of the T central memory cell reservoir, are unable to target other latent reservoirs and may be causing neurological damage to participants CONCLUSION: Future approaches to clearing the latent reservoir may bypass latency reversal through the use of drugs that selectively induce apoptosis in infected cells. Several classes of these pro-apoptotic drugs have shown promise in in vitro and ex vivo studies, and may represent the basis of a future functional cure for HIV <![CDATA[<b>The Editor's review of articles published from August to December 2019 in the <i>Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100033&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: While combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) allows near-normal life expectancy for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it is unable to cure the infection and so life long treatment is required OBJECTIVES: The main barrier to curing HIV is the latent reservoir of cells, which is stable and resistant to cART METHOD: Current approaches under investigation for clearing this reservoir propose a 'Shock and Kill' mechanism, in which active replication is induced in latent cells by latency reversal agents, theoretically allowing killing of the newly active cells RESULTS: However, previous studies have failed to achieve depletion of the T central memory cell reservoir, are unable to target other latent reservoirs and may be causing neurological damage to participants CONCLUSION: Future approaches to clearing the latent reservoir may bypass latency reversal through the use of drugs that selectively induce apoptosis in infected cells. Several classes of these pro-apoptotic drugs have shown promise in in vitro and ex vivo studies, and may represent the basis of a future functional cure for HIV <![CDATA[<b>Southern African HIV Clinicians Society guidelines for antiretroviral therapy in adults: 2020 update</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100034&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: While combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) allows near-normal life expectancy for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it is unable to cure the infection and so life long treatment is required OBJECTIVES: The main barrier to curing HIV is the latent reservoir of cells, which is stable and resistant to cART METHOD: Current approaches under investigation for clearing this reservoir propose a 'Shock and Kill' mechanism, in which active replication is induced in latent cells by latency reversal agents, theoretically allowing killing of the newly active cells RESULTS: However, previous studies have failed to achieve depletion of the T central memory cell reservoir, are unable to target other latent reservoirs and may be causing neurological damage to participants CONCLUSION: Future approaches to clearing the latent reservoir may bypass latency reversal through the use of drugs that selectively induce apoptosis in infected cells. Several classes of these pro-apoptotic drugs have shown promise in in vitro and ex vivo studies, and may represent the basis of a future functional cure for HIV <![CDATA[<b>Healthcare worker compliance with cervical cancer screening guidelines. An audit at district and regional level of care in the Pietermaritzburg Metropolitan area of KwaZulu-Natal</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100035&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: In South Africa (SA) there are screening guidelines for cervical cancer in women living with HIV (WLWH). To our knowledge there is lack of data concerning the knowledge of health care workers (HCWs) about cervical cancer screening guidelines before the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in WLWH. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the knowledge and familiarity of HCWs regarding cervical cancer screening guidelines in WLWH. METHODS: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study exploring compliance with cervical cancer screening guidelines before initiating ART was conducted with 85 HCWs in the antiretroviral (ARV) clinics of a district and regional hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, SA. Data were analysed using Stata V13 and a p-value of ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: Eighty-five HCWs were included in the study. Health care workers' responses to knowledge about cervical cancer screening in WLWH were suboptimal and revealed significant gaps. Most HCWs did not know the screening intervals of WLWH. Statistically significant associations were found between an HCW's occupation and responses to the Likert scale questions. CONCLUSION: Although the majority of HCWs were familiar with cervical cancer screening guidelines in WLWH, the study highlights that there are deficiencies in both knowledge and practice. Creating awareness among HCWs regarding the current methods of cervical cancer screening is a necessary to reduce morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer in WLWH. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of HIV and non-communicable disease comorbidity on healthcare costs and health experiences in people living with HIV in Zimbabwe</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100036&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: The effects of HIV and non-communicable disease (NCD) comorbidities on healthcare costs and health experiences have been documented in most high-income countries. However, little similar data are available for Zimbabwe and most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Untreated or under-treated NCDs can potentially negate the gains achieved from the control of HIV. OBJECTIVES: The study sought to determine the effects of HIV-NCD comorbidity on healthcare costs, health experiences and treatment options for people living with HIV (PLWH) in Zimbabwe. METHODS: A repeated-measures, quantitative study was conducted at six antiretroviral therapy (ART) sites in the Gweru District of Zimbabwe. Simple random sampling was used to enrol 100 PLWH concurrently diagnosed with hypertension and/or diabetes mellitus (cases). Cases were matched by age, sex and viral load to an equal number of PLWH without hypertension and/or diabetes mellitus (controls). Quantitative data were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire at monthly intervals for 6 months. The questionnaire survey sought to compare healthcare costs, health-related experiences and treatment options between cases and controls. Data were analysed using Stata Version 13.1®. A logistic model was used to examine other factors such as demographic, clinical and behavioural data that were assumed to be unchanged over the study period. A random-effects model, including costs and other covariates, was used to compare groups in the final analysis. RESULTS: Non-communicable disease status was associated with the length of time on ART. Cases spent significantly more on transport (p = 0.0001) and medication (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 4.4, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.2-7.3); spent more days without doing usual daily activities because of sickness (AOR = 4.2, 95% CI: 3.3-7.6) and were more likely to use alternative medication (AOR = 3.4, 95% CI: 2.3-4.6) when compared with controls. Unemployment, female gender, age of 60 years and above, and living in rural areas were associated with failure to purchase prescribed medication. CONCLUSIONS: HIV-NCD comorbidity causes an additional burden to PLWH because of increased transport costs, NCD prescribed medication expenses and more productive days lost due to illness. The success of HIV programmes does not only rely on improving access to the diagnosis and treatment of HIV. Addressing the complications of HIV-related NCDs, and the long-term costs of ART and its occasional potential for harm will be essential if health outcomes in Zimbabweans living with HIV are to be optimised. <![CDATA[<b>Capacity of antiretroviral therapy sites for managing NCDs in people living with HIV in Zimbabwe</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100037&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: There are marked inconsistencies in prevalence data for human immunodeficiency virus and non-communicable disease (HIV-NCD) comorbidity in Zimbabwe. OBJECTIVES: To explain these discrepancies, we investigated the capacity of antiretroviral therapy (ART) sites in managing hypertension (HTN) and diabetes mellitus (DM) in people living with HIV (PLWH) in Gweru district, Zimbabwe. METHOD: This was a qualitative research design in which key informant interviews were conducted with eight health managers, and 12 focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with 72 PLWH concurrently diagnosed with HTN and/or DM. Thematic data analysis was performed in NVivo version 12®. RESULTS: Routine screening for HTN and targeted screening for DM were often interrupted by dysfunctional machines and intermittent supply of necessary consumables, impacting negatively on the capacity of the sites to monitor and screen for the NCDs. Erratic hypertensive and diabetic medication availability at study sites were also reported, forcing patients to turn to other treatment options (medication rationing or overdose or sharing, use of home remedies and traditional medicines, and reliance on faith and traditional healers. CONCLUSION: Findings demonstrate that the quality of observed incidence and prevalence data for HTN and DM in LMICs is a function of the capacity of health centres to screen for NCDs. Given the ageing population of PLWH in sub-Saharan Africa, coupled with increasing trends in the prevalence of NCDs in HIV-infected people, HIV programmes have not evolved with the changing needs of PLWH. Attention to the holistic management of PLWH is long overdue. <![CDATA[<b>Neural tube defects in the Free State province from 2012 to 2016. Is there an increase?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100038&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Neural tube defects (NTDs) are anomalies of the central nervous system caused by the defective closure of the neural tube during early embryogenesis. A significant decline in the incidence of NTDs after folic acid fortification of food in South Africa was previously shown. Recently, clinical geneticists have voiced concerns that there is a possible resurgence in the number of NTDs. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of NTDs at a South African Hospital from 2012 to 2016. METHODS: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study where all babies with NTDs born in, or referred to Universitas Hospital were included as study participants. Information was collected for both the mother and the baby from hospital records and data forms RESULTS: Seventy-seven cases of NTDs were captured from 2012 to 2016. The incidence of NTDs was 0.34/1000 births in the Free State province, and 1.21/1000 births if only the data for babies born in Universitas Hospital and Pelonomi Hospital were used. Further analysis showed a male: female ratio of 1:1. Open spina bifida was the most common defect at 71.4%. CONCLUSION: The incidence of NTDs in the Free State province was low compared to other South African and international studies. The incidence for the metropolitan hospitals is comparable to that of previous studies. This discrepancy is a marker of poor data recording and will impact healthcare planning. A statistically significant increase in NTDs could not be proven. <![CDATA[<b>The evolution and adoption of World Health Organization policy guidelines on antiretroviral therapy initiation in sub-Saharan Africa: A scoping review</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100039&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Despite past and present global interventions, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic remains a public health problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The World Health Organization (WHO) has assisted these countries by providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) policies for adoption and adaptation to local needs. OBJECTIVES: This article describes the response of countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), to the WHO's changing CD4-threshold ART-initiation recommendations of the past two decades. METHODS: Relevant articles published in international peer-reviewed journals were accessed via the following search engines: PubMed, Google Scholar, Cochrane, Embase and EBSCOhost. The study's inclusion criteria were articles published in the English language between 2000 and 2019 that highlighted changes to the CD4 ART-initiation threshold and that focused on the WHO's 'commencement of ART' policy guidelines. Sixteen studies (n = 16) from SSA were identified and included in this review: four are cross-sectional, four deal with cost-effectiveness, four are retrospective, one is a randomised trial and three are observational studies. Only studies conducted in SSA were assessed. RESULTS: Four themes emerged: (1) adoption of the WHO CD4-ART-initiation policy by SSA countries, (2) timely implementation of the changing guideline initiation policy in the region, (3) barriers and facilitators encountered in the implementation of the changing guidelines and (4) description of similarities in policy implementation at country level from 2002 to 2019. Regional studies - cross-sectional, observational, retrospective, cost-effectiveness and randomised have described greater access to ART in SSA. However, barriers remain. The most common barriers to the timely implementation of 'new' ART-initiation guidelines were economic constraints, drug stock-outs, delays in obtaining baseline blood-test results and staff shortages. CONCLUSION: Although countries in SSA have adopted the WHO-ART-CD4 initiation-threshold policy guidelines, implementation has seldom occurred in a timely manner. Barriers have been identified. Whilst a small number of countries have implemented recommendations promptly, for many, the barriers still require to be overcome. <![CDATA[<b>Adolescent healthcare: I'm Lovin' it</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100040&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Despite past and present global interventions, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic remains a public health problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The World Health Organization (WHO) has assisted these countries by providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) policies for adoption and adaptation to local needs. OBJECTIVES: This article describes the response of countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), to the WHO's changing CD4-threshold ART-initiation recommendations of the past two decades. METHODS: Relevant articles published in international peer-reviewed journals were accessed via the following search engines: PubMed, Google Scholar, Cochrane, Embase and EBSCOhost. The study's inclusion criteria were articles published in the English language between 2000 and 2019 that highlighted changes to the CD4 ART-initiation threshold and that focused on the WHO's 'commencement of ART' policy guidelines. Sixteen studies (n = 16) from SSA were identified and included in this review: four are cross-sectional, four deal with cost-effectiveness, four are retrospective, one is a randomised trial and three are observational studies. Only studies conducted in SSA were assessed. RESULTS: Four themes emerged: (1) adoption of the WHO CD4-ART-initiation policy by SSA countries, (2) timely implementation of the changing guideline initiation policy in the region, (3) barriers and facilitators encountered in the implementation of the changing guidelines and (4) description of similarities in policy implementation at country level from 2002 to 2019. Regional studies - cross-sectional, observational, retrospective, cost-effectiveness and randomised have described greater access to ART in SSA. However, barriers remain. The most common barriers to the timely implementation of 'new' ART-initiation guidelines were economic constraints, drug stock-outs, delays in obtaining baseline blood-test results and staff shortages. CONCLUSION: Although countries in SSA have adopted the WHO-ART-CD4 initiation-threshold policy guidelines, implementation has seldom occurred in a timely manner. Barriers have been identified. Whilst a small number of countries have implemented recommendations promptly, for many, the barriers still require to be overcome. <![CDATA[<b>Southern African HIV Clinicians Society guidelines for solid organ transplantation in human immunodeficiency virus: An evidence-based framework for human immunodeficiency virus-positive donors and recipients</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100041&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Despite past and present global interventions, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic remains a public health problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The World Health Organization (WHO) has assisted these countries by providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) policies for adoption and adaptation to local needs. OBJECTIVES: This article describes the response of countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), to the WHO's changing CD4-threshold ART-initiation recommendations of the past two decades. METHODS: Relevant articles published in international peer-reviewed journals were accessed via the following search engines: PubMed, Google Scholar, Cochrane, Embase and EBSCOhost. The study's inclusion criteria were articles published in the English language between 2000 and 2019 that highlighted changes to the CD4 ART-initiation threshold and that focused on the WHO's 'commencement of ART' policy guidelines. Sixteen studies (n = 16) from SSA were identified and included in this review: four are cross-sectional, four deal with cost-effectiveness, four are retrospective, one is a randomised trial and three are observational studies. Only studies conducted in SSA were assessed. RESULTS: Four themes emerged: (1) adoption of the WHO CD4-ART-initiation policy by SSA countries, (2) timely implementation of the changing guideline initiation policy in the region, (3) barriers and facilitators encountered in the implementation of the changing guidelines and (4) description of similarities in policy implementation at country level from 2002 to 2019. Regional studies - cross-sectional, observational, retrospective, cost-effectiveness and randomised have described greater access to ART in SSA. However, barriers remain. The most common barriers to the timely implementation of 'new' ART-initiation guidelines were economic constraints, drug stock-outs, delays in obtaining baseline blood-test results and staff shortages. CONCLUSION: Although countries in SSA have adopted the WHO-ART-CD4 initiation-threshold policy guidelines, implementation has seldom occurred in a timely manner. Barriers have been identified. Whilst a small number of countries have implemented recommendations promptly, for many, the barriers still require to be overcome. <![CDATA[<b>Cervical human papillomavirus prevalence, risk factors and outcomes in a cohort of HIV-infected women in Harare, Zimbabwe</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100042&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Human papillomavirus (HPV) associated invasive cervical cancer (ICC) is common in Zimbabwe, disproportionately affecting women living with HIV (WLHIV). Understanding high-risk HPV (hrHPV) infection in relation to cervical disease is important for ICC prevention amongst WLHIV. OBJECTIVES: To describe the prevalence of cervical hrHPV, type distribution, associated risk factors and ICC screening outcomes in an urban cohort of Zimbabwean women. METHODS: In this cohort study, WLHIV were tested for hrHPV infection using the Cepheid Xpert® HPV assay and followed up for incident cervical disease. Follow-up assessments were done by visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA). Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to describe hrHPV burden and association between hrHPV and potential risk factors. Incidence rates (IR) and rate ratios of cervical disease by hrHPV infection status were also calculated. RESULTS: Amongst 321 WLHIV recruited, hrHPV prevalence was 24.9% (n = 80). Fifty-two of these women (65%) were positive for hrHPV types other than 16 or 18/45. Younger age (22-29 years), early sexual debut (13-16 years) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen (second-line ART) were independently associated with hrHPV positivity. Positive VIA IR ratio between hrHPV-positive and -negative women was 12.57 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.14-38.19). Only women with hrHPV infection had incident cervical disease (IR: 6.41/100 person-years, (95% CI: 3.33-12.32). There were no ICC cases by the end of the 2-year follow-up. CONCLUSION: There was a high prevalence of hrHPV infection other than 16 and 18/45 in this cohort. Integrating HPV testing in cervical cancer screening programmes may increase screening intervals in hrHPV-negative women, reducing costs for programmes. We recommend further research into cross protectivity of the bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines against these other hrHPV types. <![CDATA[<b>Human immunodeficiency virus, diabetes mellitus and thyroid abnormalities: Should we be screening?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100043&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Diabetes mellitus (DM) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are associated with thyroid abnormalities. Scarce literature exists on the prevalence of thyroid abnormalities in people living with HIV (PLWH) and DM (PLWHD). Guidelines vary regarding thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) screening in PLWH and/or DM OBJECTIVES: This study describes thyroid abnormalities in PLWHD and HIV-uninfected people living with DM (PLWD). METHOD: This was a cross-sectional analysis of demographic, clinical and biochemical data including TSH results of first-visit patients to the Edendale Hospital diabetes clinic between January 2016 and December 2017 RESULTS: A total of 915 patients were enrolled: 165 PLWHD and 750 PLWD. Overall prevalence of thyroid disorders in PLWD was 8.53% (64/750). The occurrence of 'total' thyroid disorders and of 'subclinical-hypothyroidism' (SCH) was higher in PLWHD than PLWD (23.03% vs. 8.53% and 20.61% vs. 4%, p < 0.001; respectively). People living with HIV and diabetes with thyroid disorders had lower CD4 counts than PLWHD without thyroid disorders (376.08 ± 333.30 vs. 509 ± 341.7 cells/mm³; p = 0.004). Subclinical-hypothyroidism was more common in patients on antiretroviral therapy [ART] (27/136 [19.85%] vs. 4/27 [14.81%], p < 0.001). A significant number of PLWHD acquired HIV before the onset of DM (107/165 [64.85%] vs. 58/165 [35.15%], p < 0.001). Patients on ART were more likely to develop DM, OR 2.66 (95% CI 1.11-6.38. CONCLUSION: Our study showed an increased prevalence of thyroid disorders (especially SCH) in PLWD and a higher prevalence in PLWHD. Young, overweight, female PLWHD were at risk of SCH. People living with HIV and DM on ART demonstrated an increased prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and poor lipaemic control. The introduction of combined communicable-non-communicable disease clinics might provide an integrated patient screening option. <![CDATA[<b>Be legally wise: When is parental consent required for adolescents' access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100044&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: South African adolescents (12-17 years) need an array of prevention tools to address their risk of acquiring the life-long, stigmatized condition that is HIV. Prevention tools include pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). However, service providers may not be clear on the instances where self-consent is permissible or when parental consent should be secured AIM: To consider the legal norms for minor consent to PrEP using the rules of statutory interpretation SETTING: Legal and policy framework RESULTS: We find that PrEP should be interpreted as a form of 'medical treatment'; understood broadly so that it falls within the ambit of one of consent norms in the Children's Act. When PrEP is interpreted as 'medical treatment', then self-consent to PrEP is permissible for persons over 12 years, if they have the mental capacity and maturity to understand the benefits, risks, social and other implications of the proposed treatment. Currently, PrEP is only licensed for persons over 35 kg. Reaching the age of 12 years is a necessary but not sufficient criteria for self-consent and service-providers must ensure capacity requirements are met before implementing a self-consent approach. Decisional support and adherence support are critical CONCLUSIONS: We recommend that service-providers should take steps to ensure that those persons who meet an age requirement for self-consent, also meet the capacity requirement, and that best practices in this regard be shared. We also recommend that policy makers should ensure that PrEP guidelines are updated to reflect the adolescent consent approach articulated above. It is envisaged that these efforts will enable at-risk adolescents to access much needed interventions to reduce their HIV risk <![CDATA[<b>A rapid review and synthesis of the effectiveness of programmes initiating community-based antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100045&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Community-based antiretroviral therapy initiation (CB-ARTi) has the potential to reduce attrition by increasing access to care, reducing patient costs, decongesting clinics and ensuring improved uptake of ART. There is a paucity of research that identifies successful implementation of CB-ARTi in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to review and describe the evidence on the effectiveness of CB-ARTi programmes that start ART in communities in comparison with the current standards of care in SSA. METHODS: A rapid review of grey and published peer-reviewed literature between January 2009 and July 2019, by using PubMed, PDQ-Evidence, Google Scholar, clinical trial databases and major HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) conference websites, was conducted. Search terms used included 'community-based', 'home initiation community models', 'antiretroviral therapy', 'clinical outcomes', 'viral suppression', 'retention in care', 'loss to follow-up', 'HIV' and 'sub-Saharan Africa'. RESULTS: The search yielded 90 articles and reports following the removal of duplicates. After initial screening and full-text screening, six articles remained and were included in the qualitative narrative synthesis. This included four randomised control trials and two cohort studies of specific interventions comparing CB-ARTi with the standard of care in SSA. There is evidence that CB-ARTi can increase access to HIV-testing services, linkage to ART, retention in care and viral suppression rates and is possibly not inferior to facility-based healthcare CONCLUSION: CB-ARTi has the potential to increase access to HIV services to people living with HIV in SSA. The results mentioned previously suggest that CB-ARTi models could prove to be equal and possibly not inferior to facility-based ones and warrant further investigation. <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100046&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Community-based antiretroviral therapy initiation (CB-ARTi) has the potential to reduce attrition by increasing access to care, reducing patient costs, decongesting clinics and ensuring improved uptake of ART. There is a paucity of research that identifies successful implementation of CB-ARTi in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to review and describe the evidence on the effectiveness of CB-ARTi programmes that start ART in communities in comparison with the current standards of care in SSA. METHODS: A rapid review of grey and published peer-reviewed literature between January 2009 and July 2019, by using PubMed, PDQ-Evidence, Google Scholar, clinical trial databases and major HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) conference websites, was conducted. Search terms used included 'community-based', 'home initiation community models', 'antiretroviral therapy', 'clinical outcomes', 'viral suppression', 'retention in care', 'loss to follow-up', 'HIV' and 'sub-Saharan Africa'. RESULTS: The search yielded 90 articles and reports following the removal of duplicates. After initial screening and full-text screening, six articles remained and were included in the qualitative narrative synthesis. This included four randomised control trials and two cohort studies of specific interventions comparing CB-ARTi with the standard of care in SSA. There is evidence that CB-ARTi can increase access to HIV-testing services, linkage to ART, retention in care and viral suppression rates and is possibly not inferior to facility-based healthcare CONCLUSION: CB-ARTi has the potential to increase access to HIV services to people living with HIV in SSA. The results mentioned previously suggest that CB-ARTi models could prove to be equal and possibly not inferior to facility-based ones and warrant further investigation. <![CDATA[<b>COVID-19 crisis effect on HIV service delivery in Egypt: Hard times or blessings in disguise?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100047&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Community-based antiretroviral therapy initiation (CB-ARTi) has the potential to reduce attrition by increasing access to care, reducing patient costs, decongesting clinics and ensuring improved uptake of ART. There is a paucity of research that identifies successful implementation of CB-ARTi in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to review and describe the evidence on the effectiveness of CB-ARTi programmes that start ART in communities in comparison with the current standards of care in SSA. METHODS: A rapid review of grey and published peer-reviewed literature between January 2009 and July 2019, by using PubMed, PDQ-Evidence, Google Scholar, clinical trial databases and major HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) conference websites, was conducted. Search terms used included 'community-based', 'home initiation community models', 'antiretroviral therapy', 'clinical outcomes', 'viral suppression', 'retention in care', 'loss to follow-up', 'HIV' and 'sub-Saharan Africa'. RESULTS: The search yielded 90 articles and reports following the removal of duplicates. After initial screening and full-text screening, six articles remained and were included in the qualitative narrative synthesis. This included four randomised control trials and two cohort studies of specific interventions comparing CB-ARTi with the standard of care in SSA. There is evidence that CB-ARTi can increase access to HIV-testing services, linkage to ART, retention in care and viral suppression rates and is possibly not inferior to facility-based healthcare CONCLUSION: CB-ARTi has the potential to increase access to HIV services to people living with HIV in SSA. The results mentioned previously suggest that CB-ARTi models could prove to be equal and possibly not inferior to facility-based ones and warrant further investigation. <![CDATA[<b>Introduction to the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society harm reduction guidelines</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100048&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Community-based antiretroviral therapy initiation (CB-ARTi) has the potential to reduce attrition by increasing access to care, reducing patient costs, decongesting clinics and ensuring improved uptake of ART. There is a paucity of research that identifies successful implementation of CB-ARTi in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to review and describe the evidence on the effectiveness of CB-ARTi programmes that start ART in communities in comparison with the current standards of care in SSA. METHODS: A rapid review of grey and published peer-reviewed literature between January 2009 and July 2019, by using PubMed, PDQ-Evidence, Google Scholar, clinical trial databases and major HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) conference websites, was conducted. Search terms used included 'community-based', 'home initiation community models', 'antiretroviral therapy', 'clinical outcomes', 'viral suppression', 'retention in care', 'loss to follow-up', 'HIV' and 'sub-Saharan Africa'. RESULTS: The search yielded 90 articles and reports following the removal of duplicates. After initial screening and full-text screening, six articles remained and were included in the qualitative narrative synthesis. This included four randomised control trials and two cohort studies of specific interventions comparing CB-ARTi with the standard of care in SSA. There is evidence that CB-ARTi can increase access to HIV-testing services, linkage to ART, retention in care and viral suppression rates and is possibly not inferior to facility-based healthcare CONCLUSION: CB-ARTi has the potential to increase access to HIV services to people living with HIV in SSA. The results mentioned previously suggest that CB-ARTi models could prove to be equal and possibly not inferior to facility-based ones and warrant further investigation. <![CDATA[<b>Southern African HIV Clinicians Society guidelines for harm reduction</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100049&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Community-based antiretroviral therapy initiation (CB-ARTi) has the potential to reduce attrition by increasing access to care, reducing patient costs, decongesting clinics and ensuring improved uptake of ART. There is a paucity of research that identifies successful implementation of CB-ARTi in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to review and describe the evidence on the effectiveness of CB-ARTi programmes that start ART in communities in comparison with the current standards of care in SSA. METHODS: A rapid review of grey and published peer-reviewed literature between January 2009 and July 2019, by using PubMed, PDQ-Evidence, Google Scholar, clinical trial databases and major HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) conference websites, was conducted. Search terms used included 'community-based', 'home initiation community models', 'antiretroviral therapy', 'clinical outcomes', 'viral suppression', 'retention in care', 'loss to follow-up', 'HIV' and 'sub-Saharan Africa'. RESULTS: The search yielded 90 articles and reports following the removal of duplicates. After initial screening and full-text screening, six articles remained and were included in the qualitative narrative synthesis. This included four randomised control trials and two cohort studies of specific interventions comparing CB-ARTi with the standard of care in SSA. There is evidence that CB-ARTi can increase access to HIV-testing services, linkage to ART, retention in care and viral suppression rates and is possibly not inferior to facility-based healthcare CONCLUSION: CB-ARTi has the potential to increase access to HIV services to people living with HIV in SSA. The results mentioned previously suggest that CB-ARTi models could prove to be equal and possibly not inferior to facility-based ones and warrant further investigation. <![CDATA[<b>Southern African guidelines on the safe, easy and effective use of pre-exposure prophylaxis: 2020</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100050&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Community-based antiretroviral therapy initiation (CB-ARTi) has the potential to reduce attrition by increasing access to care, reducing patient costs, decongesting clinics and ensuring improved uptake of ART. There is a paucity of research that identifies successful implementation of CB-ARTi in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to review and describe the evidence on the effectiveness of CB-ARTi programmes that start ART in communities in comparison with the current standards of care in SSA. METHODS: A rapid review of grey and published peer-reviewed literature between January 2009 and July 2019, by using PubMed, PDQ-Evidence, Google Scholar, clinical trial databases and major HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) conference websites, was conducted. Search terms used included 'community-based', 'home initiation community models', 'antiretroviral therapy', 'clinical outcomes', 'viral suppression', 'retention in care', 'loss to follow-up', 'HIV' and 'sub-Saharan Africa'. RESULTS: The search yielded 90 articles and reports following the removal of duplicates. After initial screening and full-text screening, six articles remained and were included in the qualitative narrative synthesis. This included four randomised control trials and two cohort studies of specific interventions comparing CB-ARTi with the standard of care in SSA. There is evidence that CB-ARTi can increase access to HIV-testing services, linkage to ART, retention in care and viral suppression rates and is possibly not inferior to facility-based healthcare CONCLUSION: CB-ARTi has the potential to increase access to HIV services to people living with HIV in SSA. The results mentioned previously suggest that CB-ARTi models could prove to be equal and possibly not inferior to facility-based ones and warrant further investigation. <![CDATA[<b>Be legally wise: When is parental consent required for adolescents' access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100051&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: South African adolescents (12-17 years) need an array of prevention tools to address their risk of acquiring the life-long, stigmatized condition that is HIV. Prevention tools include pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). However, service providers may not be clear on the instances where self-consent is permissible or when parental consent should be securedAIM: To consider the legal norms for minor consent to PrEP using the rules of statutory interpretationSETTING: Legal and policy frameworkRESULTS: We find that PrEP should be interpreted as a form of 'medical treatment'; understood broadly so that it falls within the ambit of one of consent norms in the Children's Act. When PrEP is interpreted as 'medical treatment', then self-consent to PrEP is permissible for persons over 12 years, if they have the mental capacity and maturity to understand the benefits, risks, social and other implications of the proposed treatment. Currently, PrEP is only licensed for persons over 35 kg. Reaching the age of 12 years is a necessary but not sufficient criteria for self-consent and service-providers must ensure capacity requirements are met before implementing a self-consent approach. Decisional support and adherence support are criticalCONCLUSIONS: We recommend that service-providers should take steps to ensure that those persons who meet an age requirement for self-consent, also meet the capacity requirement, and that best practices in this regard be shared. We also recommend that policy makers should ensure that PrEP guidelines are updated to reflect the adolescent consent approach articulated above. It is envisaged that these efforts will enable at-risk adolescents to access much needed interventions to reduce their HIV risk <![CDATA[<b>Profile of elderly patients receiving antiretroviral therapy at Newlands Clinic in 2020: A cross-sectional study</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100052&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: People living with HIV (PLWH) face new challenges such as accelerated ageing and higher rates of comorbidities including cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases as they ageOBJECTIVES: To profile the demographic and clinical characteristics of elderly patients receiving HIV care at Newlands Clinic (NC), Harare, Zimbabwe, as of 01 October 2019METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted using clinic data. All patients who were 50 years and older on 01 October 2019 were enrolled. Descriptive statistics (medians, interquartile ranges [IQRs] and proportions) were used to describe patient demographic and clinical characteristicsRESULTS: Out of 6543 patients undergoing care at NC, 1688 (25.8%) were older than 50 years. The median duration of antiretroviral therapy (ART) was 10.9 years (IQR: 7.1-13). Over 90% of all patients had an HIV viral load below 50 copies/mL. Women were more likely than men to be overweight and obese (32% and 25% vs. 18% and 7%, respectively). Hypertension (41.2%), arthritis (19.9%) and chronic kidney disease (11.6%) were common comorbidities differently distributed based on sex. The most common malignancy diagnosed in women was cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (68% of cancer burden in women) and Kaposi sarcoma was the leading malignancy in men (41% of cancer burden in men). Nearly 20% of patients had at least two chronic non-communicable comorbidities and 5.6% had at least threeCONCLUSION: A high burden of comorbidities was observed amongst HIV-positive elderly patients receiving ART. Age-appropriate monitoring protocols must be developed to ensure optimum quality of care for elderly HIV-positive individuals <![CDATA[<b>The prevalence and spectrum of mucocutaneous disease in South African people living with HIV and accessing care at a district-level hospital</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100053&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Although the association between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and mucocutaneous diseases has been well studied within South African specialist centres, there is limited data from district-level hospitals. Available data may, therefore, fail to reflect the prevalence and full spectrum of dermatoses seen in people living with HIV (PLWHOBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and spectrum of dermatoses seen in PLWHMETHOD: We conducted a cross-sectional, descriptive study of 970 PLWH (men and women, ≥ 18 years old) accessing care at Karl Bremer Hospital, a district-level hospital located in the Western Cape province, South Africa, between 01 September 2016 and 28 February 2017RESULTS: The prevalence of mucocutaneous disease in this sample was 12.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.11-0.15). Non-infectious dermatoses comprised 71.0% of the disorders. Pruritic papular eruption (20.0%) and seborrheic dermatitis (6.0%) were the most common non-infectious dermatoses. Tinea corporis (8.0%) and oral candidiasis (6.0%) were the most prevalent infectious dermatoses. There was no significant association between skin disease category (infectious or non-infectious dermatoses) and patient demographics (gender and ethnicity) or HIV-disease characteristics (CD4+ cell count, viral load and duration of antiretroviral therapy [ARTCONCLUSION: This study provides valuable scientific data on the prevalence and spectrum of mucocutaneous disease in PLWH attending a South African district-level hospital. Prospective studies conducted in other district-level centres across the country are required to determine the lifetime prevalence and spectrum of dermatoses in PLWH in the ART era <![CDATA[<b>Sexual risk compensation following voluntary medical male circumcision: Results from a prospective cohort study amongst human immunodeficiency virus-negative adult men in Botswana</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100054&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Circumcised men may increase sexual risk-taking following voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) because of decreased perceptions of risk, which may negate the beneficial impact of VMMC in preventing new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infectionsOBJECTIVES: We evaluated changes in sexual behaviour following VMMCMETHOD: We conducted a prospective cohort study amongst sexually active, HIV-negative adult men undergoing VMMC in Gaborone, Botswana, during 2013-2015. Risky sexual behaviour, defined as the number of sexual partners in the previous month and ≥ 1 concurrent sexual partnerships during the previous 3 months, was assessed at baseline (prior to VMMC) and 3 months post-VMMC. Change over time was assessed by using inverse probability weighted linear and conditional logistic regression modelsRESULTS: We enrolled 523 men; 509 (97%) provided sexual behaviour information at baseline. At 3 months post-VMMC, 368 (72%) completed the follow-up questionnaire. At baseline, the mean (95% confidence interval) number of sexual partners was 1.60 (1.48, 1.65), and 111 (31% of 353 with data) men reported engaging in concurrent partnerships. At 3 months post-VMMC, 70 (23% of 311 with data) reported fewer partners and 19% had more partners. Amongst 111 men with a concurrent partnership at baseline, 52% reported none post-VMMC. Amongst the 242 (69%) without a concurrent partnership at baseline, 19% reported initiating one post-VMMC. After adjustment for loss to follow-up, risky sexual behaviour post-VMMC (measured as mean changes in a number of partners and proportion engaging in concurrency) was similar to baseline levelsCONCLUSION: We found no evidence of sexual risk compensation in the 3 months following VMMC <![CDATA[<b>Depression, sleep quality and condom use amongst Iranian people living with human immunodeficiency virus</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100055&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Depression is a common mood disorder in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLWH) and is associated with risk-taking sexual behaviourOBJECTIVES: This study examines depression, sleep quality and condom usage amongst PLWH in Tehran, IranMETHOD: This cross-sectional study was undertaken between October and November 2019 on 298 PLWH referred to voluntary counselling and testing centres (VCTs) in Tehran. Participants provided information as per the following questionnaires: the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index Questionnaire and a demographic questionnaire that evaluated condom useRESULTS: A total of 298 PLWH, of whom 202 (67.8%) were men with a mean age of 39.81 years, were enrolled in the study. The DASS classified 57% with depression. Fewer than 20% of these used condoms regularly. The majority of depressed patients were men (68.6%) and 31.4% were women. The depressed patients were more likely not to use condoms than those who were not depressed (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 6.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.70-11.42). The adjusted OR for not using a condom amongst the depressed was 7.12 times greater (95% CI, 5.85-10.11) than in those without depressionCONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that depression is common amongst PLWH in Tehran and is associated with risk-taking sexual behaviour. Appropriate interventions are needed to address mental disorders in PLWH. It is recommended that patients be screened regularly for symptoms of depression and, where indicated, counselled and managed <![CDATA[<b>Intracranial pressure management in patients with human immunodeficiency virus-associated cryptococcal meningitis in a resource-constrained setting</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100056&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: Cryptococcal meningitis (CCM) is the leading cause of meningitis in people living with HIV (PLWH) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The mortality and morbidity associated with CCM remain high. Combination of antifungal therapy, diligent management of intracranial pressure (IP) and the correct timing of the introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART) minimise the risk of mortality and morbidity. The absence of spinal manometers in many healthcare centres in SSA challenges the accurate measurement of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure and its controlOBJECTIVES: We hypothesised that four lumbar punctures (LPs) in the first week of the diagnosis and treatment of CCM would reduce IP such that in-hospital mortality and morbidity of HIV-associated CCM (HIV/CCM) would be significantly reducedMETHODS: We conducted a retrospective study to assess whether receipt of four or more LPs in the first week of the diagnosis and treatment with combination antifungal therapy of HIV/CCM would be associated with the reduction of in-hospital mortality in adult PLWHRESULTS: From 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016, 116 adult patients were admitted to the Dora Nginza District Hospital in Zwide, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. After exclusion of 11 (two were younger than 18 years, two had missing hospital records and seven demised or left the hospital before 7 days of hospitalisation), 105 patients were included in the analysis. The mean age was 39.4 (standard deviation [s.d.] ± 9.7) years, 64.8% were male. All were PLWH. A total of 52.4% had defaulted ART and 25.7% were ART naïve. Forty-three patients received four or more LPs (mean = 4.58 [± 0.96]) in the first week of hospitalisation with an associated in-hospital mortality of 11.6% (n = 5/43) compared with 62 patients who received less than four LPs (mean = 2.18 [± 0.80]) with an in-hospital mortality of 29% (n = 18/62) and a relative risk of 0.80 (95% CI, 0.66-0.97), p = 0.034CONCLUSION: In the current study of adult PLWH presenting to hospital with HIV/CCM, four or more LPs in the first 7 days following admission and the initiation of treatment were associated with a 17.4% reduction in absolute risk of in-hospital mortality and a 20% reduction in relative risk of in-hospital mortality. This mortality difference was noted in patients who survived and were in hospital at the time of the 7-day study census and persisted until the time of hospital discharge <![CDATA[<b>The influence of haemodialysis on CD4+ T-cell counts in people living with human immunodeficiency virus with end-stage kidney disease</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100057&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: In South Africa it is estimated that 7.9 million people are living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is associated with an increased risk of kidney disease. For people living with HIV (PLWH) who develop end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), access to renal replacement therapy can be difficult. Kidney transplantation is a cost-effective option, with improved overall survival and better quality of life. In Johannesburg, the eligibility criteria for kidney transplantation include a sustained CD4+ T-cell count of &gt; 200 cells/μL and suppressed HIV replicationOBJECTIVE: To investigate the influence of haemodialysis on the lymphocyte subsets in PLWH with ESKD. In addition, all available %CD4+ T-cell counts, absolute CD4+ T-cell counts and viral load measurements were collected to assess the longitudinal trends of these measurements in PLWH with ESKDMETHODS: This was a cross-sectional study comparing two groups. The HIV-infected study participants (n = 17) and HIV-uninfected controls (n = 17) were recruited from renal dialysis centres in Johannesburg from 2017 to 2018. Demographic data and social data were collected from all the study participants (n = 17). Blood samples were collected from all the study participants (before and after a haemodialysis session), and the lymphocyte subsets were then measured. The available longitudinal data for the serial CD4+ T-cell counts and HIV viral loads were collected (n = 14RESULTS: Our cohort showed a statistically significant increase in the post-dialysis percentage of CD4+ T cells (5%, p < 0.001) and the absolute CD4+ T-cell counts (21 cells/µL, p < 0.03). The longitudinal trend analysis for the percentage of CD4+ T cells revealed a significant increase in five participants (36%), and a single patient (7%) had a significant decrease in the longitudinal trend analysis for the absolute CD4+ T-cell counts. The longitudinal trend analysis for HIV viral load revealed the majority of our participants were not virologically suppressedCONCLUSION: This study showed that haemodialysis does not have an immediate negative impact on CD4+ T-cell count, suggesting that immunologic recovery is not impeded by treatment of the underlying ESKD <![CDATA[<b>CD4 testing after initiation of antiretroviral therapy: Analysis of routine data from the South African HIV programme</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100058&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: People living with HIV (PLHIV) who have low CD4 counts require advanced clinical care (ACC) to minimise morbidity and mortality risk. These patients include immunological non-responders (INRs) with low CD4 counts despite a suppressed viral loadOBJECTIVES: To determine the proportion of patients with low CD4 counts after antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation and to describe INRs within that groupMETHODS: Routine Three Interlinked Electronic Registers.Net (TIER.Net) data from four South African districts were analysed for adult PLHIV on ART &gt; 12 months. Immunological non-responders were defined as patients on ART &gt; 4 years who were virally suppressed (viral load < 1000 copies/mL) with a CD4 count ≤ 350 cell/mm³RESULTS: Baseline CD4 was recorded for 80.9% of the 869 571 patients newly initiating ART, with 37.2% of those starting ART since 2017 having baseline counts ≤ 200 cells/mm³. Amongst all 1 178 190 patients on ART, only 46.5% had a CD4 test after ART initiation and of these, 14.3% had CD4 ≤ 200 cells/mm³. This proportion was highest amongst patients on ART ≤ 2 years (19.7%) (p < 0.001). Amongst virally suppressed patients, 20.0% were INRs. Immunological non-response was significantly more likely amongst patients on second-line ART (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.79), those aged 35-45 and ≥ 45 years (aOR 1.15 and 1.50, respectively), males (aOR 2.28) and patients with confirmed TB (aOR 2.49), and was significantly less likely in cases with higher baseline CD4 count (aOR 0.35CONCLUSION: CD4 testing subsequent to ART initiation is poorly implemented and there is a notable proportion of patients with low CD4 counts. Guidelines regarding CD4 testing and ACC need to be more widely implemented to identify patients with low CD4 counts and improve their outcomes <![CDATA[<b>Antiretroviral therapy under the wing of the COVID-19 epidemic: One look, and different solutions</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2078-67512020000100059&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt BACKGROUND: People living with HIV (PLHIV) who have low CD4 counts require advanced clinical care (ACC) to minimise morbidity and mortality risk. These patients include immunological non-responders (INRs) with low CD4 counts despite a suppressed viral loadOBJECTIVES: To determine the proportion of patients with low CD4 counts after antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation and to describe INRs within that groupMETHODS: Routine Three Interlinked Electronic Registers.Net (TIER.Net) data from four South African districts were analysed for adult PLHIV on ART &gt; 12 months. Immunological non-responders were defined as patients on ART &gt; 4 years who were virally suppressed (viral load < 1000 copies/mL) with a CD4 count ≤ 350 cell/mm³RESULTS: Baseline CD4 was recorded for 80.9% of the 869 571 patients newly initiating ART, with 37.2% of those starting ART since 2017 having baseline counts ≤ 200 cells/mm³. Amongst all 1 178 190 patients on ART, only 46.5% had a CD4 test after ART initiation and of these, 14.3% had CD4 ≤ 200 cells/mm³. This proportion was highest amongst patients on ART ≤ 2 years (19.7%) (p < 0.001). Amongst virally suppressed patients, 20.0% were INRs. Immunological non-response was significantly more likely amongst patients on second-line ART (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.79), those aged 35-45 and ≥ 45 years (aOR 1.15 and 1.50, respectively), males (aOR 2.28) and patients with confirmed TB (aOR 2.49), and was significantly less likely in cases with higher baseline CD4 count (aOR 0.35CONCLUSION: CD4 testing subsequent to ART initiation is poorly implemented and there is a notable proportion of patients with low CD4 counts. Guidelines regarding CD4 testing and ACC need to be more widely implemented to identify patients with low CD4 counts and improve their outcomes