Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine]]> vol. 15 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Message from the Editor</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Message from the Executive</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>One size doesn't fit all: Tailoring adult antiretroviral treatment</b>]]> Advances in antiretroviral treatment mean that patients in the public health system can be given more options in the management of their treatment. Although public health programmes tend to offer one-size-fits-all approaches, patients might benefit from a more flexible approach. In particular, we propose that people with HIV should be given more choice with regard to when to start treatment, and patients who experience efavirenz side-effects should be encouraged to switch to other medications, which will be facilitated by faster registration and lower prices of newer antiretrovirals. <![CDATA[<b>Management of mental health disorders and central nervous system sequelae in HIV-positive children and adolescents</b>]]> HIV-positive children and adolescents are at increased risk of both central nervous system (CNS) sequelae and mental disorders owing to a number of factors, including the impact of HIV infection on the brain, social determinants of health (e.g. poverty and orphanhood) and psychosocial stressors related to living with HIV. Every effort should be made to identify perinatally HIV-infected children and initiate them on antiretroviral therapy early in life. HIV clinicians should ideally screen for mental health and neurocognitive problems, as part of the routine monitoring of children attending antiretroviral clinics. This guideline is intended as a reference tool for HIV clinicians to support the early identification, screening and management of mental health disorders and/or CNS impairment in children and adolescents. This guideline covers mental disorders (section 1) and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (section 2) among children and adolescents. <![CDATA[<b>Expression of DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNRs in placentas of HIV-positive patients</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Human dendritic cell-specific intracellular adhesion molecule‐3 (ICAM3)-grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN) is a mannose-binding lectin that initiates interaction between dendritic cells and resting T-lymphocytes. DC-SIGN is highly expressed in placental tissue on dendritic cells and Hofbauer cells, and it is suggested that HIV may become adsorbed to DC-SIGN on Hofbauer cells as part of the mechanism of mother-to-child HIV transmission. A possible mechanism of transfer of the virus from the Hofbauer cells to the fetus is the subsequent adsorption to DC-SIGN-related molecules (DC-SIGNRs), present on immediately adjacent capillary vascular endothelium. However, data on DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR expression in the placenta are few. METHODS: Forty term placentas from HIV-positive mothers and 21 term placentas from HIV-negative mothers underwent immunohistochemistry staining for DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR expression. Five random sets of 10 villi were assessed, and the average number of positive cells were counted in each case. In addition, where possible, maternal and cord blood viral loads and maternal CD4+ counts were performed in the HIV-positive group only. RESULTS: The median maternal CD4+ count was 377 cells/μl and 27% of participants had undetectable viral loads; the median detectable viral load was 3.72 log. Most (97%) of the cord bloods tested in infants from HIV-positive mothers had lower than detectable viral loads. HIV-positive cases had significantly greater expression of both DC-SIGNRs (median values in HIV-positive cases, 14.5 positive cells/10 villi (pc/10villi), compared with 11 pc/10villi in HIV-negative cases, p=0.020) and DC-SIGN (median value in HIV-positive cases, 26.5 pc/10villi, compared with 23 pc/10villi in HIV-negative cases, p=0.037). DC-SIGNR expression was also noted in Hofbauer cells and decidual macrophages in addition to endothelium (reported currently). There was no difference in expression of DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNRs in patients with or without chorioamnionitis, but there was an inverse relationship between DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR expression and maternal CD4+ counts in HIV-positive cases. CONCLUSION: Both DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR expression were higher in placentas from HIV-positive mothers compared with HIV-negative cases. These lectins may be potential new therapeutic targets for preventing vertical transmission of HIV. <![CDATA[<b>Management of patients presenting with diarrhoea to a regional emergency department in KwaZulu-Natal: Call for clearer, more relevant guidance</b>]]> BACKGROUND: HIV is prevalent throughout South Africa, and diarrhoea is a common presentation to the emergency department (ED) among both HIV-infected and -uninfected individuals. METHOD: We audited the management of diarrhoea against standard guidelines in the ED of a regional hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. Patients presenting with diarrhoea as their chief complaint were eligible and data were collected prospectively. RESULTS: A total of 72 patients were included: 58 (81%) of patients were HIV-positive with an average CD4+ count of180 cells/μl. A total of 34 stool samples were sent for standard microscopy and culture (M&C), among which 26 were positive (76%). Forty-three patients (60%) received antibiotics, 15 of whom had positive stool M&C. In all cases, the final diagnosis was listed as acute gastroenteritis without further specification, and antibiotic use according to guidelines appeared inconsistent. CONCLUSION: Based on this audit, we suggest that current guidelines are not clear concerning management of acute diarrhoea in HIV-infected individuals, and that the lack of clear management strategies is likely to affect patient safety and increase antibiotic resistance. <![CDATA[<b>Management of cryptococcal meningitis in adults at Mthatha Hospital Complex, Eastern Cape, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Cryptoccocal meningitis (CM) remains prevalent in HIV-infected individuals across South Africa (SA). Early diagnosis and management, aided by the existing Southern African HIV Clinicians Society (SAHIVSoc) 2007 guidelines on management of CM, could reduce the mortality associated with this condition. OBJECTIVE: To review the management of adult patients with CM and adherence to the SAHIVSoc 2007 guidelines in a district hospital. METHODS: A retrospective chart review of patients admitted with CM from December 2011 to May 2012 was performed. The following key recommendations of the guidelines were evaluated: measurement of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) opening pressure at the first lumbar puncture (LP), prescription of amphotericin B (AMB)/fluconazole therapy, intravenous prehydration preceding administration of AMB, monitoring of renal function and performance of serial LPs to manage raised intracranial pressure (ICP). RESULTS: A total of 57 patient charts were reviewed, of which 40 (70%) were of females. The mean age (range) of the cohort was 36 (21 - 60) years. Fifty-two (91%) patients presented with headache. Confusion was recorded in 30 (53%) and vomiting in 26 (46%). The major signs observed were fever (n=29 (51%)) and neck stiffness (n=34 (60%)). Fifty-five (96%) patients were HIV-infected at presentation, with a median (range) CD4+ count of 77 (13 - 90) cells/μl. None of the patients had a CSF opening pressure measured at first LP. AMB was used as an induction agent in 51 (89%) patients, of whom 47 (92%) completed 2 weeks of AMB. Of these 51, only 20 (40%) were prehydrated and 10 (18%) had two repeat LPs performed 1 week apart. Renal function was monitored in only 27 (53%) of the patients receiving AMB. This was done at baseline and twice weekly, and was consistent with the guidelines. No abnormality in renal function was recorded in these cases during the study. The mortality rate was 30% in the first 10 days of admission. CONCLUSION: This chart review showed inadequate adherence to the recommendations of the 2007 SAHIVSoc guidelines in the majority of cases except for the use of AMB as a first-line antifungal agent. Control of ICP and monitoring for drug toxicity were not done as per guidelines and may impact on clinical care and outcome. Despite this, the early 30% mortality is comparable with published reports from other regions in SA, but is higher than in developed health systems. <![CDATA[<b>Closing the gaps: Steps towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV</b>]]> BACKGROUND: With significant reductions in the rate of HIV mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) in South Africa, each case of failed prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) should be investigated. OBJECTIVE: To establish the cause(s) of MTCT at Khayelitsha's Community Health Centre (CHC) in order to identify obstacles to MTCT elimination. METHODS: Routinely collected data were reviewed for all HIV-infected infants identified at Khayelitsha Site B CHC from January 2012 to April 2013. RESULTS: A total of 926/1 158 (80%) of exposed infants had polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results, with 15/926 (1.6%) PCR-positive. Median (interquartile range (IQR)) values for the maternal indicators were as follows: maternal age, 27 (23 - 31) years; parity, 2 (1 - 3); gestational age at antenatal presentation, 21.5 (17.5 - 30.5) weeks; CD4+, 377 (219 - 446) cells/μl. Of the 15 PCR-positive infants, five received ART, five received AZT and five received no prophylaxis. Viral loads were not monitored for any of the women receiving antenatal ART. Nine of the 15 (60%) delivered in hospital, with 6/9 requiring caesarean section. The median (IQR) infant birth weight was 3.0 (2.6 - 3.5) kg. All received prophylactic nevirapine post exposure. Two of the 15 were clinically unwell at birth, and 14 (86.7%) were breastfed, with 10 (66.7%) recorded as exclusively breastfed. Median (IQR) time between delivery and PCR results was 6.6 (6.1 - 7.3) weeks. DISCUSSION: PMTCT programmes must consider each PCR-positive infant as a sentinel event that can provide valuable insight into correcting ongoing clinical and programmatic reasons for HIV transmission. The main risk factors for MTCT identified in this study were late presentation for antenatal care, inadequate antenatal PMTCT prophylaxis and a lack of viral load monitoring. <![CDATA[<b>The diagnostic value of lymph node biopsy to detect Castleman's disease</b>]]> HIV is not indicated in the aetiology of Castleman's disease. However, it impacts on the prevalence and natural history of this disease and significantly on the disease progression. Castleman's disease is a uni- or multicentric disease of the lymph node with or without polyclonal proliferation of B-cells. It is a morphologically distinct form of lymph node hyperplasia and is characterised by significant architectural changes in all lymphatic compartments. Histopathologically, the disease is classified into two major subtypes: the hyaline-vascular type and the plasma-cell type. A mixed type is also identified, as there are frequent transitions between the types. The diagnosis of Castleman's disease needs to be made histologically. Treatment modalities include surgery, which is curative for unicentric disease, and systemic therapy, which is needed for multicentric disease. This case highlights the diagnostic value of lymph node excision biopsy in HIV-infected patients.