Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine <p>The&nbsp;<em>Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine</em>&nbsp;is a medical journal focused on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and related topics relevant to clinical and public health practice. The purpose of the journal is to disseminate original research results and to support high-level learning related to HIV Medicine. It publishes original research articles, editorials, case reports/case series, reviews of state-of-the-art clinical practice, and correspondence.</p> <p>Other websites related to this journal:&nbsp;<a title="" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"></a></p> en-US <p>The author(s) retain copyright on work published by AOSIS unless specified otherwise.</p><p><strong>Licensing and publishing rights</strong></p><p>Author(s) of work published by AOSIS are required to grant AOSIS the unlimited rights to publish the definitive work in any format, language and medium, for any lawful purpose. AOSIS requires journal authors to publish their work in open access under the <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International</span> (CC BY 4.0) licence. </p><p>Read more here: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p><p>The authors retain the non-exclusive right to do anything they wish with the published article(s), provided attribution is given to the applicable journal with details of the original publication, as set out in the official citation of the article published in the journal. The retained right specifically includes the right to post the article on the authors’ or their institution’s websites or in institutional repositories.</p><p>Previously published work may have been published under a different licence. We advise the community that if they would like to reuse the work to consult the applicable licence at article level.</p> (Michelle Moorhouse) (SAJHIVMED administrator) Thu, 01 Feb 2024 13:37:49 +0000 OJS 60 Weight gain on dolutegravir: Association is not the same as causation <p>No abstract.</p> Gary Maartens, Phumla Sinxadi, W.D. Francois Venter Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Paediatric antiretroviral update <p>No abstract.</p> Gillian Sorour, Nosisa Sipambo, Moherndran Archary Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 2023 Southern African HIV Clinicians Society Adult Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines: What’s new? <p>No abstract.</p> Jeremy Nel, Camilla Wattrus, Regina Osih, Graeme Meintjes Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Southern African HIV Clinicians Society 2023 Guideline for post-exposure prophylaxis: Updated recommendations <p>No abstract.</p> Jaco Horak, Willem D.F. Venter, Camilla Wattrus, Nectarios Papavarnavas, Pauline Howell, Gillian Sorour, Carole Wallis, Katherine Gill, Francesca Conradie, Linda-Gail Bekker Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Breaking the unbreakable: A paediatric case of dolutegravir resistance from KwaZulu-Natal <p>We report a case of dolutegravir resistance in KwaZulu-Natal in a 13-year-old male two years after starting dolutegravir. Resistance most likely developed due to poor adherence as a result of psychosocial issues. This case highlights the importance of the role of the family unit in impacting adherence and close monitoring of treatment-experienced patients with virologic failure following switching to dolutegravir-based regimens.</p> Sibongiseni Malinga, Aabida Khan, Moherndran Archary Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 COVID-19 severity and in-hospital mortality in an area with high HIV prevalence <p><strong>Background: </strong>HIV infection causes immune dysregulation affecting T-cell and monocyte function, which may alter coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathophysiology.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>We investigated the associations among clinical phenotypes, laboratory biomarkers, and hospitalisation outcomes in a cohort of people hospitalised with COVID-19 in a high HIV prevalence area.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>We conducted a prospective observational cohort study in Tshwane, South Africa. Respiratory disease severity was quantified using the respiratory oxygenation score. Analysed biomarkers included inflammatory and coagulation biomarkers, CD4 T-cell counts, and HIV-1 viral loads (HIVVL).</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>The analysis included 558 patients, of whom 21.7% died during admission. The mean age was 54 years. A total of 82 participants were HIV-positive. People living with HIV (PLWH) were younger (mean age 46 years) than HIV-negative people; most were on antiretroviral treatment with a suppressed HIVVL (72%) and the median CD4 count was 159 (interquartile range: 66–397) cells/μL. After adjusting for age, HIV was not associated with increased risk of mortality during hospitalisation (age-adjusted hazard ratio = 1.1, 95% confidence interval: 0.6–2.0). Inflammatory biomarker levels were similar in PLWH and HIV-negative patients. Detectable HIVVL was associated with less severe respiratory disease. In PLWH, mortality was associated with higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers. Opportunistic infections, and other risk factors for severe COVID-19, were common in PLWH who died.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>PLWH were not at increased risk of mortality and those with detectable HIVVL had less severe respiratory disease than those with suppressed HIVVL.</p> <p><strong>What this study adds: </strong>This study advances our understanding of severe COVID-19 in PLWH.</p> Michael T. Boswell, Tshegofatso Maimela, Dan Hameiri-Bowen, George Riley, Albertus Malan, Nickietta Steyn, Nomonde Nolutshungu, Talita R. de Villiers, Zelda de Beer, John Mathabathe, Khanyisile Tshabalala, Fareed Abdullah, Rajiev Ramlall, Marthinus Heystek, Debashis Basu, Paul Rheeder, Veronica Ueckermann, Wesley van Hougenhouck-Tulleken Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Human rights violations among men who have sex with men and transgender people in South Africa <p><strong>Background: </strong>Men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) people face human rights violations (HRVs) which impact their access to critical interventions for HIV prevention, treatment, and related services.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>This study describes how Beyond Zero, a not-for-profit organisation in South Africa, built an HRV reporting system and discusses data on the HRVs experienced by MSM and TG people who accessed HIV prevention services between 01 January 2021 and 31 December 2021.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>This was a cross-sectional study using secondary analysis of programmatic data routinely collected as part of HIV prevention programmes for MSM and TG in 10 rural districts of South Africa.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>A total of 249 individuals reported having experienced HRVs. Of these, 113 (54.6%) were physical violations, 145 (58.2%) were psychosocial harassment, 15 (18.3%) were experienced within the workplace, and 59 (23.7%) were experienced at a healthcare or social services institution. Overall, 77% of the physical violations and 70.4% of the psychosocial violations occurred in the home and local community settings; 76.1% of the perpetrators of physical violence and 79.3% of the perpetrators of psychosocial harassment were known. Most incidents of physical violence (80.5%) and psychosocial harassment (92.4%) were not reported due to fear of homophobic or transphobic violence.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of documenting HRVs among MSM and TG people within HIV prevention programmes. Men who have sex with men and TG people should be systematically screened for HRVs and linked to legal or other services.</p> <p><strong>What this study adds: </strong>Our findings present data on the nature of HRVs in 10 districts outside of the large urban centres where research documenting the lived experiences of MSM, TG people and other key populations is traditionally conducted in South Africa. This data contribute to addressing the gap in the literature on the needs of MSM and TG people in South Africa caused by the delayed inclusion of rural MSM and TG people in research.</p> Raymond Chimatira, Dumo Jebese-Mfenqe, Joram Chikwanda, Edward Sibanda, Qhawekazi Thengwa, Bulumko Futshane, Sisanda Gaga Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Late-onset efavirenz toxicity: A descriptive study from Pretoria, South Africa <p><strong>Background: </strong>The neuropsychiatric side effects of efavirenz occur mainly early during treatment and are usually mild. A lesser-known and serious complication is late-onset efavirenz toxicity causing ataxia and encephalopathy. Data regarding this condition are limited.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>We describe the clinical picture of late-onset efavirenz toxicity, investigate co-morbidities and report outcomes.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>This descriptive study of all patients with late-onset efavirenz toxicity was conducted over three years at Kalafong Provincial Tertiary Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>Forty consecutive patients were identified. Mean age was 42.1 years, three patients (7.5%) were male and the mean efavirenz level was 49.0 μg/mL (standard deviation [s.d.]: 24.8). Cerebellar ataxia (82.5%) and encephalopathy (47.5%) were the most common presenting features (40.0% had both); four patients presented with psychosis. Presence of encephalopathy and/or cerebellar ataxia was associated with higher efavirenz levels compared with psychosis (52.1 μg/mL, s.d.: 24.1 vs 25.0 μg/mL, s.d.: 17.1). In most patients, symptoms resolved, but four patients (10.0%) died, and one patient remained ataxic.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>Late-onset efavirenz toxicity typically presented with ataxia and encephalopathy, but psychosis can be the presenting feature. The outcome after withdrawal was good, but the mortality of 10.0% is concerning. Recent changes in guidelines favour dolutegravir, but many patients remain on efavirenz, and awareness of the condition is vital.</p> <p><strong>What this study adds: </strong>This large, single-centre study contributes to the limited data of HIV-positive patients with late-onset efavirenz toxicity and emphasises its ongoing relevance in clinical practice.</p> Lyneshree Munsami, Clara M. Schutte, Maryke de Villiers, Juliane Hiesgen Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The prevalence of cervical abnormalities: Comparison of youth with perinatally acquired HIV and older women in Botswana <p><strong>Background: </strong>Cervical cancer burden and prevalence of precursor lesions is unknown among young women living with HIV in high prevalence settings. Current cervical cancer screening guidelines in resource-limited settings with high HIV prevalence typically exclude adolescents and young women. After observing two cases of advanced cervical cancer among young women with perinatally acquired HIV, a pilot screening programme was established in Botswana.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>To compare the prevalence of cervical abnormalities in young women with perinatally acquired HIV with women aged 30–49 years, regardless of HIV status.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>We conducted a cross-sectional study of 30–49-year-old women who had visual inspection with acetic acid screening through the Botswana public sector programme, and youth (aged 15–24 years) with perinatally acquired HIV, at a single referral site between 2016 and 2018. We describe the prevalence of cervical abnormalities in each group as well as the crude prevalence ratio.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>The prevalence of cervical abnormalities in women 30–49 years of age was 10.9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 10.4, 11.4), and 10.1% (95% CI: 4.7, 18.3) for youth. The crude prevalence ratio was 1.07 (95% CI: 0.58, 2.01).</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>Inclusion of youth living with HIV in cervical cancer screening services should be considered in settings with a high prevalence of HIV and cervical cancer.</p> Thabo Phologolo, Mogomotsi Matshaba, Bathusi Mathuba, Keboletse Mokete, Ontibile Tshume, Elizabeth Lowenthal Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Rural nurses’ antiretroviral prescribing practices in children, Limpopo province, South Africa <p><strong>Background: </strong>Errors in antiretroviral therapy (ART) use are common in children living with HIV (CLHIV), but there is limited evidence from rural primary healthcare (PHC) facilities where trained professional nurses initiate and manage most CLHIV.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>To assess antiretroviral prescribing practices of trained professional nurses in Mopani District’s rural facilities and compare them to the 2015 national consolidated guidelines to evaluate the appropriateness of ART use.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>A four-year (2015–2018) retrospective cross-sectional medical record review was conducted of CLHIV in 94 rural PHC facilities of Mopani District. Inclusion criteria were: age under 15 years, initiated on ART by nurses in 2015 and virally unsuppressed (viral load ≥ 400 copies/mL) by the end of December 2018.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>A total of 16 669 antiretrovirals were prescribed from 7035 clinic visits. A correct ART regimen and dosage form was prescribed in 7045 (96%) and 15 502 (93%) of the cases. However, errors were common: 2928 (23%) incorrect doses, 15 502 (93%) incorrect dosing frequencies, and 4122 (61%) incorrectly dispensed antiretrovirals, and 3636 (28%) incorrect dosing frequencies.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>Antiretroviral prescribing errors in the form of drug omissions in ART regimens, incorrect dosing and dosing frequencies, lack of formulation considerations, and inadequate monthly supplies of antiretrovirals were commonly observed in this review. Antiretroviral stewardship programmes should be considered to develop and establish a fundamental strategy for improving quality in managing CLHIV.</p> Linneth N. Mabila, Patrick H. Demana, Tebogo M. Mothiba Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Survival outcomes of HIV-positive adults on peritoneal dialysis at Helen Joseph renal unit <p><strong>Background: </strong>HIV is a risk factor for the development of chronic kidney disease. People with chronic kidney disease in the state sector are likely to be prescribed continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD). Previous studies have raised concern about the safety of CAPD in people living with HIV (PLWH) compared to HIV-negative patients.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>To compare the risk of peritonitis, and modality and patient survival by HIV status in patients receiving CAPD at Helen Joseph Hospital.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>A retrospective study of patients receiving CAPD between 01 January 2007 and 31 December 2017 was undertaken. Five-year patient and modality survival were modelled for PLWH and HIV-negative subgroups and analysed using the log-rank test; the effect of CD4 count, HIV viral load, and duration of antiretroviral therapy on these parameters in PLWH were additionally modelled using the Cox Proportional Hazards technique.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>Eighty-four patients, comprising of 21 PLWH and 63 HIV-negative patients, were analysed. No difference was observed in the proportion of patients who had at least one episode of peritonitis between PLWH (61.2%) and HIV-negative patients (63.5%) (<em>P </em>= 0.547). A trend towards increased risk of peritonitis due to Gram-negative organisms in PLWH was noted (odds ratio: 3.20, 95% confidence interval: 0.86–11.9, <em>P </em>= 0.083). No difference was observed in 5-year patient or modality survival on CAPD between PLWH (log-rank <em>P </em>= 0.161) and HIV-negative patients (log-rank <em>P </em>= 0.240).</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>People living with HIV should not be excluded from CAPD as a mode of kidney replacement therapy (KRT).</p> Kagisho L. Thomas, Malcolm Davies Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Effect of HIV on mortality among hospitalised patients in South Africa <p><strong>Background: </strong>HIV and AIDS continues to impose substantial healthcare challenges in sub- Saharan Africa, but there are limited local data comparing inpatient outcomes between people with HIV (PLWH) and those uninfected.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>To compare cause-specific mortality among hospitalised adolescents and adults, stratified by HIV-serostatus.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>A cross-sectional analysis was performed, analysing cause-specific inpatient mortality data and total admissions, from 01 January 2017 to 30 June 2020, at Tshepong Hospital, North West province, South Africa.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>The overall inpatient mortality rate decreased from 14.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 13.4–16.0) in 2017, to 11.3% (95% CI: 10.6–11.9) in 2020; <em>P </em>&lt; 0.001. People living with HIV accounted for 53.9% (<em>n </em>= 2342) of inpatient deaths, 22.6% (<em>n </em>= 984) were HIV-seronegative patients and 23.5% (<em>n </em>= 1020) patients with unknown HIV-serostatus. People with HIV died at younger ages (median: 44 years, interquartile range [IQR]: 35.8–54.2) compared to HIV-seronegative inpatients (median: 64.4 years, IQR: 55.5–73.9); <em>P </em>&lt; 0.001. Leading causes of death were pneumonia (19.9%, <em>n </em>= 863), then pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis (15.0%, <em>n </em>= 654). People with HIV who had CD4+ counts &lt; 350 cells/mL or viral load ≥ 1000 copies/mL had increased risk of death from tuberculosis compared to virally suppressed patients (adjusted relative risk: 2.10 [95% CI: 1.44–3.04, <em>P </em>&lt; 0.009] and 1.56 [95% CI: 1.22–2.00, <em>P </em>&lt; 0.001]).</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>Our study, conducted in a regional hospital in South Africa, showed PLWH had higher mortality rates and died at younger ages compared to HIV-seronegative patients.</p> Dirk J. Lamprecht, Neil Martinson, Ebrahim Variava Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Outcomes of a model for re-testing HIV-negative index contacts in Sedibeng, South Africa <p><strong>Background: </strong>Index contact testing is an HIV case-finding approach that elicits sexual or needle-sharing partners, as well as biological children, of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and offers them HIV testing services.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>We aim to describe the results of an innovative project in Sedibeng District that expanded index testing by retesting previously negative contacts and incorporating status-neutral testing.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>We used registers to identify people who previously tested HIV-negative through index testing from March 2019 to September 2021. The individuals were telephonically traced and offered HIV retesting. Data were collected on a weekly basis using REDCap<sup>®</sup>. We monitored the number of individuals called, those who came back for retest, and their HIV results.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>Fifteen counsellors contacted 968 people over 12 months. Forty-eight percent (462 out of 968) of those called returned for testing. Of those, 121 (26%) tested positive. Overall, 66 out of 276 (24%) men with HIV and 55 out of 186 (30%) women with HIV were identified and linked to antiretroviral treatment (ART). Fifty-seven percent (194 out of 341) of clients who tested HIV-negative were offered, and 124 out of 194 (64%) initiated, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). All individuals who retested HIV-positive had a new diagnosis; none reported having had another positive test result between the original negative and the positive retest.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>Revisiting index clients with a previous negative HIV test result is worthwhile, creating an opportunity to identify undiagnosed PLHIV and high-risk people for PrEP. The high positivity rate highlights the importance of providing a sero-neutral approach to HIV testing, including integrating prevention messaging and linkage to PrEP services.</p> Ditebogo L. Phiri, Kate Rees, Natasha Davies Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 An audit of adherence to cervical cancer screening guidelines in a tertiary-level HIV clinic <p><strong>Background: </strong>Cervical cancer is the most common malignancy affecting South African women aged 15–44 years, with a higher prevalence among women living with HIV (WLWH). Despite recommendations for a screening target of 70%, the reported rate of cervical cancer screening in South Africa is 19.3%.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>To investigate the adherence of healthcare workers to cervical cancer screening guidelines in a tertiary-level HIV clinic.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>A retrospective cross-sectional record audit of women attending the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital HIV Clinic over a 1-month period.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>Out of 403 WLWH who attended the clinic, 180 (44.7%) were screened for cervical cancer in the 3 years prior to the index consultation. Only 115 (51.6%) of those women with no record of prior screening were subsequently referred for screening. Women who had undergone screening in the previous 3 years were significantly older (47 years vs 44 years, <em>P </em>= 0.046) and had a longer time since diagnosis of their HIV (12 years vs 10 years, <em>P </em>= 0.001) compared to women who had not undergone screening. There was no significant difference in CD4 count or viral suppression between women who had and had not undergone screening.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>The rate of cervical cancer screening in our institution is below that recommended by the World Health Organization and the South African National Department of Health.</p> Jeffrey Bolon, Amy Samson, Natalie Irwin, Lyle Murray, Langanani Mbodi, Sarah Stacey, Nicholas Aikman, Louell Moonsamy, Jarrod Zamparini Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The prevalence of multimorbidity in virally suppressed HIV-positive patients in Limpopo <p><strong>Background: </strong>Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are an emerging global public health problem.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>To assess the prevalence of NCDs and their risk factors among adults on antiretroviral therapy (ART).</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>This was a cross-sectional study (July 2019 – January 2020) in Limpopo, South Africa. Patients were enrolled if they were ≥ 40 years, HIV-positive, and virologically suppressed on ART. Data were analysed descriptively, and a binomial regression model was used to identify risk factors for NCDs.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>The majority of participants (65%; 319/488) were women. Most (83%; 405/488) were aged 40–59 years; 60% (285/472) were overweight or obese. Based on self-report, 22% (107/488) were currently smokers. Almost half (44%) 213/488) reported daily consumption of vegetables and 65% (319/488) exercised regularly and 39% (190/488) reported treatment for another chronic disease. The leading comorbid conditions were hypertension (32%; 158/488) and diabetes mellitus (5%; 24/488). Risk factors for hypertension included age 60 years and older (relative risk [RR]: 1.72; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.29–2.30) diabetes (RR: 1.42; 95% CI: 1.08–1.87), overweight (RR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.03–1.69) and obesity (RR: 1.69; 95% CI: 1.32–2.17).</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>There is a high prevalence, both of risk factors for NCDs and multimorbidity (&gt; 1 chronic disease) in patients who are ≥ 40 years and virologically suppressed on ART.</p> Limakatso Lebina, Tumiso Malatji, Firdaus Nabeemeeah, Kegaugetswe Motsomi, Tsundzukani Siwelana, Khuthadzo Hlongwane, Neil Martinson Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Assessing very advanced HIV disease in adolescent girls and young women <p><strong>Background: </strong>South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic globally, with ~7.5 million people living with HIV in 2021. Adolescent girls (AG) and young women (YW), aged 15–19 years and 20–24 years, are twice as likely to be living with HIV as their male counterparts. The national HIV prevalence for young women was 9.1% (2021), with limited data on disease severity.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>This study assessed very advanced HIV disease (CD4 &lt; 100 cells/μL) in adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in South Africa.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>A retrospective descriptive study analysed data collated from the National Health Laboratory Service database for 2017 to 2021 calendar years for AGYW. National and provincial specimen volumes, the percentage of tests with a CD4 &lt; 100 cells/μL and ≥ 100 cells/μL, and the median and interquartile ranges, were calculated. Logistic regression determined the odds ratio for a CD4 &lt; 100 cells/μL, controlling for age category.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>Data for 1 199 010 CD4 specimens indicated a significant decrease in volumes of 34% from 287 410 (2017) to 189 533 (2021). The percentage of samples with a count &lt; 100 cells/μL ranged from 4.9% to 5.2% for YW versus 5.6% to 6.1% for AG. Provincial data for a CD4 count &lt; 100 cells/μL ranged between 4.5% and 8.3% in AG and 3.6% to 6.3% for YW. Logistic regression indicated a 24% higher likelihood for AG having a CD4 count &lt; 100 cells/μL.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>The study reported a higher proportion of very advanced HIV disease for AG versus YW nationally, with provincial disparity needing further analysis.</p> Naseem Cassim, Lindi-Marie Coetzee, Manuel P. da Silva, Deborah K. Glencross, Wendy S. Stevens Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Thrombotic thrombocytopaenic purpura in the era of HIV: A single-centre experience <p><strong>Background: </strong>Thrombotic thrombocytopaenia purpura (TTP) is a rare disorder which carries a high mortality. HIV is an important cause of TTP.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>We assessed the presentation and response to plasma exchange (PEX) by HIV status.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>A single-centre retrospective review of all patients receiving PEX for TTP between 01 January 2010 and 31 December 2019 was undertaken. Demographics and presenting parameters were compared between HIV-associated TTP and other aetiologies using Mann- Whitney <em>U </em>and Kruskal Wallis analysis of variance testing, as appropriate. The effect of aetiology and presenting parameters on PEX duration was modelled using Cox proportional hazards; effect of these variables on mortality and residual renal dysfunction in survivors was analysed using stepwise multivariate regression.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>Uncontrolled HIV infection was the commonest cause (81.9%) of TTP in the 83 patients identified. Thrombocytopaenia was more severe and neurological deficit more frequent in HIV-associated TTP; but renal dysfunction was milder in this group. Aetiology did not influence mortality risk. Aetiological category and presenting parameters did not predict PEX duration. Residual renal dysfunction was less frequent in survivors of HIV-associated TTP.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>HIV is an important cause of TTP in the local context. Haematological and neurological involvement are more severe in HIV-associated TTP. Acceptable survival rates are achievable with PEX even in advanced HIV infection; renal sequalae are less common in this group.</p> Yusuf Moola, Zaheera Cassimjee, Chandni Dayal, Sheetal Chiba, Adekunle Ajayi, Malcolm Davies Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Confronting the human papillomavirus–HIV intersection: Cervical cytology implications for Kenyan women living with HIV <p><strong>Background: </strong>High-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer, leading to over 311 000 global deaths, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. Kenyan women living with HIV (WLHIV) face a disproportionate burden of HR-HPV.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>We determined the prevalence of HR-HPV infections and their association with cervical cytology findings among Kenyan WLHIV.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>We conducted a cross-sectional study among WLHIV attending the HIV care and treatment clinic at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Kenya’s national referral hospital. Study nurses collected a cervical sample with a cytobrush for HR-HPV genotyping using Gene Xpert<sup>®</sup> assays and HPV Genotypes 14 Real-TM Quant V67-100FRT. Bivariate analysis explored the associations.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>We enrolled 647 WLHIV (mean age of 42.8 years), with 97.2% on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 79% with a suppressed viral load (&lt; 50 copies/mL plasma). The prevalence of any and vaccine-preventable HR-HPV was 34.6% and 29.4%, respectively, with HPV 52 being the most common genotype (13.4%). Among WLHIV with HR-HPV infections, 21.4% had abnormal cervical cytology. Women with multiple HR-HPV infections were more likely to have abnormal cytology compared to those with single HR-HPV infections (34.9 vs 9.3%, adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 6.2, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.7–14.1, <em>P </em>= 0.001). Women with HR-HPV infection (single or multiple) were more likely to be on the second-line ART regimen compared to those without HR-HPV infections (53.1% vs 46.7%, aOR = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.3–4.1, <em>P </em>= 0.005).</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>Among WLHIV at KNH, abnormal cytology was common and more frequent among women with multiple HR-HPV infections.</p> James M. Kangethe, Stephen Gichuhi, Eddy Odari, Jillian Pintye, Kenneth Mutai, Leila Abdullahi, Alex Maiyo, Marianne W. Mureithi Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 No increased in utero and peripartum HIV acquisition risk in HIV-exposed preterm infants <p><strong>Background: </strong>Limited data exist on the differential risk of HIV acquisition between infants born preterm versus those born at term to women living with HIV (WLHIV). With a reported increase in preterm delivery among pregnant WLHIV, understanding the risk of vertical transmission of HIV in preterm infants can inform strategies to optimise the timing of diagnostic testing, antiretroviral prophylaxis, and infant feeding.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>To describe the prevalence and timing of HIV acquisition, in utero versus perinatal, among infants with perinatal HIV exposure born prior to 37 weeks completed gestation age compared to those born at term in the Botswana-based Mpepu study and explore predictors of infant HIV acquisition.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>Using data extracted from the Mpepu study, we describe the prevalence, timing and risk factors for HIV acquisition in infants born preterm versus those born at term. Fisher exact testing was used to test for differences in prevalence and timing of HIV and a multivariable logistic regression model was used to assess risk factors for infant HIV acquisition.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>2866 infants born to WLHIV were included in this secondary analysis. 532 (19%) were born preterm. There was no observed difference in the prevalence of HIV acquisition among infants born preterm versus at term overall (0.8% vs 0.6%, <em>P </em>= 0.54), at birth (0.2% vs 0.3%, <em>P </em>= 1.00) or between 14 and 34 days post-delivery (0.6% vs 0.3%, <em>P </em>= 0.41). The absence of maternal antiretroviral use during pregnancy significantly predicted infant HIV acquisition, with the risk of HIV acquisition reduced by 96% among infants whose mothers were taking antiretroviral treatment (ART) during pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio: 0.003, confidence interval: 0.01–0.02, <em>P </em>&lt; 0.001).</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>There was no observed increase of in utero and peripartum HIV acquisition among infants born preterm following foetal exposure to HIV compared to those born at term.</p> Gbolahan Ajibola, Charlotte Mdluli, Kara Bennett, Maureen Sakoi, Oganne Batlang, Joseph Makhema, Shahin Lockman, Roger Shapiro, Landon Myer, Kathleen Powis Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Outcomes and characteristics of patients on protease inhibitors at a tertiary level antiretroviral clinic <p><strong>Background: </strong>Protease inhibitors (PIs) have been recommended as World Health Organization second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) for low- to middle-income countries for two decades. As dolutegravir-based regimens have become widely available, the future role of PIs is uncertain.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>To describe the characteristics of patients on PI-based ART (in first-line and second-line regimens), double-boosted protease inhibitors (DBPI) and patients who received recycled nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) in second-line regimens at a tertiary level ART clinic.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>We conducted a descriptive retrospective record review of adult patients on PI-based ART who attended Nthabiseng Adult Infectious Diseases Clinic at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto, South Africa, between January 2021 and April 2022.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>Of the 900 patients sampled, 543 (60.3%) were female, the median age was 45 and 703 (79.1%) had viral loads (VL) below 1000 copies/mL. In contrast, 21 (58.3%) of 36 vertically infected patients had VLs below 1000 copies/mL. Thirty-seven (4.1%) patients were on DBPIs. The commonest reason for DBPI use in 24 (64.9%) patients was drug resistance test (DRT)-guided switch after virological failure. Forty-nine (5.4%) patients were on recycled NRTIs with no DRT, and 24 (2.6%) patients were on NRTIs to which there was documented resistance. Outcomes for these patients were similar to the total sample.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>PIs have long been a cornerstone of second-line ART. This study demonstrates the real-world utility of PIs, as well as their disadvantages. There was no difference in the outcomes of patients who received recycled NRTIs in second-line regimens.</p> Michele Perks, Denasha L. Reddy, Francois Venter Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Promises and potential pitfalls of long-acting injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis <p>The number of products that can provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention is expanding, with three now approved in South Africa (oral Tenofovir-based PrEP, injectable Cabotegravir, and a Dapivirine-based vaginal ring) and more in the development pipeline. Although highly effective and safe, oral PrEP products have not reduced HIV incidence in South Africa to the extent seen in other countries, primarily due to adherence challenges, rapidly diminishing persistence over time, and insufficient scale-up of PrEP service delivery. The Dapivirine vaginal ring, which provides 1-month-long protection, provides women with a new and discreet choice for PrEP; however, it is Cabotegravir long-acting (CAB LA) that is anticipated to land the largest impact. Administered as an intramuscular injection given every 2 months, CAB LA is safe, highly efficacious, and expected to become available in South Africa in late 2023. Yet, clinical and implementation questions remain, including the need to understand and characterise breakthrough HIV infections amongst CAB LA users, knowledge of how to package each PrEP product in a new context of PrEP choice, and how to avoid the remedicalisation of PrEP access following extensive efforts to make oral PrEP delivery differentiated and community based.</p> Carey Pike, Elzette Rousseau, Linda-Gail Bekker Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Country ownership and sustainable programming of the HIV response in South Africa: A scoping review <p><strong>Background: </strong>Concerns have arisen regarding the extent to which South Africa’s HIV response can be country-owned and sustainable given substantial foreign investment and technical support.</p> <p><strong>Objectives: </strong>To assess the extent to which South Africa’s national HIV response is country-owned.</p> <p><strong>Method: </strong>We conducted a scoping review of South African literature using the Global Health Initiative Framework for country ownership.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>South Africa has clear aspirations for what should be accomplished and strategies are aligned with national and international priorities. Although South Africa has leveraged community-based strategies to reach key populations (KPs), most are supported by international donors, which poses a sustainability challenge. Despite robust capacity strengthening and training programmes, South Africa continues to face healthcare worker shortages. While it is commendable that South Africa funds nearly 70% of the national HIV response, the funds mainly support HIV treatment. This may create dependency on international partners.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion: </strong>South Africa appears to be progressing well along the spectrum of country ownership, but sustained efforts are required to combat HIV. Greater ownership over KP programming and prevention services are especially needed to achieve greater impact.</p> Refilwe N. Phaswana- Mafuya, Edith Phalane, Haley Sisel, Lifutso Motsieloa, Katherine Journeay, Vuyiseka Dubula, Jabulile Sibeko, Pholokgolo Ramothwala Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Diminished health and social outcomes among men who have sex with men who use drugs in Zimbabwe <p>No abstract.</p> Munyaradzi Mapingure, Innocent Chingombe, Tafadzwa Dzinamarira, Chesterfield Samba, Brian Moyo, Owen Mugurungi, Godfrey Musuka Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Dolutegravir resistance in three pregnant and breastfeeding women in South Africa <p>No abstract.</p> Ninke Fourie, Kate Rees, Denis Mali, Bridget Mugisa, Cara O’Connor, Natasha Davies Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Doxycycline post-exposure prophylaxis for sexually transmitted infections in South Africa <p>South Africa has a large burden of bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with high rates among men who have sex with men (MSM). Randomised controlled trials have recently demonstrated high effectiveness of doxycycline post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for prevention of bacterial STIs in MSM, with 70% – 85% reductions in <em>Chlamydia trachomatis </em>infection and syphilis, and approximately 50% reduction in <em>Neisseria gonorrhoeae </em>infection. Doxycycline PEP was not demonstrated to be effective in reducing <em>C. trachomatis </em>and <em>N. gonorrhoeae </em>infection among Kenyan cisgender women. Although no worrisome trends in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) were observed in the trials, important concerns remain about doxycycline PEP and AMR development in STIs, other pathogens, commensals, and the microbiome. Tetracycline resistance in <em>N. gonorrhoeae </em>is already widespread in South Africa, but emergence of AMR in other STIs would be concerning. Larger sample sizes of doxycycline PEP users with longer follow-up time are needed to understand the impact that doxycycline PEP may have on AMR at individual and population level. In this opinion article, we weigh the benefits of doxycycline PEP for prevention of bacterial STIs against the existing AMR concerns and data gaps in the South African context. Based on the current evidence, we conclude that it would be reasonable to offer doxycycline PEP to high-risk MSM on a case-by-case basis, provided that it is offered by experienced sexual health clinicians in settings that have access to diagnostic STI testing and ongoing AMR surveillance.</p> Remco P.H. Peters, James A. McIntyre, Nigel Garrett, Adrian J. Brink, Connie L. Celum, Linda-Gail Bekker Copyright (c) 2024 Thu, 01 Feb 2024 00:00:00 +0000