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PubMed | University of Cologne, University Miguel Hernández, University of Zürich, HIV i Base and 23 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: JAMA | Year: 2016

A key factor in assessing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART) as a prevention strategy is the absolute risk of HIV transmission through condomless sex with suppressed HIV-1 RNA viral load for both anal and vaginal sex.To evaluate the rate of within-couple HIV transmission (heterosexual and men who have sex with men [MSM]) during periods of sex without condoms and when the HIV-positive partner had HIV-1 RNA load less than 200 copies/mL.The prospective, observational PARTNER (Partners of People on ART-A New Evaluation of the Risks) study was conducted at 75 clinical sites in 14 European countries and enrolled 1166 HIV serodifferent couples (HIV-positive partner taking suppressive ART) who reported condomless sex (September 2010 to May 2014). Eligibility criteria for inclusion of couple-years of follow-up were condomless sex and HIV-1 RNA load less than 200 copies/mL. Anonymized phylogenetic analysis compared couples HIV-1 polymerase and envelope sequences if an HIV-negative partner became infected to determine phylogenetically linked transmissions.Condomless sexual activity with an HIV-positive partner taking virally suppressive ART.Risk of within-couple HIV transmission to the HIV-negative partner.Among 1166 enrolled couples, 888 (mean age, 42 years [IQR, 35-48]; 548 heterosexual [61.7%] and 340 MSM [38.3%]) provided 1238 eligible couple-years of follow-up (median follow-up, 1.3 years [IQR, 0.8-2.0]). At baseline, couples reported condomless sex for a median of 2 years (IQR, 0.5-6.3). Condomless sex with other partners was reported by 108 HIV-negative MSM (33%) and 21 heterosexuals (4%). During follow-up, couples reported condomless sex a median of 37 times per year (IQR, 15-71), with MSM couples reporting approximately 22,000 condomless sex acts and heterosexuals approximately 36,000. Although 11 HIV-negative partners became HIV-positive (10 MSM; 1 heterosexual; 8 reported condomless sex with other partners), no phylogenetically linked transmissions occurred over eligible couple-years of follow-up, giving a rate of within-couple HIV transmission of zero, with an upper 95% confidence limit of 0.30/100 couple-years of follow-up. The upper 95% confidence limit for condomless anal sex was 0.71 per 100 couple-years of follow-up.Among serodifferent heterosexual and MSM couples in which the HIV-positive partner was using suppressive ART and who reported condomless sex, during median follow-up of 1.3 years per couple, there were no documented cases of within-couple HIV transmission (upper 95% confidence limit, 0.30/100 couple-years of follow-up). Additional longer-term follow-up is necessary to provide more precise estimates of risk.


Lundgren J.D.,Copenhagen University | Babiker A.G.,University College London | Gordin F.,George Washington University | Emery S.,University of New South Wales | And 15 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2015

Background Data from randomized trials are lacking on the benefits and risks of initiating antiretroviral therapy in patients with asymptomatic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection who have a CD4+ count of more than 350 cells per cubic millimeter. Methods We randomly assigned HIV-positive adults who had a CD4+ count of more than 500 cells per cubic millimeter to start antiretroviral therapy immediately (immediate-initiation group) or to defer it until the CD4+ count decreased to 350 cells per cubic millimeter or until the development of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or another condition that dictated the use of antiretroviral therapy (deferred-initiation group). The primary composite end point was any serious AIDS-related event, serious non-AIDS-related event, or death from any cause. Results A total of 4685 patients were followed for a mean of 3.0 years. At study entry, the median HIV viral load was 12,759 copies per milliliter, and the median CD4+ count was 651 cells per cubic millimeter. On May 15, 2015, on the basis of an interim analysis, the data and safety monitoring board determined that the study question had been answered and recommended that patients in the deferred-initiation group be offered antiretroviral therapy. The primary end point occurred in 42 patients in the immediate-initiation group (1.8%; 0.60 events per 100 personyears), as compared with 96 patients in the deferred-initiation group (4.1%; 1.38 events per 100 person-years), for a hazard ratio of 0.43 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30 to 0.62; P<0.001). Hazard ratios for serious AIDS-related and serious non-AIDS-related events were 0.28 (95% CI, 0.15 to 0.50; P<0.001) and 0.61 (95% CI, 0.38 to 0.97; P = 0.04), respectively. More than two thirds of the primary end points (68%) occurred in patients with a CD4+ count of more than 500 cells per cubic millimeter. The risks of a grade 4 event were similar in the two groups, as were the risks of unscheduled hospital admissions. Conclusions The initiation of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-positive adults with a CD4+ count of more than 500 cells per cubic millimeter provided net benefits over starting such therapy in patients after the CD4+ count had declined to 350 cells per cubic millimeter. Copyright © 2015 Massachusetts Medical Society.


Geffen N.,University of Cape Town | Aagaard P.,Copenhagen University | Corbelli G.,European AIDS Treatment Group | Meulbroek M.,Projecte dels NOMS Hispanosida | And 4 more authors.
HIV Medicine | Year: 2015

Determining when to start antiretroviral treatment (ART) is vitally important for people living with HIV. Yet the optimal point at which to start to maximize clinical benefit remains unknown. In the absence of randomized studies, current guidelines rely on conflicting observational data and expert opinion, and consequently diverge on this point. In the USA, ART is recommended irrespective of CD4 cell count. The World Health Organization now recommends starting ART at a CD4 cell count of 500cells/μL, while the threshold for the UK and South Africa remains at 350cells/μL. The Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) study, one of the largest clinical trials on the treatment of HIV infection, will answer this question. START compares two treatment strategies: immediate treatment at a CD4 cell count of 500cells/μL or higher versus deferring treatment until the CD4 cell count decreases to 350cells/μL or until AIDS develops. START includes seven substudies, five of which will clarify the relative contributions of HIV and ART in common comorbidities. START is fully enrolled and expected to be completed in 2016. HIV advocates support the study's design and have been involved from inception to enrolment. The trial will produce rigorous data on the benefits and risks of earlier treatment. It will inform policy and treatment advocacy globally, benefitting the health of HIV-positive people. © 2015 British HIV Association.


Sabin C.A.,University College London | Cooper D.A.,University of New South Wales | Collins S.,HIV I Base | Schechter M.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
AIDS | Year: 2013

Guidelines for the initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in those living with HIV are provided by several national and international treatment guidelines committees. Following recent changes to some of these guidelines, there is now considerable variation between the guidelines in terms of the recommendations for initiation of cART among asymptomatic individuals with high (>350 cells/μl) CD4 cell counts. In this review we compare the schemes used for rating evidence by the various committees and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the available evidence for initiating cART at higher CD4 cell counts. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Daskalopoulou M.,University College London | Rodger A.,University College London | Phillips A.N.,University College London | Sherr L.,University College London | And 20 more authors.
The Lancet HIV | Year: 2014

Background: Recreational drug use in men who have sex with men (MSM) is of concern because it might be linked to the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Evidence about drug use in HIV-diagnosed MSM in the UK is limited by representativeness of the study populations. We describe patterns of drug use and associations with sexual behaviours in HIV-diagnosed MSM in the UK. Methods: We used data from the cross-sectional ASTRA study, which recruited participants aged 18 years or older with HIV from eight HIV outpatient clinics in the UK between Feb 1, 2011, and Dec 31, 2012. We examined data for MSM, assessing the prevalence of recreational drug use and polydrug use in the previous 3 months and associations with sociodemographic and HIV-related factors. We examined the association of polydrug use with measures of condomless sex in the previous 3 months and with other sexual behaviours. Findings: Our analysis included data for 2248 MSM: 2136 (95%) were gay, 1973 (89%) were white, 1904 (85%) were on antiretroviral treatment (ART), and 1682 (76%) had a viral load of 50 copies per mL or lower. 1138 (51%) used recreational drugs in the previous 3 months; 608 (27%) used nitrites, 477 (21%) used cannabis, 460 (21%) used erectile dysfunction drugs, 453 (20%) used cocaine, 280 (13%) used ketamine, 258 (12%) used 3,4-methylenedioxy-Nmethylamphetamine (MDMA), 221 (10%) used gamma-hydroxybutyrate or gamma-butyrolactone, 175 (8%) used methamphetamine, and 162 (7%) used mephedrone. In the 1138 individuals who used drugs, 529 (47%) used three or more drugs and 241 (21%) used fi ve or more. Prevalence of injection drug use was 3% (n=68). Drug use was independently associated with younger age (p<0·0001), not being religious (p=0·001), having an HIV-positive stable partner (p=0·0008), HIV-serostatus disclosure (p=0·009), smoking (p<0·0001), evidence of harmful alcohol drinking (p=0·0001), and ART non-adherence (p<0·0001). Increasing polydrug use was associated with increasing prevalence of condomless sex (prevalence range from no drug use to use of fi ve or more drugs was 24% to 78%), condomless sex with HIV-seroconcordant partners (17% to 69%), condomless sex with HIV-serodiscordant partners (10% to 25%), and higher-HIV-risk condomless sex after taking viral load into account (4% to 16%; p≤0·005 for all). Associations were similar after adjustment for sociodemographic and HIV-related factors. Methamphetamine was more strongly associated with higher-HIV-risk condomless sex than were other commonly used drugs. Interpretation: Polydrug use is prevalent in HIV-diagnosed MSM and is strongly associated with condomless sex. Specialist support services for MSM with HIV who use recreational drugs might be benefi cial in the reduction of harm and prevention of ongoing transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. © Daskalopoulou et al.


Foreman C.,London Specialised Commissioning Group | Gazzard B.,Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust | Johnson M.,Ian Charleson Day Center | Sharott P.,London Specialised Commissioning Group | Collins S.,HIV i Base
Sexually Transmitted Infections | Year: 2012

Background: In the UK, meeting the £20 billion efficiency challenge in the NHS requires new approaches to protect quality and improve productivity. In London, clinicians, people living with HIV and commissioners are collaborating to reduce the cost of antiretrovirals as part of the Quality Innovation Productivity and Prevention agenda. Objectives: To describe how collaboration in antiretroviral procurement in 2011/2012 aimed to significantly reduce drug acquisition costs, ensure equity of prescribing and protect the quality and experience of care and treatment for patients. Methods: Greater clinical leadership and engagement and involvement of patient representatives enabled an approach to drug procurement focused on clinical outcomes at a patient and population level while reducing cost. Consensus guidelines for implementation were developed and agreed by all London lead clinicians while people living with HIV produced a patient information leaflet to explain the tender process and outcomes. A planned audit is underway at all services to monitor prescribing changes and outcomes for those on treatment. Results: HIV clinicians, pharmacists and patient representatives were directly involved in this novel therapeutic tendering approach to antiretroviral drug procurement. Modelling indicates that £8-£10 million savings will be released through the process over 2 years. Conclusions: Clinically led therapeutic tendering of antiretroviral drugs provides an opportunity to protect quality and improve productivity in HIV. The approach is novel in HIV in the UK, and the emergent learning has implications for quality and cost improvement in HIV spending in the UK and potentially in other countries.


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: When should people with HIV start treatment? This question is widely debated. The recent momentum to initiate treatment at a CD4 cell count above 350 cells/mm is driven by the potential population benefits of antiretroviral treatment reducing infectiousness together with operational concerns. These are important. However, we focus on the clinical benefits and risks for the person taking treatment, and how this may vary depending on the background health setting. RECENT FINDINGS: We refer to the recent guideline changes and the limited evidence on which they are based. Many studies that have informed guideline changes reference plausible benefits, but have limited follow-up and are not designed to assess the potential risks. We note historical examples to show that expert opinion in the absence of data warrants caution. SUMMARY: Results from well powered studies designed to look at the question of when to start treatment are essential for quantifying the benefits and risks of earlier treatment. Meanwhile, the decision of when to start must be taken by the HIV-positive person in consultation with their health worker based on accurate information. That choice will vary depending on a person's individual health, their reason to want to treat and the resources of the health-care facility. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Rodger A.J.,University College London | Bruun T.,Copenhagen University | Vernazza P.,Cantonal Hospital | Collins S.,HIV I Base | And 5 more authors.
Antiviral Therapy | Year: 2013

The results from the HPTN 052 trial have increased the focus on use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for prevention of HIV transmission; however, condom use also effectively prevents HIV transmission. Studies in heterosexual serodiscordant couples with viral suppression have so far only reported follow-up data for 330 couple-years when condoms were not being used. Data are even more limited for anal sex in men who have sex with men. Additional data on the effectiveness of ART as prevention when practicing condom-less sex is urgently needed. ©2013 International Medical Press.


PubMed | University of London, HIV i Base, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: HIV medicine | Year: 2016

An increasing proportion of people living with HIV are older adults, who may require specialized care. Adverse physical and psychological effects of HIV infection may be greatest among older people or those who have lived longer with HIV.The ASTRA study is a cross-sectional questionnaire study of 3258 HIV-diagnosed adults (2248 men who have sex with men, 373 heterosexual men and 637 women) recruited from UK clinics in 2011-2012. Associations of age group with physical symptom distress (significant distress for at least one of 26 symptoms), depression and anxiety symptoms (scores 10 on PHQ-9 and GAD-7, respectively), and health-related functional problems (problems on at least one of three domains of the Euroqol 5D-3L)) were assessed, adjusting for time with diagnosed HIV infection, gender/sexual orientation and ethnicity.The age distribution of participants was: < 30 years, 5%; 30-39 years, 23%; 40-49 years, 43%; 50-59 years, 22%; and 60 years, 7%. Overall prevalences were: physical symptom distress, 56%; depression symptoms, 27%; anxiety symptoms, 22%; functional problems, 38%. No trend was found in the prevalence of physical symptom distress with age [adjusted odds ratio (OR) for trend across age groups, 0.96; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.89, 1.04; P = 0.36]. The prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms decreased with age [adjusted OR 0.86 (95% CI 0.79, 0.94; P = 0.001) and adjusted OR 0.85 (95% CI 0.77, 0.94; P = 0.001), respectively], while that of functional problems increased (adjusted OR 1.28; 95% CI 1.17, 1.39; P < 0.001). In contrast, a longer time with diagnosed HIV infection was strongly and independently associated with a higher prevalence of symptom distress, depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and functional problems (P < 0.001 for trends, adjusted analysis).Among people living with HIV, although health-related functional problems were more common with older age, physical symptom distress was not, and mental health was more favourable. These results suggest that a longer time with diagnosed HIV infection, rather than age, is the dominating factor contributing to psychological morbidity and lower quality of life.


PubMed | East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, Mortimer Market Center, HIV i Base and 3 more.
Type: | Journal: HIV medicine | Year: 2016

The aim of the study was to assess, among people living with HIV, knowledge of their latest HIV viral load (VL) and CD4 count.Agreement between self-report and clinic record was assessed among 2771 HIV-diagnosed individuals on antiretroviral treatment (ART) in the UK Antiretrovirals, Sexual Transmission Risk and Attitudes Study (2011-2012). A confidential self-completed questionnaire collected information on demographic, socioeconomic, HIV-related and health-related factors. Participants were asked to self-report their latest VL [undetectable ( 50 copies/mL), detectable (> 50 copies/mL) or dont know] and CD4 count (< 200, 200-350, 351-500 or > 500 cells/L, or dont know). Latest clinic-recorded VL and CD4 count were documented.Of 2678 participants on ART, 434 (16.2%) did not accurately report whether their VL was undetectable. Of 2334 participants with clinic-recorded VL 50 copies/mL, 2061 (88.3%) correctly reported undetectable VL; 49 (2.1%) reported detectable VL; 224 (9.6%) did not know their VL. Of 344 participants with clinic-recorded VL > 50 copies/mL, 183 (53.2%) correctly reported detectable VL; 76 (22.1%) reported undetectable VL; 85 (24.7%) did not know their VL. Of 2137 participants who reported undetectable VL, clinic-recorded VL was 50 copies/mL for 2061 (96.4%) and <1000 copies/mL for 2122 (99.3%). In analyses adjusted for gender/sexual orientation, ethnicity, age and time since starting ART, factors strongly associated with inaccurate self-report of VL (including dont know) included socioeconomic disadvantage [prevalence ratio (95% CI) for not vs. always having enough money for basic needs: 2.4 (1.9, 3.1)], poor English fluency [3.5 (2.4, 5.1) vs. UK born], nondisclosure of HIV status [1.7 (1.3, 2.1)], ART nonadherence [2.1 (1.7, 2.7) for three or more missed doses vs. none in the past 2 weeks] and depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 score 10) [1.9 (1.6, 2.2)]. Overall, 612 (22.9%) of 2667 participants on ART did not accurately self-report whether or not their CD4 count was 350 cells/L.There is a high level of accuracy of a self-report of undetectable VL in people on ART in the UK. Overall, accurate knowledge of personal VL level varied according to demographic, socioeconomic, HIV-related and health-related factors. Active identification of people who may benefit from increased levels of support and engagement in care is important.

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