Ladymeade Reference Unit

Bridgetown, Barbados

Ladymeade Reference Unit

Bridgetown, Barbados
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Alemnji G.A.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Branch S.,Ladymeade Reference Unit | Best A.,Ministry of Health | Kalou M.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | And 6 more authors.
Global Public Health | Year: 2012

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programme for the Caribbean Region was established in 2008 to address health system challenges, including fragile laboratory services and systems. The laboratory component of this programme consisted of several phases: assessment of laboratory needs of all 12 countries engaged in the programme; addressing gaps identified during the assessment; and monitoring and evaluation of the progress achieved. After one year of PEPFAR collaboration with national governments and other partners, laboratory services and systems greatly improved. Some of the milestones include: (1) the accreditation of a public laboratory; (2) improved access to HIV diagnosis with faster turnaround time; (3) establishment of capacity for platforms for DNA PCR, viral load and HIV drug resistance; (4) development of the laboratory workforce; and (5) establishment of a framework for implementation of sustainable quality management systems for laboratory accreditation. The progress recorded in strengthening laboratory health systems after one year of initiating this collaboration shows that with a rigorous initial assessment, programme design and intervention and strategic partnership, national laboratory health systems can be greatly enhanced to support programme implementation. Continued collaboration and country leadership is critical to create an integrated and sustainable laboratory network in the Caribbean. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.


Koenig S.P.,Haitian Study Group for Kaposis Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections GHESKIO | Koenig S.P.,Brigham and Women's Hospital | Rodriguez L.A.,COPRESIDA | Bartholomew C.,Medical Port | And 13 more authors.
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes | Year: 2012

Objectives: To report long-term HIV treatment outcomes in 7 Caribbean countries. Design: Observational cohort study. Methods: We report outcomes for all antiretroviral therapy (ART) naive adult patients enrolled on ART from program inception until study closing for cohorts in Barbados, the Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica Martinique, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico. Incidence and predictors of mortality were analyzed by time-to-event approaches. Results: A total of 8203 patients were on ART from 1998 to 2008. Median follow-up time was 31 months (interquartile range: 14-50 months). The overall mortality was 13%: 6% in Martinique, 8% in Jamaica, 11% in Trinidad, 13% in Haiti, 15% in the Dominican Republic, 15% in Barbados, and 24% in Puerto Rico. Mortality was associated with male gender [hazard ratio (HR), 1.58; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.33 to 1.87], body weight (HR, 0.85 per 10 pounds; 95% CI: 0.82 to 0.89), hemoglobin (HR, 0.84 per g/dL; 95% CI: 0.80 to 0.88), CD4 cell count (0.90 per 50 CD4 cells; 95% CI: 0.86 to 0.93), concurrent tuberculosis (HR, 1.58; 95% CI: 1.25 to 2.01) and age (HR, 1.19 per 10 years; 95% CI: 1.11 to 1.28). After controlling for these variables, mortality in Martinique Jamaica, Trinidad, and Haiti was not significantly different. A total of 75% of patients remained alive and in care at the end of the study period. Conclusions: Long-term mortality rates vary widely across the Caribbean countries. Much of the difference can be explained by disease severity at ART initiation, nutritional status, and concurrent tuberculosis. Earlier ART initiation will be critical to improve the outcomes. Copyright © 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Landis R.C.,University of the West Indies | Branch-Beckles S.L.,University of the West Indies | Branch-Beckles S.L.,Ladymeade Reference Unit | Crichlow S.,Ladymeade Reference Unit | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background: Treatment as prevention is a paradigm in HIV medicine which describes the public health benefit of antiretroviral therapy (ART). It is based on research showing substantial reductions in the risk of HIV transmission in persons with optimally suppressed HIV-1 Viral Loads (VL). The present study describes ten year VL trends at the national HIV treatment unit and estimates VL suppression at a population level in Barbados, a Caribbean island with a population of 277,000, an estimated adult HIV prevalence of 1.2%, and served by a single treatment unit. Methods: The national HIV treatment centre of the Barbados Ministry of Health has a client VL database extending back to inception of the clinic in 2002 (n = 1,462 clients, n = 17,067 VL measurements). Optimal VL suppression was defined at a threshold value of ≤200 viral copies/mL. Results: Analysis of VL trends showed a statistically significant improvement in VL suppression between 2002 to 2011, from 33.6% of clients achieving the 200 copies/mL threshold in 2002 to 70.3% in 2011 (P<0.001). Taking into account the proportion of clients alive and in care and on ART, the known diagnosed HIV population in Barbados, and estimates of unknown HIV infections, this translates into an estimated 26.2% VL suppression at a population level at the end of 2010. Conclusions: We have demonstrated a significant trend towards optimal VL suppression in clients utilizing the services of the national HIV treatment program in Barbados over a 10-year period. Estimates of VL suppression at a population level are similar to reports in developed countries that applied similar methodologies and this could suggest a public health benefit of ART in minimizing the risk of sexual transmission of HIV. Continued efforts are warranted to extend HIV testing to hidden populations in Barbados and linking infected persons to care earlier in their disease. © 2013 Landis et al.


Landis R.C.,University of the West Indies | Landis R.C.,Ladymeade Reference Unit | Carmichael-Simmons K.,Ladymeade Reference Unit | Hambleton I.R.,University of the West Indies | Best A.,Ladymeade Reference Unit
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Objective: Since 2009, seven countries in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, have been utilizing a laboratory referral service for HIV-1 viral load (VL) offered by The Ladymeade Reference Unit (LRU) Laboratory, Barbados. The objective of this study was to evaluate 5 year VL trends in the six larger OECS countries participating in this regional referral service. Methods: Blood samples were collected in source countries and transported to Barbados as frozen plasma according to a standardized protocol. Plasma specimens were amplified by RT PCR on a Roche TaqMan 48 analyser (Roche Diagnostics, Panama City, Panama). VL was considered optimally suppressed below a threshold level of < 200 HIV-1 copies/mL of blood. The same threshold was used as a binary indicator in an analysis of the secular change in VL suppression. Montserrat was excluded due to insufficient number of samples. Results: A steady rise in VL referrals from OECS countries was recorded, rising from 312 samples in 2009 to 1,060 samples in 2013. A total of 3,543 samples were tested, with a sample rejection rate (9.2%) mostly due to breaks in the cold chain. Aggregate VL data showed the odds of VL suppression in the Eastern Caribbean improved by 66% for each additional year after 2009 (Odds Ratio 1.66 [95% CI 1.46 to 1.88]; p<0.001). Conclusion: We demonstrate the feasibility of establishing a regional laboratory referral service for HIV VL monitoring in the Eastern Caribbean. Aggregate VL trends showed a significant year-on-year improvement in VL suppression, implying public health benefits through treatment as prevention in the OECS. VL provides a powerful monitoring & evaluation tool for strengthening HIV programs at country level among the small island states participating in this regional referral network. © 2015 Landis et al.


PubMed | University of the West Indies and Ladymeade Reference Unit
Type: Clinical Trial | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Since 2009, seven countries in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, have been utilizing a laboratory referral service for HIV-1 viral load (VL) offered by The Ladymeade Reference Unit (LRU) Laboratory, Barbados. The objective of this study was to evaluate 5 year VL trends in the six larger OECS countries participating in this regional referral service.Blood samples were collected in source countries and transported to Barbados as frozen plasma according to a standardized protocol. Plasma specimens were amplified by RT PCR on a Roche TaqMan 48 analyser (Roche Diagnostics, Panama City, Panama). VL was considered optimally suppressed below a threshold level of < 200 HIV-1 copies/mL of blood. The same threshold was used as a binary indicator in an analysis of the secular change in VL suppression. Montserrat was excluded due to insufficient number of samples.A steady rise in VL referrals from OECS countries was recorded, rising from 312 samples in 2009 to 1,060 samples in 2013. A total of 3,543 samples were tested, with a sample rejection rate (9.2%) mostly due to breaks in the cold chain. Aggregate VL data showed the odds of VL suppression in the Eastern Caribbean improved by 66% for each additional year after 2009 (Odds Ratio 1.66 [95% CI 1.46 to 1.88]; p<0.001).We demonstrate the feasibility of establishing a regional laboratory referral service for HIV VL monitoring in the Eastern Caribbean. Aggregate VL trends showed a significant year-on-year improvement in VL suppression, implying public health benefits through treatment as prevention in the OECS. VL provides a powerful monitoring & evaluation tool for strengthening HIV programs at country level among the small island states participating in this regional referral network.


PubMed | Ladymeade Reference Unit and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The West Indian medical journal | Year: 2015

To describe the outcome of HIV-infected pregnant women and their offspring during a five-year period.The medical records of HIV-infected pregnant women who delivered between January 2007 and December 2011 and their HIV-exposed infants were reviewed. Demographics, outcome of pregnancy and infants, and clinic attendance were analysed. Data were entered on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.One hundred and forty-three women, aged 17-45 years (mean 27.3 years), were included in the study with 143 pregnancies and 142 pregnancy outcomes being recorded. One woman migrated before delivery. There were 122 live births and 18 (13%) terminations: 13 (9%) elective and five (4%) spontaneous. There was one ectopic pregnancy and one stillbirth. One hundred and twenty-two (85%) women were unmarried. Women were prescribed highly active antiretroviral therapy for prevention of mother-to-child transmission from the time of booking, apart from those opting for terminations or those who had spontaneous abortions. For clinic follow-up, 105 (73%) had regular attendance, 30 (21%) defaulted and could not be located despite intense tracking, four attended irregularly, and one refused to attend clinic. Four (3%) migrated after delivery. Two (1%) mothers died during the period of study. Two successive DNA polymerase chain reaction tests done within four months of age did not substantiate any cases of infant infection.This study revealed that there was a good outcome and compliance with follow-up of HIV-infected pregnant women and their offspring.

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