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Belenky N.M.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Cole S.R.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Pence B.W.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Pence B.W.,Duke University | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Depressive symptoms have been shown to independently affect both antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and HIV clinical outcomes in high-income countries. We examined the prospective relationship between depressive symptoms and adherence, virologic failure, and suppressed immune function in people living with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. Data from 403 study participants who were on stable ART and engaged in HIV clinical care were analyzed. We assessed crude and adjusted associations of depressive symptoms and ART adherence, both at baseline and at 12 months, using logistic regression. We used logistic generalized estimating equations to assess the association and 95% confidence intervals (CI) between depressive symptoms and both virologic failure and suppressed immune function. Ten percent of participants reported moderate or severe depressive symptoms at baseline and 31% of participants experienced virologic failure (>150 copies/ml) over two years. Depressive symptoms were associated with greater odds of reported medication nonadherence at both baseline (Odds Ratio [OR] per 1-unit increase = 1.18, 95% CI [1.12, 1.24]) and 12 months (OR = 1.08, 95% CI [1.03, 1.14]). By contrast, increases in depressive symptom score were inversely related to both virologic failure (OR = 0.93, 95% CI [0.87, 1.00]) and immune system suppression (OR = 0.88, 95% CI [0.79, 0.99]), though the association between depressive symptoms and clinical outcomes was less precise than for the association with nonadherence. Findings indicate a positive association between depressive symptoms and nonadherence, and also an inverse relationship between depressive symptoms and clinical outcomes, possibly due to informative loss to follow-up. © 2014 Belenky et al.


Ostermann J.,Duke University | Ostermann J.,University of South Carolina | Pence B.,Duke University | Pence B.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | And 6 more authors.
AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV | Year: 2015

HIV serostatus disclosure plays an important role in HIV transmission risk reduction and is positively associated with HIV medication adherence and treatment outcomes. However, to date, no study has quantified the role of disclosure across the HIV treatment cascade, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. We used data from a cohort of HIV-infected adults in Northern Tanzania to describe associations between disclosure and engagement and retention in the HIV treatment cascade. Between 2008 and 2009, the Coping with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania (CHAT) study enrolled 260 clients newly diagnosed with HIV and 492 HIV-infected patients in established HIV care in two large HIV care and treatment centers in Northern Tanzania. Participants aged 18 and older completed annual clinical assessments and twice-annual in-person interviews for 3.5 years. Using logistic regression models, we assessed sociodemographic correlates of HIV serostatus disclosure to at least one household member, and associations between this disclosure measure and linkage to care, evaluation for antiretroviral therapy (ART) eligibility, ART coverage, and rates of undetectable HIV RNA levels during the follow-up period. Married individuals and those diagnosed earlier were more likely to have disclosed their HIV infection to at least one household member. During follow-up, HIV serostatus disclosure was associated with higher rates of linkage to care, evaluation for ART eligibility, and ART coverage. No significant association was observed with rates of undetectable viral loads. Marginal effects estimates suggest that a 10 percentage-point lower probability of linkage to care for those who did not disclose their HIV serostatus (86% vs. 96%; p = 0.035) was compounded by an 18 percentage-point lower probability of ever receiving a CD4 count (62% vs. 80%; p =.039), and a 20 percentage-point lower probability of ever receiving ART (55% vs. 75%; p =.029). If causal, these findings suggest an important role for disclosure assistance efforts across the HIV treatment cascade. © 2015 The Author(s).


Pence B.W.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Whetten K.,Duke University | Shirey K.G.,Duke University | Yao J.,Duke University | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background: The reduction of HIV transmission risk behaviors among those infected with HIV remains a major global health priority. Psychosocial characteristics have proven to be important correlates of sexual transmission risk behaviors in high-income countries, but little attention has focused on the influence of sychosocial and psychological factors on sexual transmission risk behaviors in African cohorts. Methodology and Principal Findings: The CHAT Study enrolled a representative sample of 499 HIV-infected patients in established HIV care and 267 newly diagnosed HIV-infected individuals from the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. Participants completed in-person interviews every 6 months for 3 years. Using logistic random effects models to account for repeated observations, we assessed sociodemographic, physical health, and psychosocial predictors of self-reported unprotected sexual intercourse. Among established patients, the proportion reporting any recent unprotected sex was stable, ranging between 6-13% over 3 years. Among newly diagnosed patients, the proportion reporting any unprotected sex dropped from 43% at baseline to 11-21% at 6-36 months. In multivariable models, higher odds of reported unprotected sex was associated with female gender, younger age, being married, better physical health, and greater post-traumatic stress symptoms. In addition, within-individual changes in post-traumatic stress over time coincided with increases in unprotected sex. Conclusions and Significance: Changes in post-traumatic stress symptomatology were associated with changes in sexual transmission risk behaviors in this sample of HIV-infected adults in Tanzania, suggesting the importance of investing in appropriate mental health screening and intervention services for HIV-infected patients, both to improve mental health and to support secondary prevention efforts. © 2013 Pence et al.


Ostermann J.,Duke University | Whetten K.,Duke University | Reddy E.,Duke University | Reddy E.,Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center | And 7 more authors.
AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV | Year: 2014

Decentralization of HIV care is promoted to improve access to antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa. This study describes care transitions among HIV-infected persons in Northern Tanzania during a period of rapid decentralization of HIV care and treatment centers (CTCs) from hospitals to local health centers. Between November 2008 and June 2009, 492 HIV-infected patients in established care at two referral hospitals in Moshi, Tanzania, and 262 persons newly diagnosed with HIV were selected for participation in a prospective cohort study entitled Coping with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. Clinical records and participant self-reports, collected between June and November 2012, were used to describe retention in care and transitions between CTCs during the study period. After a mean follow-up period of 3.5 years, 10% of participants had died, 9% were lost to follow-up, and 11% had moved. Of the remaining participants enrolled from CTCs, more than 90% reported at least one CTC visit during the previous six months, with 98% still in care at the CTC at which they were enrolled. Nearly three out of four newly diagnosed clients listed a referral hospital as their primary CTC. Fewer than 10% of participants ever sought care at another CTC in the study area; nearly 90% of those in care bypassed their closest CTC. Administrative data from all facilities in the study area indicate that new clients, even after the scale-up from 8 CTCs in 2006 to 21 CTCs in 2008, disproportionately selected established CTCs, and client volume at newly approved facilities was highly variable. Despite the decentralization of HIV care and treatment in this setting, many patients continue to bypass their closest CTC to seek care at established facilities. Patient preferences for decentralized HIV care, which may inform optimal resource utilization, are largely unknown and warrant further investigation. © 2014 Taylor and Francis.


Pence B.W.,Duke University | Shirey K.,Duke University | Whetten K.,Duke University | Agala B.,Duke University | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: In high income nations, traumatic life experiences such as childhood sexual abuse are much more common in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) than the general population, and trauma is associated with worse current health and functioning. Virtually no data exist on the prevalence or consequences of trauma for PLWHA in low income nations. Methodology/Principal Findings: We recruited four cohorts of Tanzanian patients in established medical care for HIV infection (n = 228), individuals newly testing positive for HIV (n = 267), individuals testing negative for HIV at the same sites (n = 182), and a random sample of community-dwelling adults (n = 249). We assessed lifetime prevalence of traumatic experiences, recent stressful life events, and current mental health and health-related physical functioning. Those with established HIV infection reported a greater number of childhood and lifetime traumatic experiences (2.1 and 3.0 respectively) than the community cohort (1.8 and 2.3). Those with established HIV infection reported greater post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology and worse current health-related physical functioning. Each additional lifetime traumatic experience was associated with increased PTSD symptomatology and worse functioning. Conclusions/Significance: This study is the first to our knowledge in an HIV population from a low income nation to report the prevalence of a range of potentially traumatic life experiences compared to a matched community sample and to show that trauma history is associated with poorer health-related physical functioning. Our findings underscore the importance of considering psychosocial characteristics when planning to meet the health needs of PLWHA in low income countries. © 2012 Pence et al.

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