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HIV Med ; 2023 Mar 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2248752


OBJECTIVES: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HIV outpatient attendances were restricted from March 2020, resulting in reduced frequency of HIV viral load (VL) monitoring (previously 6-monthly) in clinically stable and virologically suppressed people living with HIV (PLWH). We investigated virological outcomes during this period of reduced monitoring and compared with the previous year, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: People living with HIV with undetectable VL (<200 HIV RNA copies /mL) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) were identified from March 2018 to February 2019. We determined VL outcomes during the pre-COVD-19 period (March 2019-February 2020) and the COVID-19 period (March 2020-February 2021) when monitoring was restricted. Frequency and longest durations between VL tests in each period were evaluated, and virological sequelae in those with detectable VL were determined. RESULTS: Of 2677 PLWH virologically suppressed on ART (March 2018-February 2019), VLs were measured and undetectable in 2571 (96.0%) and 2003 (77.9%) in the pre-COVID and COVID periods, respectively. Mean (SD) numbers of VL tests were 2.3 (1.08) and 1.1 (0.83) and mean longest duration between VL tests was 29.5 weeks (SD 8.25, 3.1% were ≥12 months) and 43.7 weeks (12.64, 28.4% were ≥12 months), in the pre-COVID and COVID periods, respectively. Of 45 individuals with one or more detectable VL during the COVID-19 period, two developed new drug resistance mutations. CONCLUSION: Reduced VL monitoring was not associated with poorer virological outcomes in the majority of stable individuals receiving ART. One in 20 individuals had not returned for VL testing after ≥31 months and the risk of harm in these individuals is unknown.

J Virus Erad ; 7(1): 100025, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-957267


This discussion paper addresses the safety of HIV cure studies, particularly those involving stopping antiretroviral therapy, known as an analytic treatment interruption (ATI) in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. More than 30 studies listed on ClinicalTrials.gov include an ATI and many others were planned to begin over the next 12 months but most were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We consider the ethics, risks and practical considerations to be taken into account before re-opening HIV cure clinical trials, noting the specific risks of ATI in the context of circulating SARS-CoV-2.