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1.
PLoS Med ; 19(3): e1003940, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1833506

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Optimizing services to facilitate engagement and retention in care of people living with HIV (PLWH) on antiretroviral therapies (ARTs) is critical to decrease HIV-related morbidity and mortality and HIV transmission. We systematically reviewed the literature for the effectiveness of implementation strategies to reestablish and subsequently retain clinical contact, improve viral load suppression, and reduce mortality among patients who had been lost to follow-up (LTFU) from HIV services. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We searched 7 databases (PubMed, Cochrane, ERIC, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Web of Science, and the WHO regional databases) and 3 conference abstract archives (CROI, IAC, and IAS) to find randomized trials and observational studies published through 13 April 2020. Eligible studies included those involving children and adults who were diagnosed with HIV, had initiated ART, and were subsequently lost to care and that reported at least one review outcome (return to care, retention, viral suppression, or mortality). Data were extracted by 2 reviewers, with discrepancies resolved by a third. We characterized reengagement strategies according to how, where, and by whom tracing was conducted. We explored effects, first, among all categorized as LTFU from the HIV program (reengagement program effect) and second among those found to be alive and out of care (reengagement contact outcome). We used random-effect models for meta-analysis and conducted subgroup analyses to explore heterogeneity. Searches yielded 4,244 titles, resulting in 37 included studies (6 randomized trials and 31 observational studies). In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (N = 16), tracing most frequently involved identification of LTFU from the electronic medical record (EMR) and paper records followed by a combination of telephone calls and field tracing (including home visits), by a team of outreach workers within 3 months of becoming LTFU (N = 7), with few incorporating additional strategies to support reengagement beyond contact (N = 2). In high-income countries (HICs) (N = 21 studies), LTFU were similarly identified through EMR systems, at times matched with other public health records (N = 4), followed by telephone calls and letters sent by mail or email and conducted by outreach specialist teams. Home visits were less common (N = 7) than in LMICs, and additional reengagement support was similarly infrequent (N = 5). Overall, reengagement programs were able to return 39% (95% CI: 31% to 47%) of all patients who were characterized as LTFU (n = 29). Reengagement contact resulted in 58% (95% CI: 51% to 65%) return among those found to be alive and out of care (N = 17). In 9 studies that had a control condition, the return was higher among those in the reengagement intervention group than the standard of care group (RR: 1.20 (95% CI: 1.08 to 1.32, P < 0.001). There were insufficient data to generate pooled estimates of retention, viral suppression, or mortality after the return. CONCLUSIONS: While the types of interventions are markedly heterogeneity, reengagement interventions increase return to care. HIV programs should consider investing in systems to better characterize LTFU to identify those who are alive and out of care, and further research on the optimum time to initiate reengagement efforts after missed visits and how to best support sustained reengagement could improve efficiency and effectiveness.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Lost to Follow-Up , Adult , Child , HIV Infections/drug therapy , Humans , Income , Viral Load , World Health Organization
2.
PLoS Med ; 19(3): e1003959, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1793650

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Global HIV treatment programs have sought to lengthen the interval between clinical encounters for people living with HIV (PLWH) who are established on antiretroviral treatment (ART) to reduce the burden of seeking care and to decongest health facilities. The overall effect of reduced visit frequency on HIV treatment outcomes is however unknown. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of implementation strategies that reduce the frequency of clinical appointments and ART refills for PLWH established on ART. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We searched databases​ between 1 January 2010 and 9 November 2021 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies that compared reduced (6- to 12-monthly) clinical consultation or ART refill appointment frequency to 3- to 6-monthly appointments for patients established on ART. We assessed methodological quality and real-world relevance, and used Mantel-Haenszel methods to generate pooled risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals for retention, viral suppression, and mortality. We evaluated heterogeneity quantitatively and qualitatively, and overall evidence certainty using GRADE. Searches yielded 3,955 records, resulting in 10 studies (6 RCTs, 3 observational studies, and 1 study contributing observational and RCT data) representing 15 intervention arms with 33,599 adults (≥16 years) in 8 sub-Saharan African countries. Reduced frequency clinical consultations occurred at health facilities, while reduced frequency ART refills were delivered through facility or community pharmacies and adherence groups. Studies were highly pragmatic, except for some study settings and resources used in RCTs. Among studies comparing reduced clinical consultation frequency (6- or 12-monthly) to 3-monthly consultations, there appeared to be no difference in retention (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.97-1.04, p = 0.682, 8 studies, low certainty), and this finding was consistent across 6- and 12-monthly consultation intervals and delivery strategies. Viral suppression effect estimates were markedly influenced by under-ascertainment of viral load outcomes in intervention arms, resulting in inconclusive evidence. There was similarly insufficient evidence to draw conclusions on mortality (RR 1.12, 95% CI 0.75-1.66, p = 0.592, 6 studies, very low certainty). For ART refill frequency, there appeared to be little to no difference in retention (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.98-1.06, p = 0.473, 4 RCTs, moderate certainty) or mortality (RR 1.45, 95% CI 0.63-3.35, p = 0.382, 4 RCTs, low certainty) between 6-monthly and 3-monthly visits. Similar to the analysis for clinical consultations, although viral suppression appeared to be better in 3-monthly arms, effect estimates were markedly influence by under-ascertainment of viral load outcomes in intervention arms, resulting in overall inclusive evidence. This systematic review was limited by the small number of studies available to compare 12- versus 6-monthly clinical consultations, insufficient data to compare implementation strategies, and lack of evidence for children, key populations, and low- and middle-income countries outside of sub-Saharan Africa. CONCLUSIONS: Based on this synthesis, extending clinical consultation intervals to 6 or 12 months and ART dispensing intervals to 6 months appears to result in similar retention to 3-month intervals, with less robust conclusions for viral suppression and mortality. Future research should ensure complete viral load outcome ascertainment, as well as explore mechanisms of effect, outcomes in other populations, and optimum delivery and monitoring strategies to ensure widespread applicability of reduced frequency visits across settings.


Subject(s)
Anti-Retroviral Agents , HIV Infections , Adult , Anti-Retroviral Agents/therapeutic use , Child , HIV Infections/drug therapy , Humans , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome , Viral Load
3.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0265434, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742024

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite the established efficacy of PrEP to prevent HIV and the advantages of a user-controlled method, PrEP uptake and persistence by women in both trials and demonstration projects has been suboptimal. We utilized real-world data from an HIV service provider to describe persistence on oral PrEP among female sex workers (FSW) in eThekwini, South Africa. METHODS: We examined time from PrEP initiation to discontinuation among all FSW initiating PrEP at TB HIV Care in eThekwini between 2016-2020. We used a discrete time-to-event data setup and stacked cumulative incidence function plots, displaying the competing risks of 1) not returning for PrEP, 2) client discontinuation, and 3) provider discontinuation. We calculated hazard ratios using complementary log-log regression and sub-hazard ratios using competing risks regression. RESULTS: The number of initiations increased each year from 155 (9.3%, n = 155/1659) in 2016 to 1224 (27.5%, n = 1224/4446) in 2020. Persistence 1-month after initiation was 53% (95% CI: 51%-55%). Younger women were more likely to discontinue PrEP by not returning compared with those 25 years and older. Risk of discontinuation through non-return declined for those initiating in later years. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a greater number of initiations and sustained persistence were observed in 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Low levels of PrEP persistence were observed, consistent with data among underserved women elsewhere. Encouragingly, the proportion of women persisting increased over time, even as the number of women newly initiating PrEP and staff workload increased. Further research is needed to understand which implementation strategies the program may have enacted to facilitate these improvements and what further changes may be necessary.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Medication Adherence/statistics & numerical data , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis/statistics & numerical data , Sex Workers/statistics & numerical data , Administration, Oral , Adult , Anti-HIV Agents/administration & dosage , Female , Humans , Medication Adherence/psychology , Sex Workers/psychology , South Africa/epidemiology , Young Adult
4.
Public Health Rep ; 137(2): 197-202, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1582752

ABSTRACT

The public health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a deluge of scientific research aimed at informing the public health and medical response to the pandemic. However, early in the pandemic, those working in frontline public health and clinical care had insufficient time to parse the rapidly evolving evidence and use it for decision-making. Academics in public health and medicine were well-placed to translate the evidence for use by frontline clinicians and public health practitioners. The Novel Coronavirus Research Compendium (NCRC), a group of >60 faculty and trainees across the United States, formed in March 2020 with the goal to quickly triage and review the large volume of preprints and peer-reviewed publications on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 and summarize the most important, novel evidence to inform pandemic response. From April 6 through December 31, 2020, NCRC teams screened 54 192 peer-reviewed articles and preprints, of which 527 were selected for review and uploaded to the NCRC website for public consumption. Most articles were peer-reviewed publications (n = 395, 75.0%), published in 102 journals; 25.1% (n = 132) of articles reviewed were preprints. The NCRC is a successful model of how academics translate scientific knowledge for practitioners and help build capacity for this work among students. This approach could be used for health problems beyond COVID-19, but the effort is resource intensive and may not be sustainable in the long term.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Data Curation/methods , Information Dissemination/methods , Interdisciplinary Research/organization & administration , Peer Review, Research , Preprints as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Public Health , United States
5.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr ; 87(3): 899-911, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169727

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic indirectly impacts HIV epidemiology in Central/West Africa. We estimated the potential impact of COVID-19-related disruptions to HIV prevention/treatment services and sexual partnerships on HIV incidence and HIV-related deaths among key populations including female sex workers (FSW), their clients, men who have sex with men, and overall. SETTING: Yaoundé (Cameroon) and Cotonou (Benin). METHODS: We used mathematical models of HIV calibrated to city population-specific and risk population-specific demographic/behavioral/epidemic data. We estimated the relative change in 1-year HIV incidence and HIV-related deaths for various disruption scenarios of HIV prevention/treatment services and decreased casual/commercial partnerships, compared with a scenario without COVID-19. RESULTS: A 50% reduction in condom use in all partnerships over 6 months would increase 1-year HIV incidence by 39%, 42%, 31%, and 23% among men who have sex with men, FSW, clients, and overall in Yaoundé, respectively, and 69%, 49%, and 23% among FSW, clients, and overall, respectively, in Cotonou. Combining a 6-month interruption of ART initiation and 50% reduction in HIV prevention/treatment use would increase HIV incidence by 50% and HIV-related deaths by 20%. This increase in HIV infections would be halved by a simultaneous 50% reduction in casual and commercial partnerships. CONCLUSIONS: Reductions in condom use after COVID-19 would increase infections among key populations disproportionately, particularly FSW in Cotonou, who need uninterrupted condom provision. Disruptions in HIV prevention/treatment services have the biggest impacts on HIV infections and deaths overall, only partially mitigated by equal reductions in casual/commercial sexual partnerships. Maintaining ART provision must be prioritized to minimize short-term excess HIV-related deaths.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV-1 , SARS-CoV-2 , Benin/epidemiology , Cameroon/epidemiology , Condoms , Female , Humans , Male , Models, Biological , Risk Factors , Safe Sex , Sex Workers , Urban Population
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