Recent Publications

The WelTel Trial in context and the importance of null findings

The past decade has seen major advances in HIV care. Effective treatment exists, and drugs are becoming cheaper, more effective, and easier to tolerate. Thus, although most important clinical treatment questions have been answered, questions remain about how to get people into care earlier and remain on life-long 

HIV treatment outcomes in South Africa: fixed-dose combination vs. traditional multi-pill ART

Currently, there are a limited number of studies focusing specifically on the effects of active ARV drugs administered as separate pills compared to those same active drugs administered in a fixed dose combination. Thus the current study helps fill a critical gap in literature. Our results suggest that under programmatic conditions, FDCs achieve similar outcomes in terms of attrition and virology suppression compared to a multi-pill regimen. However, FDCs may have an important role to play in 

Changes in elevated cholesterol in the era of Tenofovir: risk factors, clinical management and outcomes

We found South African adults on ART have increased rates of elevated total cholesterol but tenofovir affects total cholesterol less than do other NRTIs. Older patients and patients with increase BMI are at an increased risk of high cholesterol and should therefore be monitored closely and perhaps be prioritised for cholesterol-lowering drugs, while at the same time receiving lifestyle and dietary 

Treatment outcomes of over 1000 patients on second-line, protease inhibitor-based antiretroviral therapy from four public-sector HIV treatment facilities across Johannesburg, South Africa

HIV‐infected patients initiated on standard second‐line ART in South Africa can experience overall low rates of attrition and moderately high rates of virologic suppression shortly after second‐line initiation; however, individuals with poorer immune status at the time of initiation of second‐line treatment are at greater risk for attrition, were less likely to suppress and may need additional adherence support to improve treatment 

Lessons learnt from the introduction of the contraceptive implant in South Africa

In 2014, South Africa (SA) introduced the subdermal contraceptive implant with the aim of expanding the contraceptive method mix and availability of long-acting reversible methods in the public sector. Three years on, concerns have been raised about the decline in uptake, early implant removals and challenges in service delivery. This article explores the lessons learnt from the introduction of contraceptive technologies elsewhere and applies these to the SA context. Drawing on the World Health 

Failure to initiate HIV treatment in patients with high CD4 counts: evidence from demographic surveillance in rural South Africa

Objectives: To assess the relationship between CD4 count at presentation and ART uptake and assess predictors of timely treatment initiation in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Methods We used Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards models to assess the association between first CD4 count and time from first CD4 to ART initiation among all adults presenting to the Hlabisa HIV Treatment and Care Programme between August 2011 and December 2012 with treatment-eligible CD4 counts (≤ 350 

Assessing the impact of the National Department of Health’s National Adherence Guidelines for Chronic Diseases in South Africa using routinely collected data: a cluster-randomised evaluation

Background: Long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence is critical for achieving optimal HIV treatment outcomes. Fixed-dose combination (FDC) single-pill regimens, introduced in South Africa in April 2013, has simplified pill taking. We evaluated treatment outcomes among patients initiated on a FDC compared to a similar multi-pill ART regimen in Johannesburg, South Africa. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of ART-naïve HIV-positive non-pregnantadult (≥18 years) 

The right combination – treatment outcomes among HIV-positive patients initiating first-line fixed-dose antiretroviral therapy in a public sector HIV clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa

Background: Long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence is critical for achieving optimal HIV treatment outcomes. Fixed-dose combination (FDC) single-pill regimens, introduced in South Africa in April 2013, has simplified pill taking. We evaluated treatment outcomes among patients initiated on a FDC compared to a similar multi-pill ART regimen in Johannesburg, South Africa. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of ART-naïve HIV-positive non-pregnant adult (≥18 years) 

Treatment eligibility and retention in clinical HIV care: A regression discontinuity study in South Africa

Background Loss to follow-up is high among HIV patients not yet receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Clinical trials have demonstrated the clinical efficacy of early ART; however, these trials may miss an important real-world consequence of providing ART at diagnosis: its impact on retention in care. Methods and findings We examined the effect of immediate (versus deferred) ART on retention in care using a regression discontinuity design. The analysis included all patients (N =