All Journal Articles

Population density and basic reproductive number of COVID-19 across United States counties

Abstract The basic reproductive number (R0) is a function of contact rates among individuals, transmission probability, and duration of infectiousness. We sought to determine the association between population density and R0 of SARS-CoV-2 across U.S. counties. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis using linear mixed models with random intercept and fixed slopes to assess the association of population density and R0, and controlled for state-level effects using random intercepts. We also 

Economic evaluation of differentiated service delivery models for HIV treatment in Lesotho: costs to providers and patients

Abstract Introduction: Lesotho, the country with the second-highest HIV/AIDS prevalence (23.6%) in the world, has made considerable progress towards achieving the “95-95-95” UNAIDS targets, but recent success in improving treatment access to all known HIV positive individuals has severely strained existing healthcare infrastructure, financial and human resources. Lesotho also faces the challenge of a largely rural population who incur a significant time and financial burden to visit 

Cost-effectiveness analysis of flucytosine as induction therapy in the treatment of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV-infected adults in South Africa

Abstract Background: Cryptococcal meningitis in HIV-infected patients in sub-Saharan Africa accounts for three-quarters of the global cases and 135,000 deaths per annum. Current treatment includes the use of fluconazole and amphotericin B. Recent evidence has shown that the synergistic use of flucytosine improves efficacy and reduces toxicity, however affordability and availability has hampered access to flucytosine in many countries. This study investigated the evidence and cost implications 

Fast-track treatment initiation counselling in South Africa: A cost-outcomes analysis

Abstract Introduction: In 2016, under its new National Adherence Guidelines (AGL), South Africa formalized an existing model of fast-track HIV treatment initiation counselling (FTIC). Rollout of the AGL included an evaluation study at 24 clinics, with staggered AGL implementation. Using routinely collected data extracted as part of the evaluation study, we estimated and compared the costs of HIV care and treatment from the provider’s perspective at the 12 clinics implementing the new, 

Attrition in HIV care following HIV diagnosis: a comparison of the pre-UTT and UTT eras in South Africa

Introduction: Policies for Universal Test & Treat (UTT) and same-day initiation (SDI) of antiretroviral therapy (ART) were instituted in South Africa in September 2016 and 2017 respectively. However, there is limited evidence on whether these changes have improved patient retention after HIV diagnosis. Methods: We enrolled three cohorts of newly diagnosed HIV-infected adults from two primary health clinics in Johannesburg from April to November 2015 (Pre-UTT, N = 144), May-September 2017 

Adaptation of WHO’s generic tuberculosis patient cost instrument for a longitudinal study in Africa

The WHO developed a generic ‘TB patient cost survey’ tool and a standardized approach to assess the direct and indirect costs of TB incurred by patients and their households, estimate the proportion of patients experiencing catastrophic costs, and measure the impact of interventions to reduce patient costs. While the generic tool is a facility-based cross-sectional survey, this standardized approach needs to be adapted for longitudinal studies. A longitudinal approach may overcome some of 

Perceived barriers to the uptake of health services among first-year university students in Johannesburg, South Africa

In South Africa, the 15-24-year age group are at an increased risk of HIV infection . In 2017, HIV incidence for young adults between the ages of 15–24 was 1.0% (95% CI 0.86–1.15), translating to an estimated 88 400 new infections . In the same year, WHO and other UN partners launched the Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!), which called for the systematic inclusion of adolescents’ expectations and perspectives in health planning processes . However, many 

Health provider perspectives on the implementation of the same‑day‑ART initiation policy in the Gauteng province of South Africa

Results: The data indicates inconsistencies across facilities and incongruities between counsellor and nursing provider perspectives regarding the SDI policy implementation. While nurses highlighted the clinical benefits of early  ART initiation, they expressed concerns that immediate ART may be overwhelming for some patients, who may be unprepared and likely to disengage from care soon after the initial acceptance of ART. Accordingly, the SDI implementation was slow due to limited patient 

Community-based delivery of HIV treatment in Zambia: costs and outcomes

The DSD models assessed cost more per patient/year than conventional care. Costs ranged from an annual $116 to $199 for the DSD models, compared with $100 for conventional care. CAGs and UAGs increased retention by 2 and 14%, respectively. All DSD models cost more per patient retained at 12 months than conventional care. The CAG had the lowest cost/patient retained for DSD models ($140–157). Conclusions: Although they achieve equal or improved retention in care, out-of-facility models of 

Opportunities from a new disease for an old threat: Extending COVID-19 efforts to address tuberculosis in South Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic and phased nationwide lockdown have impacted negatively on individuals with tuberculosis (TB) and routine TB services. Through a literature review and the perspective of members of a national TB Think Tank task team, we describe the impact of the pandemic and lockdown on TB patients and services as well as the potential long-term setback to TB control in South Africa (SA). Strategies to mitigate risk and impact are explored, together with opportunities to leverage 

Bringing Data Analytics to the Design of Optimized Diagnostic Networks in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Process, Terms and Definitions

Diagnostics services are an essential component of healthcare systems, advancing universal health coverage and ensuring global health security, but are often unavailable or under-resourced in low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries. Typically, diagnostics are delivered at various tiers of the laboratory network based on population needs, and resource and infrastructure constraints. A diagnostic network additionally incorporates screening and includes point-of-care testing that may occur outside 

Incidence and predictors of sexually transmitted infections among adult HIV-positive patients receiving antiretroviral therapy at Themba Lethu HIV clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa

Background. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among people living with HIV/AIDS can facilitate the spread of HIV. Objectives. To estimate STI incidence and identify predictors of STI acquisition among HIV-positive patients during their first 24 months of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Methods. We conducted a cohort study using prospectively collected routine data on patients who initiated ART between January 2004 and January 2015 at the Themba Lethu HIV