Author(s): Badri M, Ehrlich R, Wood R, Maartens G, Badri M, Ehrlich R, Wood R, Maartens G
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the proposed WHO/UNAIDS criteria for initiating co-trimoxazole prophylaxis in adult HIV-infected patients in Africa [WHO clinical stages 2--4 or CD4 count < 500 x 10(6) /l or total lymphocyte count (TLC) equivalent]. DESIGN: Observational cohort study of 5-year follow-up. SETTING: Adult HIV clinics, University of Cape Town, South Africa. METHODS: Effect of prophylactic low dose co-trimoxazole (480 mg per day or 960 mg three times per week) on survival and morbidity was assessed in patients stratified by WHO clinical stage, CD4 T-lymphocyte count or TLC. Patients receiving antiretroviral therapy were excluded. RESULTS: Co-trimoxazole reduced mortality [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR), 0.56; 95\% confidence interval (CI), 0.33--0.85; P > 0.001] and the incidence of severe HIV-related illnesses (AHR, 0.52; 95\% CI, 0.38--0.68; P < 0.001) in patients with evidence of advanced immune suppression on clinical (WHO stages 3 and 4) or laboratory assessment (TLC < 1250 x 10(6)/l or CD4 count < 200 x 10(6)/l). No significant evidence of efficacy was found in patients with WHO stage 2 or CD4 count 200--500 x 10(6)/l/TLC 1250--2000 x 10(6)/l. If we had applied the WHO/UNAIDS recommendations 88.3\% of our patients would have received co-trimoxazole prophylaxis at their initial clinic visit. CONCLUSION: Co-trimoxazole in HIV-infected adults from an area in which Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia is uncommon demonstrated a survival benefit consistent with previous randomized trials. Further studies are needed to assess the optimal time of commencement of prophylaxis, as widespread co-trimoxazole use will lead to increasing antimicrobial resistance to other major pathogens in Africa.
This article was published in AIDS
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research