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  1. Jiamsakul A, Lee MP, Nguyen KV, Merati TP, Cuong DD, Ditangco R, et al.
    Int. J. Tuberc. Lung Dis., 2018 02 01;22(2):179-186.
    PMID: 29506614 DOI: 10.5588/ijtld.17.0348
    SETTING: Tuberculosis (TB) is the most common human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) related opportunistic infection and cause of acquired immune-deficiency syndrome related death. TB often affects those from a low socio-economic background.

    OBJECTIVE: To assess the socio-economic determinants of TB in HIV-infected patients in Asia.

    DESIGN: This was a matched case-control study. HIV-positive, TB-positive cases were matched to HIV-positive, TB-negative controls according to age, sex and CD4 cell count. A socio-economic questionnaire comprising 23 questions, including education level, employment, housing and substance use, was distributed. Socio-economic risk factors for TB were analysed using conditional logistic regression analysis.

    RESULTS: A total of 340 patients (170 matched pairs) were recruited, with 262 (77.1%) matched for all three criteria. Pulmonary TB was the predominant type (n = 115, 67.6%). The main risk factor for TB was not having a university level education (OR 4.45, 95%CI 1.50-13.17, P = 0.007). Burning wood or coal regularly inside the house and living in the same place of origin were weakly associated with TB diagnosis.

    CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that lower socio-economic status is associated with an increased risk of TB in Asia. Integrating clinical and socio-economic factors into HIV treatment may help in the prevention of opportunistic infections and disease progression.

  2. Chan YC, Tay YK, Sugito TL, Boediardja SA, Chau DD, Nguyen KV, et al.
    Ann. Acad. Med. Singap., 2006 Nov;35(11):794-803.
    PMID: 17160196
    This study evaluated the knowledge, attitudes and practices of Southeast Asian dermatologists in the management of atopic dermatitis (AD).
  3. Do TC, Boettiger D, Law M, Pujari S, Zhang F, Chaiwarith R, et al.
    HIV Med., 2016 08;17(7):542-9.
    PMID: 27430354 DOI: 10.1111/hiv.12358
    OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence and characteristics associated with current smoking in an Asian HIV-positive cohort, to calculate the predictive risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHD) and myocardial infarction (MI), and to identify the impact that simulated interventions may have.

    METHODS: Logistic regression analysis was used to distinguish associated current smoking characteristics. Five-year predictive risks of CVD, CHD and MI and the impact of simulated interventions were calculated utilizing the Data Collection on Adverse Effects of Anti-HIV Drugs Study (D:A:D) algorithm.

    RESULTS: Smoking status data were collected from 4274 participants and 1496 of these had sufficient data for simulated intervention calculations. Current smoking prevalence in these two groups was similar (23.2% vs. 19.9%, respectively). Characteristics associated with current smoking included age > 50 years compared with 30-39 years [odds ratio (OR) 0.65; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.51-0.83], HIV exposure through injecting drug use compared with heterosexual exposure (OR 3.03; 95% CI 2.25-4.07), and receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) at study sites in Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan and Vietnam in comparison to Thailand (all OR > 2). Women were less likely to smoke than men (OR 0.11; 95% CI 0.08-0.14). In simulated interventions, smoking cessation demonstrated the greatest impact in reducing CVD and CHD risk and closely approximated the impact of switching from abacavir to an alternate antiretroviral in the reduction of 5-year MI risk.

    CONCLUSIONS: Multiple interventions could reduce CVD, CHD and MI risk in Asian HIV-positive patients, with smoking cessation potentially being the most influential.

  4. Bijker R, Jiamsakul A, Uy E, Kumarasamy N, Ditango R, Chaiwarith R, et al.
    HIV Med., 2019 Mar;20(3):183-191.
    PMID: 30620108 DOI: 10.1111/hiv.12687
    OBJECTIVES: With aging of the HIV-positive population, cardiovascular disease (CVD) increasingly contributes to morbidity and mortality. We investigated CVD-related and other causes of death (CODs) and factors associated with CVD in a multi-country Asian HIV-positive cohort.

    METHODS: Patient data from 2003-2017 were obtained from the Therapeutics, Research, Education and AIDS Training in Asia (TREAT Asia) HIV Observational Database (TAHOD). We included patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with > 1 day of follow-up. Cumulative incidences were plotted for CVD-related, AIDS-related, non-AIDS-related, and unknown CODs, and any CVD (i.e. fatal and nonfatal). Competing risk regression was used to assess risk factors of any CVD.

    RESULTS: Of 8069 patients with a median follow-up of 7.3 years [interquartile range (IQR) 4.4-10.7 years], 378 patients died [incidence rate (IR) 6.2 per 1000 person-years (PY)], and this total included 22 CVD-related deaths (IR 0.36 per 1000 PY). Factors significantly associated with any CVD event (IR 2.2 per 1000 PY) were older age [sub-hazard ratio (sHR) 2.21; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.36-3.58 for age 41-50 years; sHR 5.52; 95% CI 3.43-8.91 for ≥ 51 years, compared with < 40 years], high blood pressure (sHR 1.62; 95% CI 1.04-2.52), high total cholesterol (sHR 1.89; 95% CI 1.27-2.82), high triglycerides (sHR 1.55; 95% CI 1.02-2.37) and high body mass index (BMI) (sHR 1.66; 95% CI 1.12-2.46). CVD crude IRs were lower in the later ART initiation period and in lower middle- and upper middle-income countries.

    CONCLUSIONS: The development of fatal and nonfatal CVD events in our cohort was associated with older age, and treatable risk factors such as high blood pressure, triglycerides, total cholesterol and BMI. Lower CVD event rates in middle-income countries may indicate under-diagnosis of CVD in Asian-Pacific resource-limited settings.

  5. Morgan Freiman J, Wang J, Easterbrook PJ, Robert Horsburgh C, Marinucci F, White LF, et al.
    J. Hepatol., 2019 Feb 20.
    PMID: 30797050 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2019.02.011
    BACKGROUND & AIMS: Affordable point-of-care (POC) tests for hepatitis C (HCV) viraemia are needed to improve access to treatment in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Our aims were to determine the target limit of detection (LOD) necessary to diagnose the majority of persons with HCV eligible for treatment, and identify characteristics associated with low-level viraemia (LLV) (defined as the lowest 3% of the distribution of HCV RNA) to understand those at risk of being mis-diagnosed.

    METHODS: We established a multi-country cross-sectional dataset of first available quantitative HCV RNA linked to demographic and clinical data. We excluded individuals on HCV treatment. We analyzed the distribution of HCV RNA and determined critical thresholds for detection of HCV viraemia. We then performed logistic regression to evaluate factors associated with LLV, and derived relative sensitivities for significant covariates.

    RESULTS: The dataset included 66,640 individuals with HCV viraemia from Georgia (44.4%), Canada (40.9%), India (8.1%), Cambodia (2.6%), Egypt (1.6%), Pakistan (1.3%), Cameroon (0.4%), Indonesia (0.2%), Thailand (0.2%), Vietnam (0.1%), Malaysia (0.05%), and Mozambique (0.02%). The 97% LOD was 1,318 IU/mL (95% CI 1298.4, 1322.3). Factors associated with LLV were younger age 18-30 vs. 51-64 years (OR 2.56 95% CI 2.19, 2.99), female vs. male sex (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.18, 1.49), and advanced fibrosis stage F4 vs. F0-1 (OR 1.44, 95%CI 1.21, 1.69). Only the younger age group had a decreased relative sensitivity below 95% at 93.3%.

    CONCLUSIONS: In this global dataset, a test with an LOD of 1,318 IU/mL would identify 97% of viraemic HCV infections among almost all populations. This LOD will help guide manufacturers in the development of affordable POC diagnostics to expand HCV testing and linkage to care in LMICs.

    LAY SUMMARY: We created and analyzed a dataset from 12 countries with 66,640 participants with chronic hepatitis C virus infection. We determined that about 97% of those with viraemic infection had 1300 International Units/mL or more of circulating virus at the time of diagnosis. While current diagnostic tests can detect as little as 12 International Units/mL of virus, our findings suggest that increasing the level of detection closer to 1300 would maintain good test accuracy and will likely allow for more affordable portable tests to be developed for use in low and middle income countries.

  6. Jiamsakul A, Kiertiburanakul S, Ng OT, Chaiwarith R, Wong W, Ditangco R, et al.
    HIV Med., 2019 Apr 12.
    PMID: 30980495 DOI: 10.1111/hiv.12734
    OBJECTIVES: With earlier antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation, time spent in HIV care is expected to increase. We aimed to investigate loss to follow-up (LTFU) in Asian patients who remained in care 5 years after ART initiation.

    METHODS: Long-term LTFU was defined as LTFU occurring after 5 years on ART. LTFU was defined as (1) patients not seen in the previous 12 months; and (2) patients not seen in the previous 6 months. Factors associated with LTFU were analysed using competing risk regression.

    RESULTS: Under the 12-month definition, the LTFU rate was 2.0 per 100 person-years (PY) [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.8-2.2 among 4889 patients included in the study. LTFU was associated with age > 50 years [sub-hazard ratio (SHR) 1.64; 95% CI 1.17-2.31] compared with 31-40 years, viral load ≥ 1000 copies/mL (SHR 1.86; 95% CI 1.16-2.97) compared with viral load < 1000 copies/mL, and hepatitis C coinfection (SHR 1.48; 95% CI 1.06-2.05). LTFU was less likely to occur in females, in individuals with higher CD4 counts, in those with self-reported adherence ≥ 95%, and in those living in high-income countries. The 6-month LTFU definition produced an incidence rate of 3.2 per 100 PY (95% CI 2.9-3.4 and had similar associations but with greater risks of LTFU for ART initiation in later years (2006-2009: SHR 2.38; 95% CI 1.93-2.94; and 2010-2011: SHR 4.26; 95% CI 3.17-5.73) compared with 2003-2005.

    CONCLUSIONS: The long-term LTFU rate in our cohort was low, with older age being associated with LTFU. The increased risk of LTFU with later years of ART initiation in the 6-month analysis, but not the 12-month analysis, implies that there was a possible move towards longer HIV clinic scheduling in Asia.

  7. Chen M, Wong WW, Law MG, Kiertiburanakul S, Yunihastuti E, Merati TP, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(3):e0150512.
    PMID: 26933963 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150512
    BACKGROUND: We assessed the effects of hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection on outcomes of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV-infected patients enrolled in the TREAT Asia HIV Observational Database (TAHOD), a multi-center cohort of HIV-infected patients in the Asia-Pacific region.

    METHODS: Patients testing HBs antigen (Ag) or HCV antibody (Ab) positive within enrollment into TAHOD were considered HBV or HCV co-infected. Factors associated with HBV and/or HCV co-infection were assessed by logistic regression models. Factors associated with post-ART HIV immunological response (CD4 change after six months) and virological response (HIV RNA <400 copies/ml after 12 months) were also determined. Survival was assessed by the Kaplan-Meier method and log rank test.

    RESULTS: A total of 7,455 subjects were recruited by December 2012. Of patients tested, 591/5656 (10.4%) were HBsAg positive, 794/5215 (15.2%) were HCVAb positive, and 88/4966 (1.8%) were positive for both markers. In multivariate analysis, HCV co-infection, age, route of HIV infection, baseline CD4 count, baseline HIV RNA, and HIV-1 subtype were associated with immunological recovery. Age, route of HIV infection, baseline CD4 count, baseline HIV RNA, ART regimen, prior ART and HIV-1 subtype, but not HBV or HCV co-infection, affected HIV RNA suppression. Risk factors affecting mortality included HCV co-infection, age, CDC stage, baseline CD4 count, baseline HIV RNA and prior mono/dual ART. Shortest survival was seen in subjects who were both HBV- and HCV-positive.

    CONCLUSION: In this Asian cohort of HIV-infected patients, HCV co-infection, but not HBV co-infection, was associated with lower CD4 cell recovery after ART and increased mortality.

  8. Jeong SJ, Italiano C, Chaiwarith R, Ng OT, Vanar S, Jiamsakul A, et al.
    AIDS Res. Hum. Retroviruses, 2016 Mar;32(3):255-61.
    PMID: 26414065 DOI: 10.1089/AID.2015.0058
    Many HIV-infected individuals do not enter health care until late in the infection course. Despite encouraging earlier testing, this situation has continued for several years. We investigated the prevalence of late presenters and factors associated with late presentation among HIV-infected patients in an Asian regional cohort. This cohort study included HIV-infected patients with their first positive HIV test during 2003-2012 and CD4 count and clinical status data within 3 months of that test. Factors associated with late presentation into care (CD4 count <200 cells/μl or an AIDS-defining event within ±3 months of first positive HIV test) were analyzed in a random effects logistic regression model. Among 3,744 patients, 2,681 (72%) were late presenters. In the multivariable model, older patients were more likely to be late presenters than younger (≤30 years) patients [31-40, 41-50, and ≥51 years: odds ratio (OR) = 1.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.31-1.88; OR = 2.01, 95% CI 1.58-2.56; and OR = 1.69, 95% CI 1.23-2.31, respectively; all p ≤ 0.001]. Injecting drug users (IDU) were more likely (OR = 2.15, 95% CI 1.42-3.27, p < 0.001) and those with homosexual HIV exposure were less likely (OR = 0.45, 95% CI 0.35-0.58, p < 0.001) to be late presenters compared to those with heterosexual HIV exposure. Females were less likely to be late presenters (OR = 0.44, 95% CI 0.36-0.53, p < 0.001). The year of first positive HIV test was not associated with late presentation. Efforts to reduce the patients who first seek HIV care at the late stage are needed. The identified risk factors associated with late presentation should be utilized in formulating targeted public health intervention to improve earlier entry into HIV care.
  9. Tanuma J, Jiamsakul A, Makane A, Avihingsanon A, Ng OT, Kiertiburanakul S, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(8):e0161562.
    PMID: 27560968 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161562
    BACKGROUND: In resource-limited settings, routine monitoring of renal function during antiretroviral therapy (ART) has not been recommended. However, concerns for tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF)-related nephrotoxicity persist with increased use.

    METHODS: We investigated serum creatinine (S-Cr) monitoring rates before and during ART and the incidence and prevalence of renal dysfunction after starting TDF by using data from a regional cohort of HIV-infected individuals in the Asia-Pacific. Time to renal dysfunction was defined as time from TDF initiation to the decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) to <60 ml/min/1.73m2 with >30% reduction from baseline using the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation or the decision to stop TDF for reported TDF-nephrotoxicity. Predictors of S-Cr monitoring rates were assessed by Poisson regression and risk factors for developing renal dysfunction were assessed by Cox regression.

    RESULTS: Among 2,425 patients who received TDF, S-Cr monitoring rates increased from 1.01 to 1.84 per person per year after starting TDF (incidence rate ratio 1.68, 95%CI 1.62-1.74, p <0.001). Renal dysfunction on TDF occurred in 103 patients over 5,368 person-years of TDF use (4.2%; incidence 1.75 per 100 person-years). Risk factors for developing renal dysfunction included older age (>50 vs. ≤30, hazard ratio [HR] 5.39, 95%CI 2.52-11.50, p <0.001; and using PI-based regimen (HR 1.93, 95%CI 1.22-3.07, p = 0.005). Having an eGFR prior to TDF (pre-TDF eGFR) of ≥60 ml/min/1.73m2 showed a protective effect (HR 0.38, 95%CI, 0.17-0.85, p = 0.018).

    CONCLUSIONS: Renal dysfunction on commencing TDF use was not common, however, older age, lower baseline eGFR and PI-based ART were associated with higher risk of renal dysfunction during TDF use in adult HIV-infected individuals in the Asia-Pacific region.

  10. Jiamsakul A, Kerr SJ, Kiertiburanakul S, Azwa I, Zhang F, Chaiwarith R, et al.
    AIDS Care, 2018 Dec;30(12):1560-1566.
    PMID: 30021450 DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2018.1499859
    Missed clinic visits can lead to poorer treatment outcomes in HIV-infected patients. Suboptimal antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence has been linked to subsequent missed visits. Knowing the determinants of missed visits in Asian patients will allow for appropriate counselling and intervention strategies to ensure continuous engagement in care. A missed visit was defined as having no assessments within six months. Repeated measures logistic regression was used to analyse factors associated with missed visits. A total of 7100 patients were included from 12 countries in Asia with 2676 (37.7%) having at least one missed visit. Patients with early suboptimal self-reported adherence <95% were more likely to have a missed visit compared to those with adherence ≥95% (OR = 2.55, 95% CI(1.81-3.61)). Other factors associated with having a missed visit were homosexual (OR = 1.45, 95%CI(1.27-1.66)) and other modes of HIV exposure (OR = 1.48, 95%CI(1.27-1.74)) compared to heterosexual exposure; using PI-based (OR = 1.33, 95%CI(1.15-1.53) and other ART combinations (OR = 1.79, 95%CI(1.39-2.32)) compared to NRTI+NNRTI combinations; and being hepatitis C co-infected (OR = 1.27, 95%CI(1.06-1.52)). Patients aged >30 years (31-40 years OR = 0.81, 95%CI(0.73-0.89); 41-50 years OR = 0.73, 95%CI(0.64-0.83); and >50 years OR = 0.77, 95%CI(0.64-0.93)); female sex (OR = 0.81, 95%CI(0.72-0.90)); and being from upper middle (OR = 0.78, 95%CI(0.70-0.80)) or high-income countries (OR = 0.42, 95%CI(0.35-0.51)), were less likely to have missed visits. Almost 40% of our patients had a missed clinic visit. Early ART adherence was an indicator of subsequent clinic visits. Intensive counselling and adherence support should be provided at ART initiation in order to optimise long-term clinic attendance and maximise treatment outcomes.
  11. Ahn MY, Jiamsakul A, Khusuwan S, Khol V, Pham TT, Chaiwarith R, et al.
    J Int AIDS Soc, 2019 Feb;22(2):e25228.
    PMID: 30803162 DOI: 10.1002/jia2.25228
    INTRODUCTION: Multiple comorbidities among HIV-positive individuals may increase the potential for polypharmacy causing drug-to-drug interactions and older individuals with comorbidities, particularly those with cognitive impairment, may have difficulty in adhering to complex medications. However, the effects of age-associated comorbidities on the treatment outcomes of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) are not well known. In this study, we investigated the effects of age-associated comorbidities on therapeutic outcomes of cART in HIV-positive adults in Asian countries.

    METHODS: Patients enrolled in the TREAT Asia HIV Observational Database cohort and on cART for more than six months were analysed. Comorbidities included hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia and impaired renal function. Treatment outcomes of patients ≥50 years of age with comorbidities were compared with those <50 years and those ≥50 years without comorbidities. We analysed 5411 patients with virological failure and 5621 with immunologic failure. Our failure outcomes were defined to be in-line with the World Health Organization 2016 guidelines. Cox regression analysis was used to analyse time to first virological and immunological failure.

    RESULTS: The incidence of virologic failure was 7.72/100 person-years. Virological failure was less likely in patients with better adherence and higher CD4 count at cART initiation. Those acquiring HIV through intravenous drug use were more likely to have virological failure compared to those infected through heterosexual contact. On univariate analysis, patients aged <50 years without comorbidities were more likely to experience virological failure than those aged ≥50 years with comorbidities (hazard ratio 1.75, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.31 to 2.33, p 

  12. Bijker R, Kumarasamy N, Kiertiburanakul S, Pujari S, Lam W, Chaiwarith R, et al.
    PMID: 30833516 DOI: 10.3851/IMP3298
    BACKGROUND: We aimed to project the 10-year future incidence of CVD and model several intervention scenarios based on a multi-site Asian HIV-positive cohort.

    METHODS: Analyses were based on patients recruited to the TREAT Asia HIV Observational Database (TAHOD), consisting of 21 sites in 12 countries. Patients on triple antiretroviral therapy (ART) were included if they were alive, without previous CVD, and had data on CVD risk factors. Annual new CVD events for 2019-2028 were estimated with the D:A:D equation, accounting for age- and sex-adjusted mortality. Modelled intervention scenarios were treatment of high total cholesterol, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) or high blood pressure, abacavir or lopinavir substitution, and smoking cessation.

    RESULTS: Of 3703 included patients, 69% were male, median age was 46 (IQR 40-53) years, and median time since ART initiation was 9.8 years (IQR 7.5-14.1). Cohort incidence rates of CVD were projected to increase from 730 per 100,000 person-years (pys) in 2019 to 1432 per 100,000 pys in 2028. In the modelled intervention scenarios, most events can be avoided by smoking cessation, abacavir substitution, lopinavir substitution, decreasing total cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, and increasing HDL.

    CONCLUSIONS: Our projections suggest a doubling of CVD incidence rates in Asian HIV-positive adults in our cohort. An increase in CVD can be expected in any aging population, however, according to our models, this can be close to averted by interventions. Thus, there is an urgent need for risk screening and integration of HIV and CVD programmes to reduce the future CVD burden.

  13. Ku SW, Jiamsakul A, Joshi K, Pasayan MKU, Widhani A, Chaiwarith R, et al.
    J Int AIDS Soc, 2019 Mar;22(3):e25264.
    PMID: 30924281 DOI: 10.1002/jia2.25264
    INTRODUCTION: Cotrimoxazole (CTX) is recommended as prophylaxis against Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia, malaria and other serious bacterial infections in HIV-infected patients. Despite its in vitro activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the effects of CTX preventive therapy on tuberculosis (TB) remain unclear.

    METHODS: Adults living with HIV enrolled in a regional observational cohort in Asia who had initiated combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) were included in the analysis. Factors associated with new TB diagnoses after cohort entry and survival after cART initiation were analysed using Cox regression, stratified by site.

    RESULTS: A total of 7355 patients from 12 countries enrolled into the cohort between 2003 and 2016 were included in the study. There were 368 reported cases of TB after cohort entry with an incidence rate of 0.99 per 100 person-years (/100 pys). Multivariate analyses adjusted for viral load (VL), CD4 count, body mass index (BMI) and cART duration showed that CTX reduced the hazard for new TB infection by 28% (HR 0.72, 95% CI l 0.56, 0.93). Mortality after cART initiation was 0.85/100 pys, with a median follow-up time of 4.63 years. Predictors of survival included age, female sex, hepatitis C co-infection, TB diagnosis, HIV VL, CD4 count and BMI.

    CONCLUSIONS: CTX was associated with a reduction in the hazard for new TB infection but did not impact survival in our Asian cohort. The potential preventive effect of CTX against TB during periods of severe immunosuppression should be further explored.

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