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  1. Vagenas P, Azar MM, Copenhaver MM, Springer SA, Molina PE, Altice FL
    Curr HIV/AIDS Rep, 2015 Dec;12(4):421-36.
    PMID: 26412084 DOI: 10.1007/s11904-015-0285-5
    Alcohol use is highly prevalent globally with numerous negative consequences to human health, including HIV progression, in people living with HIV (PLH). The HIV continuum of care, or treatment cascade, represents a sequence of targets for intervention that can result in viral suppression, which ultimately benefits individuals and society. The extent to which alcohol impacts each step in the cascade, however, has not been systematically examined. International targets for HIV treatment as prevention aim for 90 % of PLH to be diagnosed, 90 % of them to be prescribed with antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 90 % to achieve viral suppression; currently, only 20 % of PLH are virally suppressed. This systematic review, from 2010 through May 2015, found 53 clinical research papers examining the impact of alcohol use on each step of the HIV treatment cascade. These studies were mostly cross-sectional or cohort studies and from all income settings. Most (77 %) found a negative association between alcohol consumption on one or more stages of the treatment cascade. Lack of consistency in measurement, however, reduced the ability to draw consistent conclusions. Nonetheless, the strong negative correlations suggest that problematic alcohol consumption should be targeted, preferably using evidence-based behavioral and pharmacological interventions, to indirectly increase the proportion of PLH achieving viral suppression, to achieve treatment as prevention mandates, and to reduce HIV transmission.
  2. Meyer JP, Cepeda J, Springer SA, Wu J, Trestman RL, Altice FL
    Lancet HIV, 2014 Nov 1;1(2):e77-e84.
    PMID: 25473651
    Reincarceration in prison or jail correlates with non-sustained HIV viral suppression, but HIV treatment outcomes in released prisoners who are reincarcerated have not recently been systematically assessed despite advances in antiretroviral treatment (ART) potency, simplicity, and tolerability.
  3. Meyer JP, Cepeda J, Wu J, Trestman RL, Altice FL, Springer SA
    JAMA Intern Med, 2014 May;174(5):721-9.
    PMID: 24687044 DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.601
    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) management in correctional settings is logistically feasible, but HIV-related outcomes before release have not been recently systematically examined.
  4. Marcus R, Bojko MJ, Mazhnaya A, Makarenko I, Filippovych S, Dvoriak S, et al.
    J Subst Abuse Treat, 2018 03;86:86-93.
    PMID: 29415856 DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2018.01.003
    Numerous individual barriers, including negative attitudes toward opioid agonist therapies (OAT), have undermined HIV prevention efforts in Ukraine where the epidemic is concentrated in people who inject drugs (PWID). The recent availability of extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX), an opioid antagonist, provides new opportunities for treatment and prevention, but little is known about patient preferences. We conducted qualitative analysis using focus groups (FG) of PWID recruited based on OAT experience: currently, previously, and never on OAT in five Ukrainian cities. FG included 199 PWID in 25 focus groups. Focus group transcripts were coded and analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach to identify common themes and domains related to attitudes about and preferences for XR-NTX, relative to other treatments. Interest in XR-NTX was supported if supervised opioid withdrawal and psychological support were assured. Other factors supporting XR-NTX included a focus on younger PWID early in their injection career and motivated for recovery. Perceptions of recovery included not receiving psychoactive medications like methadone or buprenorphine. With more information, XR-NTX could be a viable option for PWID in Ukraine, especially if concerns regarding withdrawal and psychological support are adequately addressed.
  5. Springer SA, Di Paola A, Barbour R, Azar MM, Altice FL
    J. Acquir. Immune Defic. Syndr., 2018 09 01;79(1):92-100.
    PMID: 29781884 DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001759
    OBJECTIVE: To determine whether extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) would improve or maintain viral suppression (VS) among incarcerated individuals with HIV and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) transitioning to the community.

    DESIGN: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted among incarcerated individuals with HIV and AUDs transitioning to the community from 2010 through 2016.

    METHODS: Eligible participants (N = 100) were randomized 2:1 to receive 6 monthly injections of XR-NTX (n = 67) or placebo (n = 33) starting at release and continued for 6 months. The primary and secondary outcomes were the proportion that maintained or improved VS at <200 and <50 copies per milliliter from baseline to 6 months, respectively, using an intention-to-treat analysis.

    RESULTS: Participants allocated to XR-NTX improved VS from baseline to 6 months for <200 copies per milliliter (48.0%-64.2%, P = 0.024) and for <50 copies per milliliter (31.0%-56.7%, P = 0.001), whereas the placebo group did not (<200 copies/mL: 64%-42.4%, P = 0.070; <50 copies/mL: 42.0%-30.3%, P = 0.292). XR-NTX participants were more likely to achieve VS than the placebo group at 6 months (<200 copies/mL: 64.2% vs. 42.4%; P = 0.041; <50 copies/mL: 56.7% vs. 30.3%; P = 0.015). XR-NTX independently predicted VS [<200 copies/mL: adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.68, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01 to 7.09, P = 0.047; <50 copies/mL: aOR = 4.54; 95% CI = 1.43 to 14.43, P = 0.009] as did receipt of ≥3 injections (<200 copies/mL: aOR = 3.26; 95% CI = 1.26 to 8.47, P = 0.010; <50 copies/mL: aOR = 6.34; 95% CI = 2.08 to 19.29, P = 0.001). Reductions in alcohol consumption (aOR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.98, P = 0.033) and white race (aOR = 5.37, 95% CI = 1.08 to 27.72, P = 0.040) also predicted VS at <50 copies per milliliter.

    CONCLUSIONS: XR-NTX improves or maintains VS after release to the community for incarcerated people living with HIV and AUDs.

  6. Springer SA, Di Paola A, Azar MM, Barbour R, Krishnan A, Altice FL
    Drug Alcohol Depend, 2017 05 01;174:158-170.
    PMID: 28334661 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.01.026
    BACKGROUND: Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are highly prevalent among persons living with HIV (PLH) within the criminal justice system (CJS). Extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) has not been previously evaluated among CJS-involved PLH with AUDs.

    METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted among 100 HIV+ prisoners with AUDs. Participants were randomized 2:1 to receive 6 monthly injections of XR-NTX or placebo starting one week prior to release. Using multiple imputation strategies for data missing completely at random, data were analyzed for the 6-month post-incarceration period. Main outcomes included: time to first heavy drinking day; number of standardized drinks/drinking day; percent of heavy drinking days; pre- to post-incarceration change in average drinks/day; total number of drinking days; and a composite alcohol improvement score comprised of all 5 parameters.

    RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference overall between treatment arms for time-to-heavy-drinking day. However, participants aged 20-29 years who received XR-NTX had a longer time to first heavy drinking day compared to the placebo group (24.1 vs. 9.5days; p<0.001). There were no statistically significant differences between groups for other individual drinking outcomes. A sub-analysis, however, found participants who received ≥4 XR-NTX were more likely (p<0.005) to have improved composite alcohol scores than the placebo group. Post-hoc power analysis revealed that despite the study being powered for HIV outcomes, sufficient power (0.94) was available to distinguish the observed differences.

    CONCLUSIONS: Among CJS-involved PLH with AUDs transitioning to the community, XR-NTX lengthens the time to heavy drinking day for younger persons; reduces alcohol consumption when using a composite alcohol consumption score; and is not associated with any serious adverse events.

  7. Springer SA, Di Paola A, Azar MM, Barbour R, Biondi BE, Desabrais M, et al.
    J. Acquir. Immune Defic. Syndr., 2018 05 01;78(1):43-53.
    PMID: 29373393 DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001634
    OBJECTIVE: To determine whether extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) would improve or maintain viral suppression (VS) among prisoners or jail detainees with HIV and opioid use disorder (OUD) transitioning to the community.

    DESIGN: A 4-site, prospective randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted among prison and jail inmates with HIV and OUD transitioning to the community from September 2010 through March 2016.

    METHODS: Eligible participants (N = 93) were randomized 2:1 to receive 6 monthly injections of XR-NTX (n = 66) or placebo (n = 27) starting at release and observed for 6 months. The primary outcome was the proportion that maintained or improved VS (<50 copies/mL) from baseline to 6 months.

    RESULTS: Participants allocated to XR-NTX significantly improved to VS (<50 copies/mL) from baseline (37.9%) to 6 months (60.6%) (P = 0.002), whereas the placebo group did not (55.6% at baseline to 40.7% at 6 months P = 0.294). There was, however, no statistical significant difference in VS levels at 6 months between XR-NTX (60.6%) vs. placebo (40.7%) (P = 0.087). After controlling for other factors, only allocation to XR-NTX (adjusted odds ratio = 2.90; 95% confidence interval = 1.04 to 8.14, P = 0.043) was associated with the primary outcome. Trajectories in VS from baseline to 6 months differed significantly (P = 0.017) between treatment groups, and the differences in the discordant values were significantly different as well (P = 0.041): the XR-NTX group was more likely than the placebo group to improve VS (30.3% vs. 18.5%), maintain VS (30.3% vs. 27.3), and less likely to lose VS (7.6% vs. 33.3%) by 6 months.

    CONCLUSIONS: XR-NTX improves or maintains VS after release to the community for incarcerated people living with HIV with OUD.

  8. Marcus R, Makarenko I, Mazhnaya A, Zelenev A, Polonsky M, Madden L, et al.
    Drug Alcohol Depend, 2017 10 01;179:213-219.
    PMID: 28806638 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.07.010
    BACKGROUND: Scaling up HIV prevention for people who inject drugs (PWID) using opioid agonist therapies (OAT) in Ukraine has been restricted by individual and structural factors. Extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX), however, provides new opportunities for treating opioid use disorders (OUDs) in this region, where both HIV incidence and mortality continue to increase.

    METHODS: Survey results from 1613 randomly selected PWID from 5 regions in Ukraine who were currently, previously or never on OAT were analyzed for their preference of pharmacological therapies for treating OUDs. For those preferring XR-NTX, independent correlates of their willingness to initiate XR-NTX were examined.

    RESULTS: Among the 1613 PWID, 449 (27.8%) were interested in initiating XR-NTX. Independent correlates associated with interest in XR-NTX included: being from Mykolaiv (AOR=3.7, 95% CI=2.3-6.1) or Dnipro (AOR=1.8, 95% CI=1.1-2.9); never having been on OAT (AOR=3.4, 95% CI=2.1-5.4); shorter-term injectors (AOR=0.9, 95% CI 0.9-0.98); and inversely for both positive (AOR=0.8, CI=0.8-0.9), and negative attitudes toward OAT (AOR=1.3, CI=1.2-1.4), respectively.

    CONCLUSIONS: In the context of Eastern Europe and Central Asia where HIV is concentrated in PWID and where HIV prevention with OAT is under-scaled, new options for treating OUDs are urgently needed.

    FINDINGS: here suggest that XR-NTX could become an option for addiction treatment and HIV prevention especially for PWID who have shorter duration of injection and who harbor negative attitudes to OAT. Decision aids that inform patient preferences with accurate information about the various treatment options are likely to guide patients toward better, patient-centered treatments and improve treatment entry and retention.

  9. Loeliger KB, Biggs ML, Young R, Seal DW, Beckwith CG, Kuo I, et al.
    AIDS Behav, 2017 Oct;21(10):2945-2957.
    PMID: 28188460 DOI: 10.1007/s10461-017-1722-9
    The U.S. female criminal justice (CJ) population is rapidly growing, yet large-scale studies exploring gender-specific HIV risk behaviors in the CJ population are lacking. This analysis uses baseline data on adults with a CJ history from eight U.S. studies in an NIH-funded "Seek, Test, Treat, Retain" harmonization consortium. Data were collected using a standardized HIV risk behavior assessment tool and pooled across studies to describe participants' characteristics and risk behaviors. Multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to test for gender-based behavior differences. Among 784 HIV-positive (21.4% female) and 5521 HIV-negative (8.5% female) participants, HIV-positive women had higher odds than HIV-positive men of engaging in condomless sexual intercourse (AOR 1.84 [1.16-2.95]) with potentially sero-discordant partners (AOR 2.40 [1.41-4.09]) and of sharing injection equipment (AOR 3.36 [1.31-8.63]). HIV risk reduction interventions targeting CJ-involved women with HIV are urgently needed as this population may represent an under-recognized potential source of HIV transmission.
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