Perelman School of Medicine
Perelman School of Medicine's mission is to advance knowledge and improve health through research, patient care, and the education of trainees in an inclusive culture that embraces diversity, fosters innovation, stimulates critical thinking, supports lifelong learning, and sustains our legacy of excellence.
- Center for Public Health Initiatives
- Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics
- Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
- Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy
- Department of Microbiology Papers
- Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Department of Psychiatry
- Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics
- Botswana-UPenn Partnership
- Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
- Global Health Programs
- Medical Physics Programs
PublicationUse of Mobile Telemedicine for Cervical Cancer Screening(2011-06-01) Quinley, Kelly E; Gormley, Rachel H; Ratcliffe, Sarah; Shih, Ting; Szep, Zsofia; Steiner, Ann; Ramogola-Masire, Doreen; Kovarik, CarrieVisual inspection of the cervix with application of 4% acetic acid (VIA) is an inexpensive alternative to cytology-based screening in areas where resources are limited, such as in many developing countries. We have examined the diagnostic agreement between off-site (remote) expert diagnosis using photographs of the cervix (photographic inspection with acetic acid, PIA) and in-person VIA. The images for remote evaluation were taken with a mobile phone and transmitted by MMS. The study population consisted of 95 HIV-positive women in Gaborone, Botswana. An expert gynaecologist made a definitive positive or negative reading on the PIA results of 64 out of the 95 women whose PIA images were also read by the nurse midwives. The remaining 31 PIA images were deemed insufficient in quality for a reading by the expert gynaecologist. The positive nurse PIA readings were concordant with the positive expert PIA readings in 82% of cases, and the negative PIA readings between the two groups were fully concordant in 89% of cases. These results suggest that mobile telemedicine may be useful to improve access of women in remote areas to cervical cancer screening utilizing the VIA `see-andtreat' method. PublicationEpidemiology of Methicillin‐Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia in Gaborone, Botswana(2009-08-01) Wood, Sarah; Shah, Samir S; Bafana, Maragaret; Ratner, Adam J; Meaney, Peter A; Malefho, Kolaatamo C.S; Steenhoff, Andrew PThis cross‐sectional study at a tertiary‐care hospital in Botswana from 2000 to 2007 was performed to determine the epidemiologic characteristics of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. We identified a high prevalence (11.2% of bacteremia cases) of methicillin‐resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteremia. MRSA isolates had higher proportions of resistance to commonly used antimicrobials than did methicillin‐susceptible isolates, emphasizing the need to revise empiric prescribing practices in Botswana. PublicationOutcomes in HIV-Infected Adults With Tuberculosis at Clinics With and Without Co-Located HIV Clinics in Botswana(2013-10-01) Schwartz, Adam B; Tamuhla, Neo; Steenhoff, Andrew P; Nkakana, Kelebogile; Letlhogile, Rona; Chadborn, Tim R; Kestler, Mary; Zetola, Nicola M; Ravimohan, Shruthi; Bisson, Gregory PSETTING Gaborone, Botswana. OBJECTIVE To determine if starting anti-tuberculosis treatment at clinics in Gaborone without co-located human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinics would delay time to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) initiation and be associated with lower survival compared to starting anti-tuberculosis treatment at clinics with on-site HIV clinics. DESIGN Retrospective cohort study. Subjects were HAART-naïve, aged ≥21 years with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), HIV and CD4 counts ≤250 cells/mm3 initiating anti-tuberculosis treatment between 2005 and 2010. Survival at completion of anti-tuberculosis treatment or at 6 months post-treatment initiation and time to HAART after anti-tuberculosis treatment initiation were compared by clinic type. RESULTS Respectively 259 and 80 patients from clinics without and with on-site HIV facilities qualified for the study. Age, sex, CD4, baseline sputum smears and loss to follow-up rate were similar by clinic type. Mortality did not differ between clinics without or with on-site HIV clinics (20/250, 8.0% vs. 8/79, 10.1%, relative risk 0.79, 95%CI 0.36–1.72), nor did median time to HAART initiation (respectively 63 and 66 days, P = 0.53). CONCLUSION In urban areas where TB and HIV programs are separate, geographic co-location alone without further integration may not reduce mortality or time to HAART initiation among co-infected patients. PublicationPain and Physical and Psychological Symptoms in Ambulatory HIV Patients in the Current Treatment Era(2012-03-01) Merlin, Jessica S; Cen, Liyi; Praestgaard, Amy; Turner, Michelle; Obando, Aura; Alpert, Craig; Woolston, Sophie; Casarett, David; Kostman, Jay R; Gross, Robert; Frank, IanContext HIV infection has become a manageable chronic disease. There are few studies of pain and symptoms in the current treatment era. Objectives The primary objective was to determine the prevalence of and risk factors for pain and physical and psychological symptoms in a population of ambulatory HIV patients. Methods We performed a cross-sectional study using the Brief Pain Inventory and the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale. Results We evaluated 156 individuals with a median age of 47.5 years (range 21–71), median time since HIV diagnosis of 11 years (range 3(interquartile range [IQR] 308–683). The majority (125, 80.6%) had an undetectable viral load. Seventy-six (48.7%) reported pain, of whom 39 (51.3%) had moderate to severe pain, and 43 (57.3%) had pain that caused moderate to severe interference with their lives. The median number of symptoms was eight (IQR 5–14.5) of 32 queried. In multivariable analyses, patients with psychiatric illness were 39.8% more likely to have pain (P Conclusion Pain and other physical and psychological symptoms were common among ambulatory HIV patients. Pain and symptoms were strongly associated with psychiatric illness and IV drug use. Future investigation should evaluate interventions that include psychiatric and substance abuse components for HIV patients with pain. PublicationLeveraging a Rapid, Round-the-Clock HIV Testing System to Screen for Acute HIV Infection in a Large Urban Public Medical Center(2013-02-01) Christopoulos, Katerina A; Zetola, Nicola M; Klausner, Jeffrey D; Haller, Barbara; Louie, Brian; Hare, Bradley; Pandori, Mark; Nassos, Patricia; Roemer, Marguerite; Pilcher, Christopher DMethods The hospital laboratory performed round-the-clock rapid HIV antibody testing on venipuncture specimens from patients undergoing HIV testing in hospital and community clinics, inpatient settings, and the emergency department. For patients with negative results, a public health laboratory conducted pooled HIV RNA testing for acute HIV infection. The laboratories communicated positive results from the hospital campus to a linkage team. Linkage was defined as one outpatient HIV-related visit. Results Among 7,927 patients, 8,550 rapid tests resulted in 137 cases of HIV infection (1.7%, 95% CI 1.5%–2.0%), of whom 46 were new HIV diagnoses (0.58%, 95% CI 0.43%–0.77%). Pooled HIV RNA testing of 6,704 specimens (78.4%) resulted in 3 cases of acute HIV infection (0.05%, 95% CI 0.01%–0.14) and increased HIV case detection by 3.5%. Half of new HIV diagnoses and 2/3 of acute infections were detected in the emergency department and urgent care clinic. Rapid test sensitivity was 98.9% (95% CI 93.8%– 99.8%); specificity was 99.9% (95% CI 99.7%–99.9%). Over 95% of newly diagnosed and out-of-care HIV-infected patients were linked to care. Conclusions Patients undergoing HIV testing in emergency departments and urgent care clinics may benefit from being simultaneously screened for acute HIV infection. PublicationSubtype Distribution of Human Papillomavirus in HIV-Infected Women With Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Stages 2 and 3 in Botswana(2011-11-01) Ramogola-Masire, Doreen; McGrath, Cindy M; Barnhart, Kurt T; Friedman, Harvey M; Zetola, Nicola MHuman papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines containing types 16 and 18 are likely to be effective in preventing cervical cancer associated with these HPV types. No information currently exists in Botswana concerning the HPV types causing precancerous or cancerous lesions. Our goal was to determine the prevalence of HPV types associated with precancerous cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) stages 2 and 3 in HIV-infected women in Gaborone, Botswana. HIV-infected women referred to our clinic with high-grade intraepithelial lesion on the Pap smear were enrolled in the study. HPV typing was only performed if the histopathology results showed CIN stage 2 or 3 disease using linear array genotyping (CE-IVD, Roche Diagnostics).One hundred HIV-infected women were identified with CIN stages 2 or 3 between August 11, 2009 and September 29, 2010. Eighty-two of 100 women enrolled had coinfection by multiple HPV subtypes (range, 2 to 12). Of the remaining 18 women, 14 were infected with a single high-risk subtype and 4 had no HPV detected. Overall, 92 (92%) women were infected with at least 1 high-risk HPV subtype, and 56 were coinfected with more than 1 high-risk HPV type (range, 2 to 5). Fifty-one (51%) women had HPV subtypes 16, 18, or both. HPV 16 and 18 are the most common types in HIV-infected women with CIN 2 or 3 in Gaborone, Botswana, suggesting that the implementation of HPV vaccination programs could have a significant impact on the reduction of cervical cancer incidence. However, given the relative lack of knowledge on the natural history of cervical cancer in HIV-infected women and the significant prevalence of infection and coinfection with other high-risk HPV types in our sample, the true impact and cost-effectiveness of such vaccination programs need to be evaluated. PublicationHIV-Positive Patients in Botswana State That Mobile Teledermatology Is an Acceptable Method for Receiving Dermatology Care(2011-09-01) Azfar, Rahat S; Weinberg, Jennifer L; Cavric, Gordana; Lee-Keltner, Ivy A; Bilker, Warren B.; Gelfand, Joel M; Kovarik, Carrie PublicationA Simple Novel Method for Determining Mortality Rates in HIV Treatment Programs Worldwide(2011-01-18) Bisson, Gregory P PublicationPerinatally Acquired HIV Infection in Adolescents From Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Emerging Challenges(2014-07-01) Lowenthal, Elizabeth D; Bakeera-Kitaka, Sabrina; Marukutira, Tafireyi; Chapman, Jennifer; Goldrath, Kathryn; Ferrand, Rashida AWorldwide, more than three million children are infected with HIV, 90% of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. As the HIV epidemic matures and antiretroviral treatment is scaled up, children with HIV are reaching adolescence in large numbers. The growing population of adolescents with perinatally acquired HIV infection living within this region presents not only unprecedented challenges but also opportunities to learn about the pathogenesis of HIV infection. In this Review, we discuss the changing epidemiology of paediatric HIV and the particular features of HIV infection in adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. Longstanding HIV infection acquired when the immune system is not developed results in distinctive chronic clinical complications that cause severe morbidity. As well as dealing with chronic illness, HIV-infected adolescents have to confront psychosocial issues, maintain adherence to drugs, and learn to negotiate sexual relationships, while undergoing rapid physical and psychological development. Context-specific strategies for early identification of HIV infection in children and prompt linkage to care need to be developed. Clinical HIV care should integrate age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health and psychological, educational, and social services. Health-care workers will need to be trained to recognise and manage the needs of these young people so that the increasing numbers of children surviving to adolescence can access quality care beyond specialist services at low-level health-care facilities. PublicationPharmacy Refill Adherence Compared With CD4 Count Changes for Monitoring HIV-Infected Adults on Antiretroviral Therapy(2008-05-20) Bisson, Gregory P; Gross, Robert; Bellamy, Scarlett; Chittams, Jess; Hislop, Michael; Frank, Ian; Maartens, Gary; Nachega, Jean BBackground World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for monitoring HIV-infected individuals taking combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in resource-limited settings recommend using CD4+ T cell (CD4) count changes to monitor treatment effectiveness. In practice, however, falling CD4 counts are a consequence, rather than a cause, of virologic failure. Adherence lapses precede virologic failure and, unlike CD4 counts, data on adherence are immediately available to all clinics dispensing cART. However, the accuracy of adherence assessments for predicting future or detecting current virologic failure has not been determined. The goal of this study therefore was to determine the accuracy of adherence assessments for predicting and detecting virologic failure and to compare the accuracy of adherence-based monitoring approaches with approaches monitoring CD4 count changes. Methodology and Findings We conducted an observational cohort study among 1,982 of 4,984 (40%) HIV-infected adults initiating non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based cART in the Aid for AIDS Disease Management Program, which serves nine countries in southern Africa. Pharmacy refill adherence was calculated as the number of months of cART claims submitted divided by the number of complete months between cART initiation and the last refill prior to the endpoint of interest, expressed as a percentage. The main outcome measure was virologic failure defined as a viral load > 1,000 copies/ml (1) at an initial assessment either 6 or 12 mo after cART initiation and (2) after a previous undetectable (i.e., < 400 copies/ml) viral load (breakthrough viremia). Adherence levels outperformed CD4 count changes when used to detect current virologic failure in the first year after cART initiation (area under the receiver operating characteristic [ROC] curves [AUC] were 0.79 and 0.68 [difference = 0.11; 95% CI 0.06 to 0.16; χ2 = 20.1] respectively at 6 mo, and 0.85 and 0.75 [difference = 0.10; 95% CI 0.05 to 0.14; χ2 = 20.2] respectively at 12 mo; p < 0.001 for both comparisons). When used to detect current breakthrough viremia, adherence and CD4 counts were equally accurate (AUCs of 0.68 versus 0.67, respectively [difference = 0.01; 95% CI −0.06 to 0.07]; χ2 = 0.1, p > 0.5). In addition, adherence levels assessed 3 mo prior to viral load assessments were as accurate for virologic failure occurring approximately 3 mo later as were CD4 count changes calculated from cART initiation to the actual time of the viral load assessments, indicating the potential utility of adherence assessments for predicting future, rather than simply detecting current, virologic failure. Moreover, combinations of CD4 count and adherence data appeared useful in identifying patients at very low risk of virologic failure. Conclusions Pharmacy refill adherence assessments were as accurate as CD4 counts for detecting current virologic failure in this cohort of patients on cART and have the potential to predict virologic failure before it occurs. Approaches to cART scale-up in resource-limited settings should include an adherence-based monitoring approach.