Implementation and Operational Research: Risk Charts to Guide Targeted HIV-1 Viral Load Monitoring of ART: Development and Validation in Patients From Resource-Limited Settings


Koller M, Fatti G, Chi BH, Keiser O, Hoffmann CJ, Wood R, Prozesky H, Stinson K, Giddy J, Mutevedzi P, Fox MP, Law M, Boulle A, Egger M.


J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015 Nov 1;70(3):e110-9. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000748.


HIV-1 RNA viral load (VL) testing is recommended to monitor antiretroviral therapy (ART) but not available in many resource-limitedsettings. We developed and validated CD4-based risk charts to guide targeted VL testing.


We modeled the probability of virologic failure up to 5 years of ART based on current and baseline CD4 counts, developed decision rules for targeted VL testing of 10%, 20%, or 40% of patients in 7 cohorts of patients starting ART in South Africa, and plotted cutoffs for VL testing on colour-coded risk charts. We assessed the accuracy of risk chart-guided VL testing to detect virologic failure in validation cohorts from South Africa, Zambia, and the Asia-Pacific.


In total, 31,450 adult patients were included in the derivation and 25,294 patients in the validation cohorts. Positive predictive values increased with the percentage of patients tested: from 79% (10% tested) to 98% (40% tested) in the South African cohort, from 64% to 93% in the Zambian cohort, and from 73% to 96% in the Asia-Pacific cohort. Corresponding increases in sensitivity were from 35% to 68% in South Africa, from 55% to 82% in Zambia, and from 37% to 71% in Asia-Pacific. The area under the receiver operating curve increased from 0.75 to 0.91 in South Africa, from 0.76 to 0.91 in Zambia, and from 0.77 to 0.92 in Asia-Pacific.


CD4-based risk charts with optimal cutoffs for targeted VL testing maybe useful to monitor ART in settings where VL capacity is limited.

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