Long-term follow-up of HIV seroconverters in microbicide trials – rationale, study design, and challenges in MTN-015


Riddler SA, Husnik M, Gorbach PM, Levy L, Parikh U, Livant E, Pather A, Makanani B, Muhlanga F, Kasaro M, Martinson F, Elharrar V, Balkus JE; MTN-015 Protocol Team for the Microbicide Trials Network.


HIV Clin Trials. 2016 Jul 28:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]


As the effect of biomedical prevention interventions on the natural history of HIV-1 infection in participants who seroconvert is unknown, the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) established a longitudinal study (MTN-015) to monitor virologic, immunological, and clinical outcomes, as well as behavioral changes among women who become HIV-infected during MTN trials. We describe the rationale, study design, implementation, and enrollment of the initial group of participants in the MTN seroconverter cohort.


Initiated in 2008, MTN-015 is an ongoing observational cohort study enrolling participants who acquire HIV-1 infection during effectiveness studies of candidate microbicides. Eligible participants from recently completed and ongoing MTN trials are enrolled after seroconversion and return for regular follow-up visits with clinical and behavioral data collection. Biologic samples including blood and genital fluids are stored for future testing.


MTN-015 was implemented initially at six African sites and enrolled 100/139 (72%) of eligible women who seroconverted in HIV Prevention Trials Network protocol 035 (HPTN 035, conducted by the MTN). The median time from seroconversion in HPTN 035 to enrollment in MTN-015 was 18 months. Retention was good with >70% of visits completed. Implementation challenges included regulatory reviews, translation, and testing of questionnaires, and site readiness.


Enrollment of HIV-seroconverters into a longitudinal observational follow-up study is feasible and acceptable to participants. Data and samples collected in this protocol will be used to assess safety of investigational HIV microbicides and answer other important public health questions for HIV infected women.

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