The recent large-scale introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in sub-Saharan Africa, while lifesaving for many, has been attended by a high early mortality rate. It is probable that the high prevalence of malnutrition in the region, worsened by HIV disease, is a factor in both early mortality and overall ART outcomes. Previous studies in PLWHA in resource-constrained settings have reported poorer outcomes in persons with nutritional deficiencies in the absence of ART, but none has documented longitudinal, within-person effects of ART on nutritional status or of nutritional status on ART outcomes. We have initiated a pilot study to examine whether the refeeding syndrome (RS), which has been observed in multiple settings in which severely cachectic or marasmic patients are treated and fed, contributes to the early deaths. In November 2006 we began recruiting 200 patients who are starting ART at a clinic supported by the University of Alabama at Birmingham's (UAB) Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Lusaka, Zambia (CIDRZ) and who exhibit high risk for early ART mortality (CD4+ count <50 cells/

Public Health Relevance

The introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among persons with HIV/AIDS in sub- Saharan Africa, many of whom are undernourished, has been attended by a surprisingly high early mortality rate. This project aims to examine the influence of metabolic and micronutrient status on ART outcomes in a population in Lusaka, Zambia who are at high risk for early ART mortality. Future intervention trials will address these metabolic and nutritional issues, to reduce early ART mortality and improve ART outcomes in resource-constrained settings.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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AIDS Clinical Studies and Epidemiology Study Section (ACE)
Program Officer
Bacon, Melanie C
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
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