Publications by authors named "Melanie R Gaynes"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Setting Performance Standards for a Cost-Effective Human Immunodeficiency Virus Cure Strategy in South Africa.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2017 22;4(2):ofx081. Epub 2017 Apr 22.

Medical Practice Evaluation Center and Divisions of.

Background: Reports of a single case of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) eradication suggest that elimination of HIV from individuals is possible. Anticipating both increased research funding and the development of effective, durable cure technologies, we describe the circumstances under which a cure might improve survival and be cost-effective in South Africa.

Methods: We adapted a simulation model comparing a hypothetical cure strategy ("Cure") to the standard of care, lifetime antiretroviral therapy ("LifetimeART") among adherent South Africans (58% female; mean age 33.8 years; mean CD4 257/µL; virologic suppression ≥1 year). We portrayed cure as a single intervention, producing sustained viral eradication without ART. We considered both a plausible, more imminently achievable "Baseline Scenario" and a more aspirational "Optimistic Scenario". Inputs (Baseline/Optimistic) included the following: 50%/75% efficacy; 0.6%/0.0% fatal toxicity; 0.37%/0.085% monthly relapse over 5 years (0.185%/0.0425% per month thereafter); and $2000/$500 cost. These inputs were varied extensively in sensitivity analysis.

Results: At baseline, Cure was "dominated," yielding lower discounted life expectancy (19.31 life-years [LY] vs 19.37 LY) and greater discounted lifetime costs ($13 800 vs $13 700) than LifetimeART. Under optimistic assumptions, Cure was "cost-saving," producing greater survival (19.91 LY) and lower lifetime costs ($11 000) than LifetimeART. Findings were highly sensitive to data assumptions, leaving little middle ground where a tradeoff existed between improved survival and higher costs.

Conclusions: Only under the most favorable performance assumptions will an HIV cure strategy prove clinically and economically justifiable in South Africa. The scientific pursuit of a cure should not undermine continued expansions of access to proven, effective, and cost-effective ART.
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April 2017

Prioritizing HIV comparative effectiveness trials based on value of information: generic versus brand-name ART in the US.

HIV Clin Trials 2015 Nov 11;16(6):207-18. Epub 2015 Dec 11.

Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston, USA.

Background: Value of Information (VOI) analysis examines whether to acquire information before making a decision. We introduced VOI to the HIV audience, using the example of generic antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the US.

Methods And Findings: We used a mathematical model and probabilistic sensitivity analysis (PSA) to generate probability distributions of survival (in quality-adjusted life years, QALYs) and cost for three potential first-line ART regimens: three-pill generic, two-pill generic, and single-pill branded. These served as input for a comparison of two hypothetical two-arm trials: three-pill generic versus single-pill branded; and two-pill generic versus single-pill branded. We modeled pre-trial uncertainty by defining probability distributions around key inputs, including 24-week HIV-RNA suppression and subsequent ART failure. We assumed that, without a trial, patients received the single-pill branded strategy. Post-trial, we assumed that patients received the most cost-effective strategy. For both trials, we quantified the probability of changing to a generic-based regimen upon trial completion and the expected VOI in terms of improved health outcomes and costs. Assuming a willingness to pay (WTP) threshold of $100 000/QALY, the three-pill trial led to more treatment changes (84%) than the two-pill trial (78%). Estimated VOI was $48 000 (three-pill trial) and $35 700 (two-pill trial) per future patient initiating ART.

Conclusions: A three-pill trial of generic ART is more likely to lead to post-trial treatment changes and to provide more value than a two-pill trial if policy decisions are based on cost-effectiveness. Value of Information analysis can identify trials likely to confer the greatest impact and value for HIV care.
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November 2015

Understanding HIV-infected patients' experiences with PEPFAR-associated transitions at a Centre of Excellence in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa: a qualitative study.

AIDS Care 2015 24;27(10):1298-303. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

e Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) , Boston , MA , USA.

South Africa was the largest recipient of funding from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs from 2004 to 2012. Funding decreases have led to transfers from hospital and non-governmental organization-based care to government-funded, community-based clinics. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 36 participants to assess patient experiences related to transfer of care from a PEPFAR-funded, hospital-based clinic in Durban to either primary care clinics or hospital-based clinics. Participant narratives revealed the importance of connectedness between patients and the PEPFAR-funded clinic program staff, who were described as respectful and conscientious. Participants reported that transfer clinics were largely focused on dispensing medication and on throughput, rather than holistic care. Although participants appreciated the free treatment at transfer sites, they expressed frustration with long waiting times and low perceived quality of patient-provider communication, and felt that they were treated disrespectfully. These factors eroded confidence in the quality of the care. The transfer was described by participants as hurried with an apparent lack of preparation at transfer clinics for new patient influx. Formal (e.g., counseling) and informal (e.g., family) social supports, both within and beyond the PEPFAR-funded clinic, provided a buffer to challenges faced during and after the transition in care. These data support the importance of social support, adequate preparation for transfer, and improving the quality of care in receiving clinics, in order to optimize retention in care and long-term adherence to treatment.
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February 2018

The Linkage Outcomes of a Large-scale, Rapid Transfer of HIV-infected Patients From Hospital-based to Community-based Clinics in South Africa.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2014 Sep 12;1(2):ofu058. Epub 2014 Aug 12.

Division of General Medicine ; Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Department of Medicine ; Division of Infectious Disease , Massachusetts General Hospital ; Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

Background: President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding changes have resulted in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinic closures. We evaluated linkage to care following a large-scale patient transfer from a PEPFAR-funded, hospital-based HIV clinic to government-funded, community-based clinics in Durban.

Methods: All adults were transferred between March and June 2012. Subjects were surveyed 5-10 months post-transfer to assess self-reported linkage to the target clinic. We validated self-reports by auditing records at 8 clinics. Overall success of transfer was estimated using linkage to care data for both reached and unreached subjects, adjusted for validation results.

Results: Of the 3913 transferred patients, 756 (19%) were assigned to validation clinics; 659 (87%) of those patients were reached. Among those reached, 468 (71%) had a validated clinic record visit. Of the 46 who self-reported attending a different validation clinic than originally assigned, 39 (85%) had a validated visit. Of the 97 patients not reached, 59 (61%) had a validated visit at their assigned clinic. Based on the validation rates for reached and unreached patients, the estimated success of transfer for the cohort overall was 82%.

Conclusions: Most patients reported successful transfer to a community-based clinic, though a quarter attended a different clinic than assigned. Validation of attendance highlights that nearly 20% of patients may not have linked to care and may have experienced a treatment interruption. Optimizing transfers of HIV care to community sites requires collaboration with receiving clinics to ensure successful linkage to care.
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September 2014