COHORT PROFILE: The Complications of Long-Term Antiretroviral Therapy study in Uganda (CoLTART), a prospective clinical cohort
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) improves the survival and quality of life of HIV-positive individuals, but the effects of long-term ART use do eventually manifest. The Complications of Long-Term Antiretroviral Therapy cohort study in Uganda (CoLTART) was established to investigate the metabolic and renal complications of long-term ART use among Ugandan adults. We describe the CoLTART study set-up, aims, objectives, study methods, and also report some preliminary cross-sectional study enrolment metabolic and renal complications data analysis results.
HIV-positive ART naïve and experienced adults (18 years and above) in Uganda were enrolled. Data on demographic, dietary, medical, social economic and behaviour was obtained; and biophysical measurements and a clinical examination were undertaken. We measured: fasting glucose and lipid profiles, renal and liver function tests, full blood counts, immunology, virology and HIV drug resistance testing. Plasma samples were stored for future studies.
Between July 2013 and October 2014, we enrolled 1095 individuals, of whom 964 (88.0%) were ART experienced (6 months or more), with a median of 9.4 years (IQR 7.0-9.9) on ART. Overall, 968 (88.4%) were aged 35 years and above, 711 (64.9%) were females, 608 (59.6%) were or had ever been on a Tenofovir ART regimen and 236 (23.1%) on a Protease Inhibitor (PI) regimen. There were no differences in renal dysfunction between patients on Tenofovir and Non-Tenofovir containing ART regimens. Patients on PI regimens had higher total cholesterol, lower high density lipoprotein, higher low density lipoprotein, higher triglycerides, and a high atherogenic index for plasma than the non-PI regimen, p = 0.001 or < 0.001. Patients on Non-PI regimens had higher mean diastolic hypertension than patients on PI regimens, p < 0.001.
Our finding of no differences in renal dysfunction between patients on Tenofovir and those on Non-Tenofovir containing ART regimens means that Tenofovir based first line ART can safely be initiated even in settings without routine renal function monitoring. However, integration of cardiovascular risk assessment, preventive and curative measures against cardiovascular disease are required. The CoLTART cohort is a good platform to investigate the complications of long-term ART use in Uganda.