Background: Co-trimoxazole prophylaxis can reduce mortality from untreated HIV infection in Africa; whether benefits occur alongside combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) is unclear. We estimated the effect of prophylaxis after ART initiation in adults. Methods: Participants in our observational analysis were from the DART randomised trial of management strategies in HIV-infected, symptomatic, previously untreated African adults starting triple-drug ART with CD4 counts lower than 200 cells per μL. Co-trimoxazole prophylaxis was not routinely used or randomly allocated, but was variably prescribed by clinicians. We estimated effects on clinical outcomes, CD4 cell count, and body-mass index (BMI) using marginal structural models to adjust for time-dependent confounding by indication. DART was registered, number ISRCTN13968779. Findings: 3179 participants contributed 14 214 years of follow-up (8128 [57%] person-years on co-trimoxazole). Time-dependent predictors of co-trimoxazole use were current CD4 cell count, haemoglobin concentration, BMI, and previous WHO stage 3 or 4 events on ART. Present prophylaxis significantly reduced mortality (odds ratio 0·65, 95% CI 0·50–0·85; p=0·001). Mortality risk reduction on ART was substantial to 12 weeks (0·41, 0·27–0·65), sustained from 12–72 weeks (0·56, 0·37–0·86), but not evident subsequently (0·96, 0·63–1·45; heterogeneity p=0·02). Variation in mortality reduction was not accounted for by time on co-trimoxazole or current CD4 cell count. Prophylaxis reduced frequency of malaria (0·74, 0·63–0·88; p=0·0005), an effect that was maintained with time, but we observed no effect on new WHO stage 4 events (0·86, 0·69–1·07; p=0·17), CD4 cell count (difference vs non-users, −3 cells per μL [−12 to 6]; p=0·50), or BMI (difference vs non-users, −0·04 kg/m2 [−0·20 to 0·13); p=0·68]. Interpretation: Our results reinforce WHO guidelines and provide strong motivation for provision of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis for at least 72 weeks for all adults starting combination ART in Africa.
Walker, A.S.; Ford, D.; Gilks, C.; Munderi, P.; Ssali, F.; Reid, A.; Katabira, E.; Grosskurth, H.; Mugyenyi, P.; Hakim, J.; Darbyshire, J.H.; Gibb, D.M.; Babiker, A.G. Daily co-trimoxazole prophylaxis in severely immunosuppressed HIV-infected adults in Africa started on combination antiretroviral therapy: an observational analysis of the DART cohort. Lancet (2010) 375 (9722) 1278-1286. [DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60057-8]