Using the data of a trial on cotrimoxazole (CTX) cessation, we investigated the effect of different antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens on the incidence of clinical malaria.Methods:
During the cotrimoxazole cessation trial (ISRCTN44723643), HIV-infected Ugandan adults with CD4+ at least 250 cells/μl were randomized to receive either CTX prophylaxis or placebo and were followed for a median of 2.5 years. Blood slides for malaria microscopy were examined at scheduled visits and at unscheduled visits when the participant felt unwell. CD4+ cell counts were done 6-monthly. Malaria was defined as fever with a positive blood slide. ART regimens were categorized as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) only, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-containing or protease inhibitor containing. Malaria incidence was calculated using random effects Poisson regression to account for clustering of events.Results:
Malaria incidence in the three ART regimen groups was 9.9 (3.6-27.4), 9.3 (8.3-10.4), and 3.5 (1.6-7.6) per 100 person-years, respectively. Incidence on protease inhibitors was lower than that on the other regimens with the results just reaching significance (adjusted rate ratio 0.4, 95% confidence interval = 0.2–1.0, comparing with NNRTI regimens). Stratification by CTX/placebo use gave similar results, without evidence of an interaction between the effects of CTX/placebo use and ART regimen. There was no evidence of an interaction between ART regimen and CD4+ cell count.Conclusion:
There was some evidence that protease inhibitor-containing ART regimens may be associated with a lower clinical malaria incidence compared with other regimens. This effect was not modified by CTX use or CD4+ cell count. The antimalarial properties of protease inhibitors may have clinical and public health importance.