Objectives: Among HIV-1-infected individuals in Africa, coinfection with malaria and diarrhoeal disease may be associated with more rapid HIV-1 disease progression. We sought to determine whether the use of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets and simple point-of-use water filters can delay HIV-1 disease progression.
Design: A prospective cohort study.
Setting: Two HIV care sites in Kenya.
Participants: HIV-1-infected adults not yet meeting criteria for antiretroviral therapy.
Interventions: One group received the standard of care, whereas the other received long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets and water filters. Individuals were followed for up to 24 months.
Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measures were time to CD4 cell count less than 350 cells/μl and a composite endpoint of time to CD4 cell count less than 350 cells/μl and nontraumatic death. Time to disease progression was compared using Cox proportional hazards regression.
Results: Of 589 individuals included, 361 received the intervention and 228 served as controls. Median baseline CD4 cell counts were similar (P = 0.36). After controlling for baseline CD4 cell count, individuals receiving the intervention were 27% less likely to reach the endpoint of a CD4 cell count less than 350 cells/μl (hazard ratio 0.73; 95% confidence interval 0.57–0.95). CD4 cell count decline was also significantly less in the intervention group (−54 vs. −70 cells/μl per year, P = 0.03). In addition, the incidence of malaria and diarrhoea were significantly lower in the intervention group.
Conclusion: Provision of a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net and water filter was associated with a delay in CD4 cell count decline and may be a simple, practical and cost-effective strategy to delay HIV-1 progression in many resource-limited settings.