amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

The TREAT Asia HIV/AIDS Observational Database: A Comprehensive Look at AIDS in Asia

TREAT Asia has pioneered the first database to assess HIV disease natural history in treated and untreated patients in the Asia/Pacific region. In an unprecedented regional collaboration on HIV research, clinical sites in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand are using standardized methods to collect anonymous patient data.

The information gathered through the TREAT Asia HIV/AIDS Observational Database (TAHOD) is intended to inform the development of more effective research and treatment programs, and ultimately could help to define treatment standards for Asia and the Pacific-standards that may differ from those in Europe and the United States. The database seeks in the long term to improve HIV clinical data collection throughout Asia and the Pacific, assist in evaluating new HIV treatments, monitor antiretroviral and prophylactic treatment as it relates to demographics and markers of HIV disease stage, monitor toxicity related to antiretroviral therapy, and examine HIV’s natural history, including the relationship between access to antiretroviral therapy and disease progression.

The National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of New South Wales (NCHECR) is serving as the data management center for this important study. It is hoped that TAHOD’s cost-effective, innovative methodology will become a model for monitoring HIV/AIDS in other regions of the world.

Each participating site is recruiting a minimum of 200 subjects and will record variables such as sex, age, ethnicity, HIV-exposure category, HIV subtype, AIDS-defining illnesses, immunology and virology, antiretroviral and prophylactic treatment, and reasons for treatment changes. At least 2,000 patients will be recruited in all.

Dr. N. Kumarasamy, Medical Officer and Researcher at YRG Care in Chennai, India, is the current chair of the TAHOD steering committee, which is comprised of the primary investigators from all participating sites across Asia. TAHOD’s lead statistician, Dr. Matthew Law, heads the Biostatistics & Databases Program and is a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales.

At the 8th International Workshop on HIV/AIDS Observational Databases in Montreux, Switzerland, March 25-28, 2004, investigators Dr. Kumarasamy and Dr. Julian Zhou, research assistant at NCHECR, presented a poster with the first data release from TAHOD. Information from nearly 1,300 patients revealed that the primary mode of transmission was heterosexual, the most common opportunistic infection was tuberculosis, and more than half of the patients were currently on antiretroviral treatment. So far the data indicate that the overall response to highly active antiretroviral therapy in Asian patients is similar to that seen in patients in the developed world. TREAT Asia will present a poster analyzing the next round of data at the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok in July 2004.