THE DETAILS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EPIC4:
Over the past 30 years, global knowledge about HIV has greatly increased and current combined antiretroviral therapies (cART) are very good at controlling the virus and the problems it causes. This has greatly improved the quality of life of people living with HIV, but the virus remains in their bodies and can come back if the treatment is stopped. Recent research has suggested that giving cART right after birth to children who were infected with HIV at the time of birth could help to minimize the number of viruses that will reproduce in the body.
Our research team is trying to better understand if the amount of virus hiding in the body (called a reservoir) can be decreased by starting anti-HIV medicines very early and continuing to take them well. Knowing how much virus is hiding in the body is important in trying to find ways to destroy it.
We want to recruit patients who were infected with HIV around the time of birth. There will be two types of participants in the study: children who are currently followed up at a participating site and youth who had previously been followed up at one of the participating sites and who have transitioned to adult care. Participants who are still being followed up at a participating site will be seen at the same time as their routine appointment for study visits (approximately every 3 months), while patients who have transitioned to adult care will have to come in to the clinic every 6 months for their study visit.
At each study visit, a blood sample will be collected for research. The total volume of blood to be collected will vary based on the participant’s weight and health. Blood will be shipped overnight to CHU Sainte-Justine, in Montreal, where it will be frozen and stored until it can be analyzed. Blood samples will be tested for the presence of proteins that indicate an activation of the immune system and for characteristics of HIV (presence of virus in cells, genetic information of the virus, etc.). Information will be collected from each participant’s medical record. This will include their medical history of such as general health, infections, anti-HIV medication, routine blood test results, growth and vaccination. In addition, if the participant’s mother agrees, we will collect information on her health, HIV treatment, blood test results, health during her pregnancy, delivery and health of the child following delivery.
The study began in 2015 and will end in December 2018. As mentioned above, participants will have study visits every 3 months (for children still in pediatric care) to 6 months (for youth already moved into adult care).
Hospitals and clinics across Canada will be participating. These will include clinics providing pediatric care in the following cities: Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. Youth already in adult care who previously received care in those pediatric sites will be contacted to see if they want to participate as well.
Click here to view the participation timeline of children: participation_timeline_children.pdf
Click here to view the participation timeline of adults:Participation_timeline_adult