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Impact of early initiation versus national standard of care of antiretroviral therapy in Swaziland’s public sector health system: study protocol for a stepped-wedge randomized trial

  • Fiona J. Walsh1Email author,
  • Till Bärnighausen2, 3, 4,
  • Wim Delva5, 6, 7, 8,
  • Yvette Fleming9,
  • Gavin Khumalo10,
  • Charlotte L. Lejeune11,
  • Sikhathele Mazibuko12,
  • Charmaine Khudzie Mlambo11,
  • Ria Reis13, 14, 15,
  • Donna Spiegelman2,
  • Mandisa Zwane16 and
  • Velephi Okello12

Received: 21 November 2016

Accepted: 27 July 2017

Published: 18 August 2017

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Open Peer Review reports

Pre-publication versions of this article and author comments to reviewers are available by contacting

Original Submission
21 Nov 2016 Submitted Original manuscript
8 May 2017 Author responded Author comments - Fiona Walsh
Resubmission - Version 2
8 May 2017 Submitted Manuscript version 2
28 Jun 2017 Author responded Author comments - Fiona Walsh
Resubmission - Version 3
28 Jun 2017 Submitted Manuscript version 3
27 Jul 2017 Editorially accepted
18 Aug 2017 Article published 10.1186/s13063-017-2128-8

How does Open Peer Review work?

Open peer review is a system where authors know who the reviewers are, and the reviewers know who the authors are. If the manuscript is accepted, the named reviewer reports are published alongside the article. Pre-publication versions of the article and author comments to reviewers are available by contacting All previous versions of the manuscript and all author responses to the reviewers are also available.

You can find further information about the peer review system here.

Authors’ Affiliations

Clinton Health Access Initiative, Boston, USA
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA
Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), Mtubatuba, South Africa
Institute of Public Health, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
The South African Department of Science and Technology - National Research Foundation (DST-NRF) Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA), Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Hasselt University, Center for Statistics, Diepenbeek, Belgium
Ghent University, International Centre for Reproductive Health, Gent, Belgium
KU Leuven, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Leuven, Belgium
aidsfonds, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Swaziland National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (SWANNEPHA), Mbabane, Swaziland
Clinton Health Access Initiative, Mbabane, Swaziland
Ministry of Health, Mbabane, Swaziland
University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
SAfAIDS, Harare, Zimbabwe