ResearchPad - hiv-prevention https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Trends and determinants of ever having tested for HIV among youth and adults in South Africa from 2005–2017: Results from four repeated cross-sectional nationally representative household-based HIV prevalence, incidence, and behaviour surveys]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14605 HIV testing contributes to the prevention and control of the HIV epidemic in the general population. South Africa has made strides to improve HIV testing towards reaching the first of the UNAIDS 90–90–90 targets by 2020. However, to date no nationally representative analysis has examined temporal trends and factors associated with HIV testing among youth and adults in the country.AimThis study aimed to examine the trends and associations with ever having tested for HIV among youth and adults aged 15 years and older in South Africa using the 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2017 nationally representative population-based household surveys.MethodsThe analysis of the data collected used multi-stage stratified cluster randomised cross-sectional design. P-trend chi-squared test was used to identify any significant changes over the four study periods. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine factors associated with HIV testing in each of the survey periods.ResultsEver having tested for HIV increased substantially from 2005 (30.6%, n = 16 112), 2008 (50.4%, n = 13 084), 2012 (65.5%, n = 26 381), to 2017 (75.2%, n = 23 190). Those aged 50 years and older were significantly less likely to ever have tested for HIV than those aged 25–49 years. Those residing in rural areas were significantly less likely to have tested for HIV as compared to people from urban areas.There was a change in HIV testing among race groups with Whites, Coloureds and Indian/Asians testing more in 2005 and 2008 and Black Africans in 2017. Marriage, education and employment were significantly associated with increased likelihood of ever testing for HIV. Those who provided a blood specimen for laboratory HIV testing in the survey rounds and were found to have tested positive were more likely to have ever tested for HIV previously.ConclusionThe results show that overall there has been an increase in ever having an HIV test in the South African population over time. The findings also suggest that for South Africa to close the testing gap and reach the first of the UNAIDS 90–90–90 targets by 2020, targeted programmes aimed at increasing access and utilization of HIV testing in young people, males, those not married, the less educated, unemployed and those residing in rural areas of South Africa should be prioritised. ]]> <![CDATA[A Novel HIV Vaccine Adjuvanted by IC31 Induces Robust and Persistent Humoral and Cellular Immunity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab9ab0ee8fa60badf30

The HIV vaccine strategy that, to date, generated immune protection consisted of a prime-boost regimen using a canarypox vector and an HIV envelope protein with alum, as shown in the RV144 trial. Since the efficacy was weak, and previous HIV vaccine trials designed to generate antibody responses failed, we hypothesized that generation of T cell responses would result in improved protection. Thus, we tested the immunogenicity of a similar envelope-based vaccine using a mouse model, with two modifications: a clade C CN54gp140 HIV envelope protein was adjuvanted by the TLR9 agonist IC31®, and the viral vector was the vaccinia strain NYVAC-CN54 expressing HIV envelope gp120. The use of IC31® facilitated immunoglobulin isotype switching, leading to the production of Env-specific IgG2a, as compared to protein with alum alone. Boosting with NYVAC-CN54 resulted in the generation of more robust Th1 T cell responses. Moreover, gp140 prime with IC31® and alum followed by NYVAC-CN54 boost resulted in the formation and persistence of central and effector memory populations in the spleen and an effector memory population in the gut. Our data suggest that this regimen is promising and could improve the protection rate by eliciting strong and long-lasting humoral and cellular immune responses.

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<![CDATA[Feasibility of establishing an HIV vaccine preparedness cohort in a population of the Uganda Police Force: Lessons learnt from a prospective study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne890bb8a-5661-4c39-82f7-6f40a2e69675

Background

Members of uniformed armed forces are considered to be at high risk for HIV infection and have been proposed as suitable candidates for participation in HIV intervention studies. We report on the feasibility of recruitment and follow up of individuals from the community of the Uganda Police Force (UPF) for an HIV vaccine preparedness study.

Methods

HIV-negative volunteers aged 18–49 years, were identified from UPF facilities situated in Kampala and Wakiso districts through community HIV counselling and testing. Potential volunteers were referred to the study clinic for screening, enrolment and quarterly visits for one year. HIV incidence, retention rates were estimated and expressed as cases per 100 person years of observation (PYO). Rate ratios were used to determine factors associated with retention using Poisson regression models.

Results

We screened 560 to enroll 500 volunteers between November 2015 and May 2016. One HIV seroconversion occurred among 431 PYO, for an incidence rate of 0.23/100 PYO (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.03–1.64). Overall, retention rate was 87% at one year, and this was independently associated with residence duration (compared to <1 year, 1 to 5 years adjusted rate ratio (aRR) = 1.19, 95%CI: 1.00–1.44); and >5 years aRR = 1.34, 95%CI: 0.95–1.37); absence of genital discharge in the last 3 months (aRR = 1.97, 95% CI: 1.38–2.83, absence of genital ulcers (aRR = 1.90, 95%CI: 1.26–2.87, reporting of new sexual partner in the last month (aRR = 0.57, 95%CI: 0.45–0.71, being away from home for more than two nights (aRR = 1.27, 95%CI: 1.04–1.56, compared to those who had not travelled) and absence of knowledge on HIV prevention (aRR = 2.67, 95%CI: 1.62–4.39).

Conclusions

While our study demonstrates the feasibility of recruiting and retaining individuals from the UPF for HIV research, we did observe lower than anticipated HIV incidence, perhaps because individuals at lower risk of HIV infection may have been the first to come forward to participate or participants followed HIV risk reduction measures. Our findings suggest lessons for recruitment of populations at high risk of HIV infection.

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<![CDATA[“It is always better for a man to know his HIV status” – A qualitative study exploring the context, barriers and facilitators of HIV testing among men in Nairobi, Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N633bb09e-858a-4016-b37a-13e5d588b21f

HIV testing services are an important component of HIV program and provide an entry point for clinical care for persons newly diagnosed with HIV. Although uptake of HIV testing has increased in Kenya, men are still less likely than women to get tested and access services. There is, however, limited understanding of the context, barriers and facilitators of HIV testing among men in the country. Data are from in-depth interviews with 30 men living with HIV and 8 HIV testing counsellors that were conducted to gain insights on motivations and drivers for HIV testing among men in the city of Nairobi. Men were identified retroactively by examining clinical CD4 registers on early and late diagnosis (e.g. CD4 of ≥500 cells/mm, early diagnosis and <500 cells/mm, late diagnosis). Analysis involved identifying broad themes and generating descriptive codes and categories. Timing for early testing is linked with strong social support systems and agency to test, while cost of testing, choice of facility to test and weak social support systems (especially poor inter-partner relations) resulted in late testing. Minimal discussions occurred prior to testing and whenever there was dialogue it happened with partners or other close relatives. Interrelated barriers at individual, health-care system, and interpersonal levels hindered access to testing services. Specifically, barriers to testing included perceived providers attitudes, facility location and set up, wait time/inconvenient clinic times, low perception of risk, limited HIV knowled ge, stigma, discrimination and fear of having a test. High risk perception, severe illness, awareness of partner’s status, confidentiality, quality of services and supplies, flexible/extended opening hours, and pre–and post–test counselling were facilitators. Experiences between early and late testers overlapped though there were minor differences. In order to achieve the desired impact nationally and to attain the 90-90-90 targets, multiple interventions addressing both barriers and facilitators to testing are needed to increase uptake of testing and to link the positive to care.

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<![CDATA[Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for prevention of heterosexual transmission of HIV and risk compensation in adult males in Soweto: Findings from a programmatic setting]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acc83d5eed0c48498f8f2

Background

Clinical trials have clearly shown a reduction in HIV acquisition through voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC). However, data assessing risk compensation under programmatic conditions is limited.

Methods

This was a prospective cohort of HIV seronegative males aged 18–40 years receiving VMMC between November 2012 and July 2014. HIV serostatus was determined pre and post VMMC. Risk compensation was defined as a decrease in condom use at last sex act and/or an increase in concurrent sexual relationships, both measured twelve months post-circumcision.

Results

A total of 233 males were enrolled and underwent voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for prevention against HIV. There was no evidence of risk compensation post-circumcision as defined in this study. Significant increases in proportion of participants in the 18–24 years age group who knew the HIV status of their sexual partner (39% to 56%, p = 0.0019), self-reported condom use at last sex act (21% to 34%, p = 0.0106) and those reporting vaginal sexual intercourse in the past 12 months (67% to 79%, p-value = <0.0001) were found. In both 18–24 and 25–40 years age groups, there was a significant increase in perception of being at risk of contracting HIV (70% to 84%, p-value = <0.0001).

Conclusion

No significant risk compensation was observed in this study on comparing pre-and post-circumcision behaviour. An increase in proportion of participants in the 18–24 years age group who had vaginal intercourse in the first 12 months post-circumcision as a possibility of risk compensation was minimal and negated by an increase in proportion of those reporting using a condom at the last sex act, increase in knowledge of partner’s HIV status and lack of increase in alcohol post-circumcision.

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<![CDATA[Empowering HIV-infected women in low-resource settings: A pilot study evaluating a patient-centered HIV prevention strategy for reproduction in Kisumu, Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897736d5eed0c4847d26fe

Background

Female positive/male negative HIV-serodiscordant couples express a desire for children and may engage in condomless sex to become pregnant. Current guidelines recommend antiretroviral treatment in HIV-serodiscordant couples, yet HIV RNA viral suppression may not be routinely assessed or guaranteed and pre-exposure prophylaxis may not be readily available. Therefore, options for becoming pregnant while limiting HIV transmission should be offered and accessible to HIV-affected couples desiring children.

Methods

A prospective pilot study of female positive/male negative HIV-serodiscordant couples desiring children was conducted to evaluate the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of timed vaginal insemination. Eligible women were 18–34 years with regular menses. Prior to timed vaginal insemination, couples were observed for two months, and tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections. Timed vaginal insemination was performed for up to six menstrual cycles. A fertility evaluation and HIV RNA viral load assessment was offered to couples who did not become pregnant.

Findings

Forty female positive/male negative HIV-serodiscordant couples were enrolled; 17 (42.5%) exited prior to timed vaginal insemination. Twenty-three couples (57.5%) were introduced to timed vaginal insemination; eight (34.8%) achieved pregnancy, and six live births resulted without a case of HIV transmission. Seven couples completed a fertility evaluation. Four women had no demonstrable tubal patency bilaterally; one male partner had decreased sperm motility. Five women had unilateral/bilateral tubal patency; and seven women had an HIV RNA viral load (≥ 400 copies/mL).

Conclusion

Timed vaginal insemination is an acceptable, feasible, and effective method for attempting pregnancy. Given the desire for children and inadequate viral suppression, interventions to support safely becoming pregnant should be integrated into HIV prevention programs.

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<![CDATA[Antiretroviral adherence and virologic suppression in partnered and unpartnered HIV-positive individuals in southern Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c803c70d5eed0c484ad896d

Background

An undetectable serum HIV-1 load is key to effectiveness of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, which depends on adherence to treatment. We evaluated factors possibly associated with ARV adherence and virologic response in HIV-infected heterosexual individuals.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted in 200 HIV-1 serodiscordant couples and 100 unpartnered individuals receiving ARV treatment at a tertiary hospital in southern Brazil. All subjects provided written informed consent, answered demographic/behavioral questionnaires through audio computer-assisted self-interviews (ACASI), and collected blood and vaginal samples for biological markers and assessment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). HIV-negative partners were counseled and tested for HIV-1.

Results

The study population mean age was 39.9 years, 53.6% were female, 62.5% were Caucasian, 52.6% had incomplete or complete elementary education, 63.1% resided in Porto Alegre. Demographic, behavioral and biological marker characteristics were similar between couples and single individuals. There was an association between adherence reported on ACASI and an undetectable serum viral load (P<0.0001). Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that single-tablet ARV-regimens were independently associated with adherence (OR = 2.3; 95CI%: 1.2–4.4; P = 0.011) after controlling for age, gender, education, marital status, personal income, ARV regimen, and median time of ARV use. A positive correlation between genital secretion PCR results and serum viral load was significant in the presence of STIs (r = 0.359; P = 0.017). Although HIV PCR detection in vaginal secretions was more frequent in women with detectable viremia (9/51, 17.6%), it was also present in 7 of 157 women with undetectable serum viral loads (4.5%), p = 0.005.

Conclusions

ARV single tablet regimens are associated with adherence. Detectable HIV-1 may be present in the genital secretions of women with undetectable viremia which means there is potential for HIV transmission in adherent individuals with serologic suppression.

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<![CDATA[“Even if she’s really sick at home, she will pretend that everything is fine.”: Delays in seeking care and treatment for advanced HIV disease in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9efd5eed0c48452a55d

Introduction

HIV prevalence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is estimated to be 1.2%, and access to HIV testing and treatment remains low across the country. Despite advances in treatment, HIV continues to be one of the main reasons for hospitalisation and death in low- and middle-income countries, including DRC, but the reasons why people delay seeking health-care when they are extremely sick remain little understood. People in Kinshasa, DRC, continue to present to health-care facilities in an advanced stage of HIV when they are close to death and needing intensive treatment.

Methods

This qualitative study was conducted in one health-care facility in Kinshasa. A total of 24 in-depth interviews with purposively selected health-care workers, patients and care-givers were conducted. Patients were currently or previously hospitalised with advanced HIV, defined as CD4 count <200 cells/μl. Patients included those who had previously started antiretroviral treatment (ART), and those who had not. Participant observation was also carried out. Interviews were audio-recorded, translated from French and Lingala into English, transcribed, coded and thematically analysed using NVivo.

Results

The main reasons for delaying access to health-care were stigmatisation, religious beliefs and limited economic resources. Stigmatisation meant that people feared disclosing their HIV status and thus did not receive support from their families. Religious leaders were reported to have encouraged people not to take ART. Patients delayed seeking treatment as they could not afford it, and health-care workers believed that staff at other facilities in Kinshasa were delaying HIV diagnoses for economic benefit.

Conclusions

Delays in accessing care and treatment linked to stigma, religious beliefs and economic factors contribute to explaining the persistence of advanced HIV within this context. Access to free HIV-testing, ART and treatment of opportunistic infections; counselling; training of health-care workers; support for care-givers and stigma reduction strategies are urgently needed to prevent unnecessary deaths.

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<![CDATA[The effectiveness of using entertainment education narratives to promote safer sexual behaviors of youth: A meta-analysis, 1985-2017]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c758ed5eed0c4843cfe95

Background

Risky sexual behaviors are associated with the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies, both major health concerns for youth worldwide. This review studies the effectiveness of narrated mass media programs in promoting safer sexual practices among youth in developed and developing countries.

Methods

Electronic and manual searches were conducted to identify experimental and quasi-experimental studies with robust counterfactual designs published between 1985 and the first quarter of 2017. Effect sizes were meta-analyzed using mixed-effects models.

Results

Eight experimental and two quasi-experimental studies met our inclusion criteria. The aggregated sample size was 23,476 participants, with a median of 902 participants per study. Entertainment education narratives had small but significant effects for three sexual behaviors. It reduced the number of sexual partners [standardized mean difference, (SMD) = 0.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.02–0.33, three effect sizes], reduced unprotected sex (SMD = 0.08, 95% CI = 0.03–0.12, nine effect sizes), and increased testing and management for STIs (SMD = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.11–0.46, two effect sizes). The interventions were not effective in reducing inter-generational sex, measured through the age-gap with sexual partners (SMD = 0.06, 95% CI = -0.06–0.19, four effect sizes). Entertainment education had medium-size effects on knowledge outcomes (SMD = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.32–1.02, seven effect sizes), where a time-decay relationship is observed. No effects were found on attitudes.

Conclusion

Although mass media entertainment had small effects in promoting safer sexual practices, its economies of scales over face-to-face interventions suggest its potential to be a cost-effective tool above an audience threshold. The use of study participants from the general youth population and the use of mostly effectiveness trials mitigate concerns regarding its scalability. The overall paucity of high-quality studies affirms the need for strengthening the evidence base of entertainment education. Future research should be undertaken to understand the moderator effects for different subgroups and intervention characteristics.

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<![CDATA[Adherence to isoniazid preventive therapy among child contacts in Rwanda: A mixed-methods study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b269fd5eed0c484289d89

Background

The World Health Organization recommends isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) for six months for child contacts without tuberculosis (TB), who are exposed to an adult with active TB. The effectiveness of IPT depends on 80% or greater adherence to medication. In the current study, we assessed IPT adherence and explored barriers to and facilitators of adherence among eligible child contacts in Kigali, Rwanda.

Methods

A mixed method study design was used to prospectively assess adherence to IPT among eligible child contacts and its associated factors through a quantitative, observational cohort study, and to explore barriers to and facilitators of adherence to IPT through a descriptive qualitative study.

Results

Of the 84 child contacts who started IPT, 74 (88%) had complete adherence and ten (12%) had incomplete adherence. There were no factors (individual characteristics of index cases, households and or health facility characteristics) found to be significantly associated with IPT adherence in the bivariate and multivariate analysis. In the qualitative analysis, we identified factors relating to parents/caregivers, disease, household and health-care providers as major themes determining IPT adherence.

Conclusion

There was a high rate of IPT completion in this cohort of eligible child contacts living in Kigali. However, structural factors (poverty and relocation) were found to be the main barriers to IPT adherence that could be addressed by health-care providers.

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<![CDATA[Breakthrough tuberculosis disease among people with HIV – Should we be worried? A retrospective longitudinal study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8ddd5eed0c48496f299

Introduction

Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) is a proven means to prevent tuberculosis (TB) disease among people living with HIV (PLHIV). However, there is a concern that patients often develop tuberculosis disease while receiving IPT, defined here as breakthrough tuberculosis, which may affect treatment outcome. In this study, we assessed the magnitude and determinants of breakthrough tuberculosis.

Methods

A multisite retrospective longitudinal study from the year 2005 to 2014 involving 11 randomly selected hospitals from the Addis Ababa, SNNPR (Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region), and Gambela regions of Ethiopia was carried out to assess the occurrence of breakthrough tuberculosis. Cox regression analysis was used to study factors associated with breakthrough TB.

Results

4,484 patients in chronic HIV care received IPT. Eighty percent of the same number received antiretroviral therapy (ART). Tuberculosis developed in 88 of 4,484 (2%) patients of which 24 (0.5%) were diagnosed while receiving IPT. Breakthrough TB incidence was 1106 per 100,000 person-years (PY) (95% CI: 742–1651) while TB incidence after completing IPT was 624 per 100,000 PY (95% CI: 488–797). Seven of the 24 (29%) breakthrough TB cases were diagnosed within the first month of IPT initiation. Of 15 patients who developed breakthrough TB while on ART, nine (60%) were diagnosed within the first six months of ART initiation. Having high CD4 cell count and being on ART were associated with having lower risk of developing TB and breakthrough TB.

Conclusion

Breakthrough TB was uncommon in the study setting. Even then, taking ART reduced the risk of its occurrence. Slightly more than a quarter of the cases of breakthrough TB occurred in the first month of treatment and may be existing undiagnosed TB cases which were missed during diagnostic work-up.

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<![CDATA[Cash transfers and HIV/HSV-2 prevalence: A replication of a cluster randomized trial in Malawi]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca315d5eed0c48441f0e5

Introduction

In this paper we perform a replication analysis of “Effect of a cash transfer programme for schooling on prevalence of HIV and herpes simplex type 2 in Malawi: a cluster randomised trial” by Sarah Baird and others published in “The Lancet” in 2012. The original study was a two-year cluster randomized intervention trial of never married girls aged 13–22 in Malawi. Enumeration areas were randomized to either an intervention involving cash transfer (conditional or unconditional of school enrollment) or control. The study included 1708 Malawian girls, who were enrolled at baseline and had biological testing for HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) at 18 months. The original findings showed that in the cohort of girls enrolled in school at baseline, the intervention had an effect on school enrollment, sexual outcomes, and HIV and HSV-2 prevalence. However, in the baseline school dropout cohort, the original study showed no intervention effect on HIV and HSV-2 prevalence.

Methods

We performed a replication of the study to investigate the consistency and robustness of key results reported. A pre-specified replication plan was approved and published online. Cleaned data was obtained from the original authors. A pure replication was conducted by reading the methods section and reproducing the results and tables found in the original paper. Robustness of the results were examined with alternative analysis methods in a measurement and estimation analysis (MEA) approach. A theory of change analysis was performed testing a causal pathway, the effect of intervention on HIV awareness, and whether the intervention effect depended on the wealth of the individual.

Results

The pure replication found that other than a few minor discrepancies, the original study was well replicated. However, the randomization and sampling weights could not be verified due to the lack of access to raw data and a detailed sample selection plan. Therefore, we are unable to determine how sampling influenced the results, which could be highly dependent on the sample. In MEA it was found that the intervention effect on HIV prevalence in the baseline schoolgirls cohort was somewhat sensitive to model choice, with a non-significant intervention effect for HIV depending on the statistical model used. The intervention effect on HSV-2 prevalence was more robust in terms of statistical significance, however, the odds ratios and confidence intervals differed from the original result by more than 10%. A theory of change analysis showed no effect of intervention on HIV awareness. In a causal pathway analysis, several variables were partial mediators, or potential mediators, indicating that the intervention could be working through its effect on school enrollment or selected sexual behaviors.

Conclusions

The effect of intervention on HIV prevalence in the baseline schoolgirls was sensitive to the model choice; however, HSV-2 prevalence results were confirmed. We recommend that the results from the original published analysis indicating the impact of cash transfers on HIV prevalence be treated with caution.

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<![CDATA[Prevalence and correlates of lifetime and recent HIV testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) who use mobile geo-social networking applications in Greater Tokyo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5217c1d5eed0c4847944f2

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately burdened by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), accounting for 78% of all Japanese male HIV cases in 2016. Over 30% of newly identified HIV infections in Japan are diagnosed as AIDS annually, suggesting a large proportion of people living with HIV were unaware of their own infection status. An estimated two-thirds of Japanese men who have sex with men (MSM) are not attached to the gay community, and previous studies have largely sampled gay venues, thus, previous studies have likely failed to reach many men in this population. This study therefore examined HIV testing prevalence and correlates among MSM in Greater Tokyo who use gay mobile geo-social networking applications (gay mobile apps), which have been found to increase access to MSM not traditionally accessible through venue-based surveys. Among a sample of 1657 MSM recruited through advertisements on gay mobile apps, the prevalence of lifetime and six-monthly HIV testing was 72.8% and 29.7% respectively. In multiple regression analysis, higher lifetime HIV testing was associated with older age, education, HIV knowledge, anal intercourse with regular and casual male partners, and gay venue attendance. Testing was negatively associated with regular male partner condom use, marriage, residing outside central Tokyo and having both male and female partners. These results indicated that MSM who use gay mobile apps in Greater Tokyo do not meet the CDC yearly testing recommendations for high risk populations. Considering limited HIV prevention funding in Japan for MSM, moderate lifetime and recent testing, and the large number of gay mobile app users, utilization of popular gay mobile apps to promote nearby HIV testing facilities may be an effective prevention policy to target non-community attached MSM, particularly at-risk youth and individuals at risk of sudden-onset AIDS.

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<![CDATA[Reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings: A systematic review of quantitative evidence]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e682d5eed0c484ef34de

Introduction

Stigma and discrimination (SAD) related to HIV compromise access and adherence to treatment and support programs among people living with HIV (PLHIV). The ambitious goal of ending the epidemic of HIV by 2030 set by the United Nations Joint Program of HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) will thus only be achieved if HIV-related stigma and discrimination are reduced. The objective of this review was to locate, appraise and describe international literature reporting on interventions that addressed HIV-related SAD in healthcare settings.

Methods

The databases searched were: Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), Excerpta Medica Database from Elsevier (EMBASE), PubMed and Psychological Information (PsycINFO) database. Two individuals independently appraised the quality of the papers using appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI). Data were extracted from papers included in the review using the standardized data extraction tool from JBI. Quality of evidence for major outcomes was assessed using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE).

Results

We retained 14 records reporting on eight studies. Five categories of SAD reduction (information-based, skills building, structural, contact-based and biomedical interventions) were identified. Training popular opinion leaders (POLs) resulted in significantly lower mean avoidance intent scores (MD = -1.87 [95% CI -2.05 to -1.69]), mean prejudicial attitude scores (MD = -3.77 [95% CI -5.4 to -2.09]) and significantly higher scores in mean compliance to universal precaution (MD = 1.65 [95% CI 1.41 to 1.89]) when compared to usual care (moderate quality evidence). The Summary of Findings table (SOF) is shown in Table 1.

Conclusions

Evidence of moderate quality indicates that training popular opinion leaders is effective in reducing avoidance intent and prejudicial attitude and improving compliance to universal precaution. Very low quality evidence indicates that professionally-assisted peer group interventions, modular interactive training, participatory self-guided assessment and intervention, contact strategy combined with information giving and empowerment are effective in reducing HIV-related stigma.Further Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) are needed. Future trials need to use up-to-date and validated instruments to measure stigma and discrimination.

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<![CDATA[Feasibility and acceptability of novel methods to estimate antiretroviral adherence: A longitudinal study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c5dd5eed0c484bd1de9

Due to marked reductions in morbidity and mortality, antiretroviral (ARV) adherence monitoring is of high interest. Researchers and clinicians often resort to the most feasible and cost-effective adherence methods possible, which may result in biased or inaccurate estimates and require the physical presence of a participant at a research or clinic site. The objective of our study was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of three objective, innovative, and remote methods to estimate ARV adherence which may be conducted with less time and financial resources in a wide range of clinic and research settings. These three methods included: (a) text-messaged photographs of pharmacy refill dates to measure refill-based adherence, (b) text-messaged photographs of ARV medications to estimate pill-count-based adherence, and (c) home-collected hair samples for the measurement of ARV concentration to determine pharmacologic-based adherence. We conducted a pilot study from March through October 2017 to examine the feasibility and acceptability of these three adherence measures and the remotely conducted study procedures in 93 adults living with HIV nationwide. From our diverse national sample of participants, 95.7% were retained until the end of the study, 89.9% sent all text messages, and 84.3% sent all hair samples. Approximately 74.2% of participants reported excellent overall experience with the study, 60.2% were very or extremely satisfied with participating in a hair collection study, and 76.3% noted extremely high likelihood of participating in a similar study including text messaging pictures of medications or refill dates. We noted high levels of feasibility and acceptability with the remote study methodology, collection of photographed and text messaged pharmacy refill dates and pill counts, and home-collected hair samples. Here we describe the feasibility and acceptability metrics, results from the exit qualitative interviews with the participants, and lessons learned. These adherence measures represent innovative approaches to expand monitoring tools for HIV treatment and prevention adherence in future research.

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<![CDATA[Rapid antiretroviral therapy initiation in low- and middle-income countries: A resource-based approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c99d5eed0c484bd356f

In an Essay, Mark Tenforde and colleagues advocate continued provision of baseline CD4 cell count testing in HIV care in low- and middle-income countries.

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<![CDATA[Trends in HIV care cascade engagement among diagnosed people living with HIV in Ontario, Canada: A retrospective, population-based cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390ba4d5eed0c48491da7e

Background

The HIV cascade is an important framework for assessing systems of care, but population-based assessment is lacking for most jurisdictions worldwide. We measured cascade indicators over time in a population-based cohort of diagnosed people living with HIV (PLWH) in Ontario, Canada.

Methods

We created a retrospective cohort of diagnosed PLWH using a centralized laboratory database with HIV diagnostic and viral load (VL) test records linked at the individual-level. Individuals enter the cohort with record of a nominal HIV-positive diagnostic test or VL test, and remain unless administratively lost to follow-up (LTFU, >2 consecutive years with no VL test and no VL test in later years). We calculated the annual percent of diagnosed PLWH (cohort individuals not LTFU) between 2000 and 2015 who were in care (≥1 VL test), on ART (as documented on VL test requisition) or virally suppressed (<200 copies/ml). We also calculated time from diagnosis to linkage to care and viral suppression among individuals newly diagnosed with HIV. Analyses were stratified by sex and age. Upper/lower bounds were calculated using alternative indicator definitions.

Results

The number of diagnosed PLWH increased from 8,859 (8,859–11,389) in 2000 to 16,110 (16,110–17,423) in 2015. Over this 16-year period, the percent of diagnosed PLWH who were: in care increased from 81% (63–81%) to 87% (81–87%), on ART increased from 55% (34–60%) to 81% (70–82%) and virally suppressed increased from 41% (23–46%) to 80% (67–81%). Between 2000 and 2014, the percent of newly diagnosed individuals who linked to care within three months of diagnosis or achieved viral suppression within six months of diagnosis increased from 67% to 82% and from 22% to 42%, respectively. Estimates were generally lower for females and younger individuals.

Discussion

HIV cascade indicators among diagnosed PLWH in Ontario improved between 2000 and 2015, but gaps still remain—particularly for younger individuals.

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<![CDATA[Does a history of sexual and physical childhood abuse contribute to HIV infection risk in adulthood? A study among post-natal women in Harare, Zimbabwe]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bb2d5eed0c48491ddfa

Background

Sexual and physical abuse in childhood creates a great health burden including on mental and reproductive health. A possible link between child abuse and HIV infection has increasingly attracted attention. This paper investigated whether a history of child physical and sexual abuse is associated with HIV infection among adult women.

Methods

A cross sectional survey was conducted among 2042 postnatal women (mean age = 26y) attending six public primary health care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe within 6 weeks post-delivery. Clinic records were reviewed for mother’s antenatal HIV status. Participants were interviewed about childhood abuse including physical or sexual abuse before 15 years of age, forced first sex before 16, HIV risk factors such as age difference at first sex before age 16. Multivariate analyses assessed the associations between mother’s HIV status and child physical and sexual abuse while controlling for confounding variables.

Results

More than one in four (26.6%) reported abuse before the age of 15: 14.6% physical abuse and 9.1% sexual abuse,14.3% reported forced first sex and 9.0% first sex before 16 with someone 5+ years older. Fifteen percent of women tested HIV positive during the recent antenatal care visit. In multivariate analysis, childhood physical abuse (aOR 3.30 95%CI 1.58–6.90), sexual abuse (3.18 95%CI: 1.64–6.19), forced first sex (aOR 1.42, 95%CI: 1.00–2.02), and 5+ years age difference with first sex partner (aOR 1.66 95%CI 1.09–2.53) were independently associated with HIV infection.

Conclusion

This study highlights that child physical and/or sexual abuse may increase risk for HIV acquisition. Further research is needed to assess the pathways to HIV acquisition from childhood to adulthood. Prevention of child abuse must form part of the HIV prevention agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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<![CDATA[HIV self-testing alone or with additional interventions, including financial incentives, and linkage to care or prevention among male partners of antenatal care clinic attendees in Malawi: An adaptive multi-arm, multi-stage cluster randomised trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667b1d5eed0c4841a609f

Background

Conventional HIV testing services have been less comprehensive in reaching men than in reaching women globally, but HIV self-testing (HIVST) appears to be an acceptable alternative. Measurement of linkage to post-test services following HIVST remains the biggest challenge, yet is the biggest driver of cost-effectiveness. We investigated the impact of HIVST alone or with additional interventions on the uptake of testing and linkage to care or prevention among male partners of antenatal care clinic attendees in a novel adaptive trial.

Methods and findings

An adaptive multi-arm, 2-stage cluster randomised trial was conducted between 8 August 2016 and 30 June 2017, with antenatal care clinic (ANC) days (i.e., clusters of women attending on a single day) as the unit of randomisation. Recruitment was from Ndirande, Bangwe, and Zingwangwa primary health clinics in urban Blantyre, Malawi. Women attending an ANC for the first time for their current pregnancy (regardless of trimester), 18 years and older, with a primary male partner not known to be on ART were enrolled in the trial after giving consent. Randomisation was to either the standard of care (SOC; with a clinic invitation letter to the male partner) or 1 of 5 intervention arms: the first arm provided women with 2 HIVST kits for their partners; the second and third arms provided 2 HIVST kits along with a conditional fixed financial incentive of $3 or $10; the fourth arm provided 2 HIVST kits and a 10% chance of receiving $30 in a lottery; and the fifth arm provided 2 HIVST kits and a phone call reminder for the women’s partners. The primary outcome was the proportion of male partners who were reported to have tested for HIV and linked into care or prevention within 28 days, with referral for antiretroviral therapy (ART) or circumcision accordingly. Women were interviewed at 28 days about partner testing and adverse events. Cluster-level summaries compared each intervention versus SOC using eligible women as the denominator (intention-to-treat). Risk ratios were adjusted for male partner testing history and recruitment clinic. A total of 2,349/3,137 (74.9%) women participated (71 ANC days), with a mean age of 24.8 years (SD: 5.4). The majority (2,201/2,233; 98.6%) of women were married, 254/2,107 (12.3%) were unable to read and write, and 1,505/2,247 (67.0%) were not employed. The mean age for male partners was 29.6 years (SD: 7.5), only 88/2,200 (4.0%) were unemployed, and 966/2,210 (43.7%) had never tested for HIV before. Women in the SOC arm reported that 17.4% (71/408) of their partners tested for HIV, whereas a much higher proportion of partners were reported to have tested for HIV in all intervention arms (87.0%–95.4%, p < 0.001 in all 5 intervention arms). As compared with those who tested in the SOC arm (geometric mean 13.0%), higher proportions of partners met the primary endpoint in the HIVST + $3 (geometric mean 40.9%, adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 3.01 [95% CI 1.63–5.57], p < 0.001), HIVST + $10 (51.7%, aRR 3.72 [95% CI 1.85–7.48], p < 0.001), and phone reminder (22.3%, aRR 1.58 [95% CI 1.07–2.33], p = 0.021) arms. In contrast, there was no significant increase in partners meeting the primary endpoint in the HIVST alone (geometric mean 17.5%, aRR 1.45 [95% CI 0.99–2.13], p = 0.130) or lottery (18.6%, aRR 1.43 [95% CI 0.96–2.13], p = 0.211) arms. The lottery arm was dropped at interim analysis. Overall, 46 male partners were confirmed to be HIV positive, 42 (91.3%) of whom initiated ART within 28 days; 222 tested HIV negative and were not already circumcised, of whom 135 (60.8%) were circumcised as part of the trial. No serious adverse events were reported. Costs per male partner who attended the clinic with a confirmed HIV test result were $23.73 and $28.08 for the HIVST + $3 and HIVST + $10 arms, respectively. Notable limitations of the trial included the relatively small number of clusters randomised to each arm, proxy reporting of the male partner testing outcome, and being unable to evaluate retention in care.

Conclusions

In this study, the odds of men’s linkage to care or prevention increased substantially using conditional fixed financial incentives plus partner-delivered HIVST; combinations were potentially affordable.

Trial registration

ISRCTN 18421340.

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<![CDATA[No change in health-related quality of life for at-risk U.S. women and men starting HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): Findings from HPTN 069/ACTG A5305]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2d2e51d5eed0c484d993b5

Introduction

Tenofovir (TDF)-containing PrEP is effective for HIV prevention, but its effect on health-related quality of life (QOL) is unknown. Using data from HPTN 069/ACTG A5305, a randomized study of potential PrEP regimens comparing maraviroc alone, or together with TDF or emtricitabine (FTC), to TDF + FTC (control), we evaluated the impact of these regimens on QOL in at-risk HIV-uninfected U.S. women and men.

Methods

QOL was measured at baseline (before starting medications) and every 8 weeks through week 48 using the EQ-5D-3L. Responses were converted to a scale from 0.0 (death) to 1.0 (perfect health), using published valuation weights. Mean scores were compared between groups at each time point using nonparametric testing. Multivariable linear regression was used to adjust for potential confounders.

Results

We analyzed 186 women (median age 35 years, 65% black, 17% Hispanic) and 405 men (median age 30 years, 28% black, 22% Hispanic), including 9 transgender participants analyzed based on sex-at-birth. Mean baseline QOL was 0.91 for women and 0.95 for men. There were minimal changes in mean QOL over time for any regimen (women: p = 0.29; men: p = 0.14). There were no significant differences between participants who continued the regimen compared to participants who discontinued early (women: p = 0.61; men: p = 0.1). Mean QOL did not differ significantly by regimen at any time point, both unadjusted and after adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, adherence, and use of alcohol, marijuana, opiates, and other substances.

Conclusions

QOL in at-risk individuals starting candidate PrEP regimens in a clinical trial is similar to the general population and maintained over time. This finding did not vary among regimens or when adjusted for demographics, adherence, and substance use. Our findings are the first to show that starting a candidate PrEP regimen in at-risk HIV-uninfected U.S. women and men was not associated with significant changes in QOL.

Trial registration

Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01505114.

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