AIDS Care (AIDS Care)

Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Journal description

A forum for publishing research and reports from the many complementary disciplines involved in the HIV/AIDS field, AIDS Care is one of only a small number of journals which successfully deals with the psychological and social aspects of AIDS. Peer-reviewed research originates from diverse disciplines including psychology, sociology, epidemiology, social work, anthropology, ethics, nursing, education, health education, law, administration and counselling. AIDS and HIV infection, the planning of services, prevention and the fear of AIDS affects many echelons of society ranging from individuals, couples and families through to institutions and communities. A particular aim is to publish work emanating from many centres and in so doing address the global impact of AIDS.

Current impact factor: 1.60

Impact Factor Rankings

Additional details

5-year impact 1.99
Cited half-life 5.80
Immediacy index 0.31
Eigenfactor 0.01
Article influence 0.65
Website AIDS Care website
Other titles AIDS care (Online), Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome care
ISSN 1360-0451
OCLC 37914882
Material type Document, Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

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    • The publisher will deposit in on behalf of authors to a designated institutional repository including PubMed Central, where a deposit agreement exists with the repository
    • STM: Science, Technology and Medicine
    • Publisher last contacted on 25/03/2014
    • This policy is an exception to the default policies of 'Taylor & Francis (Routledge)'
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • AIDS Care 01/2016; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1080793
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Cigarette smoking is increasingly recognized as a predictor for inferior adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) among HIV-positive patients. Given the limited body of work on this issue, this study aimed to explore the impact of cigarette smoking and nicotine dependence on ART adherence in Vietnam. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 1,133 HIV-positive people was conducted from January to September 2013 in Hanoi (an urban city) and Nam Dinh (a rural city). Adherence to ART during the last 30 days was measured by the 100-point visual analog scale (VAS). Smoking history and nicotine dependence (Fagerstrom Test of Nicotine Dependence) were self-reported by participants. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to examine the association of current smoking and nicotine dependence with ART nonadherence. Results: The mean VAS score was 94.1 (SD=10.4). Using the established VAS cut point of 95 to indicate adequate adherence, the prevalence of ART nonadherence was 30.9%. More than one third of the sample (35.5%) reported current smoking. No association between smoking status and ART nonadherence was found. However, participants with greater nicotine dependence (OR=1.1, 95%CI=1.0-1.2 per unit increase) were more likely to be nonadherent. Also, individuals who were female (OR=1.70, 95%CI=1.19-2.42), receiving ART in Nam Dinh (OR=1.6, 95%CI=1.1-2.4), and currently feeling anxiety (OR=1.6, 95% CI=1.2-2.1) had a higher likelihood of ART nonadherence. Additionally, current smokers reporting current pain or discomfort (OR=1.9, 95%CI=1.2-3.1) were more likely to be nonadherent. Conversely, protective factors included living with a spouse/partner (OR=0.5, 95%CI=0.3-0.7) and having more than a high school education (OR=0.4, 95%CI=0.1-1.0). Conclusions: Given the high prevalence of suboptimal adherence and current smoking among HIV-positive patients, screening for smoking status and level of nicotine dependence is needed during ART treatment to improve patients’ adherence to medication. Also, more efforts should be targeted to women, patients with mental health problems, and ART clinics in rural areas.
    AIDS Care 08/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect of an Internet-based intervention to reduce sexual risk behaviors and increase resilience to sexual risk behaviors among Mexican adolescents, a key HIV/AIDS risk group. The study had a quasi-experimental design with single-stage cluster sampling. Participants ages 14-17 were stratified by gender and randomly assigned to either receive intervention "Connect" (which included face-to-face and Internet-based sessions designed to reduce sexual risk behaviors and increase resilience to sexual risk) or control (a general educational video on reducing health risks). A total of 9 survey instruments were administered online through SurveyMonkey pre- and post-intervention to assess changes in sexual risk and protective factors as well as two outcomes of interest: risky sexual behaviors and resilience. Pearson correlation assessed instrument reliability while multivariable linear regression models assessed two study hypotheses: (1) the effect of the intervention on sexual behavior and resilience is mediated by adolescent age, gender, and sexual experience and (2) risk and protective factors are mediators between the intervention and sexual behavior. The sample was composed of 193 adolescents between 14 and 17 years old (n = 96 in the control group and n = 97 in the experimental group). Survey instruments were reliable. Age was associated with pre-to-post test changes in sexual resilience (β = -6.10, p = .019), which partially mediated the effect of the intervention on sexual resilience (β = 5.70, p = .034). Social support was associated with pre-to-post test changes in risky sexual behavior (β = -0.17, p = .039). Intervention "Connect" was independently associated with improved self-reported resilience to risky sexual behaviors, though not with a reduction in those behaviors in multivariate analyses. This is the first Internet-based intervention designed to reduce HIV/AIDS sexual risk among Mexican adolescents.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1073663
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-infected patients receiving antiretroviral therapy have increased risk of metabolic syndrome, including dyslipidemia. In this study, we determined whether individual nutritional counseling reduced dyslipidemia, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, among HIV-infected patients with dyslipidemia not currently taking lipid-lowering medication. We conducted a randomized 24-week trial among HIV-infected patients with dyslipidemia who were on antiretroviral therapy and were eligible to initiate therapeutic lifestyle changes according to the Thai National Cholesterol Education Program. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention group that received individual counseling with a nutritionist for seven sessions (baseline, weeks 2, 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24) and a control group that received standard verbal diet information at baseline and nutritional counseling only at week 24. A 24-h recall technique was used to assess dietary intake for both groups at baseline and week 24. Lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglyceride) was measured at baseline and after 12 and 24 weeks of therapy. An intention-to-treat and linear mixed model were used. Seventy-two patients were randomly assigned, and 62 (86%) participants completed their lipid profile test. After 12 weeks of follow-up, there were significant reductions in the intervention group for total cholesterol (-14.4 ± 4.6 mg/dL, P = .002), LDL cholesterol (-13.7 ± 4.1 mg/dL, P = .001), and triglyceride (-30.4 ± 13.8 mg/dL, P = .03). A significant reduction in LDL cholesterol was also observed in the control group (-7.7 ± 3.8 mg/dL, P = .04), but there were no significant differences in change of mean lipid levels between the groups at 12 weeks of follow-up. After 24 weeks, participants assigned to the intervention group demonstrated significantly greater decreases in serum total cholesterol (-19.0 ± 4.6 vs. 0.2 ± 4.3 mg/dL, P = .003) and LDL cholesterol (-21.5 ± 4.1 vs. -6.8 ± 3.8 mg/dL, P = .009). There were no significant changes in HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels in either group.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1072127
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    ABSTRACT: Latinos are more likely to delay HIV testing, present to care with an AIDS defining illness, and die within one year of learning their HIV-positive status than non-Latino blacks and whites. For this paper, we explore the role of partner-relationship characteristics and health behaviors, in predicting HIV testing among Latina adult women who engaged in risky sexual behaviors (i.e., unprotected vaginal and/or anal sex). Data from a convenience sample of 168 Latina adult women who engaged in risky sexual behavior in the year prior to assessment were analyzed for this paper. Rates and predictors of HIV testing among this sample were assessed after a five-year follow-up. Descriptive and analytical estimates include incidence rates and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) from multilevel models. At five-year follow-up, 63.7% (n = 107) women reported having been tested for HIV, of whom 12.2% (n = 13) were women who never tested before. Main reasons for not having been tested at follow-up included: low risk perception (62.1%) and trusting their partner(s)/being in a monogamous relationship/knowing their partner's HIV status (17.2%). Predictors of HIV testing included: age (AOR: 0.96; 95% CI = 0.92-0.99), provider endorsement of HIV testing (AOR: 4.59; 95% CI = 1.77-11.95), poor quality of their romantic relationships (AOR: 1.12; 95% CI = 1.03-1.26), and knowing the HIV sero-status of sexual partner (AOR: 3.61; 95% CI = 1.46-8.95). This study characterizes a group of Latina women at high risk for HIV infection and their HIV testing behaviors. Our findings underscore the need of increasing access to quality health-care services and HIV behavioral interventions, and to strengthen the adherence to HIV/sexually transmitted disease testing recommendations and guidelines among local health-care providers serving the Latino community in South Florida.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1071769
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    ABSTRACT: Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in sub-Saharan Africa. In PLHIV, Smear-Negative Pulmonary Tuberculosis (SNPTB) and Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis (EPTB) are predominant. Presumptive anti-tuberculosis (anti-TB) treatment is often delayed leading to a high mortality rate. To investigate the clinical outcomes of presumptive anti-TB treatment in HIV patients suspected of having TB and to determine the factors associated with patients' death. We conducted a retrospective descriptive study from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2008 in the Department of Internal Medicine of the Hospital Yalgado Ouédraogo on patients infected with HIV who received a presumptive anti-TB treatment. Defining patients with SNPTB or EPTB was based on the 2007 WHO's diagnostic algorithm of SNPTB and EPTB. One hundred and sixteen patients of the 383 (30.2%) HIV patients hospitalized in this period were suspected of having TB. The average CD4 count was 86.1 cells/µl (SD = 42.3). A SNPTB was diagnosed in 67 patients (57.8%) and a EPTB in 49 patients (42.2%). The median length of hospitalization duration was 23.5 days. The average time of initiation of anti-TB treatment after admission was 22 days (SD = 9.2 days). Evolution during the hospital stay was favorable for 65 patients (56.0%), unfavorable for 48 patients (41.4% or 12.5% of all hospitalized patients), and 3 patients (2.6%) were treatment defaulters. In a multivariate analysis, hospitalization duration longer than 15 days and a delay of anti-TB treatment initiation of more than 30 days are independent factors associated with patients' deaths. An urgent access to TB-diagnostic tools and a revision of the International algorithm for the diagnosis and treatment of SNPTB and EPTB in the context of HIV could help to reduce the delay of anti-TB treatment initiation and the mortality rate of PLHIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1050982
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    ABSTRACT: Global and national HIV/AIDS policies utilize the care cascade to emphasize the importance of continued engagement in HIV services from diagnosis to viral suppression. Several studies have documented barriers that men experience in accessing services at specific stages of care, but few have analyzed how these barriers operate along the care cascade. Brazil offers a unique setting for analyzing barriers to HIV care because it is a middle-income country with a large HIV epidemic and free, universal access to HIV/AIDS services. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in 2011 with HIV-infected men (n = 25) receiving care at the only HIV/AIDS state reference center in Salvador, Brazil, the third largest city in the country. Interviews were transcribed and coded for analysis. Researchers identified barriers to services along the care cascade: health service-related obstacles (poor-quality care, lengthy wait times, and drug supply problems); psychosocial and emotional challenges (fear of disclosure and difficulty accepting HIV diagnosis); indirect costs (transportation and absenteeism at work or school); low perceived risk of HIV; and toxicity and complexity of antiretroviral drug (ARV) regimens. The stages of the care cascade interrupted by each barrier were also identified. Most barriers affected multiple, and often all, stages of care, while toxicity and complexity of ARV regimens was only present at a single care stage. Efforts to eliminate more prevalent barriers have the potential to improve care continuity at multiple stages. Going forward, assessing the relative impact of barriers along one's entire care trajectory can help tailor improvements in service provision, facilitate achievement of viral suppression, and improve access to life-saving testing, treatment, and care.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1062462
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    ABSTRACT: Prior to 2010, medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS was provided at an outpatient facility near the center of St. Petersburg. Since then, HIV specialty clinics have been established in more outlying regions of the city. The study examined the effect of this decentralization of HIV care on patients' satisfaction with care in clinics of St. Petersburg, Russia. We conducted a cross-sectional study with 418 HIV-positive patients receiving care at the St. Petersburg AIDS Center or at District Infectious Disease Departments (centralized and decentralized models, respectively). Face-to-face interviews included questions about psychosocial characteristics, patient's satisfaction with care, and clinic-related patient experience. Abstraction of medical records provided information on patients' viral load. To compare centralized and decentralized models of care delivery, we performed bivariate and multivariate analysis. Clients of District Infectious Disease Departments spent less time in lines and traveling to reach the clinic, and they had stronger relationships with their doctor. The overall satisfaction with care was high, with 86% of the sample reporting high level of satisfaction. Nevertheless, satisfaction with care was strongly and positively associated with the decentralized model of care and Patient-Doctor Relationship Score. Patient experience elements such as waiting time, travel time, and number of services used were not significant factors related to satisfaction. Given the positive association of satisfaction with decentralized service delivery, it is worth exploring decentralization as one way of improving healthcare services for people living with HIV/AIDS.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1054337
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    ABSTRACT: Safer conception interventions can significantly reduce the risk of horizontal HIV transmission between HIV-serodiscordant partners. However, prior to implementing safer conception interventions, it is essential to understand potential barriers to their adoption so that strategies can be developed to overcome these barriers. This paper examines potential barriers to the adoption of safer conception strategies by HIV-affected couples in Iringa, Tanzania using an ecological framework. We interviewed 30 HIV-positive women, 30 HIV-positive men and 30 health providers engaged in delivering HIV-related services. We also conducted direct observations at five health facilities. Findings suggest that there are multiple barriers to safer conception that operate at the individual, relational, environmental, structural, and super-structural levels. The barriers to safer conception identified are complex and interact across these levels. Barriers at the individual level included antiretroviral adherence, knowledge of HIV status, knowledge and acceptability of safer conception strategies, and poor nutrition. At the relational level, unplanned pregnancies, non-disclosure of status, gendered power dynamics within relationships, and patient-provider interactions posed a threat to safer conception. HIV stigma and distance to health facilities were environmental barriers to safer conception. At the structural level there were multiple barriers to safer conception, including limited safer conception policy guidelines for people living with HIV (PLHIV), lack of health provider training in safer conception strategies and preconception counseling for PLHIV, limited resources, and lack of integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health services. Poverty and gender norms were super-structural factors that influenced and reinforced barriers to safer conception, which influenced and operated across different levels of the framework. Multi-level interventions are needed to ensure adoption of safer conception strategies and reduce the risk of HIV transmission between partners within HIV-serodiscordant couples.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1074652
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    ABSTRACT: Intended and unintended pregnancies occur frequently among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women. We evaluated the occurrence of repeat pregnancy and characteristics associated with this outcome among HIV-infected women in Latin America and the Caribbean who were participating in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) International Site Development Initiative (NISDI). Of the 1342 HIV-infected pregnant women enrolled in NISDI, 124 (9.2%) had one or more repeat pregnancies on study. Median time between the index delivery and date of conception of the subsequent pregnancy was 1.4 years (range 0.1-5.7). Younger age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.07, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04-1.11 per one year decrease in age), hospitalization during the index pregnancy or up to six months post-partum [OR = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.2-3.4], and poor index pregnancy outcome (stillbirth or spontaneous/therapeutic abortion; OR = 3.4, 95% CI: 1.4-8.4) were associated with increased occurrence of repeat pregnancy in multivariable analysis. Among women with repeat pregnancies, the proportion receiving antiretroviral treatment (vs. prophylaxis) increased from 39.4% at the time of the index pregnancy to 81.8% at the time of the repeat pregnancy (p < 0.001). These results can help identify women most likely to benefit from reproductive counseling in order to assist with healthy pregnancy planning and prevention of unintended pregnancies.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1050987
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    ABSTRACT: We examined current challenges with patient engagement in HIV prevention and care in South Africa by assessing the procedures of eight public health clinics in the North West Province. Procedures consisted of (1) an inventory/audit of the HIV Counseling and Testing, pre-antiretroviral therapy (pre-ART), and antiretroviral therapy (ART) patient registers; (2) extraction of data from a convenience sample of 39 HIV-positive patient files; and (3) 13 key informant interviews with clinic staff to characterize retention and re-engagement practices for patients. Incomplete registers revealed little evidence of follow-up services, particularly for pre-ART patients. The more detailed examination of patient files indicated substantial disparities in the proportion of pre-ART versus ART patients retained in care. Key informant interviews contextualized the data, with providers describing multiple procedures for tracking and ensuring service delivery for ART patients and fewer procedures to retain pre-ART patients. These findings suggest that enhanced strategies are needed for ensuring continued engagement in HIV care, with a particular emphasis on improving the retention of pre-ART patients. The preventive benefits of ART scale-up may not be achieved if improvements are not made in the proportion of earlier-stage HIV-positive patients who are successfully engaged in care.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1050985
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    ABSTRACT: Studies that explored women's knowledge on mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV and its prevention (PMTCT) in the general population are currently lacking. This paper examined factors associated with having adequate knowledge of MTCT of HIV and PMTCT among a nationally representative sample of women in Tanzania. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis including 10,299 women from the 2011-2012 Tanzania HIV/AIDS and Malaria Indicator Survey. The outcome of interest was the presence of adequate knowledge on MTCT and PMTCT of HIV. We used multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with having adequate knowledge on MTCT and PMTCT of HIV. Results revealed that the overall prevalence of having adequate knowledge on MTCT and PMTCT of HIV was low (46%). We found a statistically significant difference in the proportions of having adequate knowledge between HIV-negative and HIV-positive women (45% vs. 56%; p < .0001), although knowledge of the transplacental route of transmission did not differ by HIV serostatus. Overall, having adequate knowledge on MTCT and PMTCT of HIV was positively associated with experiencing at least one pregnancy, having some education, having higher household wealth, residing in urban area, being exposed to HIV education, having tested for HIV, knowing a place to get HIV test, and having comprehensive knowledge on HIV and AIDS. Among HIV-seropositive women, experiencing at least one pregnancy and having comprehensive knowledge on HIV and AIDS were strongly associated with having adequate knowledge on MTCT and PMTCT of HIV (Adjusted odds ratio: aOR 2.78, 95% CI 1.21, 6.37 and aOR 1.71, 95% CI 1.15, 2.73, respectively). Further efforts are needed to enhance HIV/AIDS education among women of childbearing age and strengthen PMTCT services in Tanzania.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1062465
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    ABSTRACT: Women account for 30% of all AIDS cases reported to the Health Ministry in Portugal and most infections are acquired through unprotected heterosexual sex with infected partners. This study analyzed socio-demographic and psychosocial predictors of consistent condom use and the role of education as a moderator variable among Portuguese women attending family planning clinics. A cross-sectional study using interviewer-administered fully structured questionnaires was conducted among 767 sexually active women (ages 18-65). Logistic regression analyses were used to explore the association between consistent condom use and the predictor variables. Overall, 78.7% of the women were inconsistent condom users. The results showed that consistent condom use was predicted by marital status (being not married), having greater perceptions of condom negotiation self-efficacy, having preparatory safer sexual behaviors, and not using condoms only when practicing abstinence. Living with a partner and having lack of risk perception significantly predicted inconsistent condom use. Less educated women were less likely to use condoms even when they perceive being at risk. The full model explained 53% of the variance in consistent condom use. This study emphasizes the need for implementing effective prevention interventions in this population showing the importance of taking education into consideration.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1071770
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    ABSTRACT: Complex historical and cultural factors have contributed to the HIV epidemic among Aboriginal populations in Canada. This study assesses social supports, adaptive and maladaptive coping mechanisms, stress, and mastery of Canadian-born Aboriginal and Canadian-born Caucasian people living with HIV in Ontario and posits that coping and social support are important micro- and meso-level factors associated with the epidemic. This cross-sectional analysis included questionnaire data collected from 2007 to 2011 at HIV clinics in Toronto. Categorical and continuous variables were compared using chi-square and Wilcoxon rank sum tests, respectively. Correlates of social support and coping were determined using univariate and multivariable linear regression. The analysis included 70 Aboriginal and 665 Caucasian participants. Aboriginal participants had lower levels of employment, education, and annual household income. Aboriginal participants reported more overall (7 vs. 4, p = 0.0003), ongoing (4 vs. 2, p = 0.0004), and early childhood (2 vs. 1, p = 0.02) stressors. Maladaptive coping, adaptive coping, and mastery scores were similar between Aboriginal and Caucasian participants. In multivariable analysis, injection drug use and lower education levels were significant correlates of higher maladaptive coping and lower overall support scores. Despite numerous socioeconomic challenges and personal stressors, Aboriginal people living with HIV who are accessing care exhibited comparable coping and mastery scores to Canadian-born Caucasian people living with HIV, suggesting remarkable strengths within Aboriginal people living with HIV and their communities.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1061634
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    ABSTRACT: African-American women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV-related morbidity and mortality. To address the burden of HIV/AIDS among this at-risk population, there is need to gain a better understanding of the factors that influence and affect their care-seeking behavior and specifically adherence to antiretroviral treatment. A preliminary qualitative study was conducted with a sample of the target population (n = 10) using grounded theory as the methodological approach. Similarly, 21 healthcare providers - physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and case managers - were then interviewed. A thematic analysis of the transcripts compared care-provider perceptions and narrated experiences with those from the patient participants. Themes related to patient care perceived to enhance medication adherence included (1) provider-patient relationship; (2) holistic and patient-centered care; (3) adequacy of patient education and counseling; (4) modeling adherence behavior; and (5) motivation. Two intervention strategies are proposed - Peer educators as an integral part of the care team and Patient Advisory Groups as a feedback mechanism to enhance effective delivery of patient care in the target population. This exploratory research lays a foundation for the design of targeted interventions to improve linkage to care and enhance medication adherence in African-American women living with HIV/AIDS.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1071771
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    ABSTRACT: Haiti has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. Before the 2010 earthquake, Haitian women bore a disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS, had lower HIV knowledge, less capacity to negotiate for safer sex, and limited access to HIV testing and risk-reduction (RR) counseling. Since 2010, there has been an increase in sexual violence against women, characterized by deliberate vaginal injuries by non-intimate partners, increasing victims' risk of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. Needed is an adaptation of evidence-based interventions for HIV that include HIV testing and counseling for this stigmatized population. We reviewed several features of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 103 evidence-based interventions for HIV (e.g., measures used, participant risk characteristics, theoretical framework, outcome variables, and evidence tier) in an attempt to seek a feasibly adaptable evidence-based intervention for HIV that could be used for victims of sexual violence (VOSV). RESPECT, one of the reviewed evidence-based HIV interventions, comprises of one-on-one, client-focused HIV prevention/RR counseling, and RAPID HIV testing. Adapting RESPECT can enhance access to testing for Haitian VOSV and can influence their perceptions of HIV risk, and establishment of RR goals for future consensual intimate relations. Adapting and implementing RESPECT can increase uptake of evidence-based HIV interventions among Haitians and positively affect a region with high HIV prevalence and increased rates of sexual violence.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1071773
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    ABSTRACT: Scale-up of viral load (VL) monitoring for HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a priority in many resource-limited settings, and ART providers are critical to effective program implementation. We explored provider-perceived barriers and facilitators of VL monitoring. We interviewed all providers (n = 17) engaged in a public health evaluation of dried blood spots for VL monitoring at five ART clinics in Malawi. All ART clinics were housed within district hospitals. We grouped themes at patient, provider, facility, system, and policy levels. Providers emphasized their desire for improved ART monitoring strategies, and frustration in response to restrictive policies for determining which patients were eligible to receive VL monitoring. Although many providers pled for expansion of monitoring to include all persons on ART, regardless of time on ART, the most salient provider-perceived barrier to VL monitoring implementation was the pressure of work associated with monitoring activities. The work burden was exacerbated by inefficient data management systems, highlighting a critical interaction between provider-, facility-, and system-level factors. Lack of integration between laboratory and clinical systems complicated the process for alerting providers when results were available, and these communication gaps were intensified by poor facility connectivity. Centralized second-line ART distribution was also noted as a barrier: providers reported that the time and expenses required for patients to collect second-line ART frequently obstructed referral. However, provider empowerment emerged as an unexpected facilitator of VL monitoring. For many providers, this was the first time they used an objective marker of ART response to guide clinical management. Providers' knowledge of a patient's virological status increased confidence in adherence counseling and clinical decision-making. Results from our study provide unique insight into provider perceptions of VL monitoring and indicate the importance of policies responsive to individual and environmental challenges of VL monitoring program implementation. Findings may inform scale-up by helping policy-makers identify strategies to improve feasibility and sustainability of VL monitoring.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1058896
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to explore the social networks of older adults living with HIV. Interviews were conducted with nine individuals aged 50 or older living with HIV in Helsinki, Finland. Analysis of transcripts was analysed by inductive qualitative content analysis. Results indicated that these participants' networks tended to be large, including those both aware and unaware of the participants' health status. Analysis identified three main themes: large multifaceted social networks, importance of a support group, and downsizing of social networks. Support received appeared to be of great importance in coping with their health condition, especially since the time of diagnosis. Friends and family were the primary source of informal support. The majority of participants relied mostly on friends, some of whom were HIV-positive. Formal support came primarily from the HIV organisation's support group. In this study group, non-disclosure did not impact participants' well-being. In years to come, social networks of older adults living with HIV may shrink due to personal reasons other than HIV-disclosure. What is of primary importance is that healthcare professionals become knowledgeable about psychosocial issues of older adults living with HIV, identifying latent problems and developing adequate interventions in the early stages of the disease; this would help prevent social isolation and foster successful ageing with HIV.
    AIDS Care 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540121.2015.1071774