"Several studies of serodiscordant couples in high-income countries have confirmed the gender difference in susceptibility (Mastro and de Vincenzi 1996; Nicolosi et al. 1994), and it is now often assumed that women's acquisition risk per coital act is at least twice as high as that of men. However, estimates of the gender ratio of transmission probabilities per coital act for low-income countries are much more diverse and not consistently above unity. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND Empirical estimates of the female-to-male ratio of infections in generalized HIV epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa range from 1.31 in Zambia to 2.21 in Ivory Coast. Inequalities in the gender ratio of infections can arise because of differences in exposure (to HIV-positive partners), susceptibility (given exposure), and survival (once infected). Differences in susceptibility have to date received most attention, but neither the relatively high gender ratio of infections nor the heterogeneity in empirical estimates is fully understood. OBJECTIVE Demonstrate the relevance of partnership network attributes and sexual mixing patterns to gender differences in the exposure to HIV-positive partners and the gender ratio of infections. METHOD Agent-based simulation model built in NetLogo. RESULTS The female-to-male ratio of infections predicted by our model ranges from 1.13 to 1.75. Gender-asymmetric partnership concurrency, rapid partnership turnover, elevated partnership dissolution in female-positive serodiscordant couples, and lower partnership re-entry rates among HIV-positive women can produce (substantial) differences in the gender ratio of infections. Coital dilution and serosorting have modest moderating effects. CONCLUSION Partnership network attributes and sexual mixing patterns can have a considerable effect on the gender ratio of HIV infections. We need to look beyond individual behavior and gender differences in biological susceptibility if we are to fully understand, and remedy, gender inequalities in HIV infection in generalized epidemics.
Demographic Research 09/2015; 33(1):425-450. DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2015.33.15 · 1.20 Impact Factor
"The probability of HIV transmission as a function of sexual practice was reviewed from modeling studies using empirical data to estimate the per-contact risk of HIV transmission independently for receptive and insertive anal sex –. There is general consensus that the HIV transmission rate associated with unprotected receptive anal sex is about 1.0%. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Despite preventive efforts, HIV incidence remains high among men who have sex with men (MSM) in industrialized countries. Condoms are an important element in prevention but, given the high frequency of condom use and their imperfect effectiveness, a substantial number and proportion of HIV transmissions may occur despite condoms. We developed a model to examine this hypothesis.
We used estimates of annual prevalent and incident HIV infections for MSM in Ontario. For HIV-negative men, we applied frequencies of sexual episodes and per-contact HIV transmission risks of receptive and insertive anal sex with and without a condom and oral sex without a condom. We factored in the proportion of HIV-infected partners receiving antiretroviral therapy and its impact in reducing transmissibility. We used Monte-Carlo simulation to determine the plausible range for the proportion of HIV transmissions for each sexual practice.
Among Ontario MSM in 2009, an estimated 92,963 HIV-negative men had 1,184,343 episodes of anal sex with a condom and 117,133 anal sex acts without a condom with an HIV-positive partner. Of the 693 new HIV infections, 51% were through anal sex with a condom, 33% anal sex without a condom and 16% oral sex. For anal sex with a condom, the 95% confidence limits were 17% and 77%.
The proportion of HIV infections related to condom failure appears substantial and higher than previously thought. That 51% of transmissions occur despite condom use may be conservative (i.e. low) since we used a relatively high estimate (87.1%) for condom effectiveness. If condom effectiveness were closer to 70%, a value estimated from a recent CDC study, the number and proportion of HIV transmissions occurring despite condom use would be much higher. Therefore, while condom use should continue to be promoted and enhanced, this alone is unlikely to stem the tide of HIV infection among MSM.
PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e107540. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107540 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"The international, interdisciplinary literature suggests that FSWs are less likely to report condom use with intimate partners than with clients [24-33]. FSWs' intimate partners may engage in high risk behaviors themselves, such as concurrent partnerships with other women and men and injection drug use . Yet few studies have explored the complexity of FSWs' intimate relationships [35-37], including issues relating to drug use . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Researchers are increasingly recognizing the importance of addressing sexual and drug-related HIV risk within the context of intimate relationships rather than solely focusing on individual behaviors. Practical and effective methods are needed to recruit, screen, and enroll the high risk and hard-to-reach couples who would most benefit from HIV interventions, such as drug-using female sex workers (FSWs) and their intimate, non-commercial partners. This paper outlines a bi-national, multidisciplinary effort to develop and implement a study protocol for research on the social context and epidemiology of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STI), and high risk behaviors among FSWs and their non-commercial male partners in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. We provide an overview of our study and specifically focus on the sampling, recruitment, screening, and successful enrollment of high risk couples into a public health study in this context.
We used targeted and snowball sampling to recruit couples through the female partner first and administered a primary screener to check her initial eligibility. Willing and eligible females then invited their primary male partners for couple-based screening using a couple verification screening (CVS) instrument adapted from previous studies. The CVS rechecked eligibility and separately asked each partner the same questions about their relationship to "test" if the couple was legitimate. We adapted the original protocol to consider issues of gender and power within the local cultural and socioeconomic context and expanded the question pool to create multiple versions of the CVS that were randomly administered to potential couples to determine eligibility and facilitate study enrollment.
The protocol successfully enrolled 214 high risk couples into a multi-site public health study. This work suggests the importance of collaborating to construct a study protocol, understanding the local population and context, and drawing on multiple sources of input to determine eligibility and verify the legitimacy of relationships. We provide a practical set of tools that other researchers should find helpful in the study of high risk couples in international settings, with particular relevance to studies of FSWs and their intimate partners.
BMC Public Health 02/2012; 12(1):136. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-136 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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