The social dynamics of HIV transmission as reflected through discordant couples in rural Uganda.
ABSTRACT To describe the role of men and women as sources of HIV transmission and to estimate HIV incidence among discordant couples resident in diverse rural communities in Uganda.
Rakai, a rural district in Uganda, East Africa.
A population-based cohort study, which has been conducted as annual serological and behavioral surveys since 1989. Community clusters were stratified into trading centers on main roads, intermediate trading villages on secondary roads and agricultural villages off roads. In the 1990 survey round, serological data were available for 79 discordant and 411 concordant HIV-negative couples aged 13-49 years. The present analysis examines sex-specific seropositivity associated with place of residence and the incidence of seroconversion among discordant couples between 1990 and 1991.
Seventy-nine discordant couples were followed; the HIV-positive partner was male in 44 couples (57%) and female in 35 couples (43%). There was marked variation in the sex of the seropositive partner by place of residence: women were the HIV-positive partner in 57% of couples from trading centers, 52% from intermediate villages, and 20% from agricultural communities (P < 0.008). Condom use was higher in discordant couples in which the man was the uninfected partner (17.1%) rather than the woman (9.5%). HIV-positive women, but not HIV-positive men, reported significantly more sexual partners and more genital ulcers than seronegative individuals of the same sex. Seroincidence rates among men and women in discordant relationship were 8.7 and 9.2 per 100 person-years (PY), respectively, which was much higher than in concordant seronegative couples (men, 0.82; women, 0.87 per 100 PY).
In this Ugandan population, men are the predominant source of new infections in rural villages. Risk factors and preventive behaviors vary with the sex of the infected partner, and seroconversion rates are similar in both sexes.
SourceAvailable from: Steve E Bellan[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Understanding the relative contribution to HIV transmission from different social groups is important for public-health policy. Information about the importance of stable serodiscordant couples (when one partner is infected but not the other) relative to contacts outside of stable partnerships in spreading disease can aid in designing and targeting interventions. However, the overall importance of within-couple transmission, and the determinants and correlates of this importance, are not well understood. Here, we explore how mechanistic factors - like partnership dynamics and rates of extra-couple transmission - affect various routes of transmission, using a compartmental model with parameters based on estimates from Sub-Saharan Africa. Under our assumptions, when sampling model parameters within a realistic range, we find that infection of uncoupled individuals is usually the predominant route (median 0.62, 2.5%-97.5% quantiles: 0.26-0.88), while transmission within discordant couples is usually important, but rarely represents the majority of transmissions (median 0.33, 2.5%-97.5% quantiles: 0.10-0.67). We find a strong correlation between long-term HIV prevalence and the contact rate of uncoupled individuals, implying that this rate may be a key driver of HIV prevalence. For a given level of prevalence, we find a negative correlation between the proportion of discordant couples and the within-couple transmission rate, indicating that low discordance in a population may reflect a relatively high rate of within-couple transmission. Transmission within or outside couples and among uncoupled individuals are all likely to be important in sustaining heterosexual HIV transmission in Sub-Saharan Africa. Hence, intervention policies should be broadly targeted when practical.PLoS ONE 12/2013; 8(12):e82906. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0082906 · 3.53 Impact Factor
Article: Women and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Thirty years since the discovery of HIV, the HIV pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than two thirds of the world's HIV infections. Southern Africa remains the region most severely affected by the epidemic. Women continue to bear the brunt of the epidemic with young women infected almost ten years earlier compared to their male counterparts. Epidemiological evidence suggests unacceptably high HIV prevalence and incidence rates among women. A multitude of factors increase women's vulnerability to HIV acquisition, including, biological, behavioral, socioeconomic, cultural and structural risks. There is no magic bullet and behavior alone is unlikely to change the course of the epidemic. Considerable progress has been made in biomedical, behavioral and structural strategies for HIV prevention with attendant challenges of developing appropriate HIV prevention packages which take into consideration the socioeconomic and cultural context of women in society at large.AIDS Research and Therapy 12/2013; 10(1):30. DOI:10.1186/1742-6405-10-30 · 1.84 Impact FactorThis article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched formatRG Format enables you to read in context with side-by-side figures, citations, and feedback from experts in your field.