[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Home-based HIV testing and counselling (HTC) achieves high uptake, but is difficult and expensive to implement and sustain. We investigated a novel alternative based on HIV self-testing (HIVST). The aim was to evaluate the uptake of testing, accuracy, linkage into care, and health outcomes when highly convenient and flexible but supported access to HIVST kits was provided to a well-defined and closely monitored population.
Methods and findings:
Following enumeration of 14 neighbourhoods in urban Blantyre, Malawi, trained resident volunteer-counsellors offered oral HIVST kits (OraQuick ADVANCE Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test) to adult (≥16 y old) residents (n = 16,660) and reported community events, with all deaths investigated by verbal autopsy. Written and demonstrated instructions, pre- and post-test counselling, and facilitated HIV care assessment were provided, with a request to return kits and a self-completed questionnaire. Accuracy, residency, and a study-imposed requirement to limit HIVST to one test per year were monitored by home visits in a systematic quality assurance (QA) sample. Overall, 14,004 (crude uptake 83.8%, revised to 76.5% to account for population turnover) residents self-tested during months 1-12, with adolescents (16-19 y) most likely to test. 10,614/14,004 (75.8%) participants shared results with volunteer-counsellors. Of 1,257 (11.8%) HIV-positive participants, 26.0% were already on antiretroviral therapy, and 524 (linkage 56.3%) newly accessed care with a median CD4 count of 250 cells/μl (interquartile range 159-426). HIVST uptake in months 13-24 was more rapid (70.9% uptake by 6 mo), with fewer (7.3%, 95% CI 6.8%-7.8%) positive participants. Being "forced to test", usually by a main partner, was reported by 2.9% (95% CI 2.6%-3.2%) of 10,017 questionnaire respondents in months 1-12, but satisfaction with HIVST (94.4%) remained high. No HIVST-related partner violence or suicides were reported. HIVST and repeat HTC results agreed in 1,639/1,649 systematically selected (1 in 20) QA participants (99.4%), giving a sensitivity of 93.6% (95% CI 88.2%-97.0%) and a specificity of 99.9% (95% CI 99.6%-100%). Key limitations included use of aggregate data to report uptake of HIVST and being unable to adjust for population turnover.
Community-based HIVST achieved high coverage in two successive years and was safe, accurate, and acceptable. Proactive HIVST strategies, supported and monitored by communities, could substantially complement existing approaches to providing early HIV diagnosis and periodic repeat testing to adolescents and adults in high-HIV settings.
PLoS Medicine 09/2015; 12(9):e1001873. DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001873 · 14.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: sec> Background Traditionally marriage has been considered a safe context in which to have sexual relations. However, research in adults has shown that risk of infection with HIV and other STIs can be high within marriage. We investigated risk behaviour within different types of sexual partnerships reported by young people in Tanzania. Methods In 2007/8 in 20 communities of rural Mwanza Region, Tanzania, sexual partnership histories of 13,814 young people aged 15–30 years were collected through a face-to-face questionnaire. Participants reported on their most recent sexual partners in the previous 12 months, up to a maximum of 3. We analysed data on 16,623 partnerships reported by 11,301 participants. Participants who were living with a man/woman as wife/husband were included as married. Participants described their sexual partners as spousal, regular, casual or sex worker. Chi-squared and Wald tests were used to calculate p-values. Results The mean age in the study was 21 years. A third of males (34%) and over half of females (57%) were currently married and 9% females and 3% males were previously married. Of those currently married, 13% of females reported that their husband had other wives and 2% of males reported more than one wife. A small proportion (6%) of currently married females reported >1 sexual partner in the previous 12 months. However, reports of multiple partnerships in the previous 12 months were high among married males (49%) and previously married individuals (females 34%; males 75%). In almost half of spousal partnerships but only 20% of other regular/casual partnerships there was at least a 4 year age difference between partners. Participants reported having used a condom at last sex with only 5% of their spousal partners compared to 45% of their other partners (p < 0.001). Mean and median (IQR) coital frequency in the last 4 weeks were 5 and 3 (1,6) with spousal partners and 1 and 0 (0,1) with other partners (p < 0.001). Conclusion Young people report less condom use and a higher frequency of sex with their spousal partners. High levels of multiple partnerships reported by men and large age differentials in spousal partnerships suggest that risk of transmission of HIV and STIs within marriage is likely to be high. Interventions are needed to help married and previously married young people manage risk of HIV/STIs within their partnerships. </sec
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 09/2015; 69(Suppl 1). DOI:10.1136/jech-2015-206256.165 · 3.50 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is associated with increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV acquisition. This study describes the epidemiology of BV in a cohort of women at high risk for STI/HIV in Uganda over 2 years of follow-up between 2008-2011.
1027 sex workers or bar workers were enrolled and asked to attend 3-monthly follow-up visits. Factors associated with prevalent BV were analysed using multivariate random-effects logistic regression. The effect of treatment on subsequent episodes of BV was evaluated with survival analysis.
Prevalences of BV and HIV at enrolment were 56% (573/1027) and 37% (382/1027), respectively. Overall, 905 (88%) women tested positive for BV at least once in the study, over a median of four visits. Younger age, a higher number of previous sexual partners and current alcohol use were independently associated with prevalent BV. BV was associated with STIs, including HIV. Hormonal contraception and condom use were protective against BV. Among 853 treated BV cases, 72% tested positive again within 3 months. There was no difference in time to subsequent BV diagnosis between treated and untreated women.
BV was highly prevalent and persistent in this cohort despite treatment. More effective treatment strategies are urgently needed.
Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traditionally, health systems in sub-Saharan Africa have focused on acute conditions. Few data exist on the readiness of African health facilities (HFs) to address the growing burden of chronic diseases (CDs), specifically chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
A stratified random sample of 28 urban and rural Ugandan HFs was surveyed to document the burden of selected CDs by analysing service statistics, service availability and service readiness using a modified WHO SARA questionnaire. Knowledge, skills and practice in the management of CDs of 222 health workers were assessed through a self-completed questionnaire.
Among adult outpatient visits at hospitals, 33% were for CDs including HIV versus 14% and 4% at medium-sized and small health centres, respectively. Many HFs lacked guidelines, diagnostic equipment and essential medicines for primary management of CDs; training and reporting systems were weak. Lower-level facilities routinely referred patients with hypertension and diabetes. HIV services accounted for most CD visits and were stronger than NCD services. Systems were weaker in lower level HFs. Non-doctor clinicians and nurses lacked knowledge and experience in NCD care.
Compared to higher level HFs, lower-level ones are less prepared and little used for CD care. Health systems in Uganda, particularly lower level HFs, urgently need improvement in managing common NCDs to cope with the growing burden. This should include the provision of standard guidelines, essential diagnostic equipment and drugs, training of health workers, supportive supervision and improved referral systems. Substantially better HIV basic service readiness demonstrates that improved NCD care is feasible. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Tropical Medicine & International Health 06/2015; 20(10). DOI:10.1111/tmi.12560 · 2.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa, but data available for intervention planning are inadequate. We determined the prevalence of selected NCDs and HIV infection, and NCD risk factors in northwestern Tanzania and southern Uganda.
A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted, enrolling households using multistage sampling with five strata per country (one municipality, two towns, two rural areas). Consenting adults (≥18 years) were interviewed using the WHO STEPS survey instrument, examined, and tested for HIV and diabetes mellitus (DM). Adjusting for survey design, we estimated population prevalences of hypertension, DM, obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiac failure, epilepsy and HIV, and investigated factors associated with hypertension using logistic regression.
Across strata, hypertension prevalence ranged from 16 % (95 % confidence interval (CI): 12 % to 22 %) to 17 % (CI: 14 % to 22 %) in Tanzania, and from 19 % (CI: 14 % to 26 %) to 26 % (CI: 23 % to 30 %) in Uganda. It was high in both urban and rural areas, affecting many young participants. The prevalence of DM (1 % to 4 %) and other NCDs was generally low. HIV prevalence ranged from 6 % to 10 % in Tanzania, and 6 % to 12 % in Uganda. Current smoking was reported by 12 % to 23 % of men in different strata, and 1 % to 3 % of women. Problem drinking (defined by Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test criteria) affected 6 % to 15 % men and 1 % to 6 % women. Up to 46 % of participants were overweight, affecting women more than men and urban more than rural areas. Most patients with hypertension and other NCDs were unaware of their condition, and hypertension in treated patients was mostly uncontrolled. Hypertension was associated with older age, male sex, being divorced/widowed, lower education, higher BMI and, inversely, with smoking.
The high prevalence of NCD risk factors and unrecognized and untreated hypertension represent major problems. The low prevalence of DM and other preventable NCDs provides an opportunity for prevention. HIV prevalence was in line with national data. In Tanzania, Uganda and probably elsewhere in Africa, major efforts are needed to strengthen health services for the early detection and treatment of chronic diseases.
BMC Medicine 05/2015; 13(1):126. DOI:10.1186/s12916-015-0357-9 · 7.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reflecting on a Policy Forum article by Till Bärnighausen and colleagues, the HPTN 071 (PopART) Study Team consider ethical and study power concerns and the importance of the trial's future findings.
PLoS Medicine 03/2015; 12(3):e1001800. DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001800 · 14.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite a recent decline, Zimbabwe still has the fifth highest adult HIV prevalence in the world at 14.7%; 56% of the population are currently living in extreme poverty.
Cross-sectional population-based survey of 18-22 year olds, conducted in 30 communities in south-eastern Zimbabwe in 2007.
To examine whether the risk of HIV infection among young rural Zimbabwean women is associated with socio-economic position and whether different socio-economic domains, including food sufficiency, might be associated with HIV risk in different ways.
Eligible participants completed a structured questionnaire and provided a finger-prick blood sample tested for antibodies to HIV and HSV-2. The relationship between poverty and HIV was explored for three socio-economic domains: ability to afford essential items; asset wealth; food sufficiency. Analyses were performed to examine whether these domains were associated with HIV infection or risk factors for infection among young women, and to explore which factors might mediate the relationship between poverty and HIV.
2593 eligible females participated in the survey and were included in the analyses. Overall HIV prevalence among these young females was 7.7% (95% CI: 6.7-8.7); HSV-2 prevalence was 11.2% (95% CI: 9.9-12.4). Lower socio-economic position was associated with lower educational attainment, earlier marriage, increased risk of depression and anxiety disorders and increased reporting of higher risk sexual behaviours such as earlier sexual debut, more and older sexual partners and transactional sex. Young women reporting insufficient food were at increased risk of HIV infection and HSV-2.
This study provides evidence from Zimbabwe that among young poor women, economic need and food insufficiency are associated with the adoption of unsafe behaviours. Targeted structural interventions that aim to tackle social and economic constraints including insufficient food should be developed and evaluated alongside behaviour and biomedical interventions, as a component of HIV prevention programming and policy.
PLoS ONE 01/2015; 10(1):e0115290. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0115290 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Observational studies of a putative association between hormonal contraception (HC) and HIV acquisition have produced conflicting results. We conducted an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis of studies from sub-Saharan Africa to compare the incidence of HIV infection in women using combined oral contraceptives (COCs) or the injectable progestins depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) or norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN) with women not using HC.
Eligible studies measured HC exposure and incident HIV infection prospectively using standardized measures, enrolled women aged 15-49 y, recorded ≥15 incident HIV infections, and measured prespecified covariates. Our primary analysis estimated the adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) using two-stage random effects meta-analysis, controlling for region, marital status, age, number of sex partners, and condom use. We included 18 studies, including 37,124 women (43,613 woman-years) and 1,830 incident HIV infections. Relative to no HC use, the aHR for HIV acquisition was 1.50 (95% CI 1.24-1.83) for DMPA use, 1.24 (95% CI 0.84-1.82) for NET-EN use, and 1.03 (95% CI 0.88-1.20) for COC use. Between-study heterogeneity was mild (I2 < 50%). DMPA use was associated with increased HIV acquisition compared with COC use (aHR 1.43, 95% CI 1.23-1.67) and NET-EN use (aHR 1.32, 95% CI 1.08-1.61). Effect estimates were attenuated for studies at lower risk of methodological bias (compared with no HC use, aHR for DMPA use 1.22, 95% CI 0.99-1.50; for NET-EN use 0.67, 95% CI 0.47-0.96; and for COC use 0.91, 95% CI 0.73-1.41) compared to those at higher risk of bias (pinteraction = 0.003). Neither age nor herpes simplex virus type 2 infection status modified the HC-HIV relationship.
This IPD meta-analysis found no evidence that COC or NET-EN use increases women's risk of HIV but adds to the evidence that DMPA may increase HIV risk, underscoring the need for additional safe and effective contraceptive options for women at high HIV risk. A randomized controlled trial would provide more definitive evidence about the effects of hormonal contraception, particularly DMPA, on HIV risk.
PLoS Medicine 01/2015; 12(1). DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001778 · 14.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Curable, non-viral pathogens account for a significant burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and there is established evidence that STIs increase both HIV acquisition and transmission. We investigated the prevalence, trends, and factors associated with Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis and Treponema pallidum, and the performance of syndromic management, among a cohort of women working in bars, hotels, and other food and recreational facilities near large-scale mines in northwestern Tanzania.
HIV-negative women aged 18–44 years (N = 966) were enrolled and followed for 12 months in a microbicides feasibility study. We collected sociodemographic and behavioural data, performed clinical examinations, and tested for STIs, at enrolment and 3-monthly. Risk factors for STIs were investigated using logistic regression models with random effects. Sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of syndromic management were calculated.
At enrolment, the prevalences of C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae, T. vaginalis, and high-titre active syphilis were 111/956 (12%), 42/955 (4%), 184/945 (19%) and 46/965 (5%), respectively. There were significant decreases over time for C. trachomatis and T. vaginalis (OR trend per month: 0.94 [95% CI 0.91, 0.97]; and 0.95 [0.93, 0.98], respectively; both p<0.001). The majority of these infections were not diagnosed by the corresponding syndrome; therefore, most participants were not treated at the diagnosis visit. Syndromic management was poorly predictive of laboratory-diagnosed infections. We identified a number of risk factors for STIs, including low educational level, some sexual behaviours, and ever having been pregnant.
This analysis demonstrates that the prevalences of curable STIs are high among women who work in food and recreational facilities in northwestern Tanzania. Most of these infections are missed by syndromic management. Accurate and affordable rapid-point-of-care tests and innovative interventions are needed to reduce the burden of STIs in this population which is at increased risk for HIV.
PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e101221. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0101221 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Historically, health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have mainly managed acute, infectious diseases. Few data exist for the preparedness of African health facilities to handle the growing epidemic of chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs). We assessed the burden of NCDs in health facilities in northwestern Tanzania and investigated the strengths of the health system and areas for improvement with regard to primary care management of selected NCDs.
Between November, 2012, and May, 2013, we undertook a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of 24 public and not-for-profit health facilities in urban and rural Tanzania (four hospitals, eight health centres, and 12 dispensaries). We did structured interviews of facility managers, inspected resources, and administered self-completed questionnaires to 335 health-care workers. We focused on hypertension, diabetes, and HIV (for comparison). Our key study outcomes related to service provision, availability of guidelines and supplies, management and training systems, and preparedness of human resources.
Of adult outpatient visits to hospitals, 58% were for chronic diseases compared with 20% at health centres, and 13% at dispensaries. In many facilities, guidelines, diagnostic equipment, and first-line drug therapy for the primary care of NCDs were inadequate, and management, training, and reporting systems were weak. Services for HIV accounted for most chronic disease visits and seemed stronger than did services for NCDs. Ten (42%) facilities had guidelines for HIV whereas three (13%) facilities did for NCDs. 261 (78%) health workers showed fair knowledge of HIV, whereas 198 (59%) did for hypertension and 187 (56%) did for diabetes. Generally, health systems were weaker in lower-level facilities. Front-line health-care workers (such as non-medical-doctor clinicians and nurses) did not have knowledge and experience of NCDs. For example, only 74 (49%) of 150 nurses had at least fair knowledge of diabetes care compared with 85 (57%) of 150 for hyptertension and 119 (79%) of 150 for HIV, and only 31 (21%) of 150 had seen more than five patients with diabetes in the past 3 months compared with 50 (33%) of 150 for hypertension and 111 (74%) of 150 for HIV.
Most outpatient services for NCDs in Tanzania are provided at hospitals, despite present policies stating that health centres and dispensaries should provide such services. We identified crucial weaknesses (and strengths) in health systems that should be considered to improve primary care for NCDs in Africa and identified ways that HIV programmes could serve as a model and structural platform for these improvements.
UK Medical Research Council.
The Lancet Global Health 05/2014; 2(5):e285-e292. DOI:10.1016/S2214-109X(14)70033-6 · 10.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines are recommended for girls prior to sexual debut because they are most effective if administered before girls acquire HPV. Little research has been done on HPV prevalence in girls who report not having passed sexual debut in high HPV-prevalence countries.
Methods. Using attendance registers of randomly selected primary schools in the Mwanza region of Tanzania, we enrolled girls aged 15–16 years who reported not having passed sexual debut. A face-to-face interview on sexual behavior and intravaginal practices, and a nurse-assisted self-administered vaginal swab were performed. Swabs were tested for 13 high-risk and 24 low-risk HPV genotypes.
Results. HPV was detected in 40/474 (8.4%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.9–11.0) girls. Ten different high-risk and 21 different low-risk genotypes were detected. High-risk genotypes were detected in 5.3% (95% CI, 3.5–7.8). In multivariable analysis, only intravaginal cleansing (practiced by 20.9%) was associated with HPV detection (adjusted odds ratio = 2.19, 95% CI, 1.09–4.39).
Conclusion. This cohort of adolescent Tanzanian girls had a high HPV prevalence prior to self-reported sexual debut, and this was associated with intravaginal cleansing. This most likely reflects underreporting of sexual activity, and it is possible that intravaginal cleansing is a marker for unreported sexual debut or nonpenetrative sexual behaviors.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 04/2014; 210(6). DOI:10.1093/infdis/jiu202 · 6.00 Impact Factor