Few studies have investigated the long-term dynamics in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among HIV-positive persons from acute infection. From 2004, 160 women were enrolled into the CAPRISA 002 Acute Infection study at two sites in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and underwent 3-6 monthly HRQoL assessments using the functional assessment of HIV infection (FAHI) instrument. Overall and 5 sub-scale FAHI scores [physical well-being (PWB), emotional well-being (EWB), functional and global well-being (FGWB), social well-being (SWB) and cognitive functioning (CF)] were calculated up to antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation and scores at enrollment were compared to the acute, early and established infection phases. Mixed-effects regression models adjusting for behavioral and clinical factors were applied to assess HRQoL trends and the proportion of women meeting minimally important differences was calculated. Our analyses revealed that overall/sub-scale scores improved over time, except from PWB and CF. A higher educational status, contraceptive use and a higher BMI were the strongest predictors of higher overall/sub-scale FAHI scores. CD4 count and HIV viral load were strongly associated with PWB and CF, but not overall FAHI and other sub-scales. Women newly diagnosed with acute HIV infection face profound HRQoL challenges. While early ART delivery may be important for PWB and CF, factors such as education, contraception provision and good nutritional status should be promoted to maximize HRQoL in HIV positive individuals.
Overestimating personal protection afforded by participation in a preventive trial, e.g. harboring a "preventive misconception" (PM), raises theoretical ethical concerns about the adequacy of the informed consent process, behavioral disinhibition, and adherence to prevention interventions. Data from the CAPRISA 004 1 % tenofovir gel trial were utilized to empirically evaluate these concerns. We found it necessary to re-think the current definition of PM during evaluation to distinguish between true misconception and reasonable inferences of protection based on increased access to evidence-based prevention interventions and/or clinical care. There was a significant association between PM and decreased condom use (p < 0.0001) and between PM and likelihood to present with an STI symptom (p = 0.023). There was, however, limited evidence in support of PM representing a lack of meaningful informed consent, or to suggest that it impacts adherence. Moreover, considering current insufficiencies in female-initiated HIV prevention interventions, PM is perhaps of limited concern in microbicide trials.
Adherence undeniably impacts product effectiveness in microbicide trials, but the connection has proven challenging to quantify using routinely collected behavioral data. We explored this relationship using a nested case-control study in the CAPRISA 004 Tenofovir (TFV) gel HIV prevention trial. Detailed 3-month recall data on sex events, condom and gel use were collected from 72 incident cases and 205 uninfected controls. We then assessed how the relationship between self-reported adherence and HIV acquisition differed between the TFV and placebo gel groups, an interaction effect that should exist if effectiveness increases with adherence. The CAPRISA 004 trial determined that randomization to TFV gel was associated with a significant reduction in risk of HIV acquisition. In our nested case-control study, however, we did not observe a meaningful decrease in the relative odds of infection-TFV versus placebo-as self-reported adherence increased. To the contrary, exploratory sub-group analysis of the case-control data identified greater evidence for a protective effect of TFV gel among participants reporting less than 80 % adherence to the protocol-defined regimen (odds ratio (OR) 0.30; 95 % CI 0.11-0.78) than among those reporting ≥80 % adherence (Odds Ratio 0.81; 95 % CI 0.34-1.92). The small number of cases may have inhibited our ability to detect the hypothesized interaction between adherence and effectiveness. Nonetheless, our results re-emphasize the challenges faced by investigators when adherence may be miss-measured, miss-reported, or confounded with the risk of HIV.
High adherence is important in microbicide trials, but no adherence interventions to date have demonstrated empiric improvements in microbicide adherence or effectiveness. Approximately midway during the CAPRISA 004 trial, we implemented a novel adherence intervention (Adherence Support Program-ASP), based on an Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills model and incorporating a Motivational Interviewing approach. We assessed the impact of the ASP on adherence and tenofovir gel effectiveness using a before-and-after comparison. Of the 889 women in the trial, 774 contributed 486.1 women-years of follow-up pre-ASP and 828 contributed 845.7 women-years of follow-up post-ASP. Median adherence rose from 53.6 % pre-ASP to 66.5 % post-ASP. Detectable tenofovir levels increased from 40.6 % pre-ASP to 62.5 % post-ASP in 64 women who had paired tenofovir drug samples. Gel effectiveness improved post-ASP; HIV incidence in the tenofovir gel arm was 24 % lower pre-ASP compared to 47 % lower post-ASP. Following implementation of the ASP, microbicide adherence improved with a concomitant increase in the effectiveness of tenofovir gel.
Young women in sub-Saharan Africa are disproportionately affected by HIV, making the development of women initiated and controlled methods of prevention, including microbicides, a priority. Adherence is pivotal to microbicide efficacy and partner related factors are known to impact adherence. An analysis of disclosure of gel use to sexual partners and adherence in CAPRISA 004 women was conducted to better understand this relationship. Partner disclosure was significantly associated with a modest 4.2 % increased adherence (71.0 vs. 66.8 %, p = 0.03). Most women rated the experience of disclosure as positive, despite 6.7 % of partners expressing a negative reaction.Participants who disclosed were more likely to reside with their regular partner (14.4 vs. 8.4 %; p = 0.01) and reported consistent condom use at baseline (32.9 vs. 20.9 %; p < 0.01). Partner disclosure needs to be better understood as a potential facilitator or barrier to microbicide adherence.
High adherence is key to microbicide effectiveness. Here we provide a description of adherence interventions and the adherence rates achieved in the CAPRISA 004 Tenofovir gel trial. Adherence support for the before-and-after dosing strategy (BAT 24) was provided at enrolment and at each monthly study visit. This initially comprised individual counselling and was replaced midway by a structured theory-based adherence support program (ASP) based on motivational interviewing. The 889 women were followed for an average of 18 months and attended a total of 17,031 monthly visits. On average women reported five sex acts and returned 5.9 empty applicators per month. The adherence rate based on applicator count in relation to all reported sex acts was 72.2 % compared to the 82.0 % self-reported adherence during the last sex act. Adherence support activities, which achieve levels of adherence similar to or better than those achieved by the CAPRISA 004 ASP, will be critical to the success of future microbicide trials.
In the CAPRISA 004 trial, adherence was estimated as the proportion of reported sex acts covered by two gel doses, which was assessed by counting returned empty gel applicators. The returned empty applicators were inspected visually in a standardized manner for residue on the outside of the applicator, as an indicator of vaginal insertion. Over 15 months, spanning 11,839 study visits by 838 women, a total of 59,800 returned empty applicators were inspected. By visual assessment, 77.5 % of these applicators appeared to have been inserted. To test the accuracy of the assessment we fitted a Cox model and found that the risk for HIV infection was doubled when less than half of the returned empty applicators had been assessed as not inserted in the vagina. Visual inspection enhanced both the accuracy of the adherence measurement and aided identification of mechanical problems with applicator use experienced by women in the trial.
Adherence measurement in microbicide trials is challenging. To decrease recall and social desirability bias, we used an interactive voice response system (IVR) in a rectal microbicide trial. Forty-six participants were asked to report product use daily for 1 week. Participants received an incentive per call plus a bonus for calling every day. We examined adherence to calling the IVR and to gel use; we compared the latter to applicator counts. Adherence to calling the IVR daily was high (mean = 89.9 %, SD = 20.7 %). Adherence to gel use per IVR was very good (mean = 90.7 %, SD = 19.1 %), and consistent with applicator counts in 80.4 % of cases. Neither adherence to calling nor gel use were associated with temporal factors like day calls started, number of days since first call, or weekday vs. weekend. Daily reporting allowed identification of irregular product use. IVR appears useful for daily reporting in brief trials.
Controlled studies show that HIV risk reduction counseling significantly increases condom use, reduces unprotected sex and prevents sexually transmitted infections. Nevertheless, without evidence of reducing HIV incidence, these interventions are generally discarded. One trial, the EXPLORE study, was designed to test whether ten sessions of risk reduction counseling could impact HIV incidence among men who have sex with men in six US cities. Based on epidemiologic models to define effective HIV vaccines, a 35 % reduction in HIV incidence was set a priori as the benchmark of success in this behavioral intervention trial. Results demonstrated a significant effect of the intervention, with more than a 35 % reduction in HIV incidence observed during the initial 12-18 months following counseling. Over an unprecedented 48-month follow-up, however, the effect of counseling on HIV incidence declined to 18 %. The current review examined how the scientific literature has thus far judged the outcomes of the EXPLORE study as well as the policy implications of these judgments. We identified 127 articles that cited the EXPLORE study since its publication. Among articles that discuss the HIV incidence outcomes, 20 % judged the intervention effective and 80 % judged the intervention ineffective. The overwhelmingly negative interpretation of the EXPLORE study outcomes is reflected in public policies and prevention planning. We conclude that using a vaccine standard to define success led to a broad discrediting of the benefits of behavioral counseling and, ultimately, adversely impacted policies critical to the field of HIV prevention.
Use of HIV prevention methods may vary for women by types of sexual partners. In a microbicide safety and effectiveness trial (HPTN 035) differences in adherence to a microbicide study gel were compared between women with new versus ongoing partnerships over time. 1,757 women in the three HPTN 035 trial’s arms completed the Follow-up Partner Status (FPS) questionnaire at their last study visit. Women married at baseline were asked if they had the same husband, new husband or new partner. Unmarried women were asked if they had changed partners or married. Self-reported gel adherence during the last sex act was compared at each quarterly visit between women with ongoing versus new partners. High gel adherence was compared with low gel adherence (85–100 vs. n = 123) reported a new partner and 41 % (51) of those reported a new husband. Median gel adherence was reported to be 100 % in women with ongoing partners and 75 % for women with new partners (p p p
Mounting evidence exists that mobile voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) is able to extend coverage to new localities and populations. We describe two feasibility and acceptability pilot studies conducted in rural and urban South Africa in preparation for the larger NIMH Project Accept HIV prevention trial. A total of 1,015 individuals participated in the pilot studies. Participants in rural Vulindlela were younger (median 22 years) compared to urban Soweto (p < 0.001). Young people were more likely to be first time testers in both sites (p = 0.01 in Vulindlela, p < 0.001 in Soweto), with significantly more men likely to be first time testers than women (p = 0.01 in Vulindlela, p < 0.001 in Soweto). User satisfaction with mobile VCT was extremely high in both sites. Our study shows that providing mobile, high-quality and easy to access services in a high prevalence context is a feasible way to engage youth, men and more rural populations in HIV counselling and testing.
As community-level interventions become more common in HIV prevention, processes such as community mobilization (CM) are increasingly utilized in public health programs and research. Project Accept, a multi-site community randomized controlled trial, is testing the hypothesis that CM coupled with community-based mobile voluntary counseling and testing and post-test support services will alter community norms and reduce the incidence of HIV. By using a multiple-case study approach, this qualitative study identifies seven major community mobilization strategies used in Project Accept, including stakeholder buy-in, formation of community coalitions, community engagement, community participation, raising community awareness, involvement of leaders, and partnership building, and describes three key elements of mobilization success.
Concerns that standard didactic adherence counselling may be inadequate to maximise antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence led us to evaluate more intensive individualised motivational adherence counselling. We randomised 297 HIV-positive ART-naïve patients in Durban, South Africa, to receive either didactic counselling, prior to ART initiation (n = 150), or an intensive motivational adherence intervention after initiating ART (n = 147). Study arms were similar for age (mean 35.8 years), sex (43.1 % male), CD4+ cell count (median 121.5 cells/μl) and viral load (median 119,000 copies/ml). Virologic suppression at 9 months was achieved in 89.8 % of didactic and 87.9 % of motivational counselling participants (risk ratio [RR] 0.98, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.90-1.07, p = 0.62). 82.9 % of didactic and 79.5 % of motivational counselling participants achieved >95 % adherence by pill count at 6 months (RR 0.96, 95 % CI 0.85-1.09, p = 0.51). Participants receiving intensive motivational counselling did not achieve higher treatment adherence or virological suppression than those receiving routinely provided didactic adherence counselling. These data are reassuring that less resource intensive didactic counselling was adequate for excellent treatment outcomes in this setting.
Acute HIV infection (AHI) is a relatively brief period of time when individuals are highly infectious and the opportunity to intervene to prevent forward transmission is extremely limited. HPTN 062 partnered with CHAVI 001 to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a motivational interviewing (MI)-based counseling intervention to reduce HIV-transmission risk behaviors among individuals with acute and early HIV infection in Lilongwe, Malawi. Participants were randomized to receive either (1) brief education sessions about HIV and AHI; or (2) the same brief education sessions plus an MI-based counseling intervention called Uphungu Wanga. Although Uphungu Wanga was determined to be feasible and acceptable, few major differences existed between the two arms with regard to acceptability, feasibility, and self-reported sexual behaviors. We therefore conclude that an additional MI-based counseling intervention may not be needed during the short period of AHI. Instead, we recommend that individuals with AHI receive frequent, but brief, counseling immediately after diagnosis and then transition to receiving counseling at less frequent intervals until they can initiate antiretroviral therapy. Other recommendations are provided.
We describe the sexual behaviors of women at elevated risk of HIV acquisition who reside in areas of high HIV prevalence and poverty in the US. Participants in HPTN 064, a prospective HIV incidence study, provided information about individual sexual behaviors and male sexual partners in the past 6 months at baseline, 6- and 12-months. Independent predictors of consistent or increased temporal patterns for three high-risk sexual behaviors were assessed separately: exchange sex, unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) and concurrent partnerships. The baseline prevalence of each behavior was >30 % among the 2,099 participants, 88 % reported partner(s) with >1 HIV risk characteristic and both individual and partner risk characteristics decreased over time. Less than high school education and food insecurity predicted consistent/increased engagement in exchange sex and UAI, and partner's concurrency predicted participant concurrency. Our results demonstrate how interpersonal and social factors may influence sustained high-risk behavior by individuals and suggest that further study of the economic issues related to HIV risk could inform future prevention interventions.
Our purpose was to assess change in HIV and HCV prevalence and risk-taking behaviors among IDUs over a period of time that included changes in French Public Health policy. Risk behavior and biological testing for serostatus were collected from cross-sectional samples of yearly new requests for opiate dependence treatment in Aquitaine, France between 1994 and 2004 (n = 648). Coincident declines in injection equipment sharing and HIV prevalence among injectors were observed, while sexual behavior remained stable. There was a decline in HCV prevalence that was not significant among injectors. After controlling for potential confounding variables, participants enrolled after 1995 were less likely to share injection material and those enrolled after 1999 were less likely to share spoons. Our findings give evidence for behavioral and seroprevalence changes among IDUs over a period of time that included changes in needle access policy.
Sustainable behavior change among men who have sex with men (MSM) may be threatened by optimistic beliefs about HIV treatments: treatment optimism has been associated with high risk sexual behaviors. We used data from behavioral surveys of MSM attending gay bars in 11 states from 2000-2001 to describe the prevalence and correlates of being less careful with sex or drugs because of treatment optimism (optimism-related risk behavior). Fifteen percent of 1477 HIV-negative or -untested MSM reported optimism-related risk behavior. Optimism-related risk behavior was reported more often by Black and Hispanic MSM (versus white), more often by MSM with a high school education or less (versus college), and less often by MSM in some states. HIV prevention programs should address treatment optimism and related behavioral risks by providing culturally appropriate information, accessible to MSM with lower educational attainment, about the limitations of current therapies.
In 2009, we conducted a case-control study to explore the routes of HCV transmission in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in Cambodia. Cases were HCV/HIV co-infected patients (who tested RT-PCR positive for HCV-RNA or had confirmed presence of HCV antibodies) (n = 44). Controls were HIV mono-infected patients, with no HCV antibodies (n = 160). They were recruited among the PLHIV presenting at one national reference centre of HIV/AIDS. Multivariate analysis showed that factors associated with the co-infection were the age older than 50 years (OR 5.4, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.5-19.6), the exposure to multiple parenteral infusions before the year 2000 (OR 3.4, 95 % CI 1.5-7.6), to surgery (OR 2.6, 95 % CI 1.2-5.7) and to fibroscopy (OR 2.4, 95 % CI 1.0-5.7). These results show the need to implement HCV screening in PLHIV, to support the implementation of national infection control guidelines, and to reinforce public awareness on the risks linked to parenteral medications.
To determine the association between individual substances of abuse and antiretroviral adherence, analyses require a large sample assessed using electronic data monitoring (EDM). In this analysis, EDM data from 1,636 participants in 12 US adherence-focused studies were analyzed to determine the associations between recent use of various substances and adherence during the preceding 4 weeks. In bivariate analyses comparing adherence among patients who had used a specific substance to those who had not, adherence was significantly lower among those who had recently used cocaine, other stimulants or heroin but not among those who had used cannabis or alcohol. In multivariate analyses controlling for sociodemographics, amount of alcohol use and recent use of any alcohol, cocaine, other stimulants and heroin each was significantly negatively associated with adherence. The significant associations of cocaine, other stimulants, heroin, and alcohol use with adherence suggest that these are important substances to target with adherence-focused interventions.
The integration of original data from multiple antiretroviral (ARV) adherence studies offers a promising, but little used method to generate evidence to advance the field. This paper provides an overview of the design and implementation of MACH14, a collaborative, multi-site study in which a large data system has been created for integrated analyses by pooling original data from 16 longitudinal ARV adherence studies. Studies selected met specific criteria including similar research design and data domains such as adherence measured with medication event monitoring system, psychosocial factors related to adherence behavior, and virologic and clinical outcomes. The data system created contains individual data (collected between 1997 and 2009) from 2,860 HIV patients. Collaboration helped resolve the challenges inherent in pooling data across multiple studies, yet produced a data system with strong statistical power and potentially greater capacity to address key scientific questions than possible with single-sample studies or even meta-analytic designs.
Research has identified sexual concurrency as a potential underlying driver of high HIV infection levels in sub-Saharan Africa, though few studies have explicitly examined the contribution of marital concurrency. Utilizing a multi-level model of Demographic and Health Surveys with HIV-biomarkers for sixteen African countries, this study assessed the relationship between an individual's HIV serostatus and rates of formal and informal marital concurrency (% polygamous unions, % extramarital partner past year) among married men and women. Mutually exclusive regional-level variables were constructed and modeled to test the contextual risk posed by living in a region with higher levels of formal and informal marital concurrency controlling for individual sexual partnerships and other covariates. Compared with regions where monogamous unions were more prevalent, the odds of having HIV were higher among individuals living in regions with more informal marital concurrency, but lower in regions with more polygamy, even accounting for individual-level sexual behavior. These results can help inform prevention policy and practice in sub-Saharan Africa.
An A-CASI survey of 197 men with a history of incarceration, ages 18-29, revealed that 50% and 17% of participants, respectively, had used substances or had sex while confined. Univariate regression analyses indicated that these two behaviors were correlated and both were associated with being older, having spent more years incarcerated, being sexual abused, and being involved with gangs and violence during incarceration. Multiple regression analyses showed that the likelihood of any substance use during incarceration was higher for men who were affiliated with a gang. Men were more likely to have had sex during incarceration if they reported having had a male sex partner in the community. The prevalence of sexual behavior also differed across sites. Findings document the occurrence of substance use and sexual behavior among incarcerated men, and highlight the need for continued research into the context of these behaviors.
We evaluate the efficacy of a family-based intervention over time among HIV-affected families. Mothers living with HIV (MLH; n = 339) in Los Angeles and their school-aged children were randomized to either an intervention or control condition and followed for 18 months. MLH and their children in the intervention received 16 cognitive-behavioral, small-group sessions designed to help them maintain physical and mental health, parent while ill, address HIV-related stressors, and reduce HIV-transmission behaviors. At recruitment, MLH reported few problem behaviors related to physical health, mental health, or sexual or drug transmission acts. Compared to MLH in the control condition, intervention MLH were significantly more likely to monitor their own CD4 cell counts and their children were more likely to decrease alcohol and drug use. Most MLH and their children had relatively healthy family relationships. Family-based HIV interventions should be limited to MLH who are experiencing substantial problems.
Despite numerous behavioral interventions designed for women, rates of HIV and STIs are increasing. Interventions are needed that reach a large number of at-risk individuals. This study was a randomized clinical trial of a HIV/STI behavioral intervention conducted in Baltimore, MD, USA. Heterosexual women (n = 169) completed a baseline and three semiannual follow-up visits. Participants were randomized into a standard of care comparison condition or a Peer Mentor condition. At the 6-month follow-up, Peer Mentors were less likely to have multiple sex partners [AOR: 0.28 (95% CI: 0.13, 0.63)]. At the 18 month follow-up assessment, Peer Mentors increased their condom use during vaginal [AOR: 0.47 (95% CI: 0.25, 0.87)] and anal sex [AOR: 0.24 (95% CI: 0.09, 0.68)] as well as with main [AOR: 0.41 (95% CI: 0.21, 0.77)] and non-main partners [AOR: 0.33 (95% CI: 0.14, 0.79)]. Peer education is a sustainable approach to change risky sexual behaviors.
Mathematical models predict higher rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in populations with higher rates of concurrent sexual partnerships. Although gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have disproportionately high rates of HIV/STIs, little is known about the prevalence and correlates of sexual concurrency in these populations. This paper reports findings from a national community-based survey of 1,034 Australian gay-identified men aged 18-39 years, who gave detailed information about their sexual partners over the past 12 months. In all, 237 (23 %) reported two or more concurrent sexual partners. For their most recent period of concurrency, 44 % reported three or more partners and 66 % reported unprotected sex with one or more of their partners. A multivariate logistic regression found sexual concurrency was significantly more likely among men on higher incomes (P = 0.02), who first had anal sex at a relatively young age (P = 0.03), and who reported a large number of partners in the past 12 months (P < 0.001). Age, education, HIV status, and other sociodemographic and sexual behavior variables were not significant correlates. However, men who reported sexual concurrency were significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with an STI in the past 12 months (P = 0.04). Findings from this study suggest sexual concurrency is common among younger Australian gay men. With many of these men not always using condoms, health agencies should consider the potential impact of concurrency on HIV/STI epidemics among gay men and other MSM.
Ninety-seven service providers, representing 83 agencies, were interviewed about sexual and drug use HIV/STD risk behaviors and their determinants among young men who have been released from prison. Providers believed that men frequently practiced sexual risk behavior, often in conjunction with substance use. Individual determinants of risk behavior primarily focused on "making up for lost time," being a man, degree of HIV/STD knowledge and vulnerability, desire to escape, and future orientation. Peers, partners, and family were portrayed as strong interpersonal influences on risk behavior, both positively and negatively. The dominant contextual determinant of risk behavior was the co-occurrence of sex and drug use. Structural determinants of reduced risk included stable housing, economic sufficiency, and positive community support for safer behavior (e.g., drug treatment access, needle exchange). The findings highlight the need for comprehensive, transitional case management for young men as they reintegrate into the community, including HIV/STD prevention.
Patient electronic personal health record (PHR) use has been associated with improved patient outcomes in diabetes and depression care. Little is known about the effect of PHR use on HIV care processes and outcomes. We evaluated whether there was an association between patient PHR use and antiretroviral adherence. Data came from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study and included cross-sectional survey and medical record data from 1871 HIV+ veterans. Our adherence measure was an antiretroviral medication possession ratio, dichotomized at 0.90, and based on pharmacy refill data. In our sample 44 % did not use the internet, 14 % used internet but not for health, 27 % used internet for health but not the PHR, and 14 % used the PHR. In multivariable analysis PHR use was associated with ≥90 % adherence after controlling for socio-demographic variables. Findings provide support for longitudinal studies and studies that identify which PHR functions (e.g. online medication refills, viewing lab results, secure messaging with providers) are most closely associated with medication adherence.
Understanding the uptake and patterns of sexual partnerships of adolescent males reveals their risky behaviors that could persist into adulthood. Using venue-based sampling, we surveyed 671 male youth ages 15-19 from an urban Tanzanian neighborhood about their sexual partnerships during the past 6 months. The proportion of males who had ever had sex increased with age (21 % at age 15; 70 % at age 17; 94 % at age 19), as did the proportion who engaged in concurrency (5 % at age 15; 28 % at age 17; 44 % at age 19). Attendance at ≥2 social venues per day and meeting a sexual partner at a venue was associated with concurrency. Concurrency was associated with alcohol consumption before sex among 18-19 year olds and with not being in school among 15-17 year olds. We find that concurrency becomes normative over male adolescence. Venue-based sampling may reach youth vulnerable to developing risky sexual partnership patterns.
This study describes the reported HIV/AIDS data for all verified cases in Iran between 1986 and 2006. The cumulative number of the reported cases of HIV/AIDS among Iranians, up to the end of September 2006 was 13,702. Over the 20-year surveillance period, the rate of HIV/AIDS infections diagnosed annually among Iranian citizens gradually increased and, over the period 1997-2004, it reached from 1.38 to 4.6 cases per 100,000 populations per year. Our findings highlight the need for intensified HIV prevention efforts with men who use drugs via injection and strengthened efforts to encourage the individual at risk to get tested for HIV.
A cohort of 111 injection drug users (IDUs) and their sex partners was assessed in 1988 concerning risk behaviors for HIV and knowledge of HIV/AIDS. Ten years later, in 1998, the cohort was reassessed using the same instrument. All who were HIV negative in 1988 were retested by blood draw for antibodies to HIV. A paired analysis was utilized to determine individual changes in risk behaviors for three serostatus groups--those who remained HIV negative (long-term HIV negatives), seroconverters, and those positive in 1988 (long-term HIV positives). Incidence was twice as high for sex partners (37.5%) as for IDUs (18.0%). Drug and needle use risk behaviors, except crack use, showed decreases; sexual risk behaviors were less amenable to change. Knowledge significantly increased among the long-term HIV negatives and seroconverters but not among those HIV positive in 1988. This analysis demonstrates the need for continued intervention among IDUs and their sex partners.
The purpose of this study was to validate the use of Leigh's (1990) alcohol sex expectancies scale among HIV-infected individuals presenting for treatment as a way to facilitate research on sexual risk reduction among individuals in that population. The participants were 944 men who presented for treatment at infectious disease or general medicine clinics across 8 different VA Medical Center sites. A total of 534 of these men were HIV-positive and 410 were HIV-negative. The total sample was randomly divided in half within each HIV group to form exploratory (Sample 1) and confirmatory (Sample 2) subsamples. A principal components factor analysis with oblique rotation of the original 13-item Leigh scale within each HIV group in Sample 1 revealed a 2-factor (7 and 4 items, respectively) solution that was consistent across both HIV groups. These factors were named "More Open to Sexual Pleasure" (Factor 1) and "Reduced Inhibitions about Sex (Factor 2)." A confirmatory factor analysis of the 11-item, 2-factor solution on the full Sample 2 showed a modest fit to the data, excellent internal consistency reliability of both factors, a high correlation between the factors, and strong evidence for construct validity. These results were interpreted as supporting the use of the 11-item, 2-factor version of Leigh's scale in studies of clinical samples of HIV-positive adults, and directions for research on further scale refinement are discussed.
The effectiveness of HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) in reducing HIV risk behaviors in developing countries was assessed using meta-analytic methods. A standardized protocol was used for searching, acquiring, and extracting study data and meta-analyzing the results. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. VCT recipients were significantly less likely to engage in unprotected sex when compared to behaviors before receiving VCT, or as compared to participants who had not received VCT [OR 1.69; 95%CI 1.25-2.31]. VCT had no significant effect on the number of sex partners [OR 1.22; 95%CI 0.89-1.67]. While these findings provide only moderate evidence in support of VCT as an effective prevention strategy, neither do they negate the need to expand access to HIV testing and counseling services. Such expansion, however, must be accompanied by rigorous evaluation in order to test, refine and maximize the preventive benefits of learning one's HIV infection status through HIV testing and counseling.
Non-consensual sex is associated with HIV infection in Africa, but there is little longitudinal data on this association. We describe reported non-consensual sex among women over two decades in southwest Uganda, including associations with incident HIV infection. Between 1990 and 2008, individuals in a population cohort who recently seroconverted to HIV were enrolled into a clinical cohort, along with randomly selected HIV-negative controls. Participants were invited to the study clinic every 3 months, and females asked about recent experiences of sex against their will. Associations of non-consensual sex with HIV status were analyzed prospectively using conditional logistic regression, adjusting for age and year of interview, allowing for within-woman correlation. 476 women aged 14-81 enrolled and attended 10,475 visits over 19 years. The results show high levels of repeated non-consensual sex, often long after HIV infection. There was more reporting among women living with HIV compared to HIV-negative women (22 vs 9 %; OR = 2.29, 95 %CI 1.03-5.09), with the strongest associations among married participants. HIV programmes should address repeated sexual coercion before and subsequent to HIV infection.
The study examines trends in knowledge about HIV/AIDS prevention, perceived need for more information, and knowledge sources among 20,619 Israeli army releasees between 1993 and 2005. HIV/AIDS knowledge was strongly associated with education, lower religiosity and receiving information via the media in both genders, changing non-linearly over time. Need for more information was associated with low knowledge level among men (OR= 2.14; CI: 1.84-2.49; P < .0001) and women (OR 1.48; CI: 1.21-1.81; P < .0001). The findings underscore the need to reach those groups whose knowledge remains low over time utilizing the media, the preferred knowledge source, recognizing that a segment believes they do not need more information despite having low HIV/AIDS knowledge.
We examined trends in cross-sectional HIV prevalence (a surrogate for incidence) and past 12 month testing behavior among young men who have sex with men (MSM). The Young Men's Survey and the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System conducted interviews and HIV testing among MSM recruited by venue-based sampling during 1994-2011. Using data from five cities, we determined whether interview year was associated with HIV prevalence and recent testing for MSM ages 18-22 and 23-29 years, after adjusting for city, race/ethnicity, and education. Multivariable analysis demonstrated an overall increase in prevalence among MSM ages 23-29 years, driven by an increase in Baltimore. There was no change in HIV prevalence among MSM ages 18-22 years overall, although prevalence increased in Baltimore. HIV testing increased significantly for both age groups. Gains in HIV testing are encouraging, but increasing prevalence among young MSM in Baltimore suggests increasing incidence and the need for additional efforts for this population.
Sentinel surveillance data from 1995 to 2005 for drug users in Guangdong province, China, showed an increasing prevalence of HIV in the West region while stabilizing in the East and Center. Several factors were significantly associated with HIV infection including gender, age, sharing needles, years injecting, engaging in commercial sex, and being part of the migrant population of Guangdong. Data help effectively prioritize and target HIV prevention efforts for drug users.
This meta-analysis synthesized 37 HIV prevention interventions (from 28 studies) that were evaluated in Latin American and Caribbean nations. These studies were obtained through systematic searches of English, Spanish, and Portuguese-language databases available as of January 2009. Overall, interventions significantly increased knowledge (d = 0.40) and condom use (d = 0.25) but the effects varied widely. Interventions produced more condom use when they focused on high-risk individuals, distributed condoms, and explicitly addressed social-cultural components. The best-fitting models utilized factors related to geography, especially indices of a nations' human development index (HDI) and income inequality (i.e., Gini index). Interventions that provided at least 3 h of content succeeded better when HDI and income inequality were lower, suggesting that intensive HIV prevention activities succeed best where the need is greatest. Implications for HIV intervention development in Latin America and the Caribbean are discussed.
This qualitative systematic review examined interventions that promote linkage to or utilization of HIV care among HIV-diagnosed persons in the United States. We conducted automated searches of electronic databases (i.e., MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL) and manual searches of journals, reference lists, and listservs. Fourteen studies from 19 published reports between 1996 and 2011 met our inclusion criteria. We developed a three-tier approach, based on strength of study design, to evaluate 6 findings on linkage to care and 18 findings on HIV care utilization. Our review identified similar strategies for the two outcomes, including active coordinator's role in helping with linking to or utilizing HIV care; offering information and education about HIV care; providing motivational or strengths-based counseling; accompanying clients to medical appointments and helping with appointment coordination. The interventions focused almost exclusively on individual-level factors. More research is recommended to examine interventions that address system and structural barriers.
A systematic review was conducted to identify evidence-based interventions (EBIs) for increasing HIV medication adherence behavior or decreasing HIV viral load among persons living with HIV (PLWH). We conducted automated searches of electronic databases (i.e., MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL) and manual searches of journals, reference lists, and listservs. Interventions were eligible for the review if they were U.S.-based, published between 1996 and 2011, intended to improve HIV medication adherence behaviors of PLWH, evaluated the intervention using a comparison group, and reported outcome data on adherence behaviors or HIV viral load. Each intervention was evaluated on the quality of study design, implementation, analysis, and strength of findings. Of the 65 eligible interventions, 10 are EBIs. The remaining 55 interventions failed to meet the efficacy criteria primarily due to null findings, small sample sizes, or low retention rates. Research gaps and future directions for development of adherence EBIs are discussed.
HIV-infected individuals with access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) are living longer and the causes of excess morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are becoming comparable to individuals without HIV infection. However, many PLWHA smoke cigarettes-a well known contributor to excess morbidity and mortality. To investigate the association between smoking and mortality among PLWHA during the HAART era (1996+), we conducted a retrospective cohort study of 2,108 PLWHA enrolled in Seattle and King County's Adult and Adolescent Spectrum of HIV Disease Study. Adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for all-cause and cause-specific mortality were obtained using Cox proportional hazards regression. Compared to never smokers, current smokers (aHR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.3, 2.3) and individuals with an increased dose and/or duration of smoking were at greater risk of all-cause mortality. Although additional research is needed to evaluate the full effect of smoking on cause-specific mortality, smoking cessation programs should target PLWHA to further increase their life expectancy.
Individuals with HIV infection are living substantially longer on antiretroviral therapy, but hospitalization rates continue to be relatively high. We do not know how overall or diagnosis-specific hospitalization rates compare between HIV-infected and uninfected individuals or what conditions may drive hospitalization trends. Hospitalization rates among United States Veterans were calculated and stratified by HIV serostatus and principal diagnosis disease category. Because alcohol-related diagnoses (ARD) appeared to have a disproportional effect, we further stratified our calculations by ARD history. A multivariable Cox proportional hazards model was fitted to assess the relative risk of hospitalization controlling for demographic and other comorbidity variables. From 1997 to 2011, 46,428 HIV-infected and 93,997 uninfected patients were followed for 1,497,536 person-years. Overall hospitalization rates decreased among HIV-infected and uninfected patients. However, cardiovascular and renal insufficiency admissions increased for all groups while gastrointestinal and liver, endocrine, neurologic, and non-AIDS cancer admissions increased among those with an alcohol-related diagnosis. After multivariable adjustment, HIV-infected individuals with an ARD had the highest risk of hospitalization (hazard ratio 3.24, 95 % CI 3.00, 3.49) compared to those free of HIV infection and without an ARD. Still, HIV alone also conferred increased risk (HR 2.08, 95 % CI 2.04, 2.13). While decreasing overall, risk of all-cause hospitalization remains higher among HIV-infected than uninfected individuals and is strongly influenced by the presence of an ARD.
This systematic review examines the overall efficacy of U.S. and international-based structural-level condom distribution interventions (SLCDIs) on HIV risk behaviors and STIs and identifies factors associated with intervention efficacy. A comprehensive literature search of studies published from January 1988 through September 2007 yielded 21 relevant studies. Significant intervention effects were found for the following outcomes: condom use, condom acquisition/condom carrying, delayed sexual initiation among youth, and reduced incident STIs. The stratified analyses for condom use indicated that interventions were efficacious for various groups (e.g., youth, adults, males, commercial sex workers, clinic populations, and populations in areas with high STI incidence). Interventions increasing the availability of or accessibility to condoms or including additional individual, small-group or community-level components along with condom distribution were shown to be efficacious in increasing condom use behaviors. This review suggests that SLCDIs provide an efficacious means of HIV/STI prevention.
Prenatal HIV counselling and testing is mainly an entry-point to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, but it may also play an important role in triggering the development of spousal communication about HIV and sexual risks and thus the adoption of a preventive attitude. In Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, we investigated couple communication on STIs and HIV, male partner HIV-testing and condom use at sex resumption after delivery among three groups of pregnant women who were offered prenatal counselling and HIV testing: HIV-infected women, uninfected women, and women who refused HIV-testing. The proportion of women who discussed STIs with their regular partner greatly increased after prenatal HIV counselling and testing in all three groups, irrespective of the women's serostatus and even in the case of test refusal. Spousal communication was related to more frequent male partner HIV-testing and condom use. Prenatal HIV counselling and testing proposal appears to be an efficient tool to sensitize women and their partner to safer sexual practices.
In Francistown, Botswana, approximately 40% of pregnant women are HIV positive. PMTCT has been available since 1999, antiretroviral (ARV) therapy since 2001, and 95% of women have antenatal care (ANC) and deliver in hospital. However, in 2002, only 33% of ANC clients were tested for HIV, and not all women with HIV received services. In 2003, we conducted a survey of 504 pregnant and postpartum women to explore reasons for poor program uptake, and interviewed 82 health providers about PMTCT. Most women (95%) believed that all pregnant women should be tested for HIV. In multivariate analysis, factors associated with having an HIV test included being interviewed at an urban site, having a high PMTCT knowledge score, knowing someone receiving PMTCT or ARV therapy, and having a partner who had been tested for HIV. Neither fear of stigma nor resistance from partners were frequent reasons for refusing an HIV test. Providers of HIV services reported discomfort with their knowledge and skills, and 84% believed HIV testing should be routine. Ensuring adequate knowledge about HIV and PMTCT, creating systems whereby HIV-positive women receiving care can educate and support other women, and making HIV testing routine for pregnant women may improve the uptake of HIV testing.
African American men who have sex with men have been disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic in the United States and remain to this day one of the groups with highest HIV prevalence and incidence. Our goal was to clarify the current state of HIV risk, sexual behaviors, and structural/network-network level factors that affect black MSM's population risk of HIV, enabling the formulation of targeted and up-to-date public health messages/campaigns directed at this vulnerable population. Our approach maximized the use of local data through a process of synthesis and triangulation of multiple independent and overlapping sources of information that are sometimes separately published and often not examined side-by-side. Among African American MSM, we observed stable HIV incidence despite increases in reported individual risk behavior and STDs. An increasing proportion of African American MSM are reporting HIV testing in the past 6 months and seroadaptive behaviors, which may play a role in this observed decline in HIV among MSM in San Francisco, California. Our analysis suggests that currently the HIV epidemic is stable among African American MSM in San Francisco. However, we suggest that the observed stability is due to factors prohibiting expansion of new infections rather than decreasing risks for HIV infection among African American MSM.
Five serial cross-sectional surveys were done at eight gay bathhouses in Taiwan to investigate the trends of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and estimated HIV incidence between 2004 and 2008. Bathhouse attendees completed a questionnaire and tests for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis C virus, and amoebiasis. Twenty-nine (38.6%) were identified as having recent HIV-1 infections. There was a significant increase in HIV incidence, from 7.8% in 2004 to 15% in 2007 (χ(2) = 17.59, P-trend <0.001). Recreational drug use is the primary risk behavior. Comprehensive screening programs in gay bathhouses for early detection of HIV and STIs are important.
Disparity in HIV prevalence by race/ethnicity has been noted among men who have sex with men for almost 20 years. Research suggests that rather than individual risk behaviors, sexual networks play an important role in HIV prevalence disparity. This analysis uses data from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System collected at three time points using time-location sampling in 2004, 2008, 2011. We use Newman's coefficient to assess racial mixing among 1,207 observations. We found significant differences in HIV status across race groups in 2004 and 2008; yet in 2011, there were no significant differences of HIV status by race. Racial mixing across all races increased from 2004 to 2011; in other words, individuals were increasingly more likely to sexually partner outside their own race/ethnicities. Increased racial mixing may explain this convergence, although full social network studies are necessary in order to fully explain these findings.
This study sought to determine trends in and factors associated with stigma against people with HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. Rural data from the 2005 and 2011 Demographic and Health Surveys were analyzed. HIV testing rates among males increased dramatically from 2005 to 2011 (8-35 %). Among females, testing rates dropped 10 % during the same period. HIV knowledge was associated with stigma, shown by a negative correlation in both data waves, but groups with higher knowledge tended to have lower stigma. Lower levels of knowledge were uniformly associated with higher levels of stigma, but higher levels of knowledge, combined with higher levels of education, were associated with lower levels of stigma in a multiplicative way. Improvements in knowledge can serve as an important intermediate process to behavior change. The found interaction suggests improvements in either education or knowledge can reduce stigma, and when both are improved, stigma reduction will be more dramatic.
The "HIV risk environment" has been characterized as a dynamic interplay between structural and network factors. However, most HIV prevention research has not examined the independent and combined impact of network and structural factors. We aimed to identify individual, network, and neighborhood correlates of exchange sex (≥1 exchange sex partner, past 90 days) among female non-injection drug users (NIDUs). We used baseline data from 417 NIDUs enrolled in a randomized HIV prevention trial in Baltimore (2005-2007). Surveys ascertained demographic variables, drug/sex risk behaviors, neighborhood perceptions, and social/sexual network characteristics. Correlates of exchange sex were identified with descriptive statistics and log-binomial regression. Our findings suggest that sex and drug relationships among female NIDUs are interlinked and may be difficult to modify without altering social norms. Strengthening ties that provide social support but not drug support and reducing ties that provide both drug and social support may facilitate reductions in individual-level HIV-risk behaviors.
The application of respondent-driven sampling (RDS) is a promising new approach to understanding hidden populations, including those at high risk for HIV infection. The method has significant advantages over other sampling methods, including the possibility that representativeness samples can be accrued. However, the requirements for a respondent-driven sample to achieve representative and to demonstrate its superiority over other methods are quite strict. This report focuses on whether the accompanying paper by Ramirez-Valles et al. fulfills these requirements in terms of the theorems underlying RDS regarding sample recruitment rates, referral patterns, and network sizes. Further, it investigates the assertion that the accrued sample has proven that RDS is superior to more traditional time-location or venue-based sampling methods. Unconvinced that either is the case, the author suggests a method to test if RDS is indeed the gold-standard recruitment strategy for obtaining inclusive and representative samples of hidden populations.