Articles tagged as "Cameroon"

Linking cervical cancer prevention into infrastructure for HIV services in sub-Saharan Africa

Infrastructure requirements for human papillomavirus vaccination and cervical cancer screening in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sankaranarayanan R, Anorlu R, Sangwa-Lugoma G, Denny LA. Vaccine. 2013 Dec 29;31 Suppl 5:F47-52. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.06.066.

The availability of both human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and alternative screening tests has greatly improved the prospects of cervical cancer prevention in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. The inclusion of HPV vaccine in the portfolio of new vaccines offered by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to GAVI-eligible countries has vastly improved the chances of introducing HPV vaccination. Further investments to improve vaccine storage, distribution and delivery infrastructure and human resources of the Extended Programme of Immunization will substantially contribute to the faster introduction of HPV vaccination in SSA countries through both school- and campaign-based approaches. Alternative methods to cytology for the prevention of cervical cancer through the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer precursors have been extensively evaluated in the past 15 years, in Africa as well as in other low-resource settings. Visual inspection with 3-5% dilute acetic acid (VIA) and HPV testing are the two alternative screening methods that have been most studied, in both cross-sectional and randomised clinical trials. VIA is particularly suitable to low-resource settings; however, its efficacy in reducing cervical cancer is likely to be significantly lower than HPV testing. The introduction of VIA screening programmes will help develop the infrastructure that will, in turn, facilitate the introduction of affordable HPV testing in future. Links with the existing HIV/AIDS control programmes is another strategy to improve the infrastructure and screening services in SSA. Infrastructural requirements for an integrated approach aiming to vaccinate single-year cohorts of girls in the 9-13 years age-range and to screen women over 30 years of age using VIA or affordable rapid HPV tests are outlined in this manuscript.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to cervical cancer. HIV-positive women are more likely to acquire and have persistent HPV, so the high burden of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) contributes to the burden of cervical cancer. This review article discusses the options for the prevention of cervical cancer in SSA. While this article is primarily focused on cervical cancer, it highlights the potential linkages of prevention activities with HIV/AIDS services with an emphasis on infrastructure to improve access to these services for women in SSA. The options for cervical cancer prevention in SSA include HPV vaccination, visual inspection tests, HPV DNA tests and cytology screening. These options and the infrastructure required for each are described in detail, and some of the barriers to delivery are highlighted. Treatment options are also described, including cryotherapy following visual inspection. 

Africa, Asia
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An integrated investment approach for women’s and children’s health

Advancing social and economic development by investing in women's and children's health: a new Global Investment Framework.

Stenberg K, Axelson H, Sheehan P, Anderson I, Gülmezoglu AM, Temmerman M, Mason E, Friedman HS, Bhutta ZA, Lawn JE, Sweeny K, Tulloch J, Hansen P, Chopra M, Gupta A, Vogel JP, Ostergren M, Rasmussen B, Levin C, Boyle C, Kuruvilla S, Koblinsky M, Walker N, de Francisco A, Novcic N, Presern C, Jamison D, Bustreo F; on behalf of the Study Group for the Global Investment Framework for Women's Children's Health. Lancet. 2013 Nov 18. doi: S0140-6736(13)62231-X. pii: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62231-X. [Epub ahead of print]

A new Global Investment Framework for Women's and Children's Health demonstrates how investment in women's and children's health will secure high health, social, and economic returns. We costed health systems strengthening and six investment packages for: maternal and newborn health, child health, immunisation, family planning, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. Nutrition is a cross-cutting theme. We then used simulation modelling to estimate the health and socioeconomic returns of these investments. Increasing health expenditure by just $5 per person per year up to 2035 in 74 high-burden countries could yield up to nine times that value in economic and social benefits. These returns include greater gross domestic product (GDP) growth through improved productivity, and prevention of the needless deaths of 147 million children, 32 million stillbirths, and 5 million women by 2035. These gains could be achieved by an additional investment of $30 billion per year, equivalent to a 2% increase above current spending.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: Over the past 20 years there have been substantial gains in maternal and child health (MCH). However, much still needs to be done – assuming a continuation of current rates of progress, there would nevertheless be shortfalls in the achievement of MDG 4 and 5 targets. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV is an important underlying cause of maternal and child ill health. This paper models the costs and benefits of an accelerated action on MCH, including for HIV, the prevention of mother to child HIV transmission; first line treatment for pregnant women; cotrimoxazole for children, and the provision of paediatric antiretroviral therapy (ART). These HIV services are complemented by health systems strengthening; increased family planning provision; and packages for malaria, immunisation, and child health. The paper is interesting for many reasons, including both the breadth of its intervention focus, and the detailed modelling of the likely health, social and economic benefits of such investments.

Although the direct HIV related benefits are not described in detail in the main paper, it is likely that these result both from increased contraceptive use (prong 2 for preventing vertical HIV transmission), as well as ART and cotrimoxazole provision. It also illustrates the potential value of developing a cross-disease investment approach, as a means to ensure that services effectively respond to the breadth of women’s and children’s health needs. This more ‘joined up’, integrated perspective on strategies for health investment can support core investments in health systems strengthening. It can also potentially achieve important cross-disease synergies, e.g., ensuring that a child who has not acquired HIV at birth does not then die from malaria. 

Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania
Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
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Highly variable virological outcomes in ART programmes in seven countries

Extraordinary Heterogeneity of Virological Outcomes in Patients Receiving Highly Antiretroviral Therapy and Monitored With the World Health Organization Public Health Approach in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Aghokeng AF, Monleau M, Eymard-Duvernay S, Dagnra A, Kania D, Ngo-Giang-Huong  N, Toni TD, Touré-Kane C, Truong LX, Delaporte E, Chaix ML, Peeters M, Ayouba A; for the ANRS 12186 Study Group. Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Oct 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Background:  The limited access to virological monitoring in developing countries is a major weakness of the current antiretroviral treatment (ART) strategy in these settings. We conducted a large cross-sectional study in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Togo, Thailand, and Vietnam to assess virological failure and drug resistance mutations (DRMs) after 12 or 24 months of ART.

Methods:  Between 2009 and 2011, we recruited adults attending ART centers 10-14 months (the M12 group) or 22-26 months (M24 group) after initiating ART. Demographic and clinical data were collected on site, and viral load was measured. Samples with a viral load of ≥ 1 000 copies/mL, considered as the failure threshold, were genotyped for drug resistance assessment.

Results:  Overall, 3 935 patients were recruited (2 060 at M12 and 1 875 at M24). Median ages varied from 32 to 42 years. Median CD4+ T-cell counts at ART initiation were low (99-172 cells/µL). The main ART regimens included stavudine/zidovudine plus lamivudine plus nevirapine/efavirenz. Overall, virological failure frequency was 11.1% for M12 patients and 12.4% for M24 patients, and 71.0% to 86.1% of these patients, respectively, had drug-resistant virus. Across sites, virological failure varied from 2.9% to 20.6% in M12 patients and from 3.7% to 26.0% in M24 patients. Predominant DRMs were associated with ART regimens, but virus in several patients accumulated DRMs to drugs not received, such as abacavir, didanosine, tenofovir, etravirine, and rilpivirine.

Conclusions:  Our findings show heterogeneous virological failure and illustrate that, in addition to routine access to viral load, good management of ART programs is even more critical to improve treatment outcomes in resource-limited countries.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: As the number of people taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) increases, more attention will be needed to sustaining programme quality and effectiveness. The proportion of people taking ART who have suppressed HIV viral load is a key measure of treatment success. This survey of ART programmes in seven countries found wide variation in the proportion of patients with HIV viral load ≥1 000 copies per ml. This illustrates the value of viral load monitoring as a measure of programme quality. Among individuals with HIV viral load ≥1 000 copies per ml, most but not all had drug-resistant virus. This illustrates the difficulty of rational management of “treatment failure” where resistance cannot be determined. Of more concern are few patients who had resistance to drugs they apparently had never taken. This underlines the importance of careful ART stewardship to maximize the benefits of ART at population level. 

Africa, Asia
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Some evidence of impact from external funding for HIV, TB and malaria - and the need for more

Impact of external funding for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria: systematic review.

de Jongh TE, Harnmeijer JH, Atun R, Korenromp EL, Zhao J, Puvimanasinghe J, Baltussen R. Health Health Policy Plan. 2013 Aug 5. [Epub ahead of print]

Background:  Since 2002, development assistance for health has substantially increased, especially investments for HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria control. We undertook a systematic review to assess and synthesize the existing evidence in the scientific literature on the health impacts of these investments.

Methods and Findings:  We systematically searched databases for peer-reviewed and grey literature, using tailored search strategies. We screened studies for study design and relevance, using predefined inclusion criteria, and selected those that enabled us to link health outcomes or impact to increased external funding. For all included studies, we recorded dataset and study characteristics, health outcomes and impacts. We analysed the data using a causal-chain framework to develop a narrative summary of the published evidence. Thirteen articles, representing 11 individual studies set in Africa and Asia reporting impacts on HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, met the inclusion criteria. Only two of these studies documented the entire causal-chain spanning from funding to programme scale-up, to outputs, outcomes and impacts. Nonetheless, overall we find a positive correlation between consecutive steps in the causal chain, suggesting that external funds for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programmes contributed to improved health outcomes and impact.

Conclusions:  Despite the large number of supported programmes worldwide and despite an abundance of published studies on HIV, TB and malaria control, we identified very few eligible studies that adequately demonstrated the full process by which external funding has been translated to health impact. Most of these studies did not move beyond demonstrating statistical association, as opposed to contribution or causation. We thus recommend that funding organizations and researchers increase the emphasis on ensuring data capture along the causal pathway to demonstrate effect and contribution of external financing. The findings of these comprehensive and rigorously conducted impact evaluations should also be made publicly accessible.

Keywords: Africa, Asia, Health financing, developing countries, donors, health outcomes, impact

Abstract access

Editor’s notes: In the current context of resource constraints and after a decade of unprecedented increases in development assistance for health (particularly for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria), donors are increasingly concerned about the value for money of their investments. This study reviewed available evidence on the impact of external funding, finding a paucity of rigorous scientific evaluation data on the efficiency, effectiveness and impact.

The identified HIV studies found associations between programme investments and increased access and adherence to ART, as well as reduced HIV-related mortality, but limited evidence of preventive impacts on rates of HIV infection. There were many study limitations, including the lack of randomization or robust controls, and relatively small (or statistically insignificant) observed effects. Few studies provided a full analysis of effectiveness along the causal chain from inputs to impact, and none considered the potential undesirable effects of external funding.

Although the aims of the study were ambitious, this paper highlights the challenges of documenting the impacts of financial investments, with the authors arguing that future evaluations need to adopt a more systemic approach to impact evaluation that better captures the causal pathway between investment inputs and impacts, as well as broader system-wide effects. 

Africa, Asia
Cameroon, China, India, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia
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Better virological outcomes with efavirenz compared to nevirapine

Outcomes for efavirenz versus nevirapine-containing regimens for treatment of HIV-1 infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Pillay P, Ford N, Shubber Z, Ferrand RA., PLoS One. 2013 Jul 22;8(7):e68995. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068995. Print 2013

Introduction: There is conflicting evidence and practice regarding the use of the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) efavirenz (EFV) and nevirapine (NVP) in first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Methods: We systematically reviewed virological outcomes in HIV-1 infected, treatment-naive patients on regimens containing EFV versus NVP from randomised trials and observational cohort studies. Data sources include PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and conference proceedings of the International AIDS Society, Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, between 1996 to May 2013. Relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals were synthesized using random-effects meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was assessed using the I(2) statistic, and subgroup analyses performed to assess the potential influence of study design, duration of follow up, location, and tuberculosis treatment. Sensitivity analyses explored the potential influence of different dosages of NVP and different viral load thresholds.

Results: Of 5011 citations retrieved, 38 reports of studies comprising 114 391 patients were included for review. EFV was significantly less likely than NVP to lead to virologic failure in both trials (RR 0.85 [0.73-0.99] I(2) = 0%) and observational studies (RR 0.65 [0.59-0.71] I(2) = 54%). EFV was more likely to achieve virologic success than NVP, though marginally significant, in both randomised controlled trials (RR 1.04 [1.00-1.08] I(2) = 0%) and observational studies (RR 1.06 [1.00-1.12] I(2) = 68%).

Conclusion: EFV-based first line ART is significantly less likely to lead to virologic failure compared to NVP-based ART. This finding supports the use of EFV as the preferred NNRTI in first-line treatment regimen for HIV treatment, particularly in resource limited settings.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: Efavirenz and nevirapine are key antiretroviral agents, particularly in resource-limited settings. Nevirapine has been widely used, for reasons including safety during pregnancy and lower cost, despite lower potency and a higher risk of hepatotoxicity and severe allergic reactions, than with efavirenz. This article summarizes data on virological outcomes from clinical trials and observational cohort studies comparing efavirenz and nevirapine. The finding that efavirenz is associated with slightly better virological outcomes is not surprising but it is valuable to have the available data summarised. The result, along with recent recommendations allowing efavirenz to be taken throughout pregnancy, and price reductions, supports the move towards efavirenz-based fixed drug combinations as first-line antiretroviral treatment in resource-limited settings.

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Disproportionately high HIV risk and gender disparity in prevalence among urban poor in Sub-Saharan Africa

The disproportionate high risk of HIV infection among the urban poor in sub-Saharan Africa.

Magadi MA. AIDS Behav. 2013 Jun;17(5):1645-54. doi: 10.1007/s10461-012-0217-y.

The link between HIV infection and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is rather complex and findings from previous studies remain inconsistent. While some argue that poverty increases vulnerability, existing empirical evidence largely support the view that wealthier men and women have higher prevalence of HIV. In this paper, we examine the association between HIV infection and urban poverty in SSA, paying particular attention to differences in risk factors of HIV infection between the urban poor and non-poor. The study is based on secondary analysis of data from the Demographic and Health Surveys from 20 countries in SSA, conducted during 2003-2008. We apply multilevel logistic regression models, allowing the urban poverty risk factor to vary across countries to establish the extent to which the observed patterns are generalizable across countries in the SSA region. The results reveal that the urban poor in SSA have significantly higher odds of HIV infection than urban non-poor counterparts, despite poverty being associated with a significantly lower risk among rural residents. Furthermore, the gender disparity in HIV infection (i.e. the disproportionate higher risk among women) is amplified among the urban poor. The paper confirms that the public health consequence of urban poverty that has been well documented in previous studies with respect to maternal and child health outcomes does apply to the risk of HIV infection. The positive association between household wealth and HIV prevalence observed in previous studies largely reflects the situation in the rural areas where the majority of the SSA populations reside.

Abstract   Full-text [free] access 

Editor’s notes: Evidence on the association between socio-economic position and HIV incidence in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been mixed and appears to be changing over time. Although wealth was previously a predictor of HIV infection, it has recently been suggested that poverty is increasingly driving new infections in mature epidemics, especially in rural areas, where the majority of the population in SSA resides. With high rates of urbanisation both in SSA and globally (according to UNAIDS 2 of every 3 people living with HIV will be living in urban areas by 2030), this article provides important disaggregated evidence of the higher risk of HIV infection among the urban poor as well, and particularly among poor urban women. Even after controlling for sexual behaviour, the results suggest that other structural factors that characterise the environment, in which the urban poor live, such as unemployment, discrimination and violence, may be playing a key role. Interestingly, higher educational attainment was found to be associated with higher HIV risk among the urban poor, while it appeared to be protective among the better-off urban population. This may be pointing towards the ‘inverse equity hypothesis’, discussed in another paper this month (Hargreaves et al.), whereby groups with higher socio-economic position (wealth and/or education) are expected to benefit first from HIV/health interventions, thereby initially widening the gap in health outcomes until the poor catch up. 

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Identifying hotspots of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa

Mapping HIV clustering: a strategy for identifying populations at high risk of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa.

Cuadros DF, Awad SF, Abu-Raddad LJ. Int J Health Geogr. 2013 May 22;12:28.

Background: The geographical structure of an epidemic is ultimately a consequence of the drivers of the epidemic and the population susceptible to the infection. The know your epidemicconcept recognizes this geographical feature as a key element for identifying populations at higher risk of HIV infection where prevention interventions should be targeted. In an effort to clarify specific drivers of HIV transmission and identify priority populations for HIV prevention interventions, we conducted a comprehensive mapping of the spatial distribution of HIV infection across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Methods: The main source of data for our study was the Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 20 countries from SSA. We identified and compared spatial clusters with high and low numbers of HIV infections in each country using Kulldorff spatial scan test. The test locates areas with higher and lower numbers of HIV infections than expected under spatial randomness. For each identified cluster, a likelihood ratio test was computed. A P-value was determined through Monte Carlo simulations to evaluate the statistical significance of each cluster.

Results: Our results suggest stark geographic variations in HIV transmission patterns within and across countries of SSA. About 14% of the population in SSA is located in areas of intense HIV epidemics. Meanwhile, another 16% of the population is located in areas of low HIV prevalence, where some behavioral or biological protective factors appear to have slowed HIV transmission.

Conclusions: Our study provides direct evidence for strong geographic clustering of HIV infection across SSA. This striking pattern of heterogeneity at the micro-geographical scale might reflect the fact that most HIV epidemics in the general population in SSA are not far from their epidemic threshold. Our findings identify priority geographic areas for HIV programming, and support the need for spatially targeted interventions in order to maximize the impact on the epidemic in SSA.

 Abstract   Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: This novel study used DHS data to map the clustering of HIV at a local level in 20 sub-Saharan African countries. The method identifies ‘hotspots’ and ‘cool spots’ of HIV infection within each country, mapping the results in a visually striking way.  The data show marked geographical variation within countries. For example, in Senegal, where overall prevalence is 0.75%, a hotspot with general population prevalence of 4.35% was identified. Conversely, within some countries with substantial HIV epidemics (Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi), the study identified settings with very low HIV prevalence. The authors present a ‘relative risk’ (ratio of HIV prevalence within the cluster to that outside the cluster) and, not surprisingly, find that this was higher in low prevalence countries.  It may also be interesting to see an absolute risk, and estimated excess number of cases. The authors hypothesize that the spatial variation may be less to do with variation in behavioural and biological factors than to the fact that HIV infection transmission in SSA is close to the epidemic (or sustainability) threshold – which means that small changes in risk factors can generate substantial changes in HIV prevalence. The implication of this is that, by focusing on the HIV ‘hotspots’, even modest intervention-driven changes in risk behaviour may have considerable impact in reducing HIV prevalence.

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Declining trends in early warning indicators for HIV drug resistance in Cameroon

Declining trends in early warning indicators for HIV drug resistance in Cameroon from 2008-2010: lessons and challenges for low-resource settings.

Fokam J, Billong SC, Bissek AC, Kembou E, Milenge P, Abessouguie I et al. BMC Public Health. 2013 Apr 8;13:308. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-308.

Rapid scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and limited access to genotyping assays in low-resource settings (LRS) are inevitably accompanied by an increasing risk of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR). The current study aims to evaluate early warning indicators (EWI) as an efficient strategy to limit the development and spread of preventable HIVDR in these settings, in order to sustain the performance of national antiretroviral therapy (ART) rollout programmes. Surveys were conducted in 2008, 2009 and 2010 within 10 Cameroonian ART clinics, based on five HIVDR EWIs: (1) Good prescribing practices; (2) Patient lost to follow-up; (3) Patient retention on first line ART; (4) On-time drug pick-up; (5) Continuous drug supply. Analysis was performed as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) protocol. An overall decreasing performance of the national ART programme was observed from 2008 to 2010: EWI1 (100% to 70%); EWI2 (40% to 20%); EWI3 (70% to 0%); EWI4 (0% throughout); EWI5 (90% to 40%). Thus, prescribing practices (EWI1) were in conformity with national guidelines, while patient adherence (EWI2, EWI3, and EWI4) and drug supply (EWI5) were lower overtime; with a heavy workload (median ratio ≈1/64 staff/patients) and community disengagement observed all over the study sites. In order to limit risks of HIVDR emergence in poor settings like Cameroon, continuous drug supply, community empowerment to support adherence, and probably a reduction in workload by task shifting, are the potential urgent measures to be undertaken. Such evidence-based interventions, rapidly generated and less costly, would be relevant in limiting the spread of preventable HIVDR and in sustaining the performance of ART programmes in LRS.

Abstract Full text [free] access

Editor’s notes: Emerging resistance is one of the key challenges facing ART programmes in resource-limited settings. Recognising the importance of this issue, in 2008 WHO, in collaboration with HIVResNet, launched a global strategy for the prevention and assessment of drug resistance. This strategy comprises national surveillance of transmitted and acquired drug resistance, and surveys for monitoring site and programme-level factors associated with emergence of drug resistance (early warning indicators [EWI]). This study reports the findings from serial surveys of EWIs in 10 established clinics in Cameroon (approximately 11% of eligible clinics) over a time period when ART coverage (44.5% by 2011) and the number of clinics offering ART was increasing. From 2008-2010 the proportion of clinics reaching the EWI performance targets for loss to follow-up fell from 4/10 to 2/10 clinics, and the proportion of clinics reporting drug stock-outs rose from 1/10 to 6/10. The authors advocate caution when interpreting the other EWIs (1, 3 and 4), and point the reader towards the revised EWI indicators here. Overall the declining programme performance observed in this programme is concerning. To limit the emergence of resistance, interventions which are targeted at limiting loss to follow-up and strengthening drug supply chain management are needed. 

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Increasing HIV testing among male partners in PMTCT settings

Increasing HIV testing among male partners. The Prenahtest ANRS 12127 multi-country randomised trial.

Orne-Gliemann J, Balestre E, Tchendjou P, Miric M, Darak S, Butsashvili M, Perez-Then E, Eboko F, Plazy M, Kulkarni S, Loû AD, Dabis F; for the Prenahtest ANRS 12127 Study Group. AIDS. 2013 Jan 22. [Epub ahead of print]

Couple-oriented post-test HIV counselling (COC) provides pregnant women with tools and strategies to invite her partner to HIV counselling and testing. A randomised trial of the efficacy of COC on partner HIV testing in low/medium HIV prevalence settings (Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Georgia, India) was conducted. Pregnant women were randomised to receive standard post-test HIV counselling (SC) or COC and followed until six months postpartum. Partner HIV testing events were notified by site laboratories, self-reported by women or both combined. Impact of COC on partner HIV testing was measured in intention-to-treat analysis. Socio-behavioural factors associated with partner HIV testing were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression. Among 1943 pregnant women enrolled, partner HIV testing rates (combined indicator) were 24.7% among women from COC group vs 14.3% in SC group in Cameroon (Odds Ratio [OR] = 2.0 95%CI [1.2-3.1]), 23.1% vs 20.3% in Dominican Republic (OR = 1.2 [0.8-1.8]), 26.8% vs 1.2% in Georgia (OR = 29.6 [9.1-95.6]) and 35.4% vs 26.6% in India (OR = 1.5 [1.0-2.2]). Women having received COC did not report more conjugal violence or union break-ups than in the SC group. The main factors associated with partner HIV testing were a history of HIV testing among men in Cameroon, Dominican Republic and Georgia and the existence of couple communication around HIV testing in Georgia and India. A simple prenatal intervention taking into account the couple relationship increases the uptake of HIV testing among men in different socio-cultural settings. COC could contribute to the efforts towards eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: Programmes geared towards the elimination of new HIV infections in children and keeping their mothers alive worldwide have grappled with the challenge to increase partner testing. Partner HIV discordancy is common, and interventions can be tailored to the couple status categories. Antenatal care settings have not necessarily oriented their programming to be male-friendly. It is notable that generally couples-oriented counseling and testing (COC) did increase uptake of HIV testing by male partners, though there was wide variation between countries. In addition, male testing rates remained relatively low in the intervention couples.   It is clear that additional strategies to augment partner testing will need to be implemented and evaluated. This study did provide some reassuring information that conjugal violence and union break-ups were not more common in the COC group. The study sites were in low and medium HIV prevalence settings and these results need to be compared to similar interventions in high prevalence settings.

Africa, Asia, Latin America
Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Georgia, India
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Preventing nosocomial tuberculosis in health facilities

Assessment of organizational measures to prevent nosocomial tuberculosis in health facilities of 4 sub-Saharan countries in 2010.

Robert J, Affolabi D, Awokou F, Nolna D, Manouan BA, Acho YB, Gninafon M, Trebucq A. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2013 Feb;34(2):190-5. doi: 10.1086/669085. Epub 2012 Dec 18

The prevention of tuberculosis (TB) transmission in healthcare settings is a major issue, particularly because of the interaction between human immunodeficiency virus and TB and the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB. A questionnaire was developed by representatives of Benin, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, and Togo to evaluate the organizational measures implemented in facilities involved in TB management in healthcare facilities. On-site visits were performed between July 2010 and July 2011. A total of 115 facilities, including 10 university hospitals and 92 basic management units, were visited. None had a TB infection control plan, and only 5.2% provided education for staff about nosocomial TB. Overall, 48.3% of the facilities performed triage of suspected TB cases on hospital arrival or admission, 89.6% provided education for TB cases on cough etiquette, 20.0% segregated smear-positive TB cases, and 15.7% segregated previously treated cases. A total of 15.5% of the facilities registered TB among staff, for a global prevalence rate of 348 cases per 100,000 staff members. This survey identified simple and mostly costless administrative measures to be urgently implemented at the local level to prevent nosocomial TB, such as staff education, triage on admission, and segregation of previously treated patients.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: WHO promotes the TB strategy of the “Three Is” – isoniazid prophylaxis, intensified case finding and infection control. Intensified case finding has been promoted by provider and patient education as well as focused screening of patient symptoms suggestive of active tuberculosis. Isoniazid prophylaxis is recommended by WHO, but has not been widely adopted in high TB and TB/HIV settings in many resource challenged settings due to a number of management and diagnostic concerns. Infection control is widely recognized as important to prevent TB transmission in health care settings, but the environmental and administrative interventions have not been widely implemented despite their relatively low cost. The recommendations associated with the Three Is have been disseminated widely – a clearer understanding of the obstacles associated with their adoption may need to be understood and assessed to facilitate better TB control measures.

Avoid TB deaths
Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo
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