Articles tagged as "India"

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.

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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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Comparing adverse effects of nevirapine and efavirenz

Adverse events associated with nevirapine and efavirenz-based first-line antiretroviral therapy: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Shubber Z, Calmy A, Andrieux-Meyer I, Vitoria M, Renaud-Thery F, Shaffer N, Hargreaves S, Mills EJ, Ford N. AIDS. 2013 Jan 22. [Epub ahead of print]

Since 2002, the World Health Organization has recommended either nevirapine (NVP) or efavirenz (EFV) as part of first-line antiretroviral therapy. These two drugs are known to have differing toxicity profiles, but the clinical importance of these toxicities overall is not well established. The authors systematically reviewed adverse events among treatment-naïve HIV-positive adults and children receiving either NVP or EFV as part of first-line antiretroviral therapy. The primary outcome was drug discontinuation as a result of any adverse event; specific toxicities were evaluated as secondary outcomes. Point estimates and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated and proportions and odds ratios (OR) pooled using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Data was reviewed on 26446 adult and 3975 children from 8 randomized trials and 26 prospective cohorts. Overall, adults on NVP were more than two times more likely to discontinue treatment due to any adverse event compared to patients on EFV (OR 2.2, 95%CI 1.9-2.6). Severe hepatotoxicity (OR 3.3, 95%CI 2.5-4.2), severe skin toxicity (OR 3.9, 95%CI 2.5-5.4), and severe hypersensitivity reactions (OR 2.4, 95%CI 1.9-2.9) were more likely to occur among patients on NVP. Patients receiving EFV were more likely to experience severe CNS-events (OR 3.4, 95%CI 2.1-5.4). Similar associations were seen in children. Compared to NVP, EFV is associated with a lower frequency of severe adverse events, in particular treatment discontinuations. This finding supports a move towards efavirenz-based therapy as the preferred first-line treatment regimen for HIV treatment within a public health approach.

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Editor’s notes: As increased progress is being made towards universal access to treatment, increased attention is being addressed towards retention in care and on treatment. Simpler, less toxic regimens have been a cornerstone of the Treatment 2.0 initiative of UNAIDS and WHO. Nevirapine has been widely utilized as an essential component of three drug antiretroviral therapy, in part due to low cost and safety at a population level. While efavirenz does have a greater incidence of central nervous system side effects (many of them manageable with supportive treatment), the overall discontinuation rate is significantly lower than with nevirapine. This data in combination with the continued reduction in efavirenz price, and incorporation into combination pill form, supports the move towards increased use of efavirenz for first line antiretroviral therapy.

HIV Treatment
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Persons left behind: transgender women

Worldwide burden of HIV in transgender women: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Baral SD, Poteat T, Strömdahl S, Wirtz AL, Guadamuz TE, Beyrer C. Lancet Infect Dis. 2012 Dec 20. pii: S1473-3099(12)70315-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Background: Previous systematic reviews have identified a high prevalence of HIV infection in transgender women in the USA and in those who sell sex (compared with both female and male sex workers). However, little is known about the burden of HIV infection in transgender women worldwide. We aimed to better assess the relative HIV burden in all transgender women worldwide.

Methods: We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that assessed HIV infection burdens in transgender women that were published between Jan 1, 2000, and Nov 30, 2011. Meta-analysis was completed with the Mantel-Haenszel method, and random-effects modelling was used to compare HIV burdens in transgender women with that in adults in the countries for which data were available.

Findings: Data were only available for countries with male-predominant HIV epidemics, which included the USA, six Asia-Pacific countries, five in Latin America, and three in Europe. The pooled HIV prevalence was 19·1% (95% CI 17·4-20·7) in 11 066 transgender women worldwide. In 7197 transgender women sampled in ten low-income and middle-income countries, HIV prevalence was 17·7% (95% CI 15·6-19·8). In 3869 transgender women sampled in five high-income countries, HIV prevalence was 21·6% (95% CI 18·8-24·3). The odds ratio for being infected with HIV in transgender women compared with all adults of reproductive age across the 15 countries was 48·8 (95% CI 21·2-76·3) and did not differ for those in low-income and middle-income countries compared with those in high-income countries.

Interpretation: Our findings suggest that transgender women are a very high burden population for HIV and are in urgent need of prevention, treatment, and care services. The meta-analysis showed remarkable consistency and severity of the HIV disease burden among transgender women.

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Editor’s notes: This paper systematically reviews studies on the prevalence of HIV infection among transgender women in different countries from three continents. Results unfortunately show that there is a dramatic consistency in HIV prevalence data, which reach peaks often above 20%, irrespective of the financial context of the countries where transgenders live. In addition, there is a common theme: risk factors including stigma, discrimination and marginalisation are all factors which dramatically increase the risk of becoming infected by HIV. Not only are transgender women probably the group with the highest risk of acquiring the infection, but they are also in urgent need of prevention, possibly including pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, and of tailored support and care. But these might not be enough, if marginalisation is supported in some countries with a legal environment contradicting international human rights frameworks.

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Integration of HIV and TB services: a model to shift from "vertical to horizontal"

Integrating tuberculosis and HIV services in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review.

Legido-Quigley H, Montgomery CM, Khan P, Atun R, Fakoya A, Getahun H, Grant AD. Trop Med Int Health. 2012 Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Objectives: Given the imperative to scale up integrated tuberculosis (TB) and HIV services in settings where both are of major public health importance, we aimed to synthesise knowledge concerning implementation of TB/HIV service integration.

Methods: Systematic review of studies describing a strategy to facilitate TB and HIV service integration, searching 15 bibliographic databases including Medline, Embase and the Cochrane library; and relevant conference abstracts.

Results: Sixty-three of 1936 peer-reviewed articles and 70 of 170 abstracts met our inclusion criteria. We identified five models: entry via TB service, with referral for HIV testing and care; entry via TB service, on-site HIV testing, and referral for HIV care; entry via HIV service with referral for TB screening and treatment; entry via HIV service, on-site TB screening, and referral for TB diagnosis and treatment; and TB and HIV services provided at a single facility. Referral-based models are most easily implemented, but referral failure is a key risk. Closer integration requires more staff training and additional infrastructure (e.g. private space for HIV counselling; integrated records). Infection control is a major concern. More integrated models hold potential efficiencies from both provider and user perspective. Most papers report 'outcomes' (e.g. proportion of TB patients tested for HIV); few report downstream 'impacts' such as outcomes of TB treatment or antiretroviral therapy. Very few studies address the perspectives of service users or staff, or costs or cost-effectiveness.

Conclusions: While scaling up integrated services, robust comparisons of the impacts of different models are needed using standardised outcome measures.

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Editor’s notes:This study emphasizes the need to implement the most effective integrated services for the prevention and cure of HIV and TB.  TB remains one of the most deadly infectious diseases that dramatically impacts on people in sub-Saharan Africa and represent the major cause of death in those living with HIV in the region. In fact, the progressive weakening of the immune system in HIV-positive people increases the likelihood of contracting/reactivating tuberculosis. Already in 2004, the WHO published "A Interim Policy on TBV/HIV Collaborative Activities" with the purpose of providing a guide to establish integration of TB and HIV services, and to reduce the TB load in people living with HIV. An updated document "WHO policy on collaborative TB/HIV activities: guidelines for national programmes and other stakeholders" is now available. The document provides guidance for integrating care activities between TB and HIV health services. However, to put this paper into perspective, a consensus can be reached by saying that integration shall not just be about HIV and TB. Indeed, the old debate between "vertical approaches (e.g. disease focused)" and horizontal approaches (e.g. health systems focused) shall now be concluded and integration of services shall expand to care of other diseases, particularly when, at the horizon, an epidemic of chronic non-communicable diseases is slowly but surely rising in Africa. In summary, HIV is a chronic infection impacting the lifecycle; with periods of illness and wellness, with multiple clinical and psychosocial needs, requiring lifelong care and treatment with a secure supply of medicines and laboratory tests.

It is evident that HIV care may inform appropriate responses to other health threats which share the same demand for services, training of health care workers, support for adherence, infrastructure and equipment, programme management, drug and laboratory supplies, linkage to care and community involvement. In other words, there is a wide recognition of the spillover effect of HIV interventions towards health systems strengthening, not only to the benefit of other communicable diseases, but also of child and maternal health and of chronic non-communicable diseases (like diabetes, hypertension and cancer).

Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America
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Determinants of condom breakage among female sex workers in Karnataka, India

Bradley J, Rajaram S, Alary M, Isac S, Washington R, Moses S, Ramesh B. BMC Public Health. 2011 Dec 29;11 Suppl 6:S14. [Epub ahead of print]

Condoms are effective in preventing the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, when properly used. However, recent data from surveys of female sex workers in Karnataka in south India, suggest that condom breakage rates may be quite high. It is important therefore to quantify condom breakage rates, and examine what factors might precipitate condom breakage, so that programmers can identify those at risk, and develop appropriate interventions. Bradley and colleagues explored determinants of reported condom breakage in the previous month among 1,928 female sex workers in four districts of Karnataka using data from cross-sectional surveys undertaken from July 2008 to February 2009. Using stepwise multivariate logistic regression, the authors examined the possible determinants of condom breakage, controlling for several independent variables including the district and client load. Overall, 11.4% of female sex workers reported at least one condom break in the previous month. Female sex workers were much more likely to report breakage if under 20 years of age (AOR 3.43, p = 0.005); if divorced/separated/widowed (AOR 1.52, p = 0.012); if they were regular alcohol users (AOR 1.63, p = 0.005); if they mostly entertained clients in lodges/rented rooms (AOR 2.99, p = 0.029) or brothels (AOR 4.77, p = 0.003), compared to street based sex workers; if they had ever had anal sex (AOR 2.03, p = 0.006); if the sex worker herself (as opposed to the client) applied the condom at last use (AOR 1.90, p < 0.001); if they were inconsistent condom users (AOR 2.77, p < 0.001); and if they had never seen a condom demonstration (AOR 2.37, p < 0.001). The reported incidence of condom breakage was high in this study, and this is a major concern for HIV/STI prevention programs, for which condom use is a key prevention tool. Younger and more marginalized female sex workers were most vulnerable to condom breakage. Special effort is therefore required to seek out such women and to provide information and skills on correct condom use. More research is also needed on what specific situational parameters might be important in predisposing women to condom breakage.

For abstract access click here.

Editor’s note: Learning from sex workers about the frequency of condom breakage and the factors that contribute to it makes a lot of sense. In this study in Karnataka, reported condom breakage was high at 11% at least once in the previous month, with those who used government condoms provided by a peer educator much less likely to report a condom break. One wonders about the quality and integrity of non-government condoms, as well as whether condom packages from a peer educator are less likely to have been exposed for long periods to heat, such as they can be in roadside convenience shops. Never having seen a condom demonstration and inconsistency of condom use also stand out as key contributing factors. No information is available about the frequency of condom breakage in the previous month, nor of the type of sex act during which the condom broke. Women who reported anal sex were more likely to report a condom break in the previous month. Women under 20 were more than 3 times as likely to report a breakage, suggesting that inexperience and lack of information on correct condom usage may contribute. Since these findings may apply in many sex work settings worldwide, it is important that HIV prevention programmes engage sex workers in determining the extent of condom breakage in sex work locally, the contributing factors, and how best to minimise it. In addition to protecting sex workers and their clients, these strategies could help condom users everywhere.

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