Articles tagged as "United Republic of Tanzania"

Mefloquine not suitable as intermittent preventive treatment of malaria, in pregnant women living with HIV

Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy with mefloquine in HIV-infected women receiving cotrimoxazole prophylaxis: a multicenter randomized placebo-controlled trial.

Gonzalez R, Desai M, Macete E, Ouma P, Kakolwa MA, Abdulla S, Aponte JJ, Bulo H, Kabanywanyi AM, Katana A, Maculuve S, Mayor A, Nhacolo A, Otieno K, Pahlavan G, Ruperez M, Sevene E, Slutsker L, Vala A, Williamsom J, Menendez C. PLoS Med. 2014 Sep 23;11(9):e1001735. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001735. eCollection 2014.

Background: Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is recommended for malaria prevention in HIV-negative pregnant women, but it is contraindicated in HIV-infected women taking daily cotrimoxazole prophylaxis (CTXp) because of potential added risk of adverse effects associated with taking two antifolate drugs simultaneously. We studied the safety and efficacy of mefloquine (MQ) in women receiving CTXp and long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLITNs).

Methods and findings: A total of 1071 HIV-infected women from Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania were randomized to receive either three doses of IPTp-MQ (15 mg/kg) or placebo given at least one month apart; all received CTXp and a LLITN. IPTp-MQ was associated with reduced rates of maternal parasitemia (risk ratio [RR], 0.47 [95% CI 0.27-0.82]; p = 0.008), placental malaria (RR, 0.52 [95% CI 0.29-0.90]; p = 0.021), and reduced incidence of non-obstetric hospital admissions (RR, 0.59 [95% CI 0.37-0.95]; p = 0.031) in the intention to treat (ITT) analysis. There were no differences in the prevalence of adverse pregnancy outcomes between groups. Drug tolerability was poorer in the MQ group compared to the control group (29.6% referred dizziness and 23.9% vomiting after the first IPTp-MQ administration). HIV viral load at delivery was higher in the MQ group compared to the control group (p = 0.048) in the ATP analysis. The frequency of perinatal mother to child transmission of HIV was increased in women who received MQ (RR, 1.95 [95% CI 1.14-3.33]; p = 0.015). The main limitation of the latter finding relates to the exploratory nature of this part of the analysis.

Conclusions: An effective antimalarial added to CTXp and LLITNs in HIV-infected pregnant women can improve malaria prevention, as well as maternal health through reduction in hospital admissions. However, MQ was not well tolerated, limiting its potential for IPTp and indicating the need to find alternatives with better tolerability to reduce malaria in this particularly vulnerable group. MQ was associated with an increased risk of mother to child transmission of HIV, which warrants a better understanding of the pharmacological interactions between antimalarials and antiretroviral drugs.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: The gold standard for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) is at least three doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, along with the use of insecticide-treated nets. In resource-limited, high HIV prevalent areas, all HIV-positive pregnant women are recommended to take co-trimoxazole prophylaxis. This rules out the concomitant use of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine because of the increased risk of drug toxicity. However, the effectiveness of co-trimoxazole alone to prevent malaria in pregnant women living with HIV has not been established.   

This article reports a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial. The trial compares the efficacy of three-monthly doses of mefloquine (a long-acting efficacious antimalarial, considered to be safe throughout pregnancy) with placebo, in pregnant women living with HIV taking daily co-trimoxazole. Women in the mefloquine arm had a reduced risk of maternal malarial parasitaemia, a reduced rate of placental malaria and reduced incidence of non-obstetric hospital admissions. However, mefloquine was poorly tolerated. Unexpectedly, women in the mefloquine arm had a higher HIV viral load at delivery and were more likely to transmit HIV to their child. Since this finding was based on an exploratory, rather than a pre-planned analysis, its validity is uncertain. If other data support this finding, a better understanding of the underlying mechanism (biological/immunological) will be important to inform future alternative drug regimens for pregnant women living with HIV. 

This trial suggests that an effective antimalarial drug combined with co-trimoxazole can offer additional protection against malaria in pregnant women living with HIV, but mefloquine is not the drug of choice for this purpose. 

Avoid TB deaths
Africa
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Engaging with men about microbicides

Engaging male partners in women's microbicide use: evidence from clinical trials and implications for future research and microbicide introduction.

Lanham M, Wilcher R, Montgomery ET, Pool R, Schuler S, Lenzi R, Friedland B. J Int AIDS Soc. 2014 Sep 8;17(3 Suppl 2):19159. doi: 10.7448/IAS.17.3.19159. eCollection 2014.

Introduction: Constructively engaging male partners in women-centred health programs such as family planning and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission has resulted in both improved health outcomes and stronger relationships. Concerted efforts to engage men in microbicide use could make it easier for women to access and use microbicides in the future. This paper synthesizes findings from studies that investigated men's role in their partners' microbicide use during clinical trials to inform recommendations for male engagement in women's microbicide use.

Methods: We conducted primary and secondary analyses of data from six qualitative studies implemented in conjunction with microbicide clinical trials in South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. The analyses included data from 535 interviews and 107 focus groups with trial participants, male partners, and community members to answer research questions on partner communication about microbicides, men's role in women's microbicide use, and potential strategies for engaging men in future microbicide introduction. We synthesized the findings across the studies and developed recommendations.

Results: The majority of women in steady partnerships wanted agreement from their partners to use microbicides. Women used various strategies to obtain their agreement, including using the product for a while before telling their partners, giving men information gradually, and continuing to bring up microbicides until resistant partners acquiesced. Among men who were aware their partners were participating in a trial and using microbicides, involvement ranged from opposition to agreement/non-interference to active support. Both men and women expressed a desire for men to have access to information about microbicides and to be able to talk with a healthcare provider about microbicides.

Conclusions: We recommend counselling women on whether and how to involve their partners including strategies for gaining partner approval; providing couples' counselling on microbicides so men have the opportunity to talk with providers; and targeting men with community education and mass media to increase their awareness and acceptance of microbicides. These strategies should be tested in microbicide trials, open-label studies, and demonstration projects to identify effective male engagement approaches to include in eventual microbicide introduction. Efforts to engage men must take care not to diminish women's agency to decide whether to use the product and inform their partners.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: Microbicides were initially conceived as being products that would enable women to protect themselves from HIV without prior negotiation with their partners. However, the experience from microbicide trials shows that in general, male partners play an important role in women’s microbicide use. This paper synthesizes the findings from qualitative research conducted as part of trials in east and southern Africa. The findings highlight that men’s responses to products vary widely, and that women use a range of strategies to obtain men’s agreement. The findings show that no one strategy will fit all women’s needs; and that the priority should be to support women’s agency to decide whether to use microbicides, how to introduce the subject with their partners, and ultimately gain their support. Currently different strategies of male engagement are being used within trials. But the positive and negative effects of different approaches – including their effect on partner communication, relationship quality and intimate partner violence - are not being routinely measured. The paper shows the need for further research in microbicide trials, open-label studies, and demonstration projects, not only on how to support women’s ability to access and use products, but to also to help ensure consistent product use, which is crucial to the overall effectiveness of products.

Africa
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Model estimates large global burden of childhood tuberculosis infection and potentially preventable future tuberculosis disease

Burden of childhood tuberculosis in 22 high-burden countries: a mathematical modelling study.

Dodd PJ, Gardiner E, Coghlan R, Seddon JA. Lancet Glob Health. 2014 Aug;2(8):e453-9. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(14)70245-1. Epub 2014 Jul 8.

Background: Confirmation of a diagnosis of tuberculosis in children (aged <15 years) is challenging; under-reporting can result even when children do present to health services. Direct incidence estimates are unavailable, and WHO estimates build on paediatric notifications, with adjustment for incomplete surveillance by the same factor as adult notifications. We aimed to estimate the incidence of infection and disease in children, the prevalence of infection, and household exposure in the 22 countries with a high burden of the disease.

Methods: Within a mechanistic mathematical model, we combined estimates of adult tuberculosis prevalence in 2010, with aspects of the natural history of paediatric tuberculosis. In a household model, we estimated household exposure and infection. We accounted for the effects of age, BCG vaccination, and HIV infection. Additionally, we tested sensitivity to key structural assumptions by repeating all analyses without variation in BCG efficacy by latitude.

Findings: The median number of children estimated to be sharing a household with an individual with infectious tuberculosis in 2010 was 15 319 701 (IQR 13 766 297-17 061 821). In 2010, the median number of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections in children was 7 591 759 (5 800 053-9 969 780), and 650 977 children (424 871-983 118) developed disease. Cumulative exposure meant that the median number of children with latent infection in 2010 was 53 234 854 (41 111 669-68 959 804). The model suggests that 35% (23-54) of paediatric cases of tuberculosis in the 15 countries reporting notifications by age in 2010 were detected. India is predicted to account for 27% (22-33) of the total burden of paediatric tuberculosis in the 22 countries. The predicted proportion of tuberculosis burden in children for each country correlated with incidence, varying between 4% and 21%.

Interpretation: Our model has shown that the incidence of paediatric tuberculosis is higher than the number of notifications, particularly in young children. Estimates of current household exposure and cumulative infection suggest an enormous opportunity for preventive treatment.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access 

Editor’s notes: Estimating the burden of childhood tuberculosis has been largely neglected until recently. Children with tuberculosis rarely transmit and therefore from a control perspective, childhood tuberculosis does not notably contribute to the continuation of the tuberculosis epidemic. This modelling paper attempts to estimate the global burden of childhood tuberculosis infection and disease. Incidence estimates are made by using adult tuberculosis prevalence data to tackle the known limitations of using paediatric notification data. A second model estimates the prevalence of infection in children and household exposure, ignoring exposure outside of the household.  As with all mathematical model predictions, precision of estimates are dependent on the data used as inputs in the model. Despite these limitations, the paper draws attention to the fact that the burden of childhood tuberculosis infection and disease is significant and reflects failure of tuberculosis control in the 22 high-burden countries. The paper also highlights the fact that household contact tracing and preventive therapy in tuberculosis-exposed children could substantially reduce future tuberculosis-related morbidity.

Avoid TB deaths
Comorbidity, Epidemiology
Africa, Asia, Latin America
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Converging epidemics of HIV and hypertension in Africa

Hypertension, kidney disease, HIV and antiretroviral therapy among Tanzanian adults: a cross-sectional study.

Peck RN, Shedafa R, Kalluvya S, Downs JA, Todd J, Suthanthiran M, Fitzgerald DW, Kataraihya JB. BMC Med. 2014 Jul 29;12(1):125. [Epub ahead of print]

Background: The epidemics of HIV and hypertension are converging in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to antiretroviral therapy (ART), more HIV-infected adults are living longer and gaining weight, putting them at greater risk for hypertension and kidney disease. The relationship between hypertension, kidney disease and long-term ART among African adults, though, remains poorly defined. Therefore, we determined the prevalences of hypertension and kidney disease in HIV-infected adults (ART-naive and on ART >2 years) compared to HIV-negative adults. We hypothesized that there would be a higher hypertension prevalence among HIV-infected adults on ART, even after adjusting for age and adiposity.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study conducted between October 2012 and April 2013, consecutive adults (>18 years old) attending an HIV clinic in Tanzania were enrolled in three groups: 1) HIV-negative controls, 2) HIV-infected, ART-naive, and 3) HIV-infected on ART for >2 years. The main study outcomes were hypertension and kidney disease (both defined by international guidelines). We compared hypertension prevalence between each HIV group versus the control group by Fisher’s exact test. Logistic regression was used to determine if differences in hypertension prevalence were fully explained by confounding.

Results: Among HIV-negative adults, 25/153 (16.3%) had hypertension (similar to recent community survey data). HIV-infected adults on ART had a higher prevalence of hypertension (43/150 (28.7%), P=0.01) and a higher odds of hypertension even after adjustment (odds ratio (OR)= 2.19 (1.18 to 4.05), P=0.01 in the best model). HIV-infected, ART-naive adults had a lower prevalence of hypertension (8/151 (5.3%), P= 0.003) and a lower odds of hypertension after adjustment (OR 0.35 (0.15 to 0.84), P= 0.02 in the best model). Awareness of hypertension was 25% among hypertensive adults in all three groups. Kidney disease was common in all three groups (25.6% to 41.3%) and strongly associated with hypertension (P <0.001 for trend); among hypertensive participants, 50/76 (65.8%) had microalbuminuria and 20/76 (26.3%) had an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 versus 33/184 (17.9%) and 16/184 (8.7%) participants with normal blood pressure.

Conclusions: HIV-infected adults on ART >2 years had two-fold greater odds of hypertension than HIV-negative controls. HIV-infected adults with hypertension were rarely aware of their diagnosis but often have evidence of kidney disease. Intensive hypertension screening and education are needed in HIV-clinics in sub-Saharan Africa. Further studies should determine if chronic, dysregulated inflammation may accelerate hypertension in this population.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: The prevalence of both hypertension and HIV in sub-Saharan Africa is the highest among any region in the world. Hypertension is a leading risk factor for disease and accounts for nearly 10 million deaths a year. As antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage has increased, infection-related mortality rates have substantially declined. Increased life-expectancy and weight gain among people taking ART may “unmask” an epidemic of hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa, where, unlike other global regions, the blood pressure of adults continues to rise.

This study showed a high prevalence of hypertension among HIV-positive adults taking ART for two or more years. The prevalence was nearly double that among HIV-negative adults, even after adjusting for age, sex and adiposity. In contrast, the prevalence of hypertension among ART-naïve adults was significantly lower than that among HIV-negative adults. There was no association between use of the first line antiretroviral drugs and hypertension, suggesting that the high prevalence of drugs cannot be explained by the type of drugs used to treat HIV infection.

Of concern, only 25% of hypertensive adults were aware of their condition. Among HIV-positive adults on ART, some 75% of those with hypertension were undiagnosed, some 85% were untreated and more than 95% were uncontrolled. Importantly, hypertension was strongly associated with kidney disease. Given that this is a cross-sectional study, it is not clear whether hypertension preceded kidney disease or vice versa.

Given the high prevalence of hypertension among HIV-positive peoples and that HIV is now a treatable, chronic condition, HIV care provides an opportunity for management of hypertension and should be considered as an integral aspect of HIV care. Studies are needed to understand the role of HIV and ART in causing hypertension, so that appropriate management strategies can be developed.

Comorbidity, HIV Treatment
Africa
United Republic of Tanzania
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WHO clinical staging misses a significant proportion of antiretroviral therapy eligible individuals

Diagnostic accuracy of the WHO clinical staging system for defining eligibility for ART in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Munthali C, Taegtmeyer M, Garner PG, Lalloo DG, Squire SB, Corbett EL, Ford N, MacPherson P. J Int AIDS Soc. 2014 Jun 12;17:18932. doi: 10.7448/IAS.17.1.18932. eCollection 2014.

Introduction: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that HIV-positive adults with CD4 count ≤500 cells/mm3 initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART). In many countries of sub-Saharan Africa, CD4 count is not widely available or consistently used and instead the WHO clinical staging system is used to determine ART eligibility. However, concerns have been raised regarding its discriminatory ability to identify patients eligible to start ART. We therefore reviewed the accuracy of WHO stage 3 or 4 assessment in identifying ART eligibility according to CD4 count thresholds for ART initiation.

Methods: We systematically searched PubMed and Global Health databases and conference abstracts using a comprehensive strategy for studies that compared the Results of WHO clinical staging with CD4 count thresholds. Studies performed in sub-Saharan Africa and published in English between 1998 and 2013 were eligible for inclusion according to our predefined study protocol. Two authors independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality and risk of bias using the Quality Assessment Tool for Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS-2) tool. Summary estimates of sensitivity and specificity were derived for each CD4 count threshold and hierarchical summary receiver operator characteristic curves were plotted.

Results: Fifteen studies met the inclusion criteria, including 25 032 participants from 14 countries. Most studies assessed individuals attending ART clinics prior to treatment initiation. WHO clinical stage 3 or 4 disease had a sensitivity of 60% (95% CI: 45-73%, Q=914.26, p<0.001) and specificity of 73% (95% CI: 60-83%, Q=1439.43, p<0.001) for a CD4 threshold of ≤200 cells/mm3 (11 studies); sensitivity and specificity for a threshold of CD4 count ≤350 cells/mm3 were 45% (95% CI: 26-66%, Q=1607.31, p<0.001) and 85% (95% CI: 69-93%, Q=896.70, p<0.001), respectively (six studies). For the threshold of CD4 count ≤500 cells/mm3 sensitivity was 14% (95% CI: 13-15%) and specificity was 95% (95% CI: 94-96%) (one study).

Conclusions: When used for individual treatment decisions, WHO clinical staging misses a high proportion of individuals who are ART eligible by CD4 count, with sensitivity falling as CD4 count criteria rises. Access to accurate, accessible, robust and affordable CD4 count testing methods will be a pressing need for as long as ART initiation decisions are based on criteria other than seropositivity.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access  

Editor’s notes: This study highlights the major shortcomings of WHO clinical staging when identifying antiretroviral therapy (ART) eligible individuals, with decreasing sensitivity of clinical staging for eligibility at higher CD4 thresholds. There remains limited access to CD4 count testing in many settings in sub-Saharan Africa. The individual and public health benefit of earlier ART initiation will not be achieved unless strategies other than WHO clinical staging are implemented. Access to affordable, quality assured CD4 count testing in all ART initiation clinics may never be feasible in the most resource-constrained settings. Universal treatment, removing the need for CD4 count testing, may be the way to ensure that eligible individuals are started on ART in a timely way.

Africa
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Simple but effective management of raised intracranial pressure in cryptococcal meningitis

Cryptococcal meningitis management in Tanzania with strict schedule of serial lumbar punctures using intravenous tubing sets: an operational research study.

Meda J, Kalluvya S, Downs JA, Chofle AA, Seni J, Kidenya B, Fitzgerald DW, Peck RN. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2014 Jun 1;66(2):e31-6. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000147.

Background: Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) has a mortality rate of approximately 70% among HIV-infected adults in low-income countries. Controlling intracranial pressure (ICP) is essential in CM, but it is difficult in low-income countries because manometers and practical ICP management protocols are lacking.

Methods: As part of a continuous quality improvement project, our Tanzanian hospital initiated a new protocol for ICP management for CM. All adult inpatients with CM are included in a prospective patient registry. At the time of analysis, this registry included data from 2 years before the initiation of this new ICP management protocol and for a 9-month period after. ICP was measured at baseline and at days 3, 7, and 14 by both manometer and intravenous (IV) tubing set. All patients were given IV fluconazole according to Tanzanian treatment guidelines and were followed until 30 days after admission.

Results: Among adult inpatients with CM, 32 of 35 patients (91%) had elevated ICP on admission. Cerebrospinal fluid pressure measurements using the improvised IV tubing set demonstrated excellent agreement (r = 0.96) with manometer measurements. Compared with historical controls, the new ICP management protocol was associated with a significant reduction in 30-day mortality (16/35 [46%] vs. 48/64 [75%] in historical controls; hazard ratio = 2.1 [95% CI: 1.1 to 3.8]; P = 0.018].

Conclusions: Increased ICP is almost universal among HIV-infected adults admitted with CM in Tanzania. Intensive ICP management with a strict schedule of serial lumbar punctures reduced in-hospital mortality compared with historical controls. ICP measurement with IV tubing sets may be a good alternative in resource-limited health facilities where manometers are not available.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: Cryptococcal meningitis remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality among people with advanced HIV disease. Management is difficult in resource-limited settings. This is in part because optimal drug treatments are often not accessible, but also because of increased intracranial pressure, which may require repeated lumbar puncture. This should be done ideally using specialist equipment to measure intracranial pressure. This operational research study from United Republic of Tanzania illustrates the effectiveness of a standardised management protocol to manage intracranial pressure, using equipment which is widely available in resource-constrained settings. The simplified equipment produced pressure measurements which agreed well with measures from the “gold standard” manometer, and people managed according to this protocol experienced lower mortality than historical controls. However, mortality was still higher than would be expected in industrialised countries, illustrating the need for improved access to more effective antifungal drugs. 

Avoid TB deaths
Comorbidity, HIV Treatment
Africa
United Republic of Tanzania
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Integrating HIV, malaria and diarrhoea prevention is far more efficient than vertical programmes

Scaling up integrated prevention campaigns for global health: costs and cost-effectiveness in 70 countries. 

Marseille E, Jiwani A, Raut A, Verguet S, Walson J, Kahn JG. BMJ Open. 2014 Jun 26;4(6):e003987. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003987.

Objective: This study estimated the health impact, cost and cost-effectiveness of an integrated prevention campaign (IPC) focused on diarrhoea, malaria and HIV in 70 countries ranked by per capita disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) burden for the three diseases.

Methods: We constructed a deterministic cost-effectiveness model portraying an IPC combining counselling and testing, cotrimoxazole prophylaxis, referral to treatment and condom distribution for HIV prevention; bed nets for malaria prevention; and provision of household water filters for diarrhoea prevention. We developed a mix of empirical and modelled cost and health impact estimates applied to all 70 countries. One-way, multiway and scenario sensitivity analyses were conducted to document the strength of our findings. We used a healthcare payer's perspective, discounted costs and DALYs at 3% per year and denominated cost in 2012 US dollars.

Primary and secondary outcomes: The primary outcome was cost-effectiveness expressed as net cost per DALY averted. Other outcomes included cost of the IPC; net IPC costs adjusted for averted and additional medical costs and DALYs averted.

Results: Implementation of the IPC in the 10 most cost-effective countries at 15% population coverage would cost US$583 million over 3 years (adjusted costs of US$398 million), averting 8.0 million DALYs. Extending IPC programmes to all 70 of the identified high-burden countries at 15% coverage would cost an adjusted US$51.3 billion and avert 78.7 million DALYs. Incremental cost-effectiveness ranged from US$49 per DALY averted for the 10 countries with the most favourable cost-effectiveness to US$119, US$181, US$335, US$1 692 and US$8 340 per DALY averted as each successive group of 10 countries is added ordered by decreasing cost-effectiveness.

Conclusions: IPC appears cost-effective in many settings, and has the potential to substantially reduce the burden of disease in resource-poor countries. This study increases confidence that IPC can be an important new approach for enhancing global health.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: Increasingly governments and policy makers are seeking to identify how to invest resources most effectively, to achieve multiple health and development outcomes. This paper presents a cost-effectiveness analysis of an integrated campaign to prevent diarrhoea, malaria and HIV.  

They developed a model to estimate the cost per disability adjusted life year (DALY) averted by this intervention, across 70 countries with high disease burden, assuming 15% coverage. The authors categorise countries by income level and their opportunity index (i.e. the opportunity to avert DALYs by having a high disease burden). The findings suggest that an integrated prevention campaign (IPC) could cost as little as US$7 per DALY averted in Guinea-Bissau, a low income, high opportunity country. As would be expected, the contribution of the different IPC components varied by country, depending on their relative disease burdens. This suggests that further focusing of activities within countries may further improve efficiency.

The model was also used to consider potential roll out strategies across counties. For this, countries were grouped into blocks of 10, and ordered with increasing incremental-cost effectiveness. The authors suggest that reaching the top 40 countries with IPC, even at just 15% coverage, could achieve far greater health benefits, with a substantially lower budget, than requested under PEPFAR for antiretroviral therapy alone.

This paper provides further evidence of the need for a more integrated approach to improve population health across disease areas.

Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America
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Scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision: context matters

Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in Tanzania and Zimbabwe: service delivery intensity and modality and their influence on the age of clients.

Ashengo TA, Hatzold K, Mahler H, Rock A, Kanagat N, Magalona S, Curran K, Christensen A, Castor D, Mugurungi O, Dhlamini R, Xaba S, Njeuhmeli E. PLoS One. 2014 May 6;9(5):e83642. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083642. eCollection 2014.

Background: Scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) to 80% of men aged 15-49 within five years could avert 3.4 million new HIV infections in Eastern and Southern Africa by 2025. Since 2009, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have rapidly expanded VMMC services through different delivery (fixed, outreach or mobile) and intensity (routine services, campaign) models. This review describes the modality and intensity of VMMC services and its influence on the number and age of clients.

Methods and findings: Program reviews were conducted using data from implementing partners in Tanzania (MCHIP) and Zimbabwe (PSI). Key informant interviews (N = 13 Tanzania; N = 8 Zimbabwe) were conducted; transcripts were analyzed using Nvivo. Routine VMMC service data for May 2009-December 2012 were analyzed and presented in frequency tables. A descriptive analysis and association was performed using the z-ratio for the significance of the difference. Key informants in both Tanzania and Zimbabwe believe VMMC scale-up can be achieved by using a mix of service delivery modality and intensity approaches. In Tanzania, the majority of clients served during campaigns (59%) were aged 10-14 years while the majority during routine service delivery (64%) were above 15 (p<0.0001). In Zimbabwe, significantly more VMMCs were done during campaigns (64%) than during routine service delivery (36%) (p<0.00001); the difference in the age of clients accessing services in campaign versus non-campaign settings was significant for age groups 10-24 (p<0.05), but not for older groups.

Conclusions: In Tanzania and Zimbabwe, service delivery modalities and intensities affect client profiles in conjunction with other contextual factors such as implementing campaigns during school holidays in Zimbabwe and cultural preference for circumcision at a young age in Tanzania. Formative research needs to be an integral part of VMMC programs to guide the design of service delivery modalities in the face of, or lack of, strong social norms.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access 

Editor’s notes: To reach the target of 80% coverage within five years, an estimated 20.3 million voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) procedures among men aged 15-49 years need to be performed in eastern and southern Africa. Approximately 6 million VMMCs have been conducted by the end of 2013.  Rapid scale-up is needed, and this paper provides insights into different service delivery strategies for the scale-up. It emphasises the importance of the cultural context in shaping the uptake of VMMC. Delivery modalities include routine service delivery at existing health care facilities and campaign service delivery. Campaigns have high throughput for short periods of time, and may be conducted at a variety of sites. These include mobile sites (temporary structures) and outreach sites (structures temporarily modified for VMMC service provision). The study highlights the need for VMMC programmes to take into account the underlying social context. For example, in Tanzania, there is an underlying cultural perception that male circumcision is most appropriate before or during puberty. This is reflected in the young age of the clients, particularly during campaigns, where boys may be more susceptible to peer pressure. In Zimbabwe, circumcision was not traditionally practised, so uptake of VMMC is more strongly linked with the convenience of service provision. 

Africa
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High human papillomavirus prevalence among men in sub-Saharan Africa, especially among individuals living with HIV

Human papillomavirus prevalence among men in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Olesen TB, Munk C, Christensen J, Andersen KK, Kjaer SK. Sex Transm Infect. 2014 May 7. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2013-051456. [Epub ahead of print]

Background: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarise the available data on the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) among men in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: PubMed and Embase were searched up to 10 March 2014. Random effects meta-analyses were used to calculate a pooled prevalence of any HPV and high-risk (HR) HPV.

Results: A total of 11 studies comprising 9 342 men were identified. We found that HPV is very common among men in sub-Saharan Africa, the prevalence of any HPV ranging between 19.1% and 100%. Using random effects meta-analysis, the pooled prevalence of any HPV was 78.2% (95% CI 54.2 to 91.6) among HIV-positive and 49.4% (95% CI 30.4 to 68.6) among HIV-negative men (p=0.0632). When restricting the analyses to PCR-based studies, the pooled prevalence of any HPV was 84.5% (95% CI 74.2 to 91.2) among HIV-positive and 56.4% (95% CI 49.7 to 62.9) among HIV-negative men (p<0.0001). Of the HPV types included in the nine-valent HPV vaccine, the most common HR HPV types were HPV16 and HPV52, and HPV6 was the most common low-risk HPV type. When examining the prevalence of HPV in relation to age no clear trend was observed.

Conclusions: The prevalence of HPV is high among men in sub-Saharan Africa, which could contribute to the high rates of penile and cervical cancer in this part of the world. Implementation of the prophylactic HPV vaccines could potentially help prevent this large burden of HPV and HPV-associated disease in sub-Saharan Africa.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: The majority of cases of penile cancer and ano-genital warts are caused by genotypes of human papillomavirus (HPV) that are included in currently available vaccines. Sub-Saharan Africa has among the highest prevalence of HPV-related infections in the world. This review summarizes HPV prevalence in this region, showing strong evidence of a higher prevalence of HPV in HIV-positive men compared to HIV-negative men. The pooled prevalence of HPV by PCR shows a significant difference in prevalence by HIV status – as is seen for women. The high HPV prevalence may partly explain the higher rate of ano-genital cancer/warts among HIV-positive men. This is important for the consideration of vaccinating men as well as women against HPV in sub-Saharan Africa (although herd immunity through vaccination of women may offer men some protection in the long term). High HPV prevalence among HIV-negative men is also important given that there is some evidence for the association between prevalent penile-HPV and HIV acquisition. The high HPV prevalence may also add to the arguments for rapid scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in sub-Saharan Africa, since VMMC has been shown to reduce HPV prevalence and incidence, in addition to HIV incidence.

Africa
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Meta-analysis finds partial support for elevated HIV prevalence among the military

Systematic review and meta-analysis of HIV prevalence among men in militaries in low income and middle income countries. 

Lloyd J, Papworth E, Grant L, Beyrer C, Baral S. Sex Transm Infect. 2014 Apr 7. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2013-051463. [Epub ahead of print]

Objectives: To determine whether the current HIV prevalence in militaries of low-income and middle-income countries is higher, the same, or lower than the HIV prevalence in the adult male population of those countries.

Methods: HIV prevalence data from low-income and middle-income countries' military men were systematically reviewed during 2000-2012 from peer reviewed journals, clearing-house databases and the internet. Standardised data abstraction forms were used to collect information on HIV prevalence, military branch and sample size. Random effects meta-analyses were completed with the Mantel-Haenszel method comparing HIV prevalence among military populations with other men in each country.

Results: 2 214 studies were retrieved, of which 18 studies representing nearly 150 000 military men across 11 countries and 4 regions were included. Military male HIV prevalence across the studies ranged from 0.06% (n=22 666) in India to 13.8% (n=2 733) in Tanzania with a pooled prevalence of 1.1% (n=147 591). HIV prevalence in male military populations in sub-Saharan Africa was significantly higher when compared with reproductive age (15-49 years) adult men (OR: 2.8, 95% CI 1.01 to 7.81). HIV prevalence in longer-serving male military populations compared with reproductive age adult men was significantly higher (OR: 2.68, 95% CI 1.65 to 4.35).

Conclusions: Our data reveals that across the different settings, the burden of HIV among militaries may be higher or lower than the civilian male populations. In this study, male military populations in sub-Saharan Africa, low-income countries and longer-serving men have significantly higher HIV prevalence. Given the national security implications of the increased burden of HIV, interventions targeting military personnel in these populations should be scaled up where appropriate.

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Editor’s notes: Men in military service are considered a key population because they spend protracted periods away from home and may engage in casual or other high-risk sex. This is not just a health concern for the armed forces themselves, but countries have in the past refused the assistance of peacekeeping forces because they were deemed a source of new infections. This systematic review concludes that HIV infection rates in the military are not universally higher than among men of reproductive age in the general population. However, significantly elevated prevalence was detected in studies from sub-Saharan Africa and among military who have been in service for over one year. The latter suggests that the relatively high prevalence results from increased exposure during service rather than the disproportional recruitment of men with HIV into service. On the contrary, the prevalence among new recruits is lower than in the general population. Prevention efforts, including HIV testing and counselling, and condom distribution, need to be increased during deployment in settings where exposure to HIV is high.

Epidemiology
Africa, Asia, Latin America
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