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1.  Long-Term Biological and Behavioural Impact of an Adolescent Sexual Health Intervention in Tanzania: Follow-up Survey of the Community-Based MEMA kwa Vijana Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(6):e1000287.
David Ross and colleagues conduct a follow-up survey of the community-based MEMA kwa Vijana (“Good things for young people”) trial in rural Tanzania to assess the long-term behavioral and biological impact of an adolescent sexual health intervention.
Background
The ability of specific behaviour-change interventions to reduce HIV infection in young people remains questionable. Since January 1999, an adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) intervention has been implemented in ten randomly chosen intervention communities in rural Tanzania, within a community randomised trial (see below; NCT00248469). The intervention consisted of teacher-led, peer-assisted in-school education, youth-friendly health services, community activities, and youth condom promotion and distribution. Process evaluation in 1999–2002 showed high intervention quality and coverage. A 2001/2 intervention impact evaluation showed no impact on the primary outcomes of HIV seroincidence and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) seroprevalence but found substantial improvements in SRH knowledge, reported attitudes, and some reported sexual behaviours. It was postulated that the impact on “upstream” knowledge, attitude, and reported behaviour outcomes seen at the 3-year follow-up would, in the longer term, lead to a reduction in HIV and HSV-2 infection rates and other biological outcomes. A further impact evaluation survey in 2007/8 (∼9 years post-intervention) tested this hypothesis.
Methods and Findings
This is a cross-sectional survey (June 2007 through July 2008) of 13,814 young people aged 15–30 y who had attended trial schools during the first phase of the MEMA kwa Vijana intervention trial (1999–2002). Prevalences of the primary outcomes HIV and HSV-2 were 1.8% and 25.9% in males and 4.0% and 41.4% in females, respectively. The intervention did not significantly reduce risk of HIV (males adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] 0.91, 95%CI 0.50–1.65; females aPR 1.07, 95%CI 0.68–1.67) or HSV-2 (males aPR 0.94, 95%CI 0.77–1.15; females aPR 0.96, 95%CI 0.87–1.06). The intervention was associated with a reduction in the proportion of males reporting more than four sexual partners in their lifetime (aPR 0.87, 95%CI 0.78–0.97) and an increase in reported condom use at last sex with a non-regular partner among females (aPR 1.34, 95%CI 1.07–1.69). There was a clear and consistent beneficial impact on knowledge, but no significant impact on reported attitudes to sexual risk, reported pregnancies, or other reported sexual behaviours. The study population was likely to have been, on average, at lower risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections compared to other rural populations, as only youth who had reached year five of primary school were eligible.
Conclusions
SRH knowledge can be improved and retained long-term, but this intervention had only a limited effect on reported behaviour and no significant effect on HIV/STI prevalence. Youth interventions integrated within intensive, community-wide risk reduction programmes may be more successful and should be evaluated.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00248469
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, about 2.5 million people become infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, so individuals can reduce their risk of HIV infection by abstaining from sex, by delaying first sex, by having few partners, and by always using a condom. And, because nearly half of new HIV infections occur among youths (15- to 24-year-olds), programs targeted at adolescents that encourage these protective behaviors could have a substantial impact on the HIV epidemic. One such program is the MEMA kwa Vijana (“Good things for young people”) program in rural Tanzania. This program includes in-school sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education for pupils in their last three years of primary education (12- to 15-year-olds) that provides them with the knowledge and skills needed to delay sexual debut and to reduce sexual risk taking. Between 1999 and 2002, the program was trialed in ten randomly chosen rural communities in the Mwanza Region of Tanzania; ten similar communities that did not receive the intervention acted as controls. Since 2004, the program has been scaled up to cover more communities.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although the quality and coverage of the MEMA kwa Vijana program was good, a 2001/2002 evaluation found no evidence that the intervention had reduced the incidence of HIV (the proportion of the young people in the trial who became HIV positive during the follow-up period) or the prevalence (the proportion of the young people in the trial who were HIV positive at the end of the follow-up period) of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2, another sexually transmitted virus). However, the evaluation found improvements in SRH knowledge, in reported sexual attitudes, and in some reported sexual behaviors. Evaluations of other HIV prevention programs in other developing countries have also failed to provide strong evidence that such programs decrease the risk of HIV infection or other biological outcomes such as the frequency of other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancies, even when SRH knowledge improves. One possibility is that it takes some time for improved SRH knowledge to be reflected in true changes in sexual behavior and in HIV prevalence. In this follow-up study, therefore, researchers investigate the long-term impact of the MEMA kwa Vijana program on HIV and HSV-2 prevalence and ask whether the improvement in knowledge, reported attitudes and sexual risk behaviours seen at the 3-year follow up has persisted.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In 2007/8, the researchers surveyed nearly 14,000 young people who had attended the trial schools between 1999 and 2002. Each participant had their HIV and HSV-2 status determined and answered questions (for example, “can HIV be caught by sexual intercourse (making love) with someone,” and “if a girl accepts a gift from a boy, must she agree to have sexual intercourse (make love) with him?”) to provide three composite sexual knowledge scores and one composite attitude score. 1.8% of the male and 4.0% of the female participants were HIV positive; 25.9% and 41.4% of the male and female participants, respectively, were HSV-2 positive. The prevalences were similar among the young people whose trial communities had been randomly allocated to receive the MEMA kwa Vijana Program and those whose communities had not received it, indicating that the MEMA kwa Vijana intervention program had not reduced the risk of HIV or HSV-2. The intervention program was associated, however, with a reduction in the proportion of men reporting more than four sexual partners in their lifetime and with an increase in reported condom use at last sex with a non-regular partner among women. Finally, although the intervention had still increased SRH knowledge, it now had had no impact on reported attitudes to sexual risk, reported pregnancies, or other reported risky sexual behaviors beyond what might have happened due to chance.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in the MEMA kwa Vijana trial, SRH knowledge improved and that this improved knowledge was retained for many years. Disappointingly, however, this intervention program had only a limited effect on reported sexual behaviors and no effect on HIV and HSV-2 prevalence at the 9-year follow-up. Although these findings may not be generalizable to other adolescent populations, they suggest that intervention programs that target only adolescents might not be particularly effective. Young people might find it hard to put their improved skills and knowledge into action when challenged, for example, by widespread community attitudes such as acceptance of older male–younger female relationships. Thus, the researchers suggest that the integration of youth HIV prevention programs within risk reduction programs that tackle sexual norms and expectations in all age groups might be a more successful approach and should be evaluated.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000287.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Rachel Jewkes
More information about the MEMA kwa Vijana program is available at their Web site
Information is available from the Programme for Research and Capacity Building in Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV in Developing Countries on recent and ongoing research on HIV infection and other STIs
Information is available from the World Health Organization on HIV and on the health of young people
Information on HIV is available from UNAIDS
Information on HIV in children and adolescents is available from UNICEF
Information on HIV prevention interventions in the education sector is available from UNESCO
Information on HIV infection and AIDS is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information on HIV/AIDS and on HIV/AIDS among youth (in English and Spanish)
HIV InSitehas comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including links to information on the prevention of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS prevention and AIDS and sex education (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000287
PMCID: PMC2882431  PMID: 20543994
2.  Do accurate HIV and antiretroviral therapy knowledge, and previous testing experiences increase the uptake of HIV voluntary counselling and testing? Results from a cohort study in rural Tanzania 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:802.
Background
Despite the introduction of free antiretroviral therapy (ART), the use of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) services remains persistently low in many African countries. This study investigates how prior experience of HIV and VCT, and knowledge about HIV and ART influence VCT use in rural Tanzania.
Methods
In 2006–7, VCT was offered to study participants during the fifth survey round of an HIV community cohort study that includes HIV testing for research purposes without results disclosure, and a questionnaire covering knowledge, attitudes and practices around HIV infection and HIV services. Categorical variables were created for HIV knowledge and ART knowledge, with “good” HIV and ART knowledge defined as correctly answering at least 4/6 and 5/7 questions about HIV and ART respectively. Experience of HIV was defined as knowing people living with HIV, or having died from AIDS. Logistic regression methods were used to assess how HIV and ART knowledge, and prior experiences of HIV and VCT were associated with VCT uptake, with adjustment for HIV status and socio-demographic confounders.
Results
2,695/3,886 (69%) men and 2,708/5,575 women (49%) had “good” HIV knowledge, while 613/3,886 (16%) men and 585/5575 (10%) women had “good” ART knowledge. Misconceptions about HIV transmission were common, including through kissing (55% of women, 43% of men), or mosquito bites (42% of women, 34% of men).
19% of men and 16% of women used VCT during the survey. After controlling for HIV status and socio-demographic factors, the odds of VCT use were lower among those with poor HIV knowledge (aOR = 0.5; p = 0.01 for men and aOR = 0.6; p < 0.01 for women) and poor ART knowledge (aOR = 0.8; p = 0.06 for men, aOR = 0.8; p < 0.01 for women), and higher among those with HIV experience (aOR = 1.3 for men and aOR = 1.6 for women, p < 0.01) and positive prior VCT experience (aOR = 2.0 for all men and aOR = 2.0 for HIV-negative women only, p < 0.001).
Conclusions
Two years after the introduction of free ART in this setting, misconceptions regarding HIV transmission remain rife and knowledge regarding treatment is worryingly poor, especially among women and HIV-positive people. Further HIV-related information, education and communication activities are urgently needed to improve VCT uptake in rural Tanzania.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-802
PMCID: PMC3844310  PMID: 24007326
HIV; VCT; HIV testing; Tanzania; Cohort study
3.  The Role of HIV-Related Stigma in Utilization of Skilled Childbirth Services in Rural Kenya: A Prospective Mixed-Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(8):e1001295.
Janet Turan and colleagues examined the role of the perception of women in rural Kenya of HIV-related stigma during pregnancy on their subsequent utilization of maternity services.
Background
Childbirth with a skilled attendant is crucial for preventing maternal mortality and is an important opportunity for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The Maternity in Migori and AIDS Stigma Study (MAMAS Study) is a prospective mixed-methods investigation conducted in a high HIV prevalence area in rural Kenya, in which we examined the role of women's perceptions of HIV-related stigma during pregnancy in their subsequent utilization of maternity services.
Methods and Findings
From 2007–2009, 1,777 pregnant women with unknown HIV status completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire assessing their perceptions of HIV-related stigma before being offered HIV testing during their first antenatal care visit. After the visit, a sub-sample of women was selected for follow-up (all women who tested HIV-positive or were not tested for HIV, and a random sample of HIV-negative women, n = 598); 411 (69%) were located and completed another questionnaire postpartum. Additional qualitative in-depth interviews with community health workers, childbearing women, and family members (n = 48) aided our interpretation of the quantitative findings and highlighted ways in which HIV-related stigma may influence birth decisions. Qualitative data revealed that health facility birth is commonly viewed as most appropriate for women with pregnancy complications, such as HIV. Thus, women delivering at health facilities face the risk of being labeled as HIV-positive in the community. Our quantitative data revealed that women with higher perceptions of HIV-related stigma (specifically those who held negative attitudes about persons living with HIV) at baseline were subsequently less likely to deliver in a health facility with a skilled attendant, even after adjusting for other known predictors of health facility delivery (adjusted odds ratio = 0.44, 95% CI 0.22–0.88).
Conclusions
Our findings point to the urgent need for interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma, not only for improving quality of life among persons living with HIV, but also for better health outcomes among all childbearing women and their families.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, nearly 350,000 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications. Almost all these “maternal” deaths occur in developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the maternal mortality ratio (the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) is 500 whereas in industrialized countries it is only 12. Most maternal deaths are caused by hemorrhage (severe bleeding after childbirth), post-delivery infections, obstructed (difficult) labor, and blood pressure disorders during pregnancy. All these conditions can be prevented if women have access to adequate reproductive health services and if trained health care workers are present during delivery. Notably, in sub-Saharan Africa, infection with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) is an increasingly important contributor to maternal mortality. HIV infection causes maternal mortality directly by increasing the occurrence of pregnancy complications and indirectly by increasing the susceptibility of pregnant women to malaria, tuberculosis, and other “opportunistic” infections—HIV-positive individuals are highly susceptible to other infections because HIV destroys the immune system.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although skilled delivery attendants reduce maternal mortality, there are many barriers to their use in developing countries including cost and the need to travel long distances to health facilities. Fears and experiences of HIV-related stigma and discrimination (prejudice, negative attitudes, abuse, and maltreatment directed at people living with HIV) may also be a barrier to the use of skilled childbirth service. Maternity services are prime locations for HIV testing and for the provision of interventions for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, so pregnant women know that they will have to “deal with” the issue of HIV when visiting these services. In this prospective mixed-methods study, the researchers examine the role of pregnant women's perceptions of HIV-related stigma in their subsequent use of maternity services in Nyanza Province, Kenya, a region where 16% women aged 15–49 are HIV-positive and where only 44.2% of mothers give birth in a health facility. A mixed-methods study combines qualitative data—how people feel about an issue—with quantitative data—numerical data about outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the Maternity in Migori and AIDS Stigma (MAMAS) study, pregnant women with unknown HIV status living in rural regions of Nyanza Province answered questions about their perceptions of HIV-related stigma before being offered HIV testing during their first antenatal clinic visit. After delivery, the researchers asked the women who tested HIV positive or were not tested for HIV and a sample of HIV-negative women where they had delivered their baby. They also gathered qualitative information about barriers to maternity and HIV service use by interviewing childbearing women, family members, and community health workers. The qualitative data indicate that labor in a health facility is commonly viewed as being most appropriate for women with pregnancy complications such as HIV infection. Thus, women delivering at health facilities risk being labeled as HIV positive, a label that the community associates with promiscuity. The quantitative data indicate that women with more negative attitudes about HIV-positive people (higher perceptions of HIV-related stigma) at baseline were about half as likely to deliver in a health facility with a skilled attendant as women with more positive attitudes about people living with HIV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that HIV-related stigma is associated with the low rate of delivery by skilled attendants in rural areas of Nyanza Province and possibly in other rural regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Community mobilization efforts aimed at increasing the use of PMTCT services may be partly responsible for the strong perception that delivery in a health facility is most appropriate for women with HIV and other pregnancy complications and may have inadvertently strengthened the perception that women who give birth in such facilities are likely to be HIV positive. The researchers suggest, therefore, that health messages should stress that delivery in a health facility is recommended for all women, not just HIV-positive women or those with pregnancy complications, and that interventions should be introduced to reduce HIV-related stigma. This combined strategy has the potential to increase the use of maternity services by all women and the use of HIV and PMTCT services, thereby reducing some of the most pressing health problems facing women and their children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001295.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provides information on maternal mortality, including the WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/World Bank 2008 country estimates of maternal mortality; a UNICEF special report tells the stories of seven mothers living with HIV in Lesotho
The World Health Organization provides information on maternal health, including information about Millennium Development Goal 5, which aims to reduce maternal mortality (in several languages); the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by world leaders in 2000, are designed to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide by 2015
Immpact is a global research initiative for the evaluation of safe motherhood intervention strategies
Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis is a briefing paper published by the independent humanitarian medical aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in March 2012
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on women, HIV and AIDS, on HIV and pregnancy, on HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination, and on HIV in Kenya (in English and Spanish); Avert also has personal stories from women living with HIV
The Stigma Action Network (SAN) is a collaborative endeavor that aims to comprehensively coordinate efforts to develop and expand program, research, and advocacy strategies for reducing HIV stigma worldwide, including mobilizing stakeholders, delivering program and policy solutions, and maximizing investments in HIV programs and services globally
The People Living with Stigma Index aims to address stigma relating to HIV and advocate on key barriers and issues perpetuating stigma; it has recently published Piecing it together for women and girls, the gender dimensions of HIV-related stigma
The Health Policy Project http://www.healthpolicyproject.com has prepared a review of the academic and programmatic literature on stigma and discrimination as barriers to achievement of global goals for maternal health and the elimination of new child HIV infections (see under Resources)
More information on the MAMAS study is available from the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001295
PMCID: PMC3424253  PMID: 22927800
4.  Impact and Process Evaluation of Integrated Community and Clinic-Based HIV-1 Control: A Cluster-Randomised Trial in Eastern Zimbabwe 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(3):e102.
Background
HIV-1 control in sub-Saharan Africa requires cost-effective and sustainable programmes that promote behaviour change and reduce cofactor sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the population and individual levels.
Methods and Findings
We measured the feasibility of community-based peer education, free condom distribution, income-generating projects, and clinic-based STI treatment and counselling services and evaluated their impact on the incidence of HIV-1 measured over a 3-y period in a cluster-randomised controlled trial in eastern Zimbabwe. Analysis of primary outcomes was on an intention-to-treat basis. The income-generating projects proved impossible to implement in the prevailing economic climate. Despite greater programme activity and knowledge in the intervention communities, the incidence rate ratio of HIV-1 was 1.27 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.92–1.75) compared to the control communities. No evidence was found for reduced incidence of self-reported STI symptoms or high-risk sexual behaviour in the intervention communities. Males who attended programme meetings had lower HIV-1 incidence (incidence rate ratio 0.48, 95% CI 0.24–0.98), and fewer men who attended programme meetings reported unprotected sex with casual partners (odds ratio 0.45, 95% CI 0.28–0.75). More male STI patients in the intervention communities reported cessation of symptoms (odds ratio 2.49, 95% CI 1.21–5.12).
Conclusions
Integrated peer education, condom distribution, and syndromic STI management did not reduce population-level HIV-1 incidence in a declining epidemic, despite reducing HIV-1 incidence in the immediate male target group. Our results highlight the need to assess the community-level impact of interventions that are effective amongst targeted population sub-groups.
In cluster-randomised trial in Zimbabwe integrated peer education, condom distribution, and management of sexually transmitted infections did not reduce incidence of population-level HIV-1.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit heavily by HIV/AIDS, and Zimbabwe in particular has been very badly affected, with over one-fifth of its adult population infected with HIV. However, this proportion has been declining slowly in recent years, and the same trend has also been seen in a few other African countries. It is not clear whether these trends are related to changes in the way people behave, perhaps as a result of public health and prevention campaigns, or rather are due to changes in the natural spread of the HIV epidemic. However, there is considerable uncertainty about how we should carry out campaigns that try to get people to change their behavior. One possible approach for achieving behavior change involves peer education: that is, education carried out within the community, by at-risk community members themselves. Another approach involves tying together a set of related programs that deliver information and education through health clinics and directly in the community. Such programs are termed “integrated community and clinic-based HIV prevention.”
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers wanted to find out whether providing integrated community and clinic-based strategies for HIV prevention in Eastern Zimbabwe could reduce the proportion of people within the community infected with HIV. If successful, then the strategies could be effective elsewhere, for example in other African countries where behavior patterns and the HIV epidemic are similar to the situation studied here.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The research was done as a cluster-randomized trial. This means that different communities were assigned by chance to one of two trial arms, either an “intervention arm”, where the community and clinic-based strategies would be delivered, or a “control” arm which would not have additional services. Six pairs of communities in Eastern Zimbabwe were compared, each of which had its own health center. Control communities received the standard government services for preventing HIV. The other communities received a package of various additional strategies. These included education and condom distribution amongst sex workers and their clients; better services at sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics (STIs can increase the risk of HIV infection); and educational HIV/AIDS open days at health centers. The researchers planned to compare, between the two arms, the number of people who became infected with HIV over the course of the trial. They found that there was no statistical difference in the number of people in the intervention arm who became infected with HIV over the course of the trial, as compared to people in the control arm. Men in the intervention communities were more likely to have effective treatment for STIs, but women were more likely to show risky behaviors, such as having sex at a younger age, and having unprotected sex. However, men in the intervention communities were more knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS than men in the control communities. One strategy in the intervention arm (delivery of education and condom distribution among sex workers and their clients) may have been less successful because of the economic situation at the time, which meant that the income-generating projects that were supposed to support this initiative were impossible.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Some of the results from this trial are encouraging, for example an improvement in male participants' knowledge and behavior. However, overall, the intervention did not have an impact on the HIV infection rate in the community. Some other trials have also shown similar results. These results mean that other strategies need to be developed, and tested, which will encourage people to change their behavior patterns and reduce the risk of getting HIV. However, trials such as this are very difficult to design, carry out, and interpret. In particular, if a complex intervention such as this fails, it is often hard to tell whether it did so because the intervention was not delivered successfully, or because it did not work.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040102.
Information from Avert, an international HIV/AIDS charity, on HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe
Information from UNAIDS, the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, on strategies for HIV prevention
HIV/AIDS minisite from the World Health Organization
The Web site of the Manicaland HIV/STD Prevention Project discusses this project
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040102
PMCID: PMC1831737  PMID: 17388666
5.  Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding HIV/AIDS among male high school students in Lao People's Democratic Republic 
Introduction
Inadequate knowledge, negative attitudes and risky practices are major hindrances to preventing the spread of HIV. This study aimed to assess HIV-related knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAPs) of high school students in Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR).
Methods
A cross-sectional study on unmarried male students aged between 16 and 19 years old was undertaken in 2010 to evaluate their KAPs. We selected 300 eligible grade VII students through systematic random sampling from different high schools in one province of Lao PDR.
Results
The majority of students surveyed were aware that HIV can be transmitted by sexual intercourse (97.7%), from mother to child (88.3%) and through sharing needles or syringes (92.0%). Misconceptions about transmission of HIV were observed among 59.3% to 74.3% of respondents. Positive attitudes towards HIV/AIDS were observed among 55.7% of respondents. Nearly half of the surveyed students (45.3%) said that they would be willing to continue studying in a school with HIV-positive friends, and 124 (41.3%) said they would continue attending a school with HIV-positive teachers. Ninety-four (31.3%) students had a history of sexual intercourse, and 70.2% of these students had used a condom. However, only 43.9% said they used condoms consistently. Students with medium and high levels of knowledge were 4.3 (95% CI=2.1–9.0, P<0.001) and 13.3 (95% CI=6.5–27.4, P<0.001) times more likely to display positive attitudes towards people living with HIV. Similarly, safe practices related to safe sex were also observed among students with medium (OR=2.8, 95% CI=0.9–8.8, P=0.069) and high levels of knowledge (OR=1.9, 95% CI=0.6–6.2, P=0.284). More than three-quarters of students mentioned television and radio as major sources of information on HIV/AIDS.
Conclusions
Despite adequate knowledge about HIV/AIDS among the school students, misconceptions about routes of transmission were found. Negative attitudes to HIV/AIDS and risky practices were also present. Educational programmes with specific interventions are recommended to increase KAPs and to prevent new HIV infections among students in Lao PDR.
doi:10.7448/IAS.16.1.17387
PMCID: PMC3595419  PMID: 23481130
knowledge; attitudes; practices; HIV/AIDS; Lao PDR
6.  Predictors of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Knowledge among Jordanian Youths 
Objectives:
Understanding factors associated with the level of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) knowledge acquisition is crucial to inform preventative programmes for young people. This study examines predictors of HIV knowledge among Jordanian youths.
Methods:
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 8,129 youths aged between 14 and 25 years randomly selected from schools representing each of the 12 governorates of Jordan. A total of 50% of respondents were female and, on average, 17 years old. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire covering sociodemographic characteristics, HIV knowledge, gender awareness, exposure to and favourable attitudes toward risky behaviours.
Results:
On a 13-item HIV knowledge test, participants answered an average of 7 questions correctly (mean = 7.21; standard deviation = 2.63). Female respondents from rural areas demonstrated significantly lower levels of HIV knowledge, while college and university students demonstrated higher levels. HIV knowledge differed significantly by sources of information, with peer-acquired information associated with more accuracy, while HIV information from parents or health centres was associated with a lower score. Youths with more egalitarian gender views also demonstrated higher knowledge levels, whereas youths approving of drug use showed lower levels of HIV knowledge.
Conclusion:
HIV education programmes in Jordan should focus on females and youths living in rural areas. Educational institutions have been shown to be effective in providing accurate information to students, while parents and health professionals should also be included in HIV prevention programmes in order to reduce misconceptions and raise the level of HIV knowledge among Jordanian youths.
PMCID: PMC3706112  PMID: 23862028
HIV knowledge; Youth; Jordan; Middle East
7.  Strengthening health human resources and improving clinical outcomes through an integrated guideline and educational outreach in resource-poor settings: a cluster-randomized trial 
Trials  2010;11:118.
Background
In low-income countries, only about a third of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) patients eligible for anti-retroviral treatment currently receive it. Providing decentralized treatment close to where patients live is crucial to a faster scale up, however, a key obstacle is limited health system capacity due to a shortage of trained health-care workers and challenges of integrating HIV/AIDS care with other primary care services (e.g. tuberculosis, malaria, respiratory conditions). This study will test an adapted primary care health care worker training and guideline intervention, Practical Approach to Lung Health and HIV/AIDS Malawi (PALM PLUS), on staff retention and satisfaction, and quality of patient care.
Methods/Design
A cluster-randomized trial design is being used to compare usual care with a standardized clinical guideline and training intervention, PALM PLUS. The intervention targets middle-cadre health care workers (nurses, clinical officers, medical assistants) in 30 rural primary care health centres in a single district in Malawi. PALM PLUS is an integrated, symptom-based and user-friendly guideline consistent with Malawian national treatment protocols. Training is standardized and based on an educational outreach approach. Trainers will be front-line peer healthcare workers trained to provide outreach training and support to their fellow front-line healthcare workers during focused (1-2 hours), intermittent, interactive sessions on-site in health centers. Primary outcomes are health care worker retention and satisfaction. Secondary outcomes are clinical outcomes measured at the health centre level for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission of HIV and other primary care conditions. Effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals for outcomes will be presented. Assessment of outcomes will occur at 1 year post- implementation.
Discussion
The PALM PLUS trial aims to address a key problem: strengthening middle-cadre health care workers to support the broader scale up of HIV/AIDS services and their integration into primary care. The trial will test whether the PALM PLUS intervention improves staff satisfaction and retention, as well as the quality of patient care, when compared to usual practice.
Trial Registration
Current controlled Trials: ISRCTN47805230
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-11-118
PMCID: PMC3017521  PMID: 21129211
8.  HIV/AIDS Stigma Attitudes among Educators in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 
The Journal of School Health  2010;80(11):561-569.
Background
One hundred and twenty educators from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, underwent HIV/AIDS training. The educators were surveyed about their attitudes toward people with HIV.
Methods
The educators completed self-administered survey questionnaires both before and after two interventions. Measures included demographic characteristics, teachers' knowledge about HIV/AIDS, self-efficacy in handling HIV/AIDS situations, and attitudes (stigma and otherwise) towards HIV-related issues.
The first intervention was a CD-ROM and the second intervention involved educators receiving a two day workshop on HIV transmission, risk factors, and actions that educators should know and undertake.
The first step entailed testing the stigma instrument for its internal consistency, and developing and testing potential subscales from the instrument. The second step entailed testing for the statistical associations between stigma (as measured by the stigma instrument and its subscales) and various demographic and HIV knowledge related variables.
Results
The overall stigma scale had a Cronbach alpha coefficient of 0.66. Educators in the workshop generally had lower baseline levels of stigma than those in the CD-ROM intervention. Following both interventions the stigma levels of both groups of educators were significantly reduced. The levels of stigma reduction varied by educators' demographic indicators. The largest reductions in stigma were reported for those educators who had better general AIDS knowledge; better knowledge about risk of transmission; university education, rural residence and younger age.
Conclusions
The levels of teachers' stigma attitudes were statistically significantly lower after both types of HIV/AIDS training and were also statistically significantly associated with improvements in HIV knowledge.
doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00542.x
PMCID: PMC3366282  PMID: 21039555
School Psychology; Risk Behaviors; Human Sexuality; Health Educators
9.  A cross-sectional study to assess knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention measures in company workers in Ecuador 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:139.
Background
HIV/AIDS was first reported in Ecuador in 1984 and its prevalence has been increasing ever since. In 2009, the National AIDS Program reported 21,810 HIV/AIDS cases and confirmed that the worker population was amongst the most affected groups. The objective of this study was to assess knowledge about HIV transmission and prevention measures in company workers in Ecuador.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey based on a random sample of 115 companies (1,732 workers), stratified by three large provinces and working sectors (commerce, manufacturing and real estate) was conducted. A validated instrument developed by Family Health International was used to evaluate HIV prevention knowledge and common local misconceptions about HIV transmission. Descriptive statistics, chi square test and logistic regression analysis were performed using SAS.
Results
Incorrect knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission were found in 49.1% (95% CI: 46.6–51.6) of subjects. Incorrect knowledge was higher among males (OR = 1.73 [1.39–2.15]), older subjects (OR = 1.35 [1.02–1.77]), subjects with lower education (OR = 3.72 [2.44–5.65]), manual labor workers (OR = 2.93 [1.82–4.73]) and subjects without previous exposure to HIV intervention programs (OR = 2.26 [1.79–2.86]). Incorrect knowledge about preventive measures was found among 32.9% (95%CI: 30.6–35.2) of respondents. This proportion was higher among subjects with lower education (OR = 2.28 [1.52–3.43]), married subjects (OR = 1.34 [1.07–1.68]), manual labor workers (OR = 1.80 [1.34–2.42]), and subjects not previously exposed to HIV intervention programs (OR = 1.44 [1.14–1.83]).
Conclusions
HIV intervention programs targeting company workers are urgently needed to improve knowledge and reduce HIV transmission in Ecuador.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-139
PMCID: PMC3599812  PMID: 23410074
HIV/AIDS; Ecuador; Prevention; Transmission; Educational
10.  HIV prevalence and incidence in rural Tanzania: results from 10 years of follow-up in an open cohort study 
Background:
Antenatal Clinic-based surveillance data suggests stabilizing HIV levels in Tanzania. Data from an open demographic surveillance cohort in Northern Tanzania provide robust estimates of prevalence and incidence trends. These can help us to interpret results from national HIV surveillance.
Methods:
The Kisesa open cohort study conducted 19 rounds of household based demographic surveillance and 4 rounds of individually linked HIV serological surveys between 1994 and 2004. HIV testing was anonymous, based on informed consent without result disclosure. The effect of selective participation in sero-surveys on prevalence and incidence estimates is investigated, using longitudinal knowledge of individuals' testing histories. In addition, incidence estimates make allowance for interval censoring using a multiple imputation procedure for sero-conversion dates.
Results:
16,820 adults were interviewed and donated blood specimens for HIV testing in at least one of the four serological surveys. HIV prevalence increased steadily from 6.0% in 1994/95 to 8.3% in 2000/01, levelling out thereafter. HIV incidence increased sharply between the first and second intervals, (from 0.8% in 1994-97 to 1.2% per thousand in 1997-2000) remaining at a high level (1.1%) in 2000-03. In roadside areas incidence fell in the last inter-survey interval, especially among women, contributing to a decline in roadside prevalence, but in remote rural areas incidence (and thus prevalence) rose slightly.
Conclusion:
HIV spread is continuing in the rural part of the population suggesting a need for more intensive HIV prevention efforts and ART interventions. The levelling off in prevalence is due to a combination of high mortality among HIV infected, and a slight decrease in incidence in roadside villages.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31815a571a
PMCID: PMC2842883  PMID: 18043316
HIV prevalence; HIV incidence; HIV trend; Tanzania; measurement biases
11.  Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision: Modeling the Impact and Cost of Expanding Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in Eastern and Southern Africa 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(11):e1001132.
Emmanuel Njeuhmeli and colleagues estimate the impact and cost of scaling up adult medical male circumcision in 13 priority countries in eastern and southern Africa, finding that reaching 80% coverage and maintaining it until 2025 would avert 3.36 million new HIV infections.
Background
There is strong evidence showing that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) reduces HIV incidence in men. To inform the VMMC policies and goals of 13 priority countries in eastern and southern Africa, we estimate the impact and cost of scaling up adult VMMC using updated, country-specific data.
Methods and Findings
We use the Decision Makers' Program Planning Tool (DMPPT) to model the impact and cost of scaling up adult VMMC in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Nyanza Province in Kenya. We use epidemiologic and demographic data from recent household surveys for each country. The cost of VMMC ranges from US$65.85 to US$95.15 per VMMC performed, based on a cost assessment of VMMC services aligned with the World Health Organization's considerations of models for optimizing volume and efficiencies. Results from the DMPPT models suggest that scaling up adult VMMC to reach 80% coverage in the 13 countries by 2015 would entail performing 20.34 million circumcisions between 2011 and 2015 and an additional 8.42 million between 2016 and 2025 (to maintain the 80% coverage). Such a scale-up would result in averting 3.36 million new HIV infections through 2025. In addition, while the model shows that this scale-up would cost a total of US$2 billion between 2011 and 2025, it would result in net savings (due to averted treatment and care costs) amounting to US$16.51 billion.
Conclusions
This study suggests that rapid scale-up of VMMC in eastern and southern Africa is warranted based on the likely impact on the region's HIV epidemics and net savings. Scaling up of safe VMMC in eastern and southern Africa will lead to a substantial reduction in HIV infections in the countries and lower health system costs through averted HIV care costs.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, about 2.5 million people (mainly in sub-Saharan Africa) become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Consequently, prevention of HIV transmission is very important. Because the most common HIV transmission route is through unprotected sex with an infected partner, individuals can reduce their risk of HIV infection by abstaining from sex, by having only one or a few partners, and by using male or female condoms. There is also strong evidence that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC)—the removal of the foreskin, the loose fold of skin that covers the head of the penis—reduces the heterosexual acquisition of HIV in men by about 60%. In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended that VMMC should be offered to men as part of comprehensive HIV risk reduction programs in settings with generalized HIV epidemics and low levels of male circumcision. They also prioritized 13 countries in eastern and southern Africa for VMMC program scale-up.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of VMMC scale-up in terms of HIV infections and AIDS deaths averted (epidemiologic impact) is expected to be large, and the intervention should also reduce the costs associated with the treatment, care, and support of infected individuals. However, VMMC scale-up will require substantial funding and considerable effort by countries—many of which have weak health systems and limited resources—to train personnel, equip facilities, and provide the necessary commodities. To support planning for VMMC scale-up, the United States Agency for International Development Health Policy Initiative has collaborated with UNAIDS to develop the Decision Makers' Program Planning Tool (DMPPT), a mathematical model that allows analysts and decision makers to estimate the epidemiologic impact and cost of alternative VMMC scale-up programs. In this study, the researchers use DMPPT to estimate the impact and cost of scaling up adult VMMC in the 13 priority countries in eastern and southern Africa.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers derived VMMC unit costs for each priority country based on a cost assessment undertaken in Zimbabwe, one of the first countries to scale up VMMC services using WHO's “Models for Optimizing Volume and Efficiencies” (MOVE) guidelines. They fed these costs and recent epidemiologic data (including HIV infection rates and the effectiveness of VMMC in preventing HIV transmission) and demographic data (including the adult population size and pre-scale-up male circumcision prevalence) collected in each country into the DMPPT, together with information on the lifetime costs of HIV treatment. Results from running the DMPPT model suggest that scaling up adult VMMC to reach 80% coverage in the 13 priority countries by 2015 would require 20.33 million circumcisions to be completed between 2011 and 2015. To maintain this coverage, a further 8.42 million circumcisions would be required between 2016 and 2025. Such a scale-up would avert 3.36 million new HIV infections through 2025 and would cost US$2,000,000,000 between 2011 and 2025. However, it would result in net savings (because of averted treatment and care costs) of US$16,510,000,000.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that rapid VMMC scale-up in eastern and southern Africa is warranted, given its likely impact on the region's HIV epidemics and the resultant cost savings. However, the accuracy of these findings depends on the assumptions built into the DMPPT and on the data fed into it. For example, there could be risk behavior changes after circumcision. That is, risky sexual behaviors may increase in men who have been circumcised. However, the researchers show that, except in Rwanda, post-circumcision risk behavior change is unlikely to completely reverse the benefits of VMMC. These modeling results also assume that men seeking out VMMC services are typical of the general male population, but if they are actually at unusually low risk of HIV infection, then the benefits of VMMC reported here are likely to be overestimated. Finally, these findings assume 80% VMMC coverage. This may be optimistic, although results from Kenya indicate that this target is achievable. Thus, countries and their international partners must allocate sufficient resources to VMMC scale-up to achieve high coverage rates if they are to take full advantage of the benefits predicted here for VMMC scale-up.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001132.
This study is part of a PLoS Collection of articles on http://www.ploscollections.org/VMMC2011 and is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Review Article by Hankins et al. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001127)
Information is available from WHO, UNAIDS, and PEPFAR on all aspects of HIV/AIDS; the 2011WHO/UNAIDS progress report on VMMC scale-up in the 13 priority countries is available
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on male circumcision for the prevention of HIV transmission
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on all aspects of HIV prevention, and on HIV/AIDS in Africa (in English and Spanish)
The Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision, a resource provided by WHO, UNAIDS, and other international bodies, provides information and tools for VMMC policy development and program implementation, including information on the DMPPT and the MOVE guidance
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001132
PMCID: PMC3226464  PMID: 22140367
12.  Religion and HIV in Tanzania: influence of religious beliefs on HIV stigma, disclosure, and treatment attitudes 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:75.
Background
Religion shapes everyday beliefs and activities, but few studies have examined its associations with attitudes about HIV. This exploratory study in Tanzania probed associations between religious beliefs and HIV stigma, disclosure, and attitudes toward antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.
Methods
A self-administered survey was distributed to a convenience sample of parishioners (n = 438) attending Catholic, Lutheran, and Pentecostal churches in both urban and rural areas. The survey included questions about religious beliefs, opinions about HIV, and knowledge and attitudes about ARVs. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to assess how religion was associated with perceptions about HIV, HIV treatment, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Results
Results indicate that shame-related HIV stigma is strongly associated with religious beliefs such as the belief that HIV is a punishment from God (p < 0.01) or that people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) have not followed the Word of God (p < 0.001). Most participants (84.2%) said that they would disclose their HIV status to their pastor or congregation if they became infected. Although the majority of respondents (80.8%) believed that prayer could cure HIV, almost all (93.7%) said that they would begin ARV treatment if they became HIV-infected. The multivariate analysis found that respondents' hypothetical willingness to begin ARV treatme was not significantly associated with the belief that prayer could cure HIV or with other religious factors. Refusal of ARV treatment was instead correlated with lack of secondary schooling and lack of knowledge about ARVs.
Conclusion
The decision to start ARVs hinged primarily on education-level and knowledge about ARVs rather than on religious factors. Research results highlight the influence of religious beliefs on HIV-related stigma and willingness to disclose, and should help to inform HIV-education outreach for religious groups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-75
PMCID: PMC2656538  PMID: 19261186
13.  A process evaluation of the scale up of a youth-friendly health services initiative in northern Tanzania 
Background
While there are a number of examples of successful small-scale, youth-friendly services interventions aimed at improving reproductive health service provision for young people, these projects are often short term and have low coverage. In order to have a significant, long-term impact, these initiatives must be implemented over a sustained period and on a large scale. We conducted a process evaluation of the 10-fold scale up of an evaluated youth-friendly services intervention in Mwanza Region, Tanzania, in order to identify key facilitating and inhibitory factors from both user and provider perspectives.
Methods
The intervention was scaled up in two training rounds lasting six and 10 months. This process was evaluated through the triangulation of multiple methods: (i) a simulated patient study; (ii) focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews with health workers and trainers; (iii) training observations; and (iv) pre- and post-training questionnaires. These methods were used to compare pre- and post-intervention groups and assess differences between the two training rounds.
Results
Between 2004 and 2007, local government officials trained 429 health workers. The training was well implemented and over time, trainers' confidence and ability to lead sessions improved. The district-led training significantly improved knowledge relating to HIV/AIDS and puberty (RR ranged from 1.06 to 2.0), attitudes towards condoms, confidentiality and young people's right to treatment (RR range: 1.23-1.36). Intervention health units scored higher in the family planning and condom request simulated patient scenarios, but lower in the sexually transmitted infection scenario than the control health units. The scale up faced challenges in the selection and retention of trained health workers and was limited by various contextual factors and structural constraints.
Conclusions
Youth-friendly services interventions can remain well delivered, even after expansion through existing systems. The scaling-up process did affect some aspects of intervention quality, and our research supports others in emphasizing the need to train more staff (both clinical and non-clinical) per facility in order to ensure youth-friendly services delivery. Further research is needed to identify effective strategies to address structural constraints and broader social norms that hampered the scale up.
doi:10.1186/1758-2652-13-32
PMCID: PMC2944311  PMID: 20731835
14.  Prejudice and misconceptions about tuberculosis and HIV in rural and urban communities in Ethiopia: a challenge for the TB/HIV control program 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:400.
Background
In Ethiopia, where HIV and tuberculosis (TB) are very common, little is known about the prejudice and misconceptions of rural communities towards People living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) and TB.
Methods
We conducted a cross sectional study in Gilgel Gibe Field Research area (GGFRA) in southwest Ethiopia to assess the prejudice and misconceptions of rural and urban communities towards PLHA and TB. The study population consisted of 862 randomly selected adults in GGFRA. Data were collected by trained personnel using a pretested structured questionnaire. To triangulate the findings, 8 focus group discussions among women and men were done.
Results
Of the 862 selected study participants, 750(87%) accepted to be interviewed. The mean age of the respondents was 31.2 (SD ± 11.0). Of the total interviewed individuals, 58% of them were females. More than half of the respondents did not know the possibility of transmission of HIV from a mother to a child or by breast feeding. For fear of contagion of HIV, most people do not want to eat, drink, and share utensils or clothes with a person living with HIV/AIDS. A higher proportion of females [OR = 1.5, (95% CI: 1.0, 2.2)], non-literate individuals [OR = 2.3, (95%CI: 1.4, 3.6)], rural residents [OR = 3.8, (95%CI: 2.2, 6.6)], and individuals who had poor knowledge of HIV/AIDS [OR = 2.8, (95%CI: 1.8, 2.2)] were more likely to have high prejudice towards PLHA than respectively males, literates, urban residents and individuals with good knowledge. Exposure to cold air was implicated as a major cause of TB. Literates had a much better knowledge about the cause and methods of transmission and prevention of TB than non-literates. More than half of the individuals (56%) had high prejudice towards a patient with TB. A larger proportion of females [OR = 1.3, (95% CI: 1.0, 1.9)] and non-literate individuals [OR = 1.4, (95% CI: 1.1, 2.0)] had high prejudice towards patients with TB than males and literate individuals.
Conclusion
TB/HIV control programs in collaboration with other partners should invest more in social mobilization and education of the communities to rectify the widespread prejudice and misconceptions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-400
PMCID: PMC2909168  PMID: 20604951
15.  Preparedness of Tanzanian health facilities for outpatient primary care of hypertension and diabetes: a cross-sectional survey 
The Lancet Global Health  2014;2(5):e285-e292.
Summary
Background
Historically, health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have mainly managed acute, infectious diseases. Few data exist for the preparedness of African health facilities to handle the growing epidemic of chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs). We assessed the burden of NCDs in health facilities in northwestern Tanzania and investigated the strengths of the health system and areas for improvement with regard to primary care management of selected NCDs.
Methods
Between November, 2012, and May, 2013, we undertook a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of 24 public and not-for-profit health facilities in urban and rural Tanzania (four hospitals, eight health centres, and 12 dispensaries). We did structured interviews of facility managers, inspected resources, and administered self-completed questionnaires to 335 health-care workers. We focused on hypertension, diabetes, and HIV (for comparison). Our key study outcomes related to service provision, availability of guidelines and supplies, management and training systems, and preparedness of human resources.
Findings
Of adult outpatient visits to hospitals, 58% were for chronic diseases compared with 20% at health centres, and 13% at dispensaries. In many facilities, guidelines, diagnostic equipment, and first-line drug therapy for the primary care of NCDs were inadequate, and management, training, and reporting systems were weak. Services for HIV accounted for most chronic disease visits and seemed stronger than did services for NCDs. Ten (42%) facilities had guidelines for HIV whereas three (13%) facilities did for NCDs. 261 (78%) health workers showed fair knowledge of HIV, whereas 198 (59%) did for hypertension and 187 (56%) did for diabetes. Generally, health systems were weaker in lower-level facilities. Front-line health-care workers (such as non-medical-doctor clinicians and nurses) did not have knowledge and experience of NCDs. For example, only 74 (49%) of 150 nurses had at least fair knowledge of diabetes care compared with 85 (57%) of 150 for hyptertension and 119 (79%) of 150 for HIV, and only 31 (21%) of 150 had seen more than five patients with diabetes in the past 3 months compared with 50 (33%) of 150 for hypertension and 111 (74%) of 150 for HIV.
Interpretation
Most outpatient services for NCDs in Tanzania are provided at hospitals, despite present policies stating that health centres and dispensaries should provide such services. We identified crucial weaknesses (and strengths) in health systems that should be considered to improve primary care for NCDs in Africa and identified ways that HIV programmes could serve as a model and structural platform for these improvements.
Funding
UK Medical Research Council.
doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(14)70033-6
PMCID: PMC4013553  PMID: 24818084
16.  Changes in HIV Incidence among People Who Inject Drugs in Taiwan following Introduction of a Harm Reduction Program: A Study of Two Cohorts 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(4):e1001625.
Kenrad Nelson and colleagues report on the association between HIV incidence and exposure to a national harm-reduction program among people who inject drugs in Taiwan.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Harm reduction strategies for combating HIV epidemics among people who inject drugs (PWID) have been implemented in several countries. However, large-scale studies using sensitive measurements of HIV incidence and intervention exposures in defined cohorts are rare. The aim of this study was to determine the association between harm reduction programs and HIV incidence among PWID.
Methods and Findings
The study included two populations. For 3,851 PWID who entered prison between 2004 and 2010 and tested HIV positive upon incarceration, we tested their sera using a BED HIV-1 capture enzyme immunoassay to estimate HIV incidence. Also, we enrolled in a prospective study a cohort of 4,357 individuals who were released from prison via an amnesty on July 16, 2007. We followed them with interviews at intervals of 6–12 mo and by linking several databases. A total of 2,473 participants who were HIV negative in January 2006 had interviews between then and 2010 to evaluate the association between use of harm reduction programs and HIV incidence. We used survival methods with attendance at methadone clinics as a time-varying covariate to measure the association with HIV incidence. We used a Poisson regression model and calculated the HIV incidence rate to evaluate the association between needle/syringe program use and HIV incidence. Among the population of PWID who were imprisoned, the implementation of comprehensive harm reduction programs and a lower mean community HIV viral load were associated with a reduced HIV incidence among PWID. The HIV incidence in this population of PWID decreased from 18.2% in 2005 to 0.3% in 2010. In an individual-level analysis of the amnesty cohort, attendance at methadone clinics was associated with a significantly lower HIV incidence (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.20, 95% CI: 0.06–0.67), and frequent users of needle/syringe program services had lower HIV incidence (0% in high NSP users, 0.5% in non NSP users). In addition, no HIV seroconversions were detected among prison inmates.
Conclusions
Although our data are affected by participation bias, they strongly suggest that comprehensive harm- reduction services and free treatment were associated with reversal of a rapidly emerging epidemic of HIV among PWID.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 35 million people worldwide are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and about 2.3 million people become newly infected every year. HIV is mainly transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner. However, people who inject drugs (PWID) have a particularly high risk of HIV infection because blood transfer through needle and syringe sharing can transmit the virus. It is estimated that 5%–10% of all people living with HIV are PWID. Indeed, in some regions of the world the primary route of HIV transmission is through shared drug injection equipment and the prevalence (the proportion of a population that has a specific disease) of HIV infection among PWID is very high. In Asia, for example, more than a quarter of PWID are HIV positive. Because the high prevalence of HIV among PWID poses a global health challenge, bodies such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS endorse harm reduction strategies to prevent risky injection behaviors among PWID. These strategies include the provision of clean needles and syringes, opioid substitution therapy such as methadone maintenance treatment, and antiretroviral treatment for HIV-positive PWID.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although harm reduction strategies for combating HIV epidemics among PWID have been implemented in several countries, few large-scale studies have examined the association between HIV incidence (the proportion of new cases of HIV in a population per year) and exposure to harm reduction programs among PWID. In this cohort study (an investigation that determines the characteristics of a group of people and then follows them over time), the researchers determine the association between harm reduction programs and HIV incidence among PWID in Taiwan. HIV infections used to be rare among the 60,000 PWID living in Taiwan, but after the introduction of a new HIV strain into the country in 2003, an HIV epidemic spread rapidly. In response, the Taiwanese government introduced a pilot program of harm reduction that included the provision of clean needles and syringes and health education in July 2005. The program was expanded to include methadone maintenance treatment in early 2006 and implemented nationwide in June 2006.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled two study populations. The first cohort comprised 3,851 PWID who were incarcerated for illicit drug use between 2004 and 2010 and who tested positive for HIV upon admission into prison. By using the BED assay, which indicates whether an HIV infection is recent, the researchers were able to determine the HIV incidence among the prisoners. In 2004, the estimated HIV incidence among prisoners with a history of drug injection was 6.44%. The incidence peaked in 2005 at 18.2%, but fell to 0.3% in 2010.
The second study population comprised 2,473 individuals who were HIV negative on January 1, 2006, and who had been incarcerated for drug use crimes but were released on July 16, 2007, during an amnesty. The researchers regularly interviewed these participants between their release and 2010 about their use of harm reduction interventions, and obtained other data about them (for example, diagnosis of HIV infection) from official databases. Analysis of all these data indicated that, in this cohort, attendance at methadone maintenance treatment clinics and frequent use of needle and syringe services were both associated with a significantly lower HIV incidence.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the introduction of a comprehensive harm reduction program in Taiwan was associated with a significant reduction in the HIV incidence rate among PWID. These findings must be interpreted with caution, however. First, because the participants in the study were selected from PWID with histories of incarceration, the findings may not be representative of all PWID in Taiwan or of PWID in other countries. Second, PWID who chose to use needle and syringe services or methadone maintenance treatment clinics might have shared other unknown characteristics that affected their risk of HIV infection. Finally, some of the reduction in HIV incidence seen during the study is likely to be associated with the availability of free treatment, which has been offered to all HIV-positive individuals in Taiwan since 1997. Despite these limitations, these findings suggest that countries with a high prevalence and incidence of HIV among PWID should provide comprehensive harm reduction services to their populations to reduce risky drug injection behaviors.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001625.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on injecting drug users and HIV/AIDS and on harm reduction and HIV prevention (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute on Drug Abuse also provides information about drug abuse and HIV/AIDS (in English and Spanish)
The 2013 UNAIDS World AIDS Day report provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, Nam/aidsmap, and Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001625
PMCID: PMC3979649  PMID: 24714449
17.  Knowledge of HIV/AIDS and attitude towards voluntary counseling and testing among adults. 
BACKGROUND: Nigeria has the third highest population of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Despite this, the knowledge of HIV/AIDS and uptake of voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) is still low, especially in the rural areas. This study assessed knowledge of HIV/AIDS and attitude towards VCT among adults in a rural community in northern Nigeria. METHODS: A pretested questionnaire was administered on a cross-section of 210 adults in Danbare village, northern Nigeria. Information about knowledge of HIV/AIDS and attitudes toward VCT was elicited among respondents. RESULTS: The majority of respondents (59%) did not know the causative agent of AIDS; however, knowledge of route of disease transmission was high, with 71% and 64% of study participants mentioning sexual activity and unscreened blood transfusion, respectively, as possible transmission routes. Respondents listed avoidance of premarital sex, outlawing prostitution, condom use and screening of blood before transfusion as protective measures. Overall, 58 (27.6%), 80 (38.1%) and 72 (34.3%) of the respondents had good, fair and poor knowledge of HIV/AIDS, respectively. After adjusting for confounders, female gender and formal education remained significant predictors of HIV/AIDS knowledge. Reasons for rejection of VCT included fear of stigma, marital disharmony, incurable nature of the disease and cost of treatment. Formal education, female gender and HIV knowledge significantly predicted positive attitude toward VCT for HIV/AIDS among the study population. CONCLUSION: More than half of the respondents had adequate knowledge of HIV/AIDS, and the majority were willing to have VCT. However, misconceptions, fear, gaps in knowledge and limited access to VCT remain prevalent. Our findings suggest the need to provide health education and scale up VCT services in northern Nigeria by targeting the efforts of international and local development partners to underserved rural areas.
PMCID: PMC2569677  PMID: 17225834
18.  A comparison of HIV/AIDS-related stigma in four countries: Negative attitudes and perceived acts of discrimination towards people living with HIV/AIDS☆ 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2009;68(12):2279-2287.
HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination have a substantial impact on people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA). The objectives of this study were: (1) to determine the associations of two constructs of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination (negative attitudes towards PLHA and perceived acts of discrimination towards PLHA) with previous history of HIV testing, knowledge of antiretroviral therapies (ARVs) and communication regarding HIV/AIDS and (2) to compare these two constructs across the five research sites with respect to differing levels of HIV prevalence and ARV coverage, using data presented from the baseline survey of U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Project Accept, a four-country HIV prevention trial in Sub-Saharan Africa (Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa) and northern Thailand. A household probability sample of 14,203 participants completed a survey including a scale measuring HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination. Logistic regression models determined the associations between negative attitudes and perceived discrimination with individual history of HIV testing, knowledge of ARVs and communication regarding HIV/AIDS. Spearman's correlation coefficients determined the relationships between negative attitudes and perceived discrimination and HIV prevalence and ARV coverage at the site-level. Negative attitudes were related to never having tested for HIV, lacking knowledge of ARVs, and never having discussed HIV/AIDS. More negative attitudes were found in sites with the lowest HIV prevalence (i.e., Tanzania and Thailand) and more perceived discrimination against PLHA was found in sites with the lowest ARV coverage (i.e., Tanzania and Zimbabwe). Programs that promote widespread HIV testing and discussion of HIV/AIDS, as well as education regarding and universal access to ARVs, may reduce HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.
doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.04.005
PMCID: PMC4029331  PMID: 19427086
Sub-Saharan Africa; Thailand; HIV/AIDS; Stigma; Discrimination; Tanzania; Zimbabwe; South Africa
19.  Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV by healthcare providers, Southwest Ethiopia 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:522.
Background
Stigma and discrimination against people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are obstacles in the way of effective responses to HIV. Understanding the extent of stigma / discrimination and the underlying causes is necessary for developing strategies to reduce them. This study was conducted to explore stigma and discrimination against PLHIV amongst healthcare providers in Jimma zone, Southwest Ethiopia.
Methods
A cross-sectional study, employing quantitative and qualitative methods, was conducted in 18 healthcare institutions of Jimma zone, during March 14 to April 14, 2011. A total of 255 healthcare providers responded to questionnaires asking about sociodemographic characteristics, HIV knowledge, perceived institutional support and HIV-related stigma and discrimination. Factor analysis was employed to create measurement scales for stigma and factor scores were used in one way analysis of variance (ANOVA), T-tests, Pearson’s correlation and multiple linear regression analyses. Qualitative data collected using key-informant interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were employed to triangulate with the findings from the quantitative survey.
Results
Mean stigma scores (as the percentages of maximum scale scores) were: 66.4 for the extra precaution scale, 52.3 for the fear of work-related HIV transmission, 49.4 for the lack of feelings of safety, 39.0 for the value-driven stigma, 37.4 for unethical treatment of PLHIV, 34.4 for discomfort around PLHIV and 31.1 for unofficial disclosure. Testing and disclosing test results without consent, designating HIV clients and unnecessary referral to other healthcare institutions and refusal to treat clients were identified. Having in-depth HIV knowledge, the perception of institutional support, attending training on stigma and discrimination, educational level of degree or higher, high HIV case loads, the presence of ART service in the healthcare facility and claiming to be non-religious were negative predictors of stigma and discrimination as measured by the seven latent factors.
Conclusions
Higher levels of stigma and discrimination against PLHIV were associated with lack of in-depth knowledge on HIV and orientation about policies against stigma and discrimination. Hence, we recommend health managers to ensure institutional support through availing of clear policies and guidelines and the provision of appropriate training on the management of HIV/AIDS.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-522
PMCID: PMC3506482  PMID: 22794201
Stigma and discrimination; Healthcare providers; HIV/AIDS
20.  The Cost and Impact of Scaling Up Pre-exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention: A Systematic Review of Cost-Effectiveness Modelling Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(3):e1001401.
Gabriela Gomez and colleagues systematically review cost-effectiveness modeling studies of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for preventing HIV transmission and identify the main considerations to address when considering the introduction of PrEP to HIV prevention programs.
Background
Cost-effectiveness studies inform resource allocation, strategy, and policy development. However, due to their complexity, dependence on assumptions made, and inherent uncertainty, synthesising, and generalising the results can be difficult. We assess cost-effectiveness models evaluating expected health gains and costs of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) interventions.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review comparing epidemiological and economic assumptions of cost-effectiveness studies using various modelling approaches. The following databases were searched (until January 2013): PubMed/Medline, ISI Web of Knowledge, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination databases, EconLIT, and region-specific databases. We included modelling studies reporting both cost and expected impact of a PrEP roll-out. We explored five issues: prioritisation strategies, adherence, behaviour change, toxicity, and resistance. Of 961 studies retrieved, 13 were included. Studies modelled populations (heterosexual couples, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs) in generalised and concentrated epidemics from Southern Africa (including South Africa), Ukraine, USA, and Peru. PrEP was found to have the potential to be a cost-effective addition to HIV prevention programmes in specific settings. The extent of the impact of PrEP depended upon assumptions made concerning cost, epidemic context, programme coverage, prioritisation strategies, and individual-level adherence. Delivery of PrEP to key populations at highest risk of HIV exposure appears the most cost-effective strategy. Limitations of this review include the partial geographical coverage, our inability to perform a meta-analysis, and the paucity of information available exploring trade-offs between early treatment and PrEP.
Conclusions
Our review identifies the main considerations to address in assessing cost-effectiveness analyses of a PrEP intervention—cost, epidemic context, individual adherence level, PrEP programme coverage, and prioritisation strategy. Cost-effectiveness studies indicating where resources can be applied for greatest impact are essential to guide resource allocation decisions; however, the results of such analyses must be considered within the context of the underlying assumptions made.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year approximately 2.5 million people are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Behavioral strategies like condom use and reduction of sexual partners have been the hallmarks of HIV prevention efforts. However, biological prevention measures have also recently been shown to be effective. These include male circumcision, treatment as prevention (treating HIV-infected people with antiretroviral drugs to reduce transmission), and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), where people not infected with HIV take antiretroviral drugs to reduce the probability of transmission. Strategies such as PrEP may be viable prevention measure for couples in long-term relationships where one partner is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative (HIV serodiscordant couples) or groups at higher risk of HIV infection, such as men who have sex with men, and injection drug users.
Why Was This Study Done?
The findings from recent clinical trials that demonstrate PrEP can reduce HIV transmission have led to important policy discussions and in the US, Southern Africa, and the UK new clinical guidelines have been developed on the use of PrEP for the prevention of HIV infection. For those countries that are considering whether to introduce PrEP into HIV prevention programs, national policy and decision makers need to determine potential costs and health outcomes. Cost-effectiveness models—mathematical models that simulate cost and health effects of different interventions—can help inform such decisions. However, the cost-effectiveness estimates that could provide guidance for PrEP programs are dependent on, and limited by, the assumptions included in the models, which can make their findings difficult to generalize. A systematic comparison of published cost-effectiveness models of HIV PrEP interventions would be useful for policy makers who are considering introducing PrEP intervention programs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers performed a systematic review to identify published cost-effectiveness models that evaluated the health gains and costs of HIV PrEP interventions. Systematic reviews attempt to identify, appraise, and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question by using explicit methods aimed at minimizing bias. By searching databases the authors identified 13 published studies that evaluated the impact of PrEP in different populations (heterosexual couples, men who have sex with men, and injection drug users) in different geographic settings, which included Southern Africa, Ukraine, US, and Peru.
The authors identified seven studies that assessed the introduction of PrEP into generalized HIV epidemics in Southern Africa. These studies suggest that PrEP may be a cost effective intervention to prevent heterosexual transmission. However, the authors note that funding PrEP while other cost-effective HIV prevention methods are underfunded in this setting may have high opportunity costs. The authors identified five studies where PrEP was introduced for concentrated epidemics among men who have sex with men (four studies in the US and one in Peru). These studies suggest that PrEP may have a substantial impact on the HIV epidemic but may not be affordable at current drug prices. The authors also identified a single study that modeled the introduction of PrEP for people who inject drugs in the Ukraine, which found PrEP not to be cost effective.
In all settings the price of antiretroviral drugs was found to be a limiting factor in terms of affordability of PrEP programs. Behavioral changes and adherence to PrEP were estimated to have potentially significant impacts on program effectiveness but the emergence of drug resistance or PrEP-related toxicity did not significantly affect cost-effectiveness estimates. Several PrEP prioritization strategies were explored in included studies and delivering PrEP to populations at highest risk of HIV exposure was shown to improve cost-effectiveness estimates. However, the extra costs of identifying and engaging with high-risk populations were not taken into consideration. The authors note that the geographic coverage of identified studies was limited and that the findings are very dependent on the setting which limits generalizability.
What Do these Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that PrEP could be a cost-effective tool to reduce new HIV infections in some settings. However, the cost-effectiveness of PrEP is dependent upon cost, the epidemic context, program coverage and prioritization strategies, participants' adherence to the drug regimen, and PrEP efficacy estimates. These findings will aid decision makers quantify and compare the reductions in HIV incidence that could be achieved by implementing a PrEP program.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001401.
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has information on HIV/AIDS
aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and has a section on PrEP
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including HIV prevention
AVAC Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention provides information on HIV prevention, including PrEP
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information on PrEP
The World Health Organization has a page on its WHO-CHOICE criteria for cost-effectiveness
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001401
PMCID: PMC3595225  PMID: 23554579
21.  Developing a competency-based curriculum in HIV for nursing schools in Haiti 
Background
Preparing health workers to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic is an urgent challenge in Haiti, where the HIV prevalence rate is 2.2% and approximately 10 100 people are taking antiretroviral treatment. There is a critical shortage of doctors in Haiti, leaving nurses as the primary care providers for much of the population. Haiti's approximately 1000 nurses play a leading role in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. However, nurses do not receive sufficient training at the pre-service level to carry out this important work.
Methods
To address this issue, the Ministry of Health and Population collaborated with the International Training and Education Center on HIV over a period of 12 months to create a competency-based HIV/AIDS curriculum to be integrated into the 4-year baccalaureate programme of the four national schools of nursing.
Results
Using a review of the international health and education literature on HIV/AIDS competencies and various models of curriculum development, a Haiti-based curriculum committee developed expected HIV/AIDS competencies for graduating nurses and then drafted related learning objectives. The committee then mapped these learning objectives to current courses in the nursing curriculum and created an 'HIV/AIDS Teaching Guide' for faculty on how to integrate and achieve these objectives within their current courses. The curriculum committee also created an 'HIV/AIDS Reference Manual' that detailed the relevant HIV/AIDS content that should be taught for each course.
Conclusion
All nursing students will now need to demonstrate competency in HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, skills and attitudes during periodic assessment with direct observation of the student performing authentic tasks. Faculty will have the responsibility of developing exercises to address the required objectives and creating assessment tools to demonstrate that their graduates have met the objectives. This activity brought different administrators, nurse leaders and faculty from four geographically dispersed nursing schools to collaborate on a shared goal using a process that could be easily replicated to integrate any new topic in a resource-constrained pre-service institution. It is hoped that this experience provided stakeholders with the experience, skills and motivation to strengthen other domains of the pre-service nursing curriculum, improve the synchronization of didactic and practical training and develop standardized, competency-based examinations for nursing licensure in Haiti.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-6-17
PMCID: PMC2535593  PMID: 18759986
22.  Empowering the people: Development of an HIV peer education model for low literacy rural communities in India 
Background
Despite ample evidence that HIV has entered the general population, most HIV awareness programs in India continue to neglect rural areas. Low HIV awareness and high stigma, fueled by low literacy, seasonal migration, gender inequity, spatial dispersion, and cultural taboos pose extra challenges to implement much-needed HIV education programs in rural areas. This paper describes a peer education model developed to educate and empower low-literacy communities in the rural district of Perambalur (Tamil Nadu, India).
Methods
From January to December 2005, six non-governmental organizations (NGO's) with good community rapport collaborated to build and pilot-test an HIV peer education model for rural communities. The program used participatory methods to train 20 NGO field staff (Outreach Workers), 102 women's self-help group (SHG) leaders, and 52 barbers to become peer educators. Cartoon-based educational materials were developed for low-literacy populations to convey simple, comprehensive messages on HIV transmission, prevention, support and care. In addition, street theatre cultural programs highlighted issues related to HIV and stigma in the community.
Results
The program is estimated to have reached over 30 000 villagers in the district through 2051 interactive HIV awareness programs and one-on-one communication. Outreach workers (OWs) and peer educators distributed approximately 62 000 educational materials and 69 000 condoms, and also referred approximately 2844 people for services including voluntary counselling and testing (VCT), care and support for HIV, and diagnosis and treatment of sexually-transmitted infections (STI). At least 118 individuals were newly diagnosed as persons living with HIV (PLHIV); 129 PLHIV were referred to the Government Hospital for Thoracic Medicine (in Tambaram) for extra medical support. Focus group discussions indicate that the program was well received in the communities, led to improved health awareness, and also provided the peer educators with increased social status.
Conclusion
Using established networks (such as community-based organizations already working on empowerment of women) and training women's SHG leaders and barbers as peer educators is an effective and culturally appropriate way to disseminate comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS to low-literacy communities. Similar models for reaching and empowering vulnerable populations should be expanded to other rural areas.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-6-6
PMCID: PMC2377249  PMID: 18423006
23.  Offering an American Graduate Medical HIV Course to Health Care Workers in Resource-Limited Settings via the Internet 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52663.
Background
Western accredited medical universities can offer graduate-level academic courses to health care workers (HCWs) in resource-limited settings through the internet. It is not known whether HCWs are interested in these online courses, whether they can perform as well as matriculated students, or whether such courses are educationally or practically relevant.
Methods and Findings
In 2011, the University of Washington (UW) Schools of Medicine and Nursing offered the graduate course, “Clinical Management of HIV”, to HCWs that included a demographic survey, knowledge assessment, and course evaluation. UW faculty delivered HIV clinical topics through ten 2-hour weekly sessions from the perspectives of practicing HIV medicine in developed and developing settings. HCWs viewed lectures through Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro (Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA), and completed online homework on HIV Web Study (http://depts.washington.edu/hivaids/) and online quizzes. HCWs, who met the same passing requirements as UW students by attending 80% lectures, completing ≥90% homework, and achieving a cumulative ≥70% grade on quizzes, were awarded a certificate. 369 HCWs at 33 sites in 21 countries joined the course in 2011, a >15-fold increase since the course was first offered in 2007. The majority of HCWs came from Africa (72%), and most were physicians (41%), nurses (22%), or midlevel practitioners (20%). 298 HCWs (81%) passed all requirements and earned a certificate. In a paired analysis of pre- and post-course HIV knowledge assessments, 56% of HCWs improved their post-course score (p<0.0001) with 27% improving by at least 30%. In the course evaluation, most HCWs rated the course as excellent (53%) or very good (39%).
Conclusions
This online HIV course demonstrated that opening a Western graduate medical and nursing curriculum to HCWs in resource-limited settings is feasible, popular, and valuable, and may address logistic and economic barriers to the provision of high quality education in these settings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052663
PMCID: PMC3527561  PMID: 23285139
24.  Community-based interventions that work to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination: results of an evaluation study in Thailand 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2013;16(3Suppl 2):18711.
Introduction
HIV stigma and discrimination are major issues affecting people living with HIV in their everyday lives. In Thailand, a project was implemented to address HIV stigma and discrimination within communities with four activities: (1) monthly banking days; (2) HIV campaigns; (3) information, education and communication (IEC) materials and (4) “Funfairs.” This study evaluates the effect of project interventions on reducing community-level HIV stigma.
Methods
A repeated cross-sectional design was developed to measure changes in HIV knowledge and HIV-related stigma domains among community members exposed to the project. Two cross-sectional surveys were implemented at baseline (respondent n=560) and endline (respondent n=560). T-tests were employed to assess changes on three stigma domains: fear of HIV infection through daily activity, shame associated with having HIV and blame towards people with HIV. Baseline scales were confirmed at endline, and each scale was regressed on demographic characteristics, HIV knowledge and exposure to intervention activities.
Results
No differences were observed in respondent characteristics at baseline and endline. Significant changes were observed in HIV transmission knowledge, fear of HIV infection and shame associated with having HIV from baseline to endline. Respondents exposed to three specific activities (monthly campaign, Funfair and IEC materials) were less likely to exhibit stigma along the dimensions of fear (3.8 points lower on average compared to respondents exposed to none or only one intervention; 95% CI: −7.3 to −0.3) and shame (4.1 points lower; 95% CI: −7.7 to −0.6), net of demographic controls and baseline levels of stigma. Personally knowing someone with HIV was associated with low fear and shame, and females were less likely to possess attitudes of shame compared to males.
Conclusions
The multivariate linear models suggest that a combination of three interventions was critical in shifting community-level stigma – monthly campaign, Funfair and IEC materials. This is especially important given Thailand's new national AIDS strategy to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination by half by 2016. Knowing which interventions to invest in for HIV stigma reduction is crucial for country-wide expansion and scale-up of intervention activities.
doi:10.7448/IAS.16.3.18711
PMCID: PMC3833104  PMID: 24242262
evaluation; HIV; AIDS; stigma; discrimination; Thailand; PLHIV
25.  Uptake of Workplace HIV Counselling and Testing: A Cluster-Randomised Trial in Zimbabwe 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(7):e238.
Background
HIV counselling and testing is a key component of both HIV care and HIV prevention, but uptake is currently low. We investigated the impact of rapid HIV testing at the workplace on uptake of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT).
Methods and Findings
The study was a cluster-randomised trial of two VCT strategies, with business occupational health clinics as the unit of randomisation. VCT was directly offered to all employees, followed by 2 y of open access to VCT and basic HIV care. Businesses were randomised to either on-site rapid HIV testing at their occupational clinic (11 businesses) or to vouchers for off-site VCT at a chain of free-standing centres also using rapid tests (11 businesses). Baseline anonymised HIV serology was requested from all employees.
HIV prevalence was 19.8% and 18.4%, respectively, at businesses randomised to on-site and off-site VCT. In total, 1,957 of 3,950 employees at clinics randomised to on-site testing had VCT (mean uptake by site 51.1%) compared to 586 of 3,532 employees taking vouchers at clinics randomised to off-site testing (mean uptake by site 19.2%). The risk ratio for on-site VCT compared to voucher uptake was 2.8 (95% confidence interval 1.8 to 3.8) after adjustment for potential confounders. Only 125 employees (mean uptake by site 4.3%) reported using their voucher, so that the true adjusted risk ratio for on-site compared to off-site VCT may have been as high as 12.5 (95% confidence interval 8.2 to 16.8).
Conclusions
High-impact VCT strategies are urgently needed to maximise HIV prevention and access to care in Africa. VCT at the workplace offers the potential for high uptake when offered on-site and linked to basic HIV care. Convenience and accessibility appear to have critical roles in the acceptability of community-based VCT.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Since the first case of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) was reported 25 years ago, AIDS has become a major worldwide epidemic, with 3 million people dying from it in 2005. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is usually spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner. HIV damages the immune system, leaving infected individuals unable to fight off other viruses and bacteria. HIV infections can be treated with drugs know as “antiretrovirals,” and in an effort to deal with the global epidemic, world leaders have committed themselves to providing universal access to these drugs for everyone who needs them by 2010. Unfortunately, although access to antiretrovirals is rapidly increasing, so is the number of people infected with HIV. Last year, there were about 5 million new HIV infections, suggesting that more emphasis on prevention will be needed to halt or reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS. An important part of prevention is testing for HIV infection, but globally only 10% of people who need testing can access it. And even where such services are available, few people use them because of the stigma attached to HIV infection and fear of discrimination.
Why Was This Study Done?
There is limited understanding about the factors that determine whether an individual will decide to have an HIV test. Yet, to reduce HIV spread, as many people at risk of infection must be tested as possible. Previous studies on VCT—a combination of voluntary testing and counseling about the implications of HIV infection and how to avoid transmitting the virus—have indicated that the convenience of getting the test, whether the test is directly offered, and the attitude of staff supplying it are all very important. In this study, the researchers asked whether providing VCT in the workplace could improve the “uptake” of HIV testing in Africa, where the HIV/AIDS epidemic is most widespread.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified businesses with occupational health clinics in Zimbabwe, a country where 25% of adults carry HIV, and divided them into two “intervention” groups. Employees at half the businesses were offered “on-site VCT”—pre-test counseling followed by same-day on-site rapid testing, results, and post-test counseling. Employees at the other businesses had the same pre-test counseling but were offered a voucher for an HIV test at an off-site testing center and a later appointment to discuss the results—so-called off-site VCT. Everyone had the same access to limited HIV care should they need it. Although half of the employees at the on-site VCT businesses took up the option of HIV testing, only a fifth of employees at the off-site VCT businesses accepted vouchers for testing, and only one in five of these people actually used their voucher. This means that on-site VCT resulted in about 12 times as many HIV tests as off-site VCT. In both interventions, most of the people who accepted testing did so soon after entering the study and very few people were tested more than once. Finally, people 25 years old or younger, manual workers, and single people were most likely to accept testing in both interventions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that on-site VCT in the workplace might be one way to improve uptake of HIV testing in Africa from its current low level and that providing VCT intermittently might be as effective as continuous provision. Importantly, say the researchers, the results of their study show that a relatively minor change in accessibility to testing can translate into a major difference in test uptake. This may hold true in non-occupational settings. However, these observations need to be repeated in more businesses and other settings, including those where there is no linked HIV care, before they can be generalized. Also, this study reports on the acceptability of this approach to providing VCT, but not on its impact on HIV prevention. As such the results do not indicate whether workplace VCT prevents HIV spread as effectively as other ways of delivering VCT. This will require research investigating how HIV incidence among HIV-negative employees and the partners of HIV-positive employees are affected by different VCT strategies.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030238.
• United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases factsheet on HIV infection and AIDS
• United States Department of Health and Human Services information on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and research
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on HIV/AIDS
• UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) information on political issues related to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the 2004 UNAIDS/World Health Organization policy statement on HIV testing
•  Aidsmap: information on HIV and AIDS provided by the charity NAM, which includes the latest scientific and political news
• MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on HIV/AIDS
Voluntary counseling and testing for HIV has the potential for high uptake when it is offered on-site at the workplace and linked to basic HIV care.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030238
PMCID: PMC1483908  PMID: 16796402

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