To investigate the relationship between male involvement in prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services and infant HIV acquisition and mortality a prospective cohort study was undertaken between 1999 and 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya.
HIV-infected pregnant women were enrolled and followed with their infants for 1 year with infant HIV DNA testing at birth, 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months postpartum. Women were encouraged to invite male partners for prevention counseling and HIV testing.
Among 456 female participants, 140 (31%) partners attended the antenatal clinic. Eighty-two (19%) of 441 infants tested were HIV infected by one year of age. Adjusting for maternal viral load, vertical transmission risk was lower among women with partner attendance compared to those without (Adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]=0.56, 95% CI 0.33–0.98; P=0.042) and among women reporting versus not reporting previous partner HIV testing (aHR=0.52, 95% CI 0.32–0.84; P=0.008). The combined risk of HIV acquisition or infant mortality was lower with male attendance (aHR=0.55, 95% CI 0.35–0.88; P=0.012) and report of prior male HIV testing (aHR=0.58, 95% CI 0.34–0.88; P=0.01) when adjusting for maternal viral load and breastfeeding.
Including men in antenatal PMTCT services with HIV testing may improve infant health outcomes.
male partners; PMTCT; vertical transmission of HIV; infant mortality; Kenya
Breastfeeding among women infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is associated with substantial risk of HIV-1 transmission, but little is known about the morbidity risks associated with formula feeding in infants of HIV-1–infected women in resource-poor settings.
To compare morbidity, nutritional status, mortality adjusted for HIV-1 status, and cause of death among formula-fed and breastfed infants of HIV-1–infected women.
Randomized clinical trial conducted between 1992 and 1998.
Four antenatal clinics in Nairobi, Kenya.
Of 401 live-born, singleton, or first-born twin infants of randomized HIV-1–seropositive mothers, 371 were included in the analysis of morbidity and mortality.
Mothers were randomly assigned either to use formula (n=186) or to breastfeed (n=185) their infants.
Main Outcome Measures
Mortality rates, adjusted for HIV-1 infection status; morbidity; and nutritional status during the first 2 years of life.
Two-year estimated mortality rates among infants were similar in the formula-feeding and breastfeeding arms (20.0% vs 24.4%; hazard ratio [HR], 0.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.5–1.3), even after adjusting for HIV-1 infection status (HR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.7–1.7). Infection with HIV-1 was associated with a 9.0-fold increased mortality risk (95% CI, 5.3–15.3). The incidence of diarrhea during the 2 years of follow-up was similar in formula and breastfeeding arms (155 vs 149 per 100 person-years, respectively). The incidence of pneumonia was identical in the 2 groups (62 per 100 person-years), and there were no significant differences in incidence of other recorded illnesses. Infants in the breastfeeding arm tended to have better nutritional status, significantly so during the first 6 months of life.
In this randomized clinical trial, infants assigned to be formula fed or breastfed had similar mortality rates and incidence of diarrhea and pneumonia during the first 2 years of life. However, HIV-1–free survival at 2 years was significantly higher in the formula arm. With appropriate education and access to clean water, formula feeding can be a safe alternative to breastfeeding for infants of HIV-1–infected mothers in a resource-poor setting.
To estimate HIV-1 incidence and cofactors for HIV-1 incidence during pregnancy and postpartum.
Retrospective study among women who were HIV seronegative during pregnancy.
Mothers accompanying their infants for routine 6-week immunizations at 6 maternal child health clinics in Nairobi and Western Kenya were tested for HIV-1 after completing a questionnaire that included assessment of sociodemographics, obstetric history and HIV-1 risk perception.
Of 2,135 mothers who had tested HIV-1 seronegative antenatally, 2,035 (95.3%) accepted HIV-1 re-testing at 6 weeks postpartum. Of these, 53 (2.6%) were HIV-1 seropositive yielding an estimated HIV-1 incidence of 6.8 (95% CI: 5.1-8.8) per 100 woman-years). Mothers who seroconverted were more likely to be employed (45.3% vs 29.0%, p=0.01), married (96.2 vs 86.6%, p=0.04) and from a higher HIV-1 prevalence region (60.4% in Western Kenya vs 28.8% in Nairobi, p<0.001). Among married women, those in polygamous relationship were significantly more likely to seroconvert (19.6% vs 6.7%, p<0.001). In multivariate analysis, region and employment independently predicted seroconversion.
Repeat HIV-1 testing in early postpartum was highly acceptable and resulted in detection of substantial HIV-1 incidence during pregnancy and postpartum period. Within prevention of mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission programs strategic approaches to prevent maternal HIV-1 acquisition during pregnancy are urgently needed.
Seroconversion; pregnancy; incidence; sub Saharan Africa; risk factors; heterosexual transmission
Data collected in the years 2001–2003 from an antenatal clinic in Nairobi, Kenya, were used to assess the benefit of couple counselling and test it as a way of increasing the uptake of interventions in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1. Among 2833 women enrolled, 311 (11%) received couple pretest counselling and 2100 (74%) accepted HIV-1 testing. Among those tested 314 (15%) were HIV-1 seropositive. We incorporated these and other data from the cohort study into a spreadsheet-based model and costs associated with couple counselling were compared with individual counselling in a theoretical cohort of 10,000 women. Voluntary couple counselling and testing (VCT), although more expensive, averted a greater number of infant infections when compared with individual VCT. Cost per disability-adjusted life year was similar to that of individual VCT. Sensitivity analyses found that couple VCT was more cost-effective in scenarios with increased uptake of couple counselling and higher HIV-1 prevalence.
cost effectiveness; couple VCT; DALY; HIV-1 prevention; mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission
Efficacy studies of investigational HIV vaccines require enrollment of individuals at ‘high risk’ for HIV. This paper examines participation in HIV vaccine trials among women at ‘high risk’ for HIV acquisition. In-depth interviews were conducted with 17 African-American women who use crack cocaine and/or exchange sex for money/drugs to elicit attitudes toward medical research and motivators and deterrents to HIV vaccine trial participation. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed; data were coded and compiled into themes. Most women expressed favorable attitudes toward medical research in general. Motivators for trial participation included compensation; personal benefits including information, social services, and the possibility that the trial vaccine could prevent HIV; and altruism. Deterrents included: dislike of needles; distrust; concern about future consequences of participating. In addition, contingencies, caregiving responsibilities, and convenience issues constituted barriers which could impede participation. Respondents described varied, complex perspectives, and individual cases illustrate how these themes played out as women contemplated trial participation. Understanding factors which influence vaccine research participation among women at ‘high risk’ can aid sites to tailor recruitment procedures to local contexts. Concerns about future reactions can be addressed through sustained community education. Convenience barriers can be ameliorated by providing rides to study visits when necessary, and/or conducting study visits in accessible neighborhood locations. Women in this sample thought carefully about enrolling in HIV vaccine trials given the structural constraints within which they lived. Further research is needed regarding structural factors which influence personal agency and individuals’ thinking about research participation.
HIV vaccine; research subject recruitment; willingness to participate; African-American women; drug use; qualitative research
The development of safe and efficacious preventive HIV vaccines offers the best long-term hope of controlling the AIDS pandemic. Nevertheless, suboptimal uptake of safe and efficacious vaccines that already exist suggest that HIV vaccine acceptability cannot be assumed, particularly among communities most vulnerable to HIV. The present study aimed to identify barriers and motivators to future HIV vaccine acceptability among low socioeconomic, ethnically diverse men and women in Los Angeles County. Participants completed a cross-sectional survey assessing their attitudes and beliefs regarding future HIV vaccines. Hypothetical HIV vaccine scenarios were administered to determine HIV vaccine acceptability. Two-sided t-tests were performed, stratified by gender, to examine the association between vaccine acceptability and potential barriers and motivators. Barriers to HIV vaccine acceptability differed between men and women. For women, barriers to HIV vaccine acceptability were related to their intimate relationships (p <0.05), negative experiences with health care providers (p <0.05) and anticipated difficulties procuring insurance (p <0.01). Men were concerned that the vaccine would weaken the immune system (p <0.005) or would affect their HIV test results (p <0.05). Motivators for women included the ability to conceive a child without worrying about contracting HIV (p <0.10) and support from their spouse/significant other for being vaccinated (p <0.10). Motivators for men included feeling safer with sex partners (p <0.05) and social influence from friends to get vaccinated (p <0.005). Family support for HIV immunization was a motivator for both men and women (p <0.10). Gender-specific interventions may increase vaccine acceptability among men and women at elevated risk for HIV infection. Among women, interventions need to focus on addressing barriers due to gendered power dynamics in relationships and discrimination in health care. Among men, education that addresses fears and misconceptions about adverse effects of HIV vaccination on health and the importance of vaccination as one component of integrated HIV prevention may increase vaccine acceptability.
HIV vaccine; barriers; gender; motivators; acceptability
As HIV infection continues to devastate low-income countries, efforts to search for an effective HIV vaccine are crucial. Therefore, participation in HIV vaccine trials will be useful for the development of a preventive vaccine that will work and thus reduce the global HIV epidemic.
The objective of this study was to analyse the willingness to volunteer (WTV) in a Phase I/II HIV vaccine trial among police officers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
We included a convenience sample of 329 participants (79% males) from sensitisation workshops that were held once at each of the 32 police stations. Participants were recruited from 23 stations which were included according to availability. Data about personal characteristics, general HIV and AIDS knowledge and sexual behaviour, attitudes towards vaccines and willingness to participate in the HIV vaccine trial were obtained through an interview-administered questionnaire with both closed and open-ended questions.
Overall, 61% of the participants expressed WTV in HIV vaccine trials. WTV was significantly associated with: positive attitude towards use of effective vaccine, Odds ratio (OR), 36.48 (95% CI: 15.07–88.28); the intention to tell others about one's decision to participate in the trial, OR, 6.61 (95% CI: 3.89–11.24); Tanzania becoming a partner in developing the vaccine, OR, 4.28 (95% CI: 2.28–8.03); having an extra sexual partner, OR, 3.05 (95% CI: 1.63–5.69); perceived higher risk of getting HIV infection, OR, 2.11 (95% CI: 1.34–3.33); and high knowledge about HIV and AIDS, OR, 1.92 (95% CI: 1.22–3.01).
The results indicated that a majority of police officers in this study were willing to participate in HIV vaccine trials. However, there is a need to provide the respondents with precise information about the purpose of a Phase I/II HIV vaccine trial and the fact that it does not protect against HIV infection, in order to avoid increasing risky behaviour.
HIV vaccine trials; willingness; police officers; Tanzania
Objectives To estimate the rates and timing of mother to infant transmission of HIV associated with breast feeding in mothers who seroconvert postnatally, and their breast milk and plasma HIV loads during and following seroconversion, compared with women who tested HIV positive at delivery.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Urban Zimbabwe.
Participants 14 110 women and infants enrolled in the Zimbabwe Vitamin A for Mothers and Babies (ZVITAMBO) trial (1997-2001).
Main outcome measures Mother to child transmission of HIV, and breast milk and maternal plasma HIV load during the postpartum period.
Results Among mothers who tested HIV positive at baseline and whose infant tested HIV negative with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at six weeks (n=2870), breastfeeding associated transmission was responsible for an average of 8.96 infant infections per 100 child years of breast feeding (95% CI 7.92 to 10.14) and varied little over the breastfeeding period. Breastfeeding associated transmission for mothers who seroconverted postnatally (n=334) averaged 34.56 infant infections per 100 child years (95% CI 26.60 to 44.91) during the first nine months after maternal infection, declined to 9.50 (95% CI 3.07 to 29.47) during the next three months, and was zero thereafter. Among women who seroconverted postnatally and in whom the precise timing of infection was known (≤90 days between last negative and first positive test; n=51), 62% (8/13) of transmissions occurred in the first three months after maternal infection and breastfeeding associated transmission was 4.6 times higher than in mothers who tested HIV positive at baseline and whose infant tested HIV negative with PCR at six weeks. Median plasma HIV concentration in all mothers who seroconverted postnatally declined from 5.0 log10 copies/mL at the last negative enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to 4.1 log10 copies/mL at 9-12 months after infection. Breast milk HIV load in this group was 4.3 log10 copies/mL 0-30 days after infection, but rapidly declined to 2.0 log10 copies/mL and <1.5 log10 copies/mL by 31-90 days and more than 90 days, respectively. Among women whose plasma sample collected soon after delivery tested negative for HIV with ELISA but positive with PCR (n=17), 75% of their infants were infected or had died by 12 months. An estimated 18.6% to 20.4% of all breastfeeding associated transmission observed in the ZVITAMBO trial occurred among mothers who seroconverted postnatally.
Conclusions Breastfeeding associated transmission is high during primary maternal HIV infection and is mirrored by a high but transient peak in breast milk HIV load. Around two thirds of breastfeeding associated transmission by women who seroconvert postnatally may occur while the mother is still in the “window period” of an antibody based test, when she would test HIV negative using one of these tests.
Trial registration Clinical trials.gov NCT00198718.
Building on previous acceptability research undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa this article aims to investigate the acceptability of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in infants (IPTi) in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
A questionnaire was administered to mothers whose infants participated in the randomised placebo controlled trial of IPTi. Mothers whose infants participated and who refused to participate in the trial, health workers, community reporters and opinion leaders were interviewed. Men and women from the local community also participated in focus group discussions.
Respondents viewed IPTi as acceptable in light of wider concern for infant health and the advantages of trial participation. Mothers reported complying with at-home administration of IPTi due to perceived benefits of IPTi and pressure from health workers. In spite of patchy knowledge, respondents also demonstrated a demand for infant vaccinations and considered non-vaccination to be neglect. There is little evidence that IPTi has negative impacts on attitudes to EPI, EPI adherence or existing malaria prevention practices.
The degree of similarity between findings from the acceptability studies undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa and PNG allows some generalization relating to the implementation of IPTi outside of Africa: IPTi fits well with local health cultures, appears to be accepted easily and has little impact on attitudes towards EPI or malaria prevention. The study adds to the evidence indicating that IPTi could be rolled out in a range of social and cultural contexts.
To learn the attitudes and concerns of the local community on participating in research, infant feeding practices, and maternal nutrition in order to inform the design of a clinical trial in Lilongwe, Malawi on the safety and efficacy of antiretroviral and nutrition interventions to reduce postnatal transmission of HIV.
Formative research methods were used, including semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, home observations, and taste trials. Data were collected, analyzed, and incorporated into the protocol within three months.
Participants were supportive of the clinical trial, although their overall understanding of research was limited. Mothers agreed that infants’ blood could be drawn by venipuncture, yet concern was raised about the amount of blood proposed to be collected from both infants and mothers. Data demonstrated that rapid breastfeeding cessation would be difficult and malnutrition could be a risk if infants were weaned early. Mothers selected a maternal supplement suitable for use in the clinical trial.
The protocol was rapidly modified to achieve cultural acceptability while maintaining study objectives. Without the formative research, several significant areas would have been undetected and may have jeopardized the implementation of the trial. Additional research was carried out to develop a meaningful informed consent process, the amount of blood collected was reduced to acceptable levels, and the protocol was modified to reduce the risk of malnutrition. Researchers who conduct clinical trials are encouraged to incorporate formative research into their protocol design to ensure participant understanding of the research, to safeguard participants, and to increase feasibility and acceptance of the clinical research in the community.
Qualitative research; ethics; clinical trial; HIV; Africa
Studies among HIV-1–infected women have demonstrated reduced placental transfer of IgG antibodies against measles and other pathogens. As a result, infants born to women with HIV-1 infection may not acquire adequate passive immunity in utero and this could contribute to high infant morbidity and mortality in this vulnerable population.
To determine factors associated with decreased placental transfer of measles IgG, 55 HIV-1–infected pregnant women who were enrolled in a Nairobi perinatal HIV-1 transmission study were followed. Maternal CD4 count, HIV-1 viral load, and HIV-1–specific gp41 antibody concentrations were measured antenatally and at delivery. Measles IgG concentrations were assayed in maternal blood and infant cord blood obtained during delivery to calculate placental antibody transfer.
Among 40 women (73%) with positive measles titers, 30 (75%) were found to have abnormally low levels of maternofetal IgG transfer (<95%). High maternal HIV-1 viral load at 32 weeks’ gestation and at delivery was associated with reductions in placental transfer
(P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0056, respectively) and infant measles IgG concentrations in cord blood (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0073, respectively). High maternal HIV-1–specific gp41 antibody titer was also highly correlated with both decreased placental transfer (P = 0.0080) and decreased infant IgG (P < 0.0001).
This is the first study to evaluate the relationship between maternal HIV-1 viremia, maternal HIV-1 antibody concentrations, and passive immunity among HIV-1–exposed infants. These data support the hypothesis that high HIV-1 viral load during the last trimester may impair maternofetal transfer of IgG and increases risk of measles and other serious infections among HIV-1–exposed infants.
placental antibody transfer; maternal HIV-1 viral load; measles IgG; HIV-1–specific gp41 antibody; mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission
Results from HIV vaccine trials on potential volunteers will contribute to global efforts to develop an HIV vaccine. The purpose of this study among police officers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was to explore the underlying reasons that induce people to enrol in an HIV vaccine trial.
We conducted discussions with eight focus groups, containing a total of 66 police officers. The information collected was analyzed using interpretive description.
The results showed that participants were motivated to participate in the trial by altruism, and that the participants experienced some concerns about their participation. They stated that altruism in the fight against HIV infection was the main reason for enrolling in the trial. However, young participants were seriously concerned about a possible loss of close relationships if they enrolled in the HIV vaccine trial. Both men and women feared the effect of the trial on their reproductive biology, and they feared interference with pregnancy norms. They were unsure about risks such as the risks of acquiring HIV infection and of suffering physical harm, and they were unsure of the intentions of the researchers conducting the trial. Further, enrolling in the trial required medical examination, and this led some participants to fear that unknown diseases would be revealed. Other participants, however, saw an opportunity to obtain free health services.
We have shown that specific fears are important concerns when recruiting volunteers to an HIV vaccine trial. More knowledge is needed to determine participants' views and to ensure that they understand the conduct of the trial and the reasons it is being carried out.
Despite implementation of universal infant hepatitis B (HB) vaccination, mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of hepatitis B virus (HBV) still occurs. Limited data are available on the residual MTCT of HBV in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-HBV co-infected women.
We assessed the prevalence of HBV infection among HIV-infected pregnant women and the rate of residual MTCT of HBV from HIV-HBV co-infected women and analyzed the viral determinants in mothers and their HBV-infected children.
HIV-1 infected pregnant women enrolled in two nationwide perinatal HIV prevention trials in Thailand were screened for HB surface antigen (HBsAg) and tested for HBeAg and HBV DNA load. Infants born to HBsAg-positive women had HBsAg and HBV DNA tested at 4–6 months. HBV diversity within each HBV-infected mother-infant pair was analyzed by direct sequencing of amplified HBsAg-encoding gene and cloning of amplified products.
Among 3,312 HIV-1 infected pregnant women, 245 (7.4%) were HBsAg-positive, of whom 125 were HBeAg-positive. Of 230 evaluable infants born to HBsAg-positive women, 11 (4.8%) were found HBsAg and HBV DNA positive at 4–6 months; 8 were born to HBeAg-positive mothers. HBV genetic analysis was performed in 9 mother-infant pairs and showed that 5 infants were infected with maternal HBV variants harboring mutations within the HBsAg “a” determinant, and four were infected with wild-type HBV present in highly viremic mothers.
HBV-MTCT still occurs when women have high HBV DNA load and/or are infected with HBV variants. Additional interventions targeting highly viremic women are thus needed to reduce further HBV-MTCT.
HBs antigen variants; Hepatitis B vaccine failure; HIV pregnant women; mother-to-child transmission; Thailand
This article examines willingness to participate in future HIV prevention research among gay and bisexual men in Scotland, UK. Anonymous, self-complete questionnaires and Orasure™ oral fluid samples were collected in commercial gay venues. 1,320 men were eligible for inclusion. 78.2% reported willingness to participate in future HIV prevention research; 64.6% for an HIV vaccine, 57.4% for a behaviour change study, and 53.0% for a rectal microbicide. In multivariate analysis, for HIV vaccine research, greater age, minority ethnicity, and not providing an oral fluid sample were associated with lower willingness; heterosexual orientation and not providing an oral fluid sample were for microbicides; higher education and greater HIV treatment optimism were for behaviour change. STI testing remained associated with being more willing to participate in microbicide research and frequent gay scene use remained associated with being more willing to participate in behaviour change research. Having an STI in the past 12 months remained significantly associated with being willing to participate in all three study types. There were no associations between sexual risk behaviour and willingness. Although most men expressed willingness to participate in future research, recruitment of high-risk men, who have the potential to benefit most, is likely to be more challenging.
Men who have sex with men; HIV prevention; Vaccines; Microbicides; Behaviour change; Trial participation
With the persistent challenges towards controlling the HIV epidemic, there is an ongoing need for research into HIV vaccines and drugs. Sub-Saharan African countries - worst affected by the HIV pandemic - have participated in the conduct of clinical trials for HIV vaccines. In Kenya, the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative (KAVI) at the University of Nairobi has conducted HIV vaccine clinical trials since 2001.
Participants were recruited after an extensive informed consent process followed by screening to determine eligibility. Screening included an assessment of risk behavior, medical history and physical examination, and if clinically healthy, laboratory testing. In the absence of locally derived laboratory reference ranges, the ranges used in these trials were derived from populations in the West.
Two hundred eighty-one participants were screened between 2003 and 2006 for two clinical trials. Of these, 167 (59.4%) met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Overall, laboratory abnormalities based on the non-indigenous laboratory references used were the most frequent reasons (61.4%) for ineligibility. Medical abnormalities contributed 30.7% of the total reasons for ineligibility. Based on the laboratory reference intervals now developed from East and Southern Africa, those ineligible due to laboratory abnormalities would have been 46.3%. Of the eligible participants, 18.6% declined enrolment.
Participant recruitment for HIV vaccine clinical trials is a rigorous and time-consuming exercise. Over 61% of the screening exclusions in clinically healthy people were due to laboratory abnormalities. It is essential that laboratory reference ranges generated from local populations for laboratory values be used in the conduct of clinical trials to avoid unnecessary exclusion of willing participants and to avoid over-reporting of adverse events for enrolled participants.
Protocol IAVI VRC V001 . ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00124007 Protocol IAVI 010  (registration with ClincalTrials.gov is in progress)
Protocols IAVI 002 and IAVI 004 are Phase 1 trials only mentioned in introductory paragraphs; details will not be reported. Registration was not required when they were conducted.
To explore adolescent HIV risk perception, HIV vaccine knowledge, willingness to participate in future HIV vaccine clinical trials, and the factors that influence willingness to participate among high school students in Soweto, South Africa, we recruited school-going youth through randomly selected local high schools. All pupils within the selected schools from whom parental consent and child assent could be obtained were eligible for participation. A self-administered, facilitated questionnaire was completed by all participants.
Perception of adolescent HIV risk was high. Some misconceptions regarding vaccine research were common, particularly regarding placebo and potential eligibility criteria for prophylactic vaccine trials. Of 240 responses to the willingness item, 84 (35%) indicated they were "probably willing" and 126 (52.5%) that they were "definitely willing to participate". There were no significant differences in willingness by gender, age, school grade, or institution. Factors that were rated as "very important" in determining willingness included receiving current information about HIV research [n = 201 (88.9%)], doing something to honour people who have HIV or have died of AIDS [n = 168 (70.9%)], getting free counselling and testing [n = 167 (70.5)], that participants may receive some protection against HIV infection from the vaccine [n = 160 (70.2%)], and improving motivation to avoid risky behaviour [n = 134 (59%)].
Soweto school-going youth report high degrees of willingness to participate in HIV vaccine trials. This may be related to the high levels of adolescent HIV risk perception. Whether hypothetical willingness translates to participation will await data from adolescent HIV vaccine trials.
Preventing unintended pregnancies among HIV-positive women through family planning (FP) reduces pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality, decreases the number of pediatric HIV infections, and has also proven to be a cost-effective way to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. A key element of a comprehensive HIV prevention agenda, aimed at avoiding unintended pregnancies, is recognizing the attitudes towards FP among HIV-positive women and their spouse or partner. In this study, we analyze FP attitudes among HIV-infected pregnant women enrolled in a PMTCT clinical trial in Western Kenya.
Methods and Findings
Baseline data were collected on 522 HIV-positive pregnant women using structured questionnaires. Associations between demographic variables and the future intention to use FP were examined using Fisher's exact tests and permutation tests. Most participants (87%) indicated that they intended to use FP. However, only 8% indicated condoms as a preferred FP method, and 59% of current pregnancies were unintended. Factors associated with positive intentions to use FP were: marital status (p = 0.04), having talked to their spouse or partner about FP (p<0.001), perceived spouse or partner approval of FP (p<0.001), previous use of a FP method (p = 0.006), attitude toward the current pregnancy (p = 0.02), disclosure of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis (p = 0.03) and ethnic group (p = 0.03).
A significant gap exists between future FP intentions and current FP practices. Support and approval by the spouse or partner are key elements of FP intentions. Counseling services should be offered to both members of a couple to increase FP use, especially given the high number of unplanned pregnancies among HIV-positive women. Condoms should be promoted as part of a dual use method for HIV and STI prevention and for contraception. Integration of individual and couple FP services into routine HIV care, treatment and support services is needed in order to avoid unintended pregnancies and to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.
Once an HIV vaccine becomes available, high-risk adults will be a target population for vaccination, and HIV vaccination programs for inmates may be a public health priority. Nothing is known about U.S. inmates’ willingness to accept an anticipated HIV vaccine while incarcerated. The goal of this study was to examine inmates’ attitudes toward a potential HIV vaccine.
In 2002, we interviewed 153 male and female inmates at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) using a voluntary, anonymous survey.
Ninety-three percent of inmates indicated they would be willing to receive a hypothetical HIV vaccine while incarcerated. Although 88% of inmates self-reported at least one HIV risk factor, only 20% perceived themselves to be at risk for HIV.
Once an HIV vaccine becomes available, HIV vaccination programs in the correctional setting need to become a public health priority. These would be well received by inmates in Rhode Island.
HIV Vaccine; Vaccine acceptance; Prisoners; Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The potential for implementation of HIV vaccine trials in hard-to-reach female sex workers in an inner city area of Barcelona, Spain was assessed via a study of HIV risk, willingness to participate and the success of retention strategies. In 130 women, serological HIV status, behavioral risk exposures and willingness to participate in future HIV vaccine trials were recorded every six months using a confidential questionnaire. An enhanced retention (ER) strategy was compared with a control retention (CR) strategy comprising the recording of data on appointment cards. HIV seroincidence and retention rates were estimated. Retention rates after 6 and 12 mo of follow-up in the ER group were 76% and 69% respectively compared with 16% and 13% in the CR group. Among the ER group 97% were willing to participate in HIV vaccine trials at baseline and, after 12 mo of follow-up. Willingness was significantly associated with higher HIV risk exposure, and higher education level. Successfully retaining these cohorts over time in settings with a high HIV seroincidence rate is an ongoing challenge that will need to be addressed to ensure participation in future trials. Furthermore, as we have demonstrated, the fact that retaining hard-to-reach populations is difficult should not exclude this target population for HIV vaccine and prevention trials.
HIV; HIV vaccine; female sex workers; hard-to-reach women; vaccine preparedness studies
To compare compliance and infant HIV-1 infection risk at 6 weeks with the Thai-CDC and HIVNET-012 antiretroviral regimens in a field setting.
Randomized clinical trial.
Tertiary hospital antenatal clinic in Nairobi, Kenya.
HIV-1 infected women referred from primary care clinics.
Thai-CDC zidovudine regimen or HIVNET-012 nevirapine regimen.
Main outcome measures
Women were considered compliant if they used ≥ 80% of the doses. Infants were tested for HIV-1 at 6 weeks.
Seventy women were randomized to Thai-CDC and 69 to HIVNET-012 regimens. More women were compliant with the antenatal (86%) than the intrapartum (44%) Thai-CDC regimen doses (P = 0.001). Ninety-seven per cent took the maternal and 91% gave the infant dose of the HIVNET-012 regimen (P = 0.2). Overall, 41% were compliant with the Thai-CDC regimen and 87% with the HIVNET-012 regimen (P < 0.001). Compliance with the Thai-CDC regimen was associated with partner support of antiretroviral use [odds ratio (OR), 3.0;, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0–9.1] and knowledge at recruitment that antiretroviral drugs could prevent infant HIV-1 (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.0–8.1). Compliance with the HIVNET-012 regimen was associated with partner notification (OR, 8.0; 95% CI, 1.5–50) and partner willingness to have HIV-1 testing (OR, 7.5; 95% CI, 1.4–40). There was a trend for a higher risk of transmission with the HIVNET-012 regimen than with the Thai-CDC regimen (22% versus 9%; P = 0.07).
Compliance with the Thai-CDC and HIVNET-012 regimens was comparable to that in efficacy trials. Partner involvement, support and education on perinatal HIV-1 prevention may improve compliance and increase the number of infants protected from HIV-1 infection.
antiretroviral therapy; vertical transmission; compliance; prevention of perinatal transmission
The sensitivity and specificity of rapid HIV-1 tests may be altered during pregnancy and postpartum. We conducted a study to determine the prevalence and correlates of false-positive Abbott Determine™ and false-negative Uni-Gold™ rapid HIV-1 test results among antenatal and postnatal mothers attending a primary care clinic in Nairobi, Kenya. Mothers were tested for HIV-1 using Abbott Determine™ and non-reactive results were considered HIV-1 antibody negative. Reactive samples by Determine were re-tested by Uni-Gold™. Vironostika HIV-1 and Uni-FORM II Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to confirm samples that had positive Abbott Determine™ and negative Uni-Gold™. Among 2311 women who accepted HIV-1 testing, 1238 (54%) were tested antenatally and 1073 (46%) were tested postnatally. Of tested women, 274 (12%) women were reactive by Abbott Determine™ and on retesting with Uni-Gold™ 30 (11%) had indeterminate results. The prevalence of indeterminate results was significantly higher in antenatal women than in postnatal women (2% versus 1%, P = 0.03). In conclusion, indeterminate rapid HIV-1 test results are more common in the antenatal period and appropriate safeguards to confirm HIV-1 infection status should be implemented in antenatal programmes.
indeterminate; HIV; rapid; ELISA; test
Morbidity and mortality patterns among pregnant women and their infants (before antiretroviral therapy was widely available) determines HIV-1 diagnostic, monitoring, and care interventions.
Data from mothers and their infants enrolled in a trial of antibiotics to reduce mother-to-child-transmission of HIV-1 at 4 sub-Saharan African sites were analyzed. Women were enrolled during pregnancy and follow-up continued until the infants reached 12 months of age. We describe maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in a cohort of HIV-1-infected and HIV-1-uninfected mothers. Maternal and infant factors associated with mortality risk in the infants were assessed using Cox proportional hazard modeling.
Among 2292 HIV-1-infected mothers, 166 (7.2%) had a serious adverse event (SAE) and 42 (1.8%) died, whereas no deaths occurred among the 331 HIV-1 uninfected mothers. Four hundred twenty-four (17.8%) of 2383 infants had an SAE and 349 (16.4%) died before the end of follow-up. Infants with early HIV-1 infection (birth to 4 – 6 weeks) had the highest mortality. Among infants born to HIV-1-infected women, maternal morbidity and mortality (P = 0.0001), baseline CD4 count (P = 0.0002), and baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA concentration (P < 0.0001) were significant predictors of infant mortality in multivariate analyses.
The high mortality among infants with early HIV-1 infection supports access to HIV-1 diagnostics and appropriate early treatment for all infants of HIV-1-infected mothers. The significant association between stage of maternal HIV-1 infection and infant mortality supports routine CD4 counts at the time of prenatal HIV-1 testing.
HIV-1 infection; infant mortality; maternal morbidity and mortality; sub-Saharan Africa; pregnant women
A vaccine to decrease transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) during breast-feeding would complement efforts to eliminate infant HIV-1 infection by antiretroviral therapy. Relative to adults, infants have distinct immune development, potentially high-risk of transmission when exposed to HIV-1 and rapid progression to AIDS when infected. To date, there have been only three published HIV-1 vaccine trials in infants.
We conducted a randomized phase I clinical trial PedVacc 001 assessing the feasibility, safety and immunogenicity of a single dose of candidate vaccine MVA.HIVA administered intramuscularly to 20-week-old infants born to HIV-1-negative mothers in The Gambia.
Infants were followed to 9 months of age with assessment of safety, immunogenicity and interference with Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) vaccines. The trial is the first stage of developing more complex prime-boost vaccination strategies against breast milk transmission of HIV-1.
From March to October 2010, 48 infants (24 vaccine and 24 no-treatment) were enrolled with 100% retention. The MVA.HIVA vaccine was safe with no difference in adverse events between vaccinees and untreated infants. Two vaccine recipients (9%) and no controls had positive ex
vivo interferon-γ ELISPOT assay responses. Antibody levels elicited to the EPI vaccines, which included diphtheria, tetanus, whole-cell pertussis, hepatitis B virus, Haemophilus influenzae type b and oral poliovirus, reached protective levels for the vast majority and were similar between the two arms.
A single low-dose of MVA.HIVA administered to 20-week-old infants in The Gambia was found to be safe and without interference with the induction of protective antibody levels by EPI vaccines, but did not alone induce sufficient HIV-1-specific responses. These data support the use of MVA carrying other transgenes as a boosting vector within more complex prime-boost vaccine strategies against transmission of HIV-1 and/or other infections in this age group.
The Pan African Clinical Trials Registry PACTR2008120000904116
We set out to determine the relative roles of stigma versus health systems in non-uptake of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV-1 interventions: we conducted cross-sectional assessment of all consenting mothers accompanying infants for six-week immunizations.
Between September 2008 and March 2009, mothers at six maternal and child health clinics in Kenya's Nairobi and Nyanza provinces were interviewed regarding PMTCT intervention uptake during recent pregnancy. Stigma was ascertained using a previously published standardized questionnaire and infant HIV-1 status determined by HIV-1 polymerase chain reaction.
Among 2663 mothers, 2453 (92.1%) reported antenatal HIV-1 testing. Untested mothers were more likely to have less than secondary education (85.2% vs. 74.9%, p = 0.001), be from Nyanza (47.1% vs. 32.2%, p < 0.001) and have lower socio-economic status. Among 318 HIV-1-infected mothers, 90% reported use of maternal or infant antiretrovirals. Facility delivery was less common among HIV-1-infected mothers (69% vs. 76%, p = 0.009) and was associated with antiretroviral use (p < 0.001). Although internal or external stigma indicators were reported by between 12% and 59% of women, stigma was not associated with lower HIV-1 testing or infant HIV-1 infection rates; internal stigma was associated with modestly decreased antiretroviral uptake. Health system factors contributed to about 60% of non-testing among mothers who attended antenatal clinics and to missed opportunities in offering antiretrovirals and utilization of facility delivery. Eight percent of six-week-old HIV-1-exposed infants were HIV-1 infected.
Antenatal HIV-1 testing and antiretroviral uptake was high (both more than 90%) and infant HIV-1 infection risk was low, reflecting high PMTCT coverage. Investment in health systems to deliver HIV-1 testing and antiretrovirals can effectively prevent infant HIV-1 infection despite substantial HIV-1 stigma.
mother-to-child HIV transmission; HIV/AIDS; Health system; testing; antiretrovirals; facility delivery
This investigation explored commonalities and differences in barriers and motivators to HIV vaccine trial participation and acceptability of future U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved HIV vaccines in order to identify implications of clinical trials for future HIV vaccine dissemination. Fifteen focus groups were conducted with 157 predominately ethnic minority and low income participants recruited using venue-based sampling in Los Angeles. Data were analyzed using narrative thematic analysis. Barriers and motivators in common across willingness to participate (WTP) in HIV vaccine trials and future HIV vaccine acceptability (e.g., concerns about vaccine-induced infection, false-positives, side effects, efficacy, mistrust and stigma) suggest clinical trials present significant opportunities to develop and evaluate empirically based interventions to support future HIV vaccine dissemination. Barriers specific to HIV vaccine acceptability (e.g., concerns about duration of protection, cross-clade protection, cost and access) also indicate the need for formative research focused specifically on future dissemination. Protection motivation, common to WTP and acceptability, highlights the need to provide and evaluate prevention counseling and education in clinical trials, which may form the basis of evidence-informed preventive interventions to be launched in tandem with dissemination of partial efficacy HIV vaccines.
HIV vaccines; Clinical trials; Willingness to participate; Acceptability; Ethnic minorities; Qualitative research