Increased HIV/AIDS knowledge and access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) have been hypothesized to decrease HIV stigma. However, stigma persists as a barrier to HIV services uptake. We studied the relationship between stigma, knowledge and attitudes towards HIV and its treatment, and confidence in the legal system (legal rights certitude).
We analyzed data from a household survey of 3749 randomly sampled female heads of households in 259 enumeration areas across 14 districts of Zambézia Province, Mozambique. The questionnaire included questions about beliefs, attitudes and behavior towards PLWHA, HIV transmission knowledge, treatment-related beliefs, and legal rights certitude. Factor analysis distinguished two stigma constructs: Negative labeling and devaluation (NLD) and social exclusion (SoE). Multivariable linear regression was used to determine the association between stigma, knowledge of HIV/AIDS, treatment-related beliefs, and legal rights certitude, while controlling for variance in socio-demographics.
A 4-point increase in knowledge about HIV transmission was associated with more than a 3 unit decrease in NLD and SoE stigma scores (p<0.001). Given HIV transmission knowledge, a 25-point increase in legal rights certitude was associated with a 4.62 unit drop in NLD stigma (p<0.001); we did not detect an association between legal rights certitude and SoE stigma. Knowing at least one HIV positive person was associated with lower SoE (−3.17, 95% CI: −5.78, −0.56); no association with NLD (p = 0.1) was detected. ART efficacy belief was associated with higher NLD and lower SoE (2.90 increase and 6.94 decrease, respectively; p≤0.001).
Increasing knowledge about HIV transmission and access to ART are likely to reduce stigma, but neither of the two is a panacea. Raising community awareness of the legal rights of PLWHA might improve the efficacy of stigma reduction efforts. Strategies that focus on specific domains of stigma might be more effective than generic stigma reduction strategies.
The study objective was to assess the current status of HIV knowledge, attitudes and behavior (KAB) among employees of Namibian ministries. As most HIV campaigning takes place in the capital of Windhoek, an additional aim was to compare Windhoek to four regions (Hardap, Erongo, Oshana, and Caprivi). Between January and March 2011 a cross-sectional survey was conducted in two Namibian ministries, with participants selected randomly from the workforce. Data collection was based on questionnaires. 832 participants were included in the study (51.6% male). Nearly 90% of participants reported to have been tested for HIV before. Knowledge about HIV transmission ranged from 67% to 95% of correct answers, with few differences between the capital and regions. However, a knowledge gap regarding HIV transmission and prevention was seen. In particular, we found significantly lower knowledge regarding transmission from mother-to-child during pregnancy and higher rate of belief in a supernatural role in HIV transmission. In addition, despite many years of HIV prevention activities, a substantial proportion of employees had well-known HIV risk factors including multiple concurrent partnership rates (21%), intergenerational sex (19%), and lower testing rates for men (82% compared to women with 91%).
Although the importance of the Pap smear in reducing cancer incidence and mortality is known, many countries in Africa have not initiated yet widespread national cervical cancer screening programs. The World Health Organization (WHO) has published Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) on cervical cancer screening in developing countries; however, there is a gap between expectations and clinical performance. Thus, the aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-summary to identify factors affecting compliance with CPGs for Pap screening among healthcare providers in Africa.
And Findings: MEDLINE, Scirus, Opengate and EMBASE databases were searched in January 2012. Studies involving medical personnel practicing in Africa, whose outcome measured any factors that affect medical personnel from using a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer, were included. Two reviewers independently evaluated titles and abstracts, then full-texts, extracted data and assessed quality of the included studies. A descriptive analysis of the included studies was conducted. We calculated Frequency effect sizes (FES) for each finding and Intensity effect sizes (IES) for each article to represent their magnitudes in the analyses. Of 1011 studies retrieved, 11 studies were included (2045 individuals). Six different themes related to the factors affecting compliance with CPGs were identified: Insufficient Knowledge/Lack of awareness (FES = 82%), Negligence/Misbeliefs (FES = 82%), Psychological Reasons (FES = 73%), Time/Cost Constraint (FES = 36%), Insufficient infrastructure/training (FES = 45%) and also no reason given (FES = 36%). IES for articles ranged between 33 and 83%.
These results suggest that prevention initiatives should be comprehensive to include education and resources needs assessments and improvement, Pap smear test training, strategies on costing, and practitioner time studies.
The screening of hospital admission patients for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is of undisputed value in controlling and reducing the overall MRSA burden; yet, a concerted parallel universal screening intervention throughout all hospitals of an entire German Federal State has not yet been performed.
During a four-week period, all 24 acute care hospitals of the State of Saarland participated in admission prevalence screening. Overall, 436/20,027 screened patients revealed MRSA carrier status (prevalence, 2.2/100 patients) with geriatrics and intensive care departments associated with highest prevalence (7.6/100 and 6.3/100, respectively). Risk factor analysis among 17,975 admission patients yielded MRSA history (OR, 4.3; CI95 2.7–6.8), a skin condition (OR, 3.2; CI95 2.1–5.0), and/or an indwelling catheter (OR, 2.2; CI95 1.4–3.5) among the leading risks. Hierarchical risk factor ascertainment of the six risk factors associated with highest odd’s ratios would require 31% of patients to be laboratory screened to allow for detection of 67% of all MRSA positive admission patients in the State.
State-wide admission prevalence screening in conjunction with risk factor ascertainment yields important information on the distribution of the MRSA burden for hospitals, and allows for data-based decisions on local or institutional MRSA screening policies considering risk factor prevalence and expected MRSA identification rates.
Bacteriuria is associated with significant maternal and foetal risks. However, its prevalence is not known in our community.
This study was carried out to determine the prevalence and predictors of bacteriuria in pregnant women of the Buea Health District (BHD) as well as the antibiotic sensitivity patterns of bacterial isolates. It also sought to determine the diagnostic performance of the nitrite and leucocyte esterase tests in detecting bacteriuria in these women.
An observational analytic cross-sectional study was carried out amongst pregnant women attending selected antenatal care centres in Buea. We recruited 102 consenting pregnant women for the study. Demographic and clinical data were collected using structured questionnaires. Clean catch midstream urine was collected from each participant in sterile leak proof containers. Samples were examined biochemically, microscopically and by culture. Significant bacteriuria was defined as the presence of ≥108 bacteria/L of cultured urine. Identification and susceptibility of isolates was performed using API 20E and ATB UR EU (08) (BioMerieux, Marcy l'Etoile, France).
Significant bacteriuria was found in the urine of 24 of the 102 women tested giving a bacteriuria prevalence of 23.5% in pregnant women of the BHD. Asymptomatic bacteriuria was detected in 8(7.8%) of the women. There was no statistically significant predictor of bacteriuria. Escherichia coli were the most isolated (33%) uropathogens and were 100% sensitive to cefixime, cefoxitin and cephalothin. The nitrite and leucocyte esterase tests for determining bacteriuria had sensitivities of 8%, 20.8% and specificities of 98.7% and 80.8% respectively.
Bacteriuria is frequent in pregnant women in the BHD suggesting the need for routine screening by urine culture. Empiric treatment with cefixime should be instituted until results of urine culture and sensitivity are available. Nitrite and leucocyte esterase tests were not sensitive enough to replace urine culture as screening tests.
In this study we assess the prevalence, characteristics as well as socio-demographic and clinical correlates of a positive screen for HIV-associated dementia in a group of patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Bamenda, Cameroon.
In a cross-sectional study, a structured questionnaire was used to collect data on 400 patients attending the Bamenda Regional Hospital AIDS-treatment Centre. Patients were assessed for neurocognitive function using the International HIV Dementia Scale (IHDS) to assess finger-tapping (FT), alternating hand sequence (AHS) and a 4-word recall (4WR), each scored on a maximum of four.
A total of 297 (74%) participants were females. The total IHDS score ranged from 6–12 with a mean of 9.02 and 85% of subjects screened positive for dementia (≤10 on IHDS). Participants performed worst in the AHS assessment with a mean of 2.25 (IQR: 2–3). In multivariable analyses, screening positive for dementia was significantly associated with having primary education or less (aOR: 8.33, 95%CI: 3.85, 16.67), and having HIV symptoms (aOR: 12.16, 95%CI: 3.08, 48.05).
A very high proportion of patients on ART screened positive for dementia using the IHDS. This could potentially be an indication of a high prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders in this population and or a poor performance of the IHDS in patients on ART. Future studies will need to assess the validity of the IHDS in this population of patients on ART and also evaluate long term outcomes in patients with positive dementia screens.
HIV; Dementia; Screen; Cameroon; Antiretroviral therapy
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women in low-income countries. Although cervical cancer incidence and mortality is higher in HIV-positive women, resource limitations restrict the implementation of systematic screening programs in these women. We explored the potential for targeted screening by assessing the prevalence, severity and predictors of cervical squamous intra-epithelial lesions (SILs) in HIV-positive women in Cameroon.
Methods and findings
We conducted a cross-sectional study of women on antiretroviral therapy in Cameroon. Socio-demographic, behavioral, and clinical information was obtained from eligible women. Cervical exfoliated cells were then collected, a conventional cytology performed and epithelial lesions classified according to the Bethesda 2001 system.
A total of 282 women, aged 19 to 68 years, were enrolled in this study. The median CD4 count was 179 cells/microliter (interquartile range: 100 to 271). SILs were detected in 43.5% of the 276 women with satisfactory samples: including atypical squamous cells of unknown significance (ASCUS) 0.7%, low-grade SIL (LSIL) 25.0%, atypical squamous cells, cannot exclude high grade lesions (ASC-H) 14.5%, and high-grade SIL (HSIL) 3.3%. None of the demographic or clinical characteristics considered significantly predicted the presence of any SILs or the presence of severe lesions requiring colposcopy.
The prevalence of SIL in women on antiretroviral therapy in Cameroon was high underscoring the need for screening and care in this population. In the absence of any accurate demographic or clinical predictor of SIL, targeted screening does not seem feasible. Alternative affordable screening options need to be explored.
Cervical neoplasm; HIV; Screening; Cameroon; Epidemiology
While voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) has been shown to be protective against HIV-acquisition, the procedure may place men and their partners at risk of HIV infection in the period following circumcision if sex is resumed before the wound is healed. This prospective cohort study evaluates post-circumcision wound healing to determine whether the 42-day post-circumcision abstinence period, recommended by the World Health Organization and adopted by VMMC programs, is optimal.
Methods and Findings
Men were circumcised by forceps-guided method and their post-circumcision wounds examined weekly for seven weeks and at 12 weeks. Time to complete healing was recorded in completed weeks since circumcision, and its associations with baseline covariates were assessed by Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox Proportional Hazard Models. A total of 215 HIV-negative and 108 HIV-positive men aged 18–35 years (median 26, IQR 23–30) were enrolled. 97.1% of scheduled follow-up visits were completed. At week 4, 59.3% of HIV-positive men and 70.4% of age-matched HIV-negative men were healed. At week 6, these percentages rose to 93.4% in HIV-positive men and 92.6% in age-matched HIV-negative men. There was no difference in the hazard of healing between 108 HIV-positive and 108 age-matched HIV-negative men (HR 0.91 95% CI 0.70–1.20). Early post-operative infection was associated with delayed healing in both HIV-positive and HIV-negative men (HR 0.48 95% CI 0.23–1.00).
Our results indicate that the WHO recommendation for 42-days post-circumcision sexual abstinence should be maintained for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative men. It is important to stress condom use upon resumption of sex in all men undergoing circumcision.
HIV care and treatment settings provide an opportunity to reach people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) with prevention messages and services. Population-based surveys in sub-Saharan Africa have identified HIV risk behaviors among PLHIV, yet data are limited regarding HIV risk behaviors of PLHIV in clinical care. This paper describes the baseline sociodemographic, HIV transmission risk behaviors, and clinical data of a study evaluating an HIV prevention intervention package for HIV care and treatment clinics in Africa. The study was a longitudinal group-randomized trial in 9 intervention clinics and 9 comparison clinics in Kenya, Namibia, and Tanzania (N = 3538). Baseline participants were mostly female, married, had less than a primary education, and were relatively recently diagnosed with HIV. Fifty-two percent of participants had a partner of negative or unknown status, 24% were not using condoms consistently, and 11% reported STI symptoms in the last 6 months. There were differences in demographic and HIV transmission risk variables by country, indicating the need to consider local context in designing studies and using caution when generalizing findings across African countries. Baseline data from this study indicate that participants were often engaging in HIV transmission risk behaviors, which supports the need for prevention with PLHIV (PwP).
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer morbidity and mortality worldwide. In Cameroon, breast cancer causes as many as 10.7 deaths per 100,000 women making it the second cause of cancer mortality. Better documenting women’s knowledge and practices on breast cancer and breast self-exam (BSE) would be useful in the design of interventions aimed at preventing breast cancer. This study sought to 1. describe Cameroonian women’s knowledge of breast self-examination (BSE); 2. assess their impression on the practice of BSE and 3. describe their perceptions on the causes, risk factors and prevention of breast cancer.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a volunteer sample of 120 consenting women in Buea, Cameroon. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire self-administered by study participants.
The sample was fairly educated with close to three quarters (70.83%) having completed high school. Nearly three quarters (74.17%) of participants had previously heard about BSE, however as many as 40% had never done a BSE. Although 95% of participants believed that breast cancer could be prevented, only 36.67% recognized breast examination as a prevention method. A substantial 13.33% thought that breast cancer could be prevented with a vaccine while 45% thought that dieting or exercising would prevent breast cancer. Similarly, 70% of participants thought that breast cancer could be treated, with 35.83% thinking that it could be treated medically while 34.17% thought it could be treated traditionally or spiritually.
The practice of BSE while perceived as being important is not frequent in these women in Buea, Cameroon. Health education campaigns are imperative to elucidate the public on the causes, risk factors and prevention of breast cancer. Further studies need to explore what interventions could be best used to improve the uptake and practice of BSE.
Breast cancer; Breast Self-Exam; Knowledge; Practices; Cameroon
Cervical squamous intra-epithelial lesions (SIL) are more frequent in HIV-positive women overall. However the appropriate age at which to begin and end cervical cancer screening for early detection of lesions in HIV-positive women is not clear. We assessed the age-specific prevalence of any SIL and SIL requiring colposcopy in HIV-positive women in Cameroon.
We enrolled, interviewed and conducted conventional cervical cytology in 282 women, aged 19–68 years, initiating antiretroviral therapy in three clinics in Cameroon. In bivariable analyses, the crude relationship between age and the presence of lesions was assessed using locally weighted regression (LOWESS) methods. In multivariate analyses, generalized linear models with prevalence as the outcome, an identity link and a binomial distribution, were used to estimate prevalence differences. Bias analyses were conducted to assess the potential effect of inaccuracies in cytology.
SIL were detected in 43.5% of the 276 women with satisfactory samples, 17.8% of whom had ASC-H/HSIL. On average, women aged 26 to 59 tended to have a slightly higher prevalence of any SIL than other women (Prevalence difference PD: 6.5%; 95%CI: -11.4, 24.4%). This PD was a function of CD4 count (heterogeneity test p-value =0.09): amongst patients with CD4 counts less than 200cells/uL, the prevalence was higher in patients aged 26–59, while there was essentially no difference amongst women with CD4 counts greater than 200 cells/uL. ASC-H/HSIL were present in women as young as 19 and as old as 62. Overall the prevalence of ASC-H/HSIL increased by 0.7% (95%CI: -3.8%, 5.1%) per decade increase in age.
Both severe and less severe lesions were prevalent at all ages suggesting little utility of age-targeted screening among HIV-positive women. Nevertheless, the long-term evolution of these lesions needs to be assessed in prospective studies.
Describe informal allopathic practitioner (IAP) knowledge and practice about management of hypertension and identify gaps in IAP knowledge and practice amenable to interventions.
A cross sectional descriptive survey of 642 IAPs in Kamalapur (urban) and Mirsarai (rural) Bangladesh was conducted from March to April, 2011. Using a structured, pre-tested questionnaire sociodemographic, training, knowledge and practice data about management of hypertension was collected. Comparative statistics were preformed to show differences between urban and rural practitioners using SAS 8.0.
99.4% of IAPs were male, mean age was 37.5 (12.5 SD) years. Greater than 65% correctly identified the upper limit of normal blood pressure. 50.2% underestimated lower limit of systolic hypertension. 79.8% allowed age to affect their treatment approach. As blood pressure increased, willingness to treat with medication decreased and tendency to refer increased. Sedative/sleeping pills, antidepressants, and beta blockers were the most commonly prescribed medications for prehypertension (58.7%, 50.3% and 53.7% respectively), stage I hypertension (55.0%, 38.6%, 49.8% respectively) and stage II hypertension (42.4%, 23.7%, and 28.8% respectively). Rural IAPs were more likely than urban IAPs to treat (84.7% vs 77.7%), order tests (27.1% vs 6.0%) and write prescriptions (60.4% vs 18.7%).
While IAPs are crucial to Bangladesh’s pluralistic healthcare system, gaps in knowledge and practice could cause unnecessary harm. To include IAPs in the public sector’s fight against the chronic disease epidemic, interventions aimed at standardizing IAPs knowledge and practice will be essential. Successfully utilizing IAPs will have beneficial implications not only for Bangladesh, but for all developing countries.
To assess exposure to marketing of unhealthy food products and its relation to food related behavior and BMI in children aged 3–13, from different socioeconomic backgrounds in a south Indian town.
Child-parent pairs (n = 306) were recruited at pediatric clinics. Exposure to food marketing was assessed by a digital logo recognition test. Children matched 18 logos of unhealthy food (high in fat/sugar/salt) featured in promotion material from the food industry to pictures of corresponding products. Children's nutritional knowledge, food preferences, purchase requests, eating behavior and socioeconomic characteristics were assessed by a digital game and parental questionnaires. Anthropometric measurements were recorded.
Recognition rates for the brand logos ranged from 30% to 80%. Logo recognition ability increased with age (p<0.001) and socioeconomic level (p<0.001 comparing children in the highest and lowest of three socioeconomic groups). Adjusted for gender, age and socioeconomic group, logo recognition was associated with higher BMI (p = 0.022) and nutritional knowledge (p<0.001) but not to unhealthy food preferences or purchase requests.
Children from higher socioeconomic groups in the region had higher brand logo recognition ability and are possibly exposed to more food marketing. The study did not lend support to a link between exposure to marketing and poor eating behavior, distorted nutritional knowledge or increased purchase requests. The correlation between logo recognition and BMI warrants further investigation on food marketing towards children and its potential role in the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases in this part of India.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV), the most common vaginal disorder among women of reproductive age, has been suggested as co-factor in the development of cervical cancer. Previous studies examining the relationship between BV and cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN) provided inconsistent and conflicting results. The aim of this study is to clarify the association between these two conditions.
A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to summarize published literature on the association between BV and cervical pre-cancerous lesions. An extensive search of electronic databases Medline (Pubmed) and Web of Science was performed. The key words ‘bacterial vaginosis’ and ‘bacterial infections and vaginitis’ were used in combination with ‘cervical intraepithelial neoplasia’, ‘squamous intraepithelial lesions’, ‘cervical lesions’, ‘cervical dysplasia’, and ‘cervical screening’. Eligible studies required a clear description of diagnostic methods used for detecting both BV and cervical pre-cancerous lesions. Publications were included if they either reported odds ratios (OR) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) representing the magnitude of association between these two conditions, or presented data that allowed calculation of the OR.
Out of 329 articles, 17 cross-sectional and 2 incidence studies were selected. In addition, two studies conducted in The Netherlands, using the national KOPAC system, were retained. After testing for heterogeneity and publication bias, meta-analysis and meta-regression were performed, using a random effects model. Although heterogeneity among studies was high (χ2 = 164.7, p<0.01, I2 = 88.5), a positive association between BV and cervical pre-cancerous lesions was found, with an overall estimated odds ratio of 1.51 (95% CI, 1.24–1.83). Meta-regression analysis could not detect a significant difference between studies based on BV diagnosis, CIN diagnosis or study population.
Although most studies were cross-sectional and heterogeneity was high, this meta-analysis confirms a connection between BV and CIN.
In a nationwide, population-based cohort study we assessed the risk of diabetes mellitus (DM) in HIV-infected individuals compared with the general population, and evaluated the impact of risk factors for DM in HIV-infected individuals.
We identified 4,984 Danish-born HIV-infected individuals from the Danish HIV Cohort Study and a Danish born population-based age- and gender-matched comparison cohort of 19,936 individuals (study period: 1996–2009). Data on DM was obtained from the Danish National Hospital Registry and the Danish National Prescription Registry. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and impact of risk factors including exposure to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) and antiretroviral drugs were estimated by Poisson regression analyses.
In the period 1996–1999 risk of DM was higher in HIV-infected individuals compared to the comparison cohort (adjusted IRR: 2.83; 95%CI: 1.57–5.09), both before (adjusted IRR: 2.40; 95%CI: 1.03–5.62) and after HAART initiation (adjusted IRR: 3.24; 95% CI: 1.42–7.39). In the period 1999–2010 the risk of DM in HIV-infected individuals did not differ from that of the comparison cohort (adjusted IRR: 0.90; 95% CI: 0.72–1.13), although the risk was decreased before HAART-initiation (adjusted IRR: 0.45; 95%CI: 0.21–0.96). Increasing age, BMI and the presence of lipoatrophy increased the risk of DM, as did exposure to indinavir, saquinavir, stavudine and didanosine.
Native HIV–infected individuals do not have an increased risk of developing DM compared to a native background population after year 1998. Some antiretroviral drugs, not used in modern antiretroviral treatment, seem to increase the risk of DM.
The aim was to assess population-level HIV-testing uptake among pregnant women, key for access to prevention-of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services, and to identify risk factors for not being HIV tested,
The study was conducted May 2008–May 2010 in the Iganga/Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS), Eastern Uganda, during regular surveillance of 68,000 individuals. All women identified to be pregnant May–July 2008 (n = 881) were interviewed about pregnancy-related issues and linked to the HDSS database for socio-demographic data. Women were followed-up via antenatal care (ANC) register reviews at the health facilities to collect data related to ANC services received, including HIV testing. Adjusted relative risk (aRR), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for not being HIV tested were calculated using multivariable binomial regression among the 544 women who remained after record review.
Despite high ANC attendance (96%), the coverage of HIV testing was 64%. Only 6% of pregnant women who sought ANC at a facility without HIV testing services were referred for testing and only 20% received counseling regarding HIV. At ANC facilities with HIV testing services, 85% were tested. Only 4% of the women tested had been couple tested for HIV. Living more than three kilometers away from a health facility with HIV testing services was associated with not being tested both among the poorest (aRR,CI; 1.44,1.02–2.04) and the least poor women (aRR,CI;1.72,1.12–2.63).
The lack of onsite HIV testing services and distant ANC facilities lead to missed opportunities for PMTCT, especially for the poorest women. Referral systems for HIV testing need to be improved and testing should be expanded to lower level health facilities. This is in order to ensure that the policy of HIV testing during pregnancy is implemented more effectively and that testing is accessible for all.
Recent blue-ribbon panel reports have concluded that HIV treatment programs in less wealthy countries must integrate mental health identification and treatment into normal HIV clinical care and that research on mental health and HIV in these settings should be a high priority. We assessed the epidemiology of depression in HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy in a small urban setting in Cameroon by administering a structured interview for depression to 400 patients consecutively attending the Bamenda Regional Hospital AIDS Treatment Center. One in five participants met lifetime criteria for MDD, and 7% had MDD within the prior year. Only 33% had ever spoken with a health professional about depression, and 12% reported ever having received depression treatment that was helpful or effective. Over 2/3 with past-year MDD had severe or very severe episodes. The number of prior depressive episodes and the number of HIV symptoms were the strongest predictors of past-year MDD. The prevalence of MDD in Cameroon is as high as that of other HIV-associated conditions, such as tuberculosis and Hepatitis B virus, whose care is incorporated into World Health Organization guidelines. The management of depression needs to be incorporated in HIV-care guidelines in Cameroon and other similar settings.
People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) frequently have abnormal blood counts including anemia, leucopenia and thrombocytopenia. The role of infection with plasmodia on these hematological parameters in PLWHA is not well known. In this study we compared selected hematological parameters between malaria positive and negative PLWHA.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of PLWHA attending the Douala Laquintinie hospital. After obtaining consent, demographic and clinical data were obtained via a standardized questionnaire. Blood samples collected for hematological assays were run using an automated full blood counter. Malaria parasitaemia was determined by blood smear microscopy.
A total of 238 adult PLWHA were enrolled, 48.3% of who were on antiretroviral therapy and 24.8% of whom had malaria parasitaemia. The respective mean (±SD) of hemoglobin level, RBC count, WBC count, platelet count, lymphocyte count and CD4+ T cell counts in malaria co-infected patients versus non-infected patients were: 10.8(±1.9) g/dl versus 11.4(±2.0)g/dl; 3,745,254(±793,353) cells/µl versus 3,888,966(±648,195) cells/µl; 4,403(±1,534) cells/µl versus 4,920(±1,922) cells/µl; 216,051(±93,884) cells/µl versus 226,792(±98,664) cells/µl; 1,846(±711) cells/µl versus 2,052(±845) cells/µl and 245(±195) cells/µl versus 301(±211) cells/µl. All these means were not statistically significantly different from each other.
There was no significant difference in studied hematological parameters between malaria positive and negative PLWHA. These data suggest little or no impact of malaria infection. Hematological anomalies in PLWHA in this area need not be necessarily attributed to malaria. These need to be further investigated to identify and treat other potential causes.
The Nuremberg code defines the general ethical framework of medical research with participant consent as its cornerstone. In cluster randomized trials (CRT), obtaining participant informed consent raises logistic and methodologic concerns. First, with randomization of large clusters such as geographical areas, obtaining individual informed consent may be impossible. Second, participants in randomized clusters cannot avoid certain interventions, which implies that participant informed consent refers only to data collection, not administration of an intervention. Third, complete participant information may be a source of selection bias, which then raises methodological concerns. We assessed whether participant informed consent was required in such trials, which type of consent was required, and whether the trial was at risk of selection bias because of the very nature of participant information.
Methods and Findings
We systematically reviewed all reports of CRT published in MEDLINE in 2008 and surveyed corresponding authors regarding the nature of the informed consent and the process of participant inclusion. We identified 173 reports and obtained an answer from 113 authors (65.3%). In total, 23.7% of the reports lacked information on ethics committee approval or participant consent, 53.1% of authors declared that participant consent was for data collection only and 58.5% that the group allocation was not specified for participants. The process of recruitment (chronology of participant recruitment with regard to cluster randomization) was rarely reported, and we estimated that only 56.6% of the trials were free of potential selection bias.
For CRTs, the reporting of ethics committee approval and participant informed consent is less than optimal. Reports should describe whether participants consented for administration of an intervention and/or data collection. Finally, the process of participant recruitment should be fully described (namely, whether participants were informed of the allocation group before being recruited) for a better appraisal of the risk of selection bias.
Though documented that HIV infection progresses with the depletion of CD4+ cells, the exact mechanisms by which these cell depletions occur are not clearly understood. This study aimed at evaluating the plasma levels of soluble Fas receptors and ligands in HIV-infected and uninfected patients in Yaounde, Cameroon, a population with a known diversity of HIV in whom this has not been previously assessed.
In a cross-sectional study, 39 antiretroviral naïve HIV-1 positive and negative participants were recruited in Yaounde, Cameroon. CD4+ lymphocyte cell counts were quantified from whole blood using an automated FACScount machine (Becton-Dickinson, Belgium). Plasma samples obtained were analyzed for soluble Fas receptors and Fas ligands in both HIV-1 positive and negative samples using two different quantitative sandwich ELISA kits (Quantikine®, R&D Systems , UK).
Plasma levels of Fas receptors were higher in HIV-1 positive patients (median = 1486pg/ml IQR = 1193, 1830pg/ml) compared to HIV-negative controls (median = 1244pg/ml, IQR = 1109, 1325pg/ml), p-value <0.001. Plasma levels of Fas ligands were also higher in HIV-1 positive patients (median = 154pg/ml, IQR = 111, 203pg/ml) compared to HIV-negative controls (median = 51pg/ml, IQR = 32, 88pg/ml), p-value = 0.005. Plasma concentrations of soluble fas receptors and ligands tended to be negatively correlated with the CD4+ cell counts of HIV-positive patients; the correlation coefficients were -0.34 (value = 0.78) and-0.3 (p-value = 0.51) respectively.
In this population of patients in Cameroon, plasma concentrations of Fas receptors and Fas ligands tend to be higher in HIV-positive patients. The Fas pathway of apoptosis may have a role in the depletion of CD4+ cell counts
Apoptosis; Fas; FasL; Immune activation; HIV; Cameroon
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of adult mortality in low-income countries but data on the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension are scarce, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study aims to assess the prevalence of hypertension and determinants of blood pressure in four SSA populations in rural Nigeria and Kenya, and urban Namibia and Tanzania.
Methods and Findings
We performed four cross-sectional household surveys in Kwara State, Nigeria; Nandi district, Kenya; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Greater Windhoek, Namibia, between 2009–2011. Representative population-based samples were drawn in Nigeria and Namibia. The Kenya and Tanzania study populations consisted of specific target groups. Within a final sample size of 5,500 households, 9,857 non-pregnant adults were eligible for analysis on hypertension. Of those, 7,568 respondents ≥18 years were included. The primary outcome measure was the prevalence of hypertension in each of the populations under study.
The age-standardized prevalence of hypertension was 19.3% (95%CI:17.3–21.3) in rural Nigeria, 21.4% (19.8–23.0) in rural Kenya, 23.7% (21.3–26.2) in urban Tanzania, and 38.0% (35.9–40.1) in urban Namibia. In individuals with hypertension, the proportion of grade 2 (≥160/100 mmHg) or grade 3 hypertension (≥180/110 mmHg) ranged from 29.2% (Namibia) to 43.3% (Nigeria). Control of hypertension ranged from 2.6% in Kenya to 17.8% in Namibia. Obesity prevalence (BMI ≥30) ranged from 6.1% (Nigeria) to 17.4% (Tanzania) and together with age and gender, BMI independently predicted blood pressure level in all study populations. Diabetes prevalence ranged from 2.1% (Namibia) to 3.7% (Tanzania).
Hypertension was the most frequently observed risk factor for CVD in both urban and rural communities in SSA and will contribute to the growing burden of CVD in SSA. Low levels of control of hypertension are alarming. Strengthening of health care systems in SSA to contain the emerging epidemic of CVD is urgently needed.
To estimate the prevalence and causes of blindness and visual impairment in Cape Town, South Africa and to explore socio-economic and demographic predictors of vision loss in this setting.
A cross sectional population-based survey was conducted in Cape Town. Eighty-two clusters were selected using probability proportionate to size sampling. Within each cluster 35 or 40 people aged 50 years and above were selected using compact segment sampling. Visual acuity of participants was assessed and eyes with a visual acuity less than 6/18 were examined by an ophthalmologist to determine the cause of vision loss. Demographic data (age, gender and education) were collected and a socio-economic status (SES) index was created using principal components analysis.
Out of 3100 eligible people, 2750 (89%) were examined. The sample prevalence of bilateral blindness (presenting visual acuity <3/60) was 1.4% (95% CI 0.9–1.8). Posterior segment diseases accounted for 65% of blindness and cataract was responsible for 27%. The prevalence of vision loss was highest among people over 80 years (odds ratio (OR) 6.9 95% CI 4.6–10.6), those in the poorest SES group (OR 3.9 95% CI 2.2–6.7) and people with no formal education (OR 5.4 95% CI 1.7–16.6). Cataract surgical coverage was 68% in the poorest SES tertile (68%) compared to 93% in the medium and 100% in the highest tertile.
The prevalence of blindness among people ≥50 years in Cape Town was lower than expected and the contribution of posterior segment diseases higher than previously reported in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa. There were clear socio-economic disparities in prevalence of vision loss and cataract surgical coverage in this setting which need to be addressed in blindness prevention programs.
Despite having high cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates, screening for cervical precancerous lesions remains infrequent in sub-Saharan Africa. The need to screen HIV-positive women because of the higher prevalence and faster progression of cervical precancerous lesions may be heightened by the increased access to highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Policymakers need quantitative data on the effect of HAART and screening to better allocate limited resources. Our aim was to quantify the potential effect of these interventions on cervical cancer mortality.
Methods and Findings
We constructed a Markov state-transition model of a cohort of HIV-positive women in Cameroon. Published data on the prevalence, progression and regression of lesions as well as mortality rates from HIV, cervical cancer and other causes were incorporated into the model. We examined the potential impact, on cumulative cervical cancer mortality, of four possible scenarios: no HAART and no screening (NHNS), HAART and no screening (HNS), HAART and screening once on HAART initiation (HSHI), and HAART and screening once at age 35 (HS35). Our model projected that, compared to NHNS, lifetime cumulative cervical cancer mortality approximately doubled with HNS. It will require 262 women being screened at HAART initiation to prevent one cervical cancer death amongst women on HAART. The magnitudes of these effects were most sensitive to the rate of progression of precancerous lesions.
Screening, even when done once, has the potential of reducing cervical cancer mortality among HIV-positive women in Africa. The most feasible and cost-effective screening strategy needs to be determined in each setting.
Clinical teaching is an important component of clinical education. In nursing, clinical teaching is ensured by clinical nurse educators (CNEs). This study aimed at describing the major challenges faced by CNEs in Cameroon.
In a qualitative study, supplemented with quantitative methods, CNEs were enrolled from three health districts to represent their frequency in Cameroon’s health delivery system.
A total of 56 CNEs participated in the study, of whom, as many as 58.9% acknowledged always facing challenges in clinical teaching and supervision. The major challenges identified were the lack of opportunities to update knowledge and skills, students’ lack of preparedness and the CNEs not being prepared for clinical teaching. CNEs attributed these challenges in major part to the lack of incentives and poor health policies.
CNEs in Cameroon do indeed face major challenges which are of diverse origins and could adversely affect teaching in clinical settings.
Clinical nurse; educators-Challenges in teaching–Improvement options-Cameroon
To describe differences in radiographic features of hip osteoarthritis (OA) between African American (AA) and white men and women.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of radiographic hip OA using baseline data from The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project, using Kellgren-Lawrence grade, and the presence, location, and severity of 4 individual radiographic features (joint space narrowing (JSN), subchondral cysts and sclerosis, and osteophytes (OST)). Gender-specific logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between race and individual radiographic features, adjusting for age, BMI, education, and prior hip injury. Robust variance estimators via generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to account for correlation between hips from the same individual.
The sample (n=2,739) included 57% women and 31% AA participants. Among women, AAs and whites had a similar prevalence of hip OA, defined as K-L grade ≥ 2 (23% vs. 22%), but AA women were significantly more likely to have superior or medial JSN, moderate or severe axial JSN, medial or lateral OST, and subchondral cysts.
Among men, 21% of AA and 17% of white men had hip OA; AA men were more likely to have superior or medial JSN and lateral OST, but less likely to have axial JSN.
Individual radiographic features and patterns of hip OA differ by race among women and men, suggesting the possibility of anatomic and/or developmental variation in the hip joint. AAs have an increased frequency of features that have been predictive of hip replacement in other populations, a finding worthy of further study.