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1.  Migration and Health in Southern Africa: 100 years and still circulating 
Migration has deep historical roots in South and southern Africa and to this day continues to be highly prevalent and a major factor shaping South African society and health. In this paper we examine the role of migration in the spread of two diseases nearly 100 years apart: tuberculosis following the discovery of gold in 1886 and HIV in the early 1990s. Both cases demonstrate the critical role played by human migration in the transmission and subsequent dissemination of these diseases to rural areas. In both cases, migration acts to assemble in one high-risk environment thousands of young men highly susceptible to new diseases. With poor living and working conditions, these migration destinations act as hot-spots for disease transmission. Migration of workers back to rural areas then serves as a highly efficient means of disseminating these diseases to rural populations. We conclude by raising some more recent questions examining the current role of migration in southern Africa.
PMCID: PMC3956074  PMID: 24653964
Migration; health; HIV; TB; Africa
2.  Patient Experiences following Acute HIV Infection Diagnosis and Counseling in South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105459.
Individuals in the acute stage of HIV infection (AHI) have an elevated potential to transmit HIV and play a critical role in the growth of the epidemic. Routine identification and counseling of individuals during AHI could decrease transmission behavior during this key period. However, diagnosis of AHI may present challenges distinct from those experienced through diagnosis of established HIV infection. A study was conducted in a public youth clinic outside of Cape Town, South Africa, to identify and counsel individuals with acute stage HIV infection. In-depth interviews were conducted with patients following diagnosis. After counseling, patients were accepting of the testing regimen used to diagnose AHI. They used the knowledge of having been recently infected to identify the source of their infection, but did not retain or place importance on information regarding the increased ability to transmit HIV during the acute stage. Future interventions directed at the reduction of HIV transmission following diagnosis with AHI will need to find ways of making this information more salient, possibly through more culturally meaningful educational approaches.
PMCID: PMC4143263  PMID: 25153674
3.  Migration intensity has no effect on peak HIV prevalence: an ecological study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:350.
Correctly identifying the determinants of generalized HIV epidemics is crucial to bringing down ongoing high HIV incidence in these countries. High rates of migration are believed to be an important determinant of HIV prevalence. This study has two aims. Firstly, it evaluates the ecological association between levels of internal and international migration and national peak HIV prevalence using thirteen variables from a variety of sources to capture various aspects of internal and international migration intensity. Secondly, it examines the relationship between circular migration and HIV at an individual and population-level in South Africa.
Linear regression was used to analyze the association between the various measures of migration intensity and peak national HIV prevalence for 141 countries and HIV prevalence by province and ethnic group in South Africa.
No evidence of a positive ecological association between national migration intensity and HIV prevalence was found. This remained the case when the analyses were limited to the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. On the whole, countries with generalized HIV epidemics had lower rates of internal and external migration. Likewise, no association was found between migration and HIV positivity at an individual or group-level in South Africa.
These results do not support the thesis that migration measured at the country level plays a significant role in determining peak HIV prevalence.
PMCID: PMC4094477  PMID: 24961725
Ecological; Individual-level; Circular migration; International migration; Internal migration; HIV
4.  HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis for people who inject drugs: a review of current results and an agenda for future research 
Studies examining the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV transmission among people who inject drugs (PWIDs) have not been adequately summarized. Recently, the Bangkok Tenofovir Study has shown that PrEP may be effective at reducing new HIV infections among this high-risk group. This randomized controlled trial was the first study to specifically examine the efficacy of PrEP among PWIDs. In this review, we present the current state of evidence regarding the use of PrEP to prevent HIV infection in PWID populations, and set an agenda for future research to inform the most effective implementation of PrEP in the context of existing evidence-based HIV prevention strategies.
Despite positive trial results confirming that PrEP may prevent HIV transmission among PWIDs, there remain many questions regarding the interpretation of these results, as well as obstacles to the implementation of PrEP regimens within highly diverse drug-using communities. Aside from the Bangkok Tenofovir Study, we identified only one other published study that has collected empirical data to inform the use of PrEP among PWIDs. The large gap in research regarding the use and implementation of PrEP for PWIDs signals the need for further research and attention.
We recommend that future research efforts focus on elucidating the generalizability of the Bangkok Tenofovir Study results in other injection drug–using populations, examining the willingness of PWIDs to use PrEP in diverse contexts, identifying barriers to adherence to PrEP regimens and determining the most effective ways to implement PrEP programmes within the context of existing evidence-based prevention strategies, including opioid substitution therapy and needle and syringe distribution programmes.
PMCID: PMC3969508  PMID: 24679634
HIV; pre-exposure prophylaxis; injection drug use; people who inject drugs
5.  Ageing with HIV in South Africa 
AIDS (London, England)  2011;25(13):10.1097/QAD.0b013e32834982ea.
We used an established microsimulation model, quantified to a rural South African setting with a well-developed antiretroviral treatment program, to predict the impact of antiretroviral therapy on the HIV epidemic in the population aged 50+. We show that the HIV prevalence in patients aged 50+ will nearly double in the next 30 years, while the fraction of HIV infected patients aged over 50 will triple in the same period. This ageing epidemic has important consequences for the South African health-care system, as older HIV patients require specialized care.
PMCID: PMC3886337  PMID: 21681056
HIV; Antiretroviral therapy; Ageing; Mathematical model; Epidemiological trends
6.  The impact of antiretroviral treatment on the age composition of the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(0 1):10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283558526.
Antiretroviral treatment (ART) coverage is rapidly expanding in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Based on the effect of ART on survival of HIV-infected people and HIV transmission the age composition of the HIV epidemic in the region is expected to change in the coming decades. We quantify the change of the age composition of HIV-infected people in all countries in SSA.
We used STDSIM, a stochastic microsimulation model, and developed an approach to represent HIV prevalence and treatment coverage in 43 countries in SSA, using publicly available data. We predict future trends in HIV prevalence and total number of infections among the populations aged 15-49 and 50 years and older (50+) for different ART coverage levels.
We show that, if treatment coverage continues to increase at present rates, the total number of HIV-infected patients aged 50+ will nearly triple over the coming years: from 3.1 million in 2011 to 9.1 million in 2040, dramatically changing the age composition of the HIV epidemic in SSA. In 2011, about 1 in 7 HIV-infected people was aged 50 years or older; in 2040, this ratio will be larger than 1 in 4.
The HIV epidemic in SSA is rapidly ageing, implying changing needs and demands in many social sectors, including health, social care, and old-age pension systems. Health policymakers need to anticipate the impact of the changing HIV age composition in their planning for future capacity in these systems.
PMCID: PMC3886374  PMID: 22781175
HIV; Antiretroviral therapy; Ageing; Mathematical model; Epidemiological trends
7.  Concurrent Partnerships as a Driver of the HIV Epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa? The Evidence is Limited 
AIDS and behavior  2009;14(1):10.1007/s10461-009-9583-5.
PMCID: PMC3819098  PMID: 19488848
8.  Sexual Behavior and Reproductive Health Among HIV-Infected Patients in Urban and Rural South Africa 
Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)  2008;47(4):10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181648de8.
With the rollout of antiretroviral therapy in South Africa and its potential to prolong the lives of HIV-infected individuals, understanding the sexual behavior of HIV-positive people is essential to curbing secondary HIV transmission.
We surveyed 3819 HIV-positive patients during their first visit to an urban wellness clinic and a rural wellness clinic.
Urban residents were more likely than rural residents to have current regular sex partners (75.1% vs. 46.0%; χ2 odds ratio [OR] = 3.531; P < 0.001), to have any current sexual partners (75.3% vs. 51.2%; χ2 OR = 2.908; P < 0.001), and to report consistent condom use with regular partners (78.4% vs. 48.3%; χ2 OR = 3.886; P < 0.001) and with casual partners (68.6% vs. 48.3%; χ2 OR = 2.337; P < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, independent predictors of consistent condom use with regular partners included across gender, urban residence, and higher education levels; for women, disclosure and younger age; and for men only, no history of alcohol consumption. Male and female participants with a casual sexual partner were less likely to use a condom consistently with regular partners. Additionally, urban residence and a CD4 count greater than 200 cells/mm3 as well as (for women only) a higher household income and a history of alcohol consumption were predictors of having a regular sexual partner.
HIV prevention programs in South Africa that emphasize the importance of condom use and disclosure and are tailored to the needs of their attending populations are critical given the potential for HIV-infected individuals to resume risky sexual behavior with improving health.
PMCID: PMC3811008  PMID: 18209685
condom use; HIV prevention; positive prevention; sexual behavior; South Africa; urban-rural
9.  Elimination of HIV in South Africa through Expanded Access to Antiretroviral Therapy: A Model Comparison Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(10):e1001534.
Using nine structurally different models, Jan Hontelez and colleagues investigate timeframes for HIV elimination in South Africa using a universal test and treat strategy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Expanded access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) using universal test and treat (UTT) has been suggested as a strategy to eliminate HIV in South Africa within 7 y based on an influential mathematical modeling study. However, the underlying deterministic model was criticized widely, and other modeling studies did not always confirm the study's finding. The objective of our study is to better understand the implications of different model structures and assumptions, so as to arrive at the best possible predictions of the long-term impact of UTT and the possibility of elimination of HIV.
Methods and Findings
We developed nine structurally different mathematical models of the South African HIV epidemic in a stepwise approach of increasing complexity and realism. The simplest model resembles the initial deterministic model, while the most comprehensive model is the stochastic microsimulation model STDSIM, which includes sexual networks and HIV stages with different degrees of infectiousness. We defined UTT as annual screening and immediate ART for all HIV-infected adults, starting at 13% in January 2012 and scaled up to 90% coverage by January 2019. All models predict elimination, yet those that capture more processes underlying the HIV transmission dynamics predict elimination at a later point in time, after 20 to 25 y. Importantly, the most comprehensive model predicts that the current strategy of ART at CD4 count ≤350 cells/µl will also lead to elimination, albeit 10 y later compared to UTT. Still, UTT remains cost-effective, as many additional life-years would be saved. The study's major limitations are that elimination was defined as incidence below 1/1,000 person-years rather than 0% prevalence, and drug resistance was not modeled.
Our results confirm previous predictions that the HIV epidemic in South Africa can be eliminated through universal testing and immediate treatment at 90% coverage. However, more realistic models show that elimination is likely to occur at a much later point in time than the initial model suggested. Also, UTT is a cost-effective intervention, but less cost-effective than previously predicted because the current South African ART treatment policy alone could already drive HIV into elimination.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 34 million people (mostly in low- and middle-income countries) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and every year another 2.5 million people become infected. HIV, which is usually transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner, gradually destroys CD4 lymphocytes and other immune system cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, people infected with HIV often died within ten years of infection. Then, in 1996, antiretroviral therapy (ART) became available, and, for people living in affluent countries, HIV/AIDS became a chronic condition. However, ART was expensive, so HIV/AIDS remained a fatal condition for people living in resource-limited countries. In 2006, the international community set a target of achieving universal ART coverage by 2010, and ART programs were initiated in many resource-limited countries. Although universal ART coverage has still not been achieved in South Africa, where nearly 6 million people are HIV-positive, 80% of people in need of ART were receiving a World Health Organization–recommended ART regimen by October 2012.
Why Was This Study Done?
ART is usually started when a person's CD4 count falls below 350 cells/µl blood, but it is thought that treatment of all HIV-positive individuals, regardless of their CD4 count, could reduce HIV transmission by reducing the infectiousness of HIV-positive individuals (“treatment as prevention”). Might it be possible, therefore, to eliminate HIV by screening everyone annually for infection and treating all HIV-positive individuals immediately? In 2009, a mathematical modeling study suggested that seven years of universal test and treat (UTT) could eliminate HIV in South Africa. The deterministic (nonrandom) model used in that study has been widely criticized, however, and some subsequent modeling studies have reached different conclusions, probably because of differences in the models' structures and in the assumptions built into them. A better understanding of the reasons for the discrepancies between models would help policy-makers decide whether to introduce UTT, so, here, the researchers developed several increasingly complex and realistic models of the South African HIV epidemic and used these models to predict the long-term impact of UTT in South Africa.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed nine structurally different mathematical models of the South African HIV epidemic based on the STDSIM framework, a stochastic microsimulation model that simulates the life course of individuals in a dynamic network of sexual contacts and in which events such as HIV infection are random processes. The simplest model, which resembled the original deterministic model, was extended by sequentially adding in factors such as different HIV transmission rates at different stages of HIV infection and up-to-date assumptions regarding the ability of ART to reduce HIV infectiousness. All the models replicated the prevalence of HIV in South Africa (the proportion of the population that was HIV-positive) between 1990 and 2010, and all predicted that UTT (defined as annual screening of individuals age 15+ years and immediate ART for all HIV-infected adults starting in 2012 and scaled up to 90% coverage by 2019) would result in HIV elimination (less than one new infection per 1,000 person-years). However, whereas the simplest model predicted that UTT would eliminate HIV after seven years, the more complex, realistic models predicted elimination at much later time points. Importantly, the most comprehensive model predicted that, although elimination would be reached after about 17 years of UTT, the current strategy of ART initiation for HIV-positive individuals at a CD4 cell count at or below 350 cells/µl would also lead to HIV elimination, albeit ten years later than UTT.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings confirm previous predictions that UTT could eliminate HIV in South Africa, but the development of more realistic models than those used in the past suggests that HIV elimination would occur substantially later than originally predicted. Importantly, the most comprehensive model suggests that HIV could be eliminated in South Africa using the current strategy for ART treatment alone. As with all modeling studies, the accuracy of these findings depends on the assumptions built into the models and on the structure of the models. Thus, although these findings support the use of UTT as an intervention to eliminate HIV, more research with comprehensive models that incorporate factors such as data from ongoing trials of treatment as prevention is needed to determine the population-level impact and overall cost-effectiveness of UTT.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Ford and Hirnschall
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 HIV and AIDS in South Africa, on HIV treatment as prevention and the possibility of HIV elimination (in English and Spanish)
The 2012 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
The World Health Organization provides information about universal access to AIDS treatment (in several languages); its 2010 ART guidelines can be downloaded
The PLOS Medicine Collection Investigating the Impact of Treatment on New HIV Infections provides more information about HIV treatment as prevention
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3805487  PMID: 24167449
10.  Effects of Political Conflict Induced Treatment Interruptions on HIV Drug Resistance 
AIDS reviews  2013;15(1):15-24.
34 million people worldwide were living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) by the end of 2010. Despite significant advances in antiretroviral therapy (ART), drug resistance remains a major deterrent to successful, enduring treatment. Unplanned interruptions in ART have negative effects on HIV treatment outcomes including increased morbidity and mortality, as well as development of drug resistance. Treatment interruptions due to political conflicts, not infrequent in resource-limited settings, result in disruptions in health care, infrastructure, or treatment facilities and patient displacement. Such circumstances are ideal bases for ART resistance development, however there is limited awareness of and data available on the association between political conflicts and the development of HIV drug resistance. In this review we identify and discuss this association and review how varying ART half-lives, genetic barriers, different HIV subtypes, and archived resistance can lead to lack of medication effectiveness upon post-conflict resumption of care. Optimized ART stopping strategies as well as infrastructural concerns and stable HIV treatment systems to ensure continuity of care and rapid resumption of care must be addressed in order to mitigate risks of HIV drug resistance development during and after political conflicts. Increased awareness of such associations by clinicians as well as politicians and stakeholders is essential.
PMCID: PMC3774601  PMID: 23449225
Treatment Interruption; Unplanned; Resistance; Political Crises; NNRTI Tail
11.  HIV-1 Sero-Prevalence and Awareness of Mother-to-Child Transmission Issues Among Women Seeking Antenatal Care in Tamil Nadu, India 
Despite increasing availability of HIV-1 testing, education, and methods to prevent transmission, Indian women and their children remain at risk of acquiring HIV. We assessed the sero-prevalence and awareness about HIV among pregnant women presenting to a private tertiary care hospital in South India.
Sero-prevalence was determined via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing, and questionnaires were analyzed using chi-square statistics and odds ratios to look for factors associated with HIV positivity.
A total of 7956 women who presented for antenatal care were interviewed. Fifty-one women of the 7235 women who underwent HIV testing (0.7%) were found to be HIV positive. Awareness of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV (64%), HIV transmission through breast milk (42%), and prevention of MTCT (13%) was low.
There is a need to educate South Indian women about HIV to give them information and the means to protect themselves and their unborn children from acquiring HIV.
PMCID: PMC3652013  PMID: 20530464
HIV; sero-prevalence; awareness; pregnancy; antenatal; India
12.  A Cross-Sectional Study to Assess HPV Knowledge and HPV Vaccine Acceptability in Mali 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56402.
Despite a high prevalence of oncogenic human papilloma virus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer mortality, HPV vaccination is not currently available in Mali. Knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer in Mali, and thereby vaccine readiness, may be limited. Research staff visited homes in a radial pattern from a central location to recruit adolescent females and males aged 12–17 years and men and women aged ≥18 years (N = 51) in a peri-urban village of Bamako, Mali. Participants took part in structured interviews assessing knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to HPV, cervical cancer, and HPV vaccination. We found low levels of HPV and cervical cancer knowledge. While only 2.0% of respondents knew that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), 100% said they would be willing to receive HPV vaccination and would like the HPV vaccine to be available in Mali. Moreover, 74.5% said they would vaccinate their child(ren) against HPV. Men were found to have significantly greater autonomy in the decision to vaccinate themselves than women and adolescents (p = 0.005), a potential barrier to be addressed by immunization campaigns. HPV vaccination would be highly acceptable if the vaccine became widely available in Bamako, Mali. This study demonstrates the need for a significant investment in health education if truly informed consent is to be obtained for HPV vaccination. Potential HPV vaccination campaigns should provide more information about HPV and the vaccine. Barriers to vaccination, including the significantly lower ability of the majority of the target population to autonomously decide to get vaccinated, must also be addressed in future HPV vaccine campaigns.
PMCID: PMC3576405  PMID: 23431375
13.  Sexual Risk Behaviors Among HIV-Infected South African Men and Women with Their Partners in a Primary Care Program: Implications for Couples-Based Prevention 
AIDS and Behavior  2012;16(1):139-150.
We studied 1163 sexually-active HIV-infected South African men and women in an urban primary care program to understand patterns of sexual behaviors and whether these behaviors differed by partner HIV status. Overall, 40% reported a HIV-positive partner and 60% a HIV-negative or status unknown partner; and 17.5% reported >2 sex acts in the last 2 weeks, 16.4% unprotected sex in the last 6 months, and 3.7% >1 sex partner in the last 6 months. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) was consistently associated with decreased sexual risk behaviors, as well as with reporting a HIV-negative or status unknown partner. The odds of sexual risk behaviors differed by sex; and were generally higher among participants reporting a HIV-positive partner, but continued among those with a HIV-negative or status unknown partner. These data support ART as a means of HIV prevention. Engaging in sexual risk behaviors primarily with HIV-positive partners was not widely practiced in this setting, emphasizing the need for couples-based prevention.
PMCID: PMC3184366  PMID: 21476005
HIV; AIDS; South Africa; Sexual risk behavior; ART
14.  Determinants and spatial patterns of adult overweight and hypertension in a high HIV prevalence rural South African population 
Health & Place  2012;18(6):1300-1306.
We conducted a large population-based survey among adults measuring weight, height, and blood pressure nested within an HIV survey in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to identify and characterize clusters of overweight and hypertension in a typical rural African population and to explore whether geographic clusters can be accounted for by established individual-level risk factors. 58.4% of the participants were overweight and 22.6% were hypertensive. One cluster of high prevalence of overweight (RR=1.50, p<0.001) was identified using Kulldorff spatial scan statistic as the most likely cluster, whereas a low-risk cluster was identified in the nearby high-density settlement area (RR=0.62, p<0.05). No geographic clusters of hypertension were identified. After controlling for age, sex, educational attainment, household wealth, marital status, place of residence, and HIV status, no spatial clustering of overweight remained. The results provided clear evidence for the localized clustering of overweight. Identification of clustering of chronic disease could provide additional insights into the prevention and control for the rural South African population.
► Determinants and spatial patterns of chronic diseases in rural South Africa. ► Localized clustering of overweight identified, but no clustering for hypertension. ► Additional insights into chronic disease control for rural South Africa were provided.
PMCID: PMC3989767  PMID: 23085938
Overweight; Hypertension; Disease clustering; Geographical information systems
15.  The potential impact of RV144-like vaccines in rural South Africa: a study using the STDSIM microsimulation model 
Vaccine  2011;29(36):6100-6106.
The only successful HIV vaccine trial to date is the RV144 trial of the ALVAC/AIDSVAX vaccine in Thailand, which showed an overall incidence reduction of 31%. Most cases were prevented in the first year, suggesting a rapidly waning efficacy. Here, we predict the population level impact and cost-effectiveness of practical implementation of such a vaccine in a setting of a generalised epidemic with high HIV prevalence and incidence.
We used STDSIM, an established individual-based microsimulation model, tailored to a rural South African area with a well-functioning HIV treatment and care programme. We estimated the impact of a single round of mass vaccination for everybody aged 15–49, as well as 5-year and 2-year revaccination strategies for young adults (aged 15–29). We calculated proportion of new infections prevented, cost-effectiveness indicators, and budget impact estimates of combined ART and vaccination programmes.
A single round of mass vaccination with a RV144-like vaccine will have a limited impact, preventing only 9% or 5% of new infections after 10 years at 60% and 30% coverage levels, respectively. Revaccination strategies are highly cost-effective if vaccine prices can be kept below 150 US$/vaccine for 2-year revaccination strategies, and below 200 US$/vaccine for 5-year revaccination strategies. Net cost-savings through reduced need for HIV treatment and care occur when vaccine prices are kept below 75 US$/vaccine. These results are sensitive to alternative assumptions on the underlying sexual network, background prevention interventions, and individual’s propensity and consistency to participate in the vaccination campaign.
A modestly effective vaccine can be a cost-effective intervention in highly endemic settings. To predict the impact of vaccination strategies in other endemic situations, sufficient knowledge of the underlying sexual network, prevention and treatment interventions, and individual propensity and consistency to participate, is key. These issues are all best addressed in an individual-based microsimulation model.
PMCID: PMC3157643  PMID: 21703321
HIV vaccine; Mathematical model; Microsimulation model; South Africa; Cost-effectiveness
16.  Sexual risk behaviors among HIV-infected South Indian couples in the HAART era: implications for reproductive health and HIV care delivery 
AIDS care  2011;23(6):722-733.
The current study examines sexual behaviors among HIV-infected Indians in primary care, where access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has recently increased. Between January to April 2008, we assessed the sexual behaviors of 247 HIV-infected South Indians in care. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to determine predictors of being in a HIV-seroconcordant primary relationship, being sexually active, and reporting unprotected sex. Over three-fourths (80%) of participants were HAART-experienced. Among the 58% of participants who were currently in a seroconcordant relationship, one-third were serodiscordant when first tested for HIV. Approximately two-thirds (63.2%) of participants were sexually active; 9.0% reported unprotected sex. In the multivariable analyses, participants who were in a seroconcordant primary relationship were more likely to have children, use alcohol, report unprotected sex, and have been enrolled in care for >12 months. Sexually active participants were more likely to be on HAART, have a prior tuberculosis diagnosis, test Herpes simplex type 2 antibody seropositive, and have low general health perceptions. Participants who reported unprotected sex were more likely to be in a seroconcordant relationship, be childless, want to have a child, and use alcohol. We did not document an association between HAART and unprotected sex. Among HIV-infected Indians in primary care, predictors of unprotected sex included alcohol use and desire for children. Prevention interventions for Indian couples should integrate reproductive health and alcohol use counseling at entry into care.
PMCID: PMC3095699  PMID: 21293990
HIV; AIDS; sexual behavior; HAART; India
17.  Morbidity and Mortality among Infants Born to HIV-Infected Women in South Africa: Implications for Child Health in Resource-Limited Settings 
Journal of Tropical Pediatrics  2010;57(2):109-119.
Background: We examined correlates of infant morbidity and mortality within the first 3 months of life among HIV-exposed infants receiving post-exposure antiretroviral prophylaxis in South Africa. Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of 848 mother–child dyads. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used. Results: The main causes of infant morbidity were gastrointestinal and respiratory infections. Morbidity was higher with infant HIV infection (HR: 2.61; 95% CI: 1.40–4.85; p = 0.002) and maternal plasma viral load (PVL) >100 000 copies ml−1 (HR: 1.87; 95% CI: 1.01–3.48; p = 0.048), and lower with maternal age <20 years (HR: 0.25; 95% CI: 0.07–0.88; p = 0.031). Mortality was higher with infant HIV infection (HR: 4.10; 95% CI: 1.18–14.31; p = 0.027) and maternal PVL >100 000 copies ml−1 (HR: 6.93; 95% CI: 1.64–29.26; p = 0.008). Infant feeding status did not influence the risk of morbidity nor mortality. Conclusions: Future interventions that minimize pediatric HIV infection and reduce maternal viremia, which are the main predictors of child health soon after birth, will impact positively on infant health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3107462  PMID: 20601692
South Africa; mother-to-child transmission; breast-feeding; infant HIV-1 infection; mortality; morbidity
18.  Who gets tested for HIV in a South African urban township? Implications for test and treat and gender-based prevention interventions 
With increasing calls for linking HIV-infected individuals to treatment and care via expanded testing, we examined socio-demographic and behavioral characteristics associated with HIV testing among men and women in Soweto, South Africa.
We conducted a cross-sectional household survey involving 1539 men and 1877 women as part of the community-randomized prevention trial Project ACCEPT/HPTN043 between July 2007-October 2007. Multivariable logistic regression models, stratified by sex, assessed factors associated with HIV testing, and then repeated testing.
Most women (64.8%) and 28.9% of men reported ever having been tested for HIV, among whom 57.9% reported repeated HIV testing. In multivariable analyses, youth and students had a lower odds of HIV testing. Men and women who had conversations about HIV/AIDS with increasing frequency and who had heard about antiretroviral therapy were more likely to report HIV testing, as well as repeated testing. Men who had ≥12 years of education and who were of high socio-economic status; and women who were married, who were of low socio-economic status, and who had children under their care had a higher odds of HIV testing. Women, older individuals, those with higher levels of education, married individuals, and those with children under their care had a higher odds of reporting repeated HIV testing. Uptake of HIV testing was not associated with condom use, having multiple sex partners, and HIV-related stigma.
Given the low uptake of HIV testing among men and youth, further targeted interventions could facilitate a test and treat strategy among urban South Africans.
PMCID: PMC3137901  PMID: 21084993
HIV; AIDS; VCT; testing; Africa
19.  Decreased sexual risk behavior in the era of HAART among HIV-infected urban and rural South Africans attending primary care clinics 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(17):2687-2696.
In light of increasing access to highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) in sub-Saharan Africa, we conducted a longitudinal study to assess the impact of HAART on sexual risk behaviors among HIV-infected South Africans in urban and rural primary care clinics.
Prospective observational cohort study.
We conducted a cohort study at rural and urban primary care HIV clinics in South Africa consisting of 1544 men and 4719 women enrolled from 2003–2010, representing 19703 clinic visits. The primary outcomes were being sexually active, unprotected sex, and >1 sex partner and were evaluated at six monthly intervals. Generalized estimated equations assessed the impact of HAART on sexual risk behaviors.
Among 6263 HIV-infected men and women, over a third (37.2%) initiated HAART during study follow-up. In comparison to pre-HAART follow-up, visits while receiving HAART were associated with a decrease in those reporting being sexually active (AOR: 0.86 [95% CI: 0.78–0.95]). Unprotected sex and having >1 sex partner were reduced at visits following HAART initiation compared to pre-HAART visits (AOR: 0.40 [95% CI: 0.34–0.46] and AOR: 0.20 [95% CI: 0.14–0.29], respectively).
Sexual risk behavior significantly decreased following HAART initiation among HIV-infected South African men and women in primary care programs. The further expansion of antiretroviral treatment programs could enhance HIV prevention efforts in Africa.
PMCID: PMC3130627  PMID: 20808202
South Africa; HAART; antiretroviral therapy; sexual behavior; HIV transmission; AIDS; HIV
20.  The Impact of the New WHO Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines on HIV Epidemic Dynamics and Cost in South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21919.
Since November 2009, WHO recommends that adults infected with HIV should initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) at CD4+ cell counts of ≤350 cells/µl rather than ≤200 cells/µl. South Africa decided to adopt this strategy for pregnant and TB co-infected patients only. We estimated the impact of fully adopting the new WHO guidelines on HIV epidemic dynamics and associated costs.
Methods and Finding
We used an established model of the transmission and control of HIV in specified sexual networks and healthcare settings. We quantified the model to represent Hlabisa subdistrict, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We predicted the HIV epidemic dynamics, number on ART and program costs under the new guidelines relative to treating patients at ≤200 cells/µl for the next 30 years. During the first five years, the new WHO treatment guidelines require about 7% extra annual investments, whereas 28% more patients receive treatment. Furthermore, there will be a more profound impact on HIV incidence, leading to relatively less annual costs after seven years. The resulting cumulative net costs reach a break-even point after on average 16 years.
Our study strengthens the WHO recommendation of starting ART at ≤350 cells/µl for all HIV-infected patients. Apart from the benefits associated with many life-years saved, a modest frontloading appears to lead to net savings within a limited time-horizon. This finding is robust to alternative assumptions and foreseeable changes in ART prices and effectiveness. Therefore, South Africa should aim at rapidly expanding its healthcare infrastructure to fully embrace the new WHO guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3140490  PMID: 21799755
21.  Age-gaps in sexual partnerships: seeing beyond ‘sugar daddies’ 
AIDS (London, England)  2011;25(6):861-863.
We examine for the first time age-mixing in sexual relationships in a population with very high HIV incidence and prevalence in rural South Africa. The highest levels of age assortativity (the pairing of like with like) were casual partnerships reported by men, the lowest levels were spousal relationships reported by women. Given the age–sex distribution of HIV prevalence in this population, interventions to decrease age-gaps in spousal relationships may be effective in reducing HIV incidence.
PMCID: PMC3117250  PMID: 21358377
22.  How HIV treatment could result in effective prevention 
Future virology  2010;5(4):405-415.
As the number of HIV infections continues to surpass treatment capacity, new HIV prevention strategies are imperative. Beyond individual clinical benefits, by rendering an individual less infectious, expanding access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) could also have a larger public health impact of curbing new HIV infections. Recent guidelines have moved towards initiating HAART at higher CD4 cell counts, thus increasing the number of individuals in need of treatment. A new treatment strategy is wanting that can simultaneously curb the epidemic and provide necessary treatment to those most in need. A recent debate has centered on whether an expansion of free and universal treatment, regardless of CD4 cell count, could be a means of HIV prevention. In light of the growing access to HAART in resource-limited settings and increasing evidence suggesting the clinical and prevention benefits of initiating treatment at higher CD4 cell counts, it is conceivable that, in the future, HAART will be an integral part of both individual-level clinical treatment programs as well as public health-based HIV prevention interventions.
PMCID: PMC2929800  PMID: 20814447
AIDS; antiretrovirals; highly active antiretroviral therapy; HIV; prevention; treatment
24.  Disclosure of HIV status: Experiences of Patients Enrolled in an Integrated TB and HAART Pilot Programme in South Africa 
The convergence between the tuberculosis (TB) and HIV epidemics has led to studies investigating strategies for integrated HIV and TB care. We present the experiences of a cohort of 17 patients enrolled in the first integrated TB and HIV treatment pilot programme, conducted in Durban, South Africa, as a precursor to a pivotal trial to answer the question of when to start antiretroviral treatment (ART) in patients co-infected with HIV and TB. Patients’ experiences with integrated TB and HIV care can provide insight about the problems or benefits of introducing HIV treatment into existing TB care in resource-constrained settings, where stigma and discrimination are often pervasive and determining factors influencing treatment uptake and coverage. Individual interviews, focus group discussions, and observations were used to understand patients’ experiences with integrated TB and HIV treatment. The patients described incorporating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) into their daily routine as ‘easy’; however, the patients experienced difficulties with disclosing their HIV status. Non-disclosure to sexual partners may jeopardise safer-sex practices and enhance HIV transmission. Being on TB treatment created a safe space for all patients to conceal their HIV status from those to whom they did not wish to disclose. The data suggest that the context of directly observed therapy (DOT) for TB may have the added benefit of creating a safe space for introducing ART to patients who would benefit most from treatment initiation but who are not ready or prepared to disclose their HIV status to others.
PMCID: PMC2856961  PMID: 20411037
antiretroviral therapy; co-infection; directly observed therapy; qualitative research; resource-poor settings; sexual behaviour; South Africa; treatment issues; tuberculosis
25.  Patterns of sexual behaviour of male patients before testing HIV-positive in a Cambodian hospital, Phnom Penh 
Sexual health  2008;5(4):353-358.
Sexual behaviours among HIV-positive male patients in Cambodia have not been fully evaluated.
The patterns of sexual behaviours and social factors were compared between married and single men.
A retrospective cross-sectional survey of 174 male HIV patients was undertaken during March 1999–June 2000 in Phnom Penh.
Many participants (61%) reported that they were unaware that their sexual behaviours may have put them at risk of HIV infection. Sexual behaviours included having sex with a sex worker (90%), multiple sexual partners (41%), and both of these behaviours (37%). Two-thirds (69%) reported using a condom when having sex with a sex worker. Condom use with multiple sexual partners was low (24%). A history of condom use with a sex worker was less likely to be reported among married men than single men (P = 0.008). Always using condoms with a sex worker did not differ between married men and single men. Social factors that influenced visiting a sex worker included invitation by a friend (88%), alcohol consumption (74%), and having extra spending money (72%). Multivariate analysis suggests that alcohol consumption (P = 0.008) and having extra spending money (P = 0.02) were strongly associated with visiting a sex worker.
In Cambodia, HIV-infected men frequently reported a history of using sex workers. Having multiple sex partners or using a sex worker and multiple sexual partners were not rare. Interventions should target men in settings where alcohol is consumed and to encourage married men to use condoms.
PMCID: PMC2853752  PMID: 19061555
HIV; men; social factors

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