Purpose of review
Recent randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) can decrease HIV incidence among several at-risk populations, including men who have sex with men, serodiscordant couples, and heterosexual men and women. As PrEP is a biomedical intervention that requires clinical monitoring and a high level of medication adherence, maximizing the public health effectiveness of PrEP in real-world settings will require the training of a cadre of healthcare providers to prescribe PrEP. Therefore it is critical to understand provider knowledge, practices and attitudes towards PrEP prescribing, and to develop strategies for engaging and training providers to provide PrEP.
A limited number of studies have focused on PrEP implementation by healthcare providers. These studies suggest that some providers are knowledgeable about PrEP, but many are not, or express misgivings. Although many clinicians report willingness to provide PrEP, few have prescribed PrEP in clinical practice. Provider comfort and skills in HIV risk assessment are suboptimal, which could limit identification of individuals who are most likely to benefit from PrEP use.
Further studies to understand facilitators and barriers to HIV risk assessment and PrEP prescribing by practicing clinicians are needed. Innovative training strategies and decision-support interventions for providers could optimize PrEP implementation and therefore merit additional research.
HIV; Prevention; Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis; Provider; Implementation
Based on evidence from a literature search and consensus expert opinion, the Mind Exchange program provides practical guidance in the diagnosis, ongoing monitoring, and treatment of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder that is of direct relevance to daily practice.
Many practical clinical questions regarding the management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) remain unanswered. We sought to identify and develop practical answers to key clinical questions in HAND management. Sixty-six specialists from 30 countries provided input into the program, which was overseen by a steering committee. Fourteen questions were rated as being of greatest clinical importance. Answers were drafted by an expert group based on a comprehensive literature review. Sixty-three experts convened to determine consensus and level of evidence for the answers. Consensus was reached on all answers. For instance, good practice suggests that all HIV patients should be screened for HAND early in disease using standardized tools. Follow-up frequency depends on whether HAND is already present or whether clinical data suggest risk for developing HAND. Worsening neurocognitive impairment may trigger consideration of antiretroviral modification when other causes have been excluded. The Mind Exchange program provides practical guidance in the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of HAND.
AIDS dementia complex; HIV-associated dementia (HAD); HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND); HIV encephalopathy; neurocognitive impairment
Although the association of stimulant use to sexual risk taking and HIV transmission has been well documented among white gay men, stimulant use during sex continues to be under-explored among Black men who have sex with men (MSM).
Black MSM (n = 197) recruited via modified respondent-driven sampling between January and July 2008 completed an interviewer-administered quantitative assessment and optional HIV counseling and testing. Bivariate logistic regression procedures were employed to examine the association of demographics, sexual risk, and other psychosocial factors with stimulant use (at least monthly during sex in the past 12 months). Variable elimination using the backward selection process was used to fit two separate final multivariable logistic regression models examining stimulant use as the outcome and HIV sexual risk in the past 12 months by gender as the primary predictor: (1) Model 1: HIV sexual risk behavior with a casual male sex partner as a primary, forced predictor; (2) Model 2: HIV sexual risk behavior with a female sex partner as primary, forced predictor.
One-third (34%) of Black MSM reported using stimulants monthly or more frequently during sex in the past 12 months. The following factors were independently associated with stimulant use during sex: (1) Model 1: unprotected anal sex with a casual male sex partner in the past 12 months (AOR = 2.61; 95% CI = 1.06–6.42; p = 0.01), older age (AOR = 1.09; 95% CI = 1.05–1.15; p < 0.001), erectile dysfunction (ED) medication use monthly or more during sex in the past 12 months (AOR = 7.81; 95% CI = 1.46–41.68; p = 0.02), problematic alcohol use (AOR = 3.31; 95% CI = 1.312–8.38; p = 0.005), and higher HIV treatment optimism (AOR = 0.86; 95% CI = 0.76–0.97; p = 0.01). (2) Model 2: unprotected vaginal or anal sex with a female partner in the past 12 months (AOR = 3.54; 95% CI = 1.66–7.56; p = 0.001), older age (AOR = 1.10; 95% CI = 1.05–1.14; p < 0.001), ED use monthly or more during sex in the past 12 months (AOR = 3.70; 95% CI = 1.13–12.13; p = 0.03), clinically significant depressive symptoms (CES-D) at the time of study enrollment (AOR = 3.11; 95% CI = 1.45–6.66; p = 0.004), and supportive condom use norms (AOR = 0.69; 95% CI = 0.49–0.97; p = 0.03).
Frequent stimulant use is an important factor in HIV and STD sexual risk among Black MSM, particularly for older men and those with co-occurring psychosocial morbidities. HIV and STD prevention interventions in this population may benefit from addressing the precipitants of stimulant use and sexual risk taking.
Stimulant use; Black; MSM; HIV; Sexual risk behavior
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are the largest group of individuals in the U.S. living with HIV and have the greatest number of new infections. This study was designed to test a brief, culturally relevant prevention intervention for HIV-infected MSM, which could be integrated into HIV care.
HIV-infected MSM who received HIV care in a community health center (N = 201), and who reported HIV sexual transmission-risk behavior (TRB) in the prior 6 months, were randomized to receive the intervention or treatment as usual. The intervention, provided by a medical social worker, included proactive case management for psychosocial problems, counseling about living with HIV, and HIV TRB risk reduction. Participants were followed every 3 months for one year.
Participants, regardless of study condition, reported reductions in HIV TRB, with no significant differential effect by condition in primary intent-to-treat analyses. When examining moderators, the intervention was differentially effective in reducing HIV TRB for those who screened in for baseline depression, but this was not the case for those who did not screen in for depression.
The similar level of reduction in HIV TRB in the intervention and control groups, consistent with other recent secondary prevention interventions, speaks to the need for new, creative designs, or more potent interventions in secondary HIV prevention trials, as the control group seemed to benefit from risk assessment, study contact, and referrals provided by study staff. The differential finding for those with depression may suggest that those without depression could reap benefits from limited interventions, but those with a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis may require additional interventions to modify their sexual risk behaviors.
MSM; HIV prevention; AIDS/HIV; high-risk sexual behavior; depression
With an estimated 2.6 million new HIV infections diagnosed annually, the world needs new prevention strategies to partner with condom use, harm reduction approaches for injection drug users, and male circumcision. Antiretrovirals can reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission and limit HIV acquisition after occupational exposure. Macaque models and clinical trials demonstrate efficacy of oral or topical antiretrovirals used prior to HIV exposure to prevent HIV transmission, ie pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Early initiation of effective HIV treatment in serodiscordant couples results in a 96% decrease in HIV transmission. HIV testing to determine serostatus and identify undiagnosed persons is foundational to these approaches. The relative efficacy of different approaches, adherence, cost and long-term safety will affect uptake and impact of these strategies. Ongoing research will help characterize the role for oral and topical formulations and help quantify potential benefits in sub-populations at risk for HIV acquisition.
HIV prevention; Pre-exposure prophylaxis; Microbicide; Tenofovir; Emtricitabine
New HIV infections among younger men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States are escalating. Data on HIV infections in college students are limited. In 2010, three MSM college students presented to our clinic with primary HIV infection (PHI) in a single month. To determine the number of college students among new HIV diagnoses, we reviewed clinical characteristics and molecular epidemiology of HIV-diagnosed individuals from January to December 2010 at the largest HIV clinic in Southern New England. PHI was defined as acute HIV infection or seroconversion within the last 6 months. Of 66 individuals diagnosed with HIV in 2010, 62% were MSM and 17% were academic students (12% college or university, 5% other). Seventy-three percent of students were MSM. Compared to nonstudents, students were more likely to be younger (24 versus 39 years), born in the United States (91% versus 56%), have another sexually transmitted disease (45% versus 11%), and present with PHI (73% versus 16%, all p-values<0.05). Thirty percent of individuals formed eight transmission clusters including four students. MSM were more likely to be part of clusters. Department of Health contact tracing of cluster participants allowed further identification of epidemiological linkages. Given these high rates of PHI in recently diagnosed students, institutions of higher education should be aware of acute HIV presentation and the need for rapid diagnosis. Prevention strategies should focus on younger MSM, specifically college-age students who may be at increased risk of HIV infection.
This study evaluated whether specific anxiety disorders increased the likelihood of sexual transmission risk behavior (TRB) in younger (ages 20–29) versus older (ages 30+) HIV positive gay and bisexual men. Participants completed screening measures for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Phobia, and Panic Disorder, and an assessment of recent TRB Moderated regression analyses indicated that PTSD was associated with greater risk of TRB in younger but not older men, independent of HIV disease stage or treatment status. Efficacy of secondary HIV prevention efforts for younger men may be augmented by addressing the context of trauma history and consequent mental health issues.
HIV; age; post-traumatic stress disorder; sexual transmission risk behavior
Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (FTC/TDF) reduced HIV acquisition in the iPrEx trial among men who have sex with men and transgender women. Self-reported sexual risk behavior decreased overall, but may be affected by reporting bias. We evaluated potential risk compensation using biomarkers of sexual risk behavior.
Design and methods
Sexual practices were assessed at baseline and quarterly thereafter; perceived treatment assignment and PrEP efficacy beliefs were assessed at 12 weeks. Among participants with ≥1 follow-up behavioral assessment, sexual behavior, syphilis, and HIV infection were compared by perceived treatment assignment, actual treatment assignment, and perceived PrEP efficacy.
Overall, acute HIV infection and syphilis decreased during follow-up. Compared with participants believing they were receiving placebo, participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF reported more receptive anal intercourse partners prior to initiating drug (12.8 vs. 7.7, P = 0.04). Belief in receiving FTC/TDF was not associated with an increase in receptive anal intercourse with no condom (ncRAI) from baseline through follow-up (risk ratio [RR] 0.9, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6–1.4; P = 0.75), nor with a decrease after stopping study drug (RR 0.8, 95% CI: 0.5–1.3; P = 0.46). In the placebo arm, there were trends toward lower HIV incidence among participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.8, 95% CI: 0.4–1.8; P = 0.26) and also believing it was highly effective (IRR 0.5, 95% CI: 0.1–1.7; P = 0.12).
There was no evidence of sexual risk compensation in iPrEx. Participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF had more partners prior to initiating drug, suggesting that risk behavior was not a consequence of PrEP use.
Tuberculosis peaks during a woman's reproductive years and is a leading cause of maternal mortality. We review the epidemiology, screening, treatment, and outcomes of tuberculosis in pregnancy and postpartum, and highlight research gaps.
Tuberculosis is most common during a woman's reproductive years and is a major cause of maternal–child mortality. National guidelines for screening and management vary widely owing to insufficient data. In this article, we review the available data on (1) the global burden of tuberculosis in women of reproductive age; (2) how pregnancy and the postpartum period affect the course of tuberculosis; (3) how to screen and diagnose pregnant and postpartum women for active and latent tuberculosis; (4) the management of active and latent tuberculosis in pregnancy and the postpartum period, including the safety of tuberculosis medications; and (5) infant outcomes. We also include data on HIV/tuberculosis coinfection and drug-resistant tuberculosis. Finally, we highlight research gaps in tuberculosis in pregnant and postpartum women.
Malnutrition is associated with morbidity and mortality in HIV infected individuals. Little research has been conducted to identify the roles that clinical, illicit drug use and socioeconomic characteristics play in the nutritional status of HIV-infected patients. This cross-sectional analysis included 562 HIV-infected participants enrolled in the Nutrition for Healthy Living study conducted in Boston, MA and Providence, RI. The relationship between body mass index (BMI) and several covariates (type of drug use, demographic, and clinical characteristics) were examined using linear regression.
Overall, drug users had a lower BMI than non-drug users. The BMI of cocaine users was 1.4 kg/m2 less than that of patients who did not use any drugs, after adjusting for other covariates (p= 0.02). The BMI of participants who were over the age of 55 years was 2.0 kg/m2 less than that of patients under the age of 35, and BMI increased by 0.3 kg/m2 with each 100 cells/mm3 increase in CD4 count. HAART use, adherence to HAART, energy intake, AIDS status, hepatitis B and hepatitis C co-infections, cigarette smoking and depression were not associated with BMI in the final model.
In conclusion, BMI was lower in drug users than non-drug users, and was lowest in cocaine users. BMI was also directly associated with CD4 count and inversely related to age more than 55 years old. HIV infected cocaine users may be at higher risk of developing malnutrition, suggesting the need for anticipatory nutritional support.
drug users; cocaine users; BMI; HIV; CD4 count
Immediate treatment initiation is optimal for patients aged <30 years regardless of CD4 count under a wide range of assumptions about treatment benefits and harms, whereas the timing of initiation at older ages depends on the assumed magnitude of the cardiovascular risk from treatment and patient preferences toward treatment.
We developed a mathematical model to identify the timing of antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation that optimizes patient outcomes as a function of patient CD4 count, age, cardiac mortality risk, sex, and personal preferences. Our goal was to find the conditions that maximize patient quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) in the context of our model. Under the assumption that ART confers disease progression and mortality benefits at any CD4 count, immediate treatment initiation yields the greatest remaining QALE for young patients under most circumstances. The timing of ART initiation depends on the magnitude of benefit from ART at high CD4 counts, the magnitude of increases in cardiac risk, and patients' preferences. If ART reduces HIV progression at high CD4 counts, immediate ART is preferable for most newly infected individuals <35 years even if ART doubles age- and sex-specific cardiac risk.
HIV type-1 (HIV-1) monitoring in resource limited settings relies on clinical and immunological assessment. The objective of this study was to study the frequency and pattern of reverse transcriptase (RT) drug resistance among patients with immunological failure (IF) to first-line therapy.
A cross-sectional study of 228 patients with IF was done, of which 126 were drug-naive (group A) when starting highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and 102 were exposed to mono/dual therapy prior to HAART initiation (group B). A validated in-house genotyping method and Stanford interpretaion was used. Means, sd, median and frequencies (as percentages) were used to indicate the patient characteristics in each group. The χ2 test and Fisher's exact test were used to compare categorical variables as appropriate. All analyses were performed using SPSS software, version 13.0. P-values <0.05 were considered to be statistically significant.
RT drug resistance mutations were found in 92% and 96% of patients in groups A and B, respectively. Median (interquartile range) CD4+ T–cell count at failure was 181cells/ml (18–999) and time to failure was 40 months (2–100). M184V (80% versus 75%), thymidine analogue mutations (63% versus 74%), Y181C (39% versus 39%) and K103N (29% versus 39%) were predominant RT mutations in both groups. Extensive nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor cross-resistance mutations were observed in 51% and 26%of patients in group B and A, respectively.
Alternative strategies for initial therapy and affordable viral load monitoring could reduce resistance accumulations and preserve available drugs for future options in resource-limited settings.
In the post–highly active combination antiretroviral therapy era, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients are facing high rates of so–called non–AIDS–defining cancers. The challenge facing clinicians caring for HIV patients is how best to screen, treat, and prevent these cancers.
Since the advent of HAART, patients with HIV infection have seen a significant improvement in their morbidity, mortality, and life expectancy. The incidence of AIDS-defining illnesses, including AIDS-defining malignancies, has been on the decline. However, deaths due to non–AIDS-defining illnesses have been on the rise. These so-called non–AIDS-defining cancers (NADCs) include cancers of the lung, liver, kidney, anus, head and neck, and skin, as well as Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is poorly understood why this higher rate of NADCs is occurring. The key challenge facing oncologists is how to administer chemotherapy effectively and safely to patients on antiretroviral therapy. The challenge to clinicians caring for HIV-infected patients is to develop and implement effective means to screen, treat, and prevent NADCs in the future. This review presents data on the epidemiology and etiology of NADCs, as well as ongoing research into this evolving aspect of the HIV epidemic.
To increase access to HIV-testing the WHO and CDC have recommended implementing provider-initiated HIV-testing (PITC). To address the resource limitations of the PITC setting WHO and CDC suggest that patient-provider interactions during PITC may need to focus on providing information and referrals instead of engaging patients in client-centered counseling as is recommended during client-initiated HIV-testing. Providing HIV-prevention information has been shown to be less effective than client-centered counseling at reducing HIV-risk behavior and STI incidence. Therefore, concerns exist about the efficacy of PITC as an HIV-prevention approach. However, reductions in HIV incidence may be larger if more people know their HIV-status through expanded availability of PITC, even if PITC is less effective than is client-initiated HIV-testing for individual patients. In the absence of an answer to this public health question, adaptation of effective brief client-centered counseling approaches to PITC should be explored along with research assessing the efficacy of PITC.
provider-initiated HIV-testing; client-centered counseling; HIV prevention; developing countries
Despite several decades of clinical trials assessing the impact of etiological treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to decrease HIV acquisition and transmission, almost all of these trials have not proven to be efficacious. Increasing evidence suggests that specific STD treatment alone may not be sufficient to alter the genital tract inflammatory milieu that is created by STDs. This paper examines the associations between STDs and HIV susceptibility and infectiousness, and considers the role of chronic and refractory inflammation to create an environment that potentiates HIV and STD transmission and acquisition by reviewing biological, observational, and clinical trial data.
As HIV prevalence climbs globally, including more than 50,000 new infections per year in the United States, we need effective HIV prevention strategies. The use of antiretrovirals for pre-exposure prophylaxis (known as “PrEP”) among high-risk HIV-uninfected persons is emerging as one such strategy. Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that once daily oral PrEP decreased HIV incidence among at-risk MSM and African heterosexuals, including HIV serodiscordant couples. An additional randomized control trial of a pericoital topical application of antiretroviral microbicide gel reduced HIV incidence among at-risk heterosexual South African women. Two other studies in African women did not demonstrate the efficacy of oral or topical PrEP, raising concerns about adherence patterns and efficacy in this population. The FDA Antiretroviral Advisory Panel reviewed these studies and additional data in May 2012 and recommended the approval of oral tenofovir-emtricitabine for PrEP in high-risk populations. Patients may seek PrEP from their primary care providers and those on PrEP require monitoring. Thus, primary care providers should become familiar with PrEP. This review outlines the current state of knowledge about PrEP as it pertains to primary care including identification of individuals likely to benefit from PrEP, counseling to maximize adherence and minimize potential increases in risky behavior, and monitoring for potential drug toxicities, HIV acquisition, and antiretroviral drug resistance. Issues related to cost and insurance coverage are also discussed. Recent data suggest that PrEP, in conjunction with other prevention strategies, holds promise in helping to curtail the HIV epidemic.
To examine the association between early HIV viremia and mortality after HIV-associated lymphoma.
Multicenter observational cohort study.
Center for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems cohort.
HIV-infected patients with lymphoma diagnosed between 1996 and 2011, who were alive 6 months after lymphoma diagnosis and with ≥2 HIV RNA values during the 6 months after lymphoma diagnosis.
Cumulative HIV viremia during the 6 months after lymphoma diagnosis, expressed as viremia copy-6-months.
Main outcome measure
All-cause mortality between 6 months and 5 years after lymphoma diagnosis.
Of 224 included patients, 183 (82%) had non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and 41 (18%) had Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). At lymphoma diagnosis, 105 (47%) patients were on antiretroviral therapy (ART), median CD4 count was 148 cells/µlL (IQR 54– 322), and 33% had suppressed HIV RNA (<400 copies/mL). In adjusted analyses, mortality was associated with older age [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) 1.37 per decade increase, 95% CI 1.03–1.83], lymphoma occurrence on ART (AHR 1.63, 95% CI 1.02– 2.63), lower CD4 count (AHR 0.75 per 100 cell/µL increase, 95% CI 0.64–0.89), and higher early cumulative viremia (AHR 1.35 per log10copies × 6-months/mL, 95% CI 1.11–1.65). The detrimental effect of early cumulative viremia was consistent across patient groups defined by ART status, CD4 count, and histology.
Exposure to each additional 1-unit log10 in HIV RNA throughout the 6 months after lymphoma diagnosis, was associated with a 35% increase in subsequent mortality. These results suggest that early and effective ART during chemotherapy may improve survival.
AIDS; Burkitt lymphoma; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; HIV; Hodgkin lymphoma; lymphoma; non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Anal cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected male patients. Currently, there is no consensus on post-treatment surveillance of HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) who have been treated for high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia (HGAIN), the likely precursor to anal cancer.
To assess the cost-effectiveness of a range of strategies for anal cancer surveillance in HIV-infected MSM previously treated for HGAIN.
We developed a Markov model to project quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE), lifetime costs, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) of five strategies using high resolution anoscopy (HRA) and/or anal cytology testing after treatment.
Performing HRA alone at 6- and 12-month visits was associated with a cost-effectiveness ratio of $4,446 per QALY gained. In comparison, combined HRA and anal cytology at both visits provided the greater health benefit at a cost of $ 17,373 per QALY gained. Our results were robust over a number of scenarios and assumptions, including patients’ level of immunosuppression. Results were most sensitive to test characteristics and cost, and progression rates of normal to HGAIN and HGAIN to cancer.
Our results suggest that combined HRA and anal cytology at 6 and 12 months may be a cost-effective surveillance strategy following treatment of HGAIN in HIV-infected MSM.
HIV/AIDS; HPV; men who have sex with men; treatment; cost-effectiveness; anal cancer
Growing data suggest that antiretrovirals can be used as an effective means of HIV prevention. This paper reviews the current status and future clinical prospects of utilizing antiretroviral chemoprophylaxis before and after high-risk HIV exposure to prevent HIV transmission. The discussion about using antiretrovirals as a means of primary HIV prevention has moved to the forefront of public health discourse because of a growing evidence base, the increased tolerability of the medications, the decreased cost, the ever expanding formulary, and the limitations of other approaches.
HIV; AIDS; primary prevention; ART; preexposure prophylaxis; postexposure prophylaxis; topical microbicides
HIV; AIDS; HAART; treatment; prevention
A study of HIV-infected persons in primary care in four U.S. found that 13% had a prevalent STD at enrollment and 7% an incident STD six months later.
To better understand the factors associated with HIV and STD transmitting behavior among HIV-infected persons, we estimated STD prevalence and incidence and associated risk factors among a diverse sample of HIV-infected patients in primary care.
We analyzed data from 557 participants in the SUN study, a prospective observational cohort of HIV-infected persons in primary care in four U.S. cities. At enrollment and six months thereafter, participants completed an audio computer-assisted self interview about their sexual behavior, and were screened for genitourinary, rectal and pharyngeal N. gonorrhoeae and C. trachomatis infections by nucleic acid amplification testing, and for serologic evidence of syphilis. Women provided cervicovaginal samples and men provided urine to screen for T. vaginalis by polymerase chain reaction.
Thirteen percent of participants had a prevalent STD at enrollment and 7% an incident STD six months later. The most commonly diagnosed infections were rectal chlamydia, oropharyngeal gonorrhea, and chlamydial urethritis among the men, and trichomoniasis among the women. Other than trichomoniasis, 94% of incident STDs were identified in MSM. Polysubstance abuse other than marijuana, and having ≥ 4 sex partners in the six months prior to testing were associated with diagnosis of an incident STD.
STDs were commonly diagnosed among contemporary HIV-infected patients receiving routine outpatient care, particularly among sexually active MSM who used recreational drugs. These findings underscore the need for frequent STD screening, prevention counseling, and substance abuse treatment for HIV-infected persons in care.
HIV infection; sexual risk; sexually transmitted infections
The AIDS epidemic has been fueled by global inequities. Ranging from gender inequality and underdevelopment to homophobia impeding health care access for men who have sex with men (MSM), imbalanced resource allocations and social biases have potentiated the epidemic’s spread. However, recognition of culturally specific aspects of each microepidemic has yielded development of community-based organizations, which have resulted in locally effective responses to AIDS. This effective approach to HIV prevention, care and treatment is illustrated through examples of community-based responses in Haiti, the United States, Africa, and other impoverished settings.
Disparities; Inequity; Health Care Access; Homophobia; Gender Inequality
The Step Study found that men who had sex with men (MSM) who received an adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) vector-based vaccine and were uncircumcised or had prior Ad5 immunity had a higher HIV incidence than MSM who received placebo. We investigated whether differences in HIV exposure, measured by reported sexual risk behaviors, may explain the increased risk.
Among 1,764 MSM in the trial, 724 were uncircumcised, 994 had prior Ad5 immunity and 560 were both uncircumcised and had prior Ad5 immunity. Analyses compared sexual risk behaviors and perceived treatment assignment among vaccine and placebo recipients, determined risk factors for HIV acquisition and examined the role of insertive anal intercourse in HIV risk among uncircumcised men.
Few sexual risk behaviors were significantly higher in vaccine vs. placebo recipients at baseline or during follow-up. Among uncircumcised men, vaccine recipients at baseline were more likely to report unprotected insertive anal intercourse with HIV negative partners (25.0% vs. 18.1%; p=0.03). Among uncircumcised men who had prior Ad5 immunity, vaccine recipients were more likely to report unprotected insertive anal intercourse with partners of unknown HIV status (46.0% vs. 37.5%; p=0.05). Vaccine recipients remained at higher risk of HIV infection compared to placebo recipients (HR =2.8; 95% CI:1.7, 6.8) controlling for potential confounders.
These analyses do not support a behavioral explanation for the increased HIV infection rates observed among uncircumcised men in the Step Study. Identifying biologic mechanisms to explain the increased risk is a priority.
This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00095576.
HIV vaccines; gay men; sexual behaviors
An emerging HIV epidemic can be seen among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Vietnam, with prevalence as high as 18%. Transactional sex represents a risk factor for HIV transmission/acquisition among MSM globally, particularly in urban contexts, but remains largely underinvestigated in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. In 2010, 23 MSM who reported exchanging sex for money in the last month completed a brief survey and semistructured qualitative interview at The Life Centre, a non-governmental organization in HCMC, to assess sociodemographics, individual- and structural-level HIV risk factors and explore acceptable future prevention interventions. Participants’ mean age was 24 years. Equal proportions of respondents self-identified as heterosexual/straight, homosexual/gay, and bisexual. Participants had a mean of 158 male clients in the past year, with a median of 60 male clients in the past year (interquartile range [IQR]=70) and reported inconsistent condom use and inaccurate perceptions of HIV risk. Nearly half of the sample reported engaging in unprotected anal sex with a male partner in the past 12 months and one-third with a male client. Major themes that emerged for HIV prevention interventions with male sex workers were those that: (1) focused on individual factors (drug and alcohol use, barriers to condom use, knowledge of asymptomatic STIs, enhancement of behavioral risk-reduction skills, and addressing concomitant mental health issues); (2) incorporated interpersonal and relational contexts (led by peer educators, built interpersonal skills, attended to partner type and intimacy dynamics); and (3) considered the exogenous environments in which individual choices/relationships operate (stigma of being MSM in Vietnam, availability of alternative economic opportunities, and varied sexual venues). HIV prevention efforts are needed that address the specific needs of MSM who engage in transactional sex in HCMC. Universally, MSM endorsed HIV prevention interventions, suggesting a need and desire for efforts in this context.
HIV; Vietnam; prevention; male sex workers; transactional sex