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1.  Use of Traditional Botanical Medicines During Pregnancy in Rural Rwanda 
Journal of global health perspectives  2015;2015:
To evaluate the perceptions of healthcare and traditional medicine providers regarding the type, indications, side effects, and prevalence of traditional medicine use amongst pregnant women in a rural Rwandan population.
Six focus groups with physicians, nurses, and community health workers and four individual in-depth interviews with traditional medicine providers were held. Qualitative data was gathered using a structured questionnaire querying perceptions of the type, indications, side effects, and prevalence of use of traditional medicines in pregnancy.
The healthcare provider groups perceived a high prevalence of traditional botanical medicine use by pregnant women (50-80%). All three groups reported similar indications for use of the medicines and the socioeconomic status of the pregnant women who use them. The traditional medicine providers and the healthcare providers both perceived that the most commonly used medicine is a mixture of many plants, called Inkuri. The most serious side effect reported was abnormally bright green meconium with a poor neonatal respiratory drive. Thirty-five traditional medicines were identified that are used during pregnancy.
Perceptions of high prevalence of use of traditional medicines during pregnancy with possible negative perinatal outcomes exist in areas of rural Rwanda.
PMCID: PMC4634644  PMID: 26550548
2.  Food Insecurity with Hunger Is Associated with Obesity among HIV-Infected and at Risk Women in Bronx, NY 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105957.
Food insecurity, insufficient quality and quantity of nutritionally adequate food, affects millions of people in the United States (US) yearly, with over 18 million Americans reporting hunger. Food insecurity is associated with obesity in the general population. Due to the increasing prevalence of obesity and risk factors for cardiovascular disease among HIV-infected women, we sought to determine the relationship between food insecurity and obesity in this cohort of urban, HIV-infected and –uninfected but at risk women.
Using a cross-sectional design, we collected data on food insecurity, body mass index and demographic and clinical data from 231 HIV-infected and 119 HIV-negative women enrolled in Bronx site of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). We used multivariate logistic regression to identify factors associated with obesity.
Food insecurity was highly prevalent, with almost one third of women (110/350, 31%) reporting food insecurity over the previous six months and over 13% of women reported food insecurity with hunger. Over half the women were obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of ≥30. In multivariate analyses, women who were food insecure with hunger had higher odds of obesity (Adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.56, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.27, 5.20) after adjusting for HIV status, age, race, household status, income, drug and alcohol use.
Food insecurity with hunger was associated with obesity in this population of HIV-infected and –uninfected, urban women. Both food insecurity and obesity are independent markers for increased mortality; further research is needed to understand this relationship and their role in adverse health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4146558  PMID: 25162598
3.  Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Sexual Violence Among Female Sex Workers Who Inject Drugs on the United States–Mexico Border 
Violence and victims  2013;28(3):496-512.
This study examines the prevalence of miscarriage/stillbirth among female sex workers who inject drugs (FSW-IDUs) and measures its associations with physical and sexual violence. Baseline data from 582 FSW-IDUs enrolled in an HIV intervention study in Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico were used for current analyses. 30% of participants had experienced at least one miscarriage/stillbirth, 51% had experienced sexual violence, and 49% had experienced physical violence. History of miscarriage/stillbirth was associated with sexual violence (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.7, p = .02) but not physical violence. Additional reproductive risks associated with miscarriage/stillbirth included high numbers of male clients in the previous month (aOR = 1.1 per 30 clients, p = 0.04), history of abortion (aOR = 3.7, p < .001), and higher number of pregnancies (aOR = 1.4 per additional pregnancy, p < .001). Programs and research with this population should integrate reproductive health and consider gender-based violence.
PMCID: PMC3963834  PMID: 23862312
miscarriage; stillbirth; abuse; sex work; violence
4.  Structural determinants of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and BMI: a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected and HIV-negative Rwandan women 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000714.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the overlapping epidemics of undernutrition and HIV infection affect over 200 and 23 million people, respectively, and little is known about the combined prevalence and nutritional effects. The authors sought to determine which structural factors are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low body mass index (BMI) in HIV-negative and HIV-infected Sub-Saharan women.
Study design
Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal cohort.
Community-based women's organisations.
161 HIV-negative and 514 HIV-infected Rwandan women.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Primary outcomes included food insufficiency (reporting ‘usually not’ or ‘never’ to ‘Do you have enough food?’), low household dietary diversity (Household Dietary Diversity Score ≤3) and BMI <18.5 (kg/m2). The authors also measured structural and behavioural factors including: income, household size, literacy and alcohol use.
Food insufficiency was prevalent (46%) as was low dietary diversity (43%) and low BMI (15%). Food insufficiency and dietary diversity were associated with low income (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=2.14 (95% CI 1.30 to 3.52) p<0.01), (aOR=6.51 (95% CI 3.66 to 11.57) p<0.001), respectfully and illiteracy (aOR=2.00 (95% CI 1.31 to 3.04) p<0.01), (aOR=2.10 (95% CI 1.37 to 3.23) p<0.001), respectfully and were not associated with HIV infection. Alcohol use was strongly associated with food insufficiency (aOR=3.23 (95% CI 1.99 to 5.24) p<0.001). Low BMI was inversely associated with HIV infection (aOR≈0.5) and was not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Rwandan women experienced high rates of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. Extreme poverty, illiteracy and alcohol use, not HIV infection alone, may contribute to food insufficiency in Rwandan women. Food insufficiency, dietary diversity and low BMI do not correlate with one another; therefore, low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Further studies are needed to understand the health effects of not having enough food, low food diversity and low weight in both HIV-negative and HIV-infected women.
Article summary
Article focus
What structural determinants are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda?
What is the prevalence of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda and are these outcomes correlated with each other?
1: Poverty, low literacy status and alcohol use are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI.
2: Food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI are highly prevalent and are correlated with one another.
Key messages
Food insufficiency and low dietary diversity are highly prevalent (46% and 43%, respectively) and are associated with low income and illiteracy and strongly associated with alcohol use.
BMI (kg/m2) is not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Significance: food insufficiency and low dietary diversity, known contributors to poor health, are highly prevalent in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda. Low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Extreme poverty, low literacy and alcohol use may contribute to food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. These structural factors may be useful targets to prevent the adverse health effects of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Large cohort of HIV-negative and HIV-infected women, very detailed tools used for food insufficiency and dietary diversity
Cross-sectional design, our measurement of food insufficiency is solely by self-report.
PMCID: PMC3329607  PMID: 22505309
5.  Effects of government registration on unprotected sex among female sex workers in Tijuana, Mexico 
Sex work is partially regulated in Tijuana, but little is known of its health effects. A recent behavioral intervention among female sex workers (FSWs) decreased incidence of HIV/STIs by 40%. We evaluated effects of sex worker regulation on condom use among FSWs randomized to this intervention.
FSWs aged ≥18 years who reported unprotected sex with ≥1 client in the last 2 months and whether they were registered with Tijuana’s Municipal Health Department underwent a brief, theory-based behavioral intervention to increase condom use. At baseline and 6 months, women underwent interviews and testing for HIV, syphilis, C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoeae. Negative binomial regression was used to determine the effect of registration on numbers of unprotected sex acts and cumulative HIV/STI incidence.
Of 187 women, 83 (44%) were registered. Lack of registration was associated with higher rates of unprotected sex (rate ratio: 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2–2.3), compared to FSWs who were registered, after controlling for potential confounders.
Registration predicted increased condom use among FSWs enrolled in a behavioral intervention. Public health programs designed to improve condom use among FSWs may benefit from understanding the impact of existing regulation systems on HIV risk behaviors.
PMCID: PMC2991616  PMID: 20956076
commercial sex work; registration; Mexico; injection drug use; sexually transmitted infection; behavioral intervention
6.  Condom Access: Associations with Consistent Condom Use among Female Sex Workers in Two Northern Border Cities of Mexico 
To determine whether condom access is associated with consistent condom use among FSWs in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, between 2004 and 2006 we administered a questionnaire to 924 FSWs who reported unprotected sex with a client in the past two months. Of these women, 43% reported consistent (“often” or “always”) condom use; 74% said condoms were available; and 38% reported having access to free condoms. In a logistic regression, factors positively associated with consistent condom use were condom availability (AdjOR = 2.00; 95% CI: 1.32–3.03), condom affordability (AdjOR = 1.72; 95% CI: 1.25–2.38) and self–efficacy (AdjOR = 2.16; 95% CI: 1.54–3.04). Factors inversely associated with consistent condom use included poor financial status (AdjOR = 0.65; 95% CI: 0.47–0.90), methamphetamine use (AdjOR = 0.58; 95% CI: 0.40–0.83), alcohol use (AdjOR = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.49–0.96), and recent injection drug use (AdjOR = 0.62; 95% CI: 0.39–0.97). While increased condom availability may improve condom use among FSWs in general, interventions to broaden condom use among lower-income and drug-using FSWs are critically needed.
PMCID: PMC3069917  PMID: 20973665
female sex workers; condom use; prevention; HIV/AIDS; behavioral interventions; Mexico
8.  Shamba Maisha: A pilot study assessing impacts of a micro-irrigation intervention on the health and economic wellbeing of HIV patients 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:245.
HIV/AIDS negatively impacts poverty alleviation and food security, which reciprocally hinder the rapid scale up and effectiveness of HIV care programs. Nyanza province has the highest HIV prevalence (15.3%), and is the third highest contributor (2.4 million people) to rural poverty in Kenya. Thus, we tested the feasibility of providing a micro-irrigation pump to HIV-positive farmers in order to evaluate its impact on health and economic advancement among HIV-positive patients and their families.
Thirty HIV-positive patients enrolled in the Family AIDS Care and Education Services (FACES) program in Kisumu, Kenya were provided a micro-financed loan to receive an irrigation pump and farming guidance from KickStart, the developer of the pump. Economic data, CD4 counts, household health and loan repayment history were collected 12 months after the pumps were distributed.
Mean annual family income increased by $1,332 over baseline. CD4 counts did not change significantly. Though income increased, only three (10%) participants had paid off more than a quarter of the loan.
We demonstrated the feasibility of an income-generating micro-irrigation intervention among HIV-positive patients and the collection of health and economic data. While family income improved significantly, loan repayment rates were low- likely complicated by the drought that occurred in Kenya during the intervention period.
PMCID: PMC2877674  PMID: 20459841
9.  A Comparison of Registered and Unregistered Female Sex Workers in Tijuana, Mexico 
Public Health Reports  2010;125(Suppl 4):101-109.
Sex work is regulated in Tijuana, Mexico, but only half of the city's female sex workers (FSWs) are registered with the municipal health department, which requires regular screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We examined correlates of registration to determine if it confers measurable health benefits.
From 2004 to 2006, we interviewed FSWs in Tijuana ≥18 years of age who reported recent unprotected sex with at least one client and were not knowingly HIV-positive, and tested them for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Logistic regression identified factors associated with registration.
Of 410 FSWs, 44% were registered, 69% had been tested for HIV, 6% were HIV-positive, and 44% tested positive for any STI. Compared with unregistered FSWs, registered FSWs were more likely to have had HIV testing (86% vs. 56%, p<0.001) and less likely to test positive for any STI (33% vs. 53%, p<0.001) or HIV (3% vs. 8%, p=0.039). Factors independently associated with registration included ever having an HIV test (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 4.19) and earning >$30 per transaction without a condom (AOR=2.41), whereas working on the street (AOR=0.34), injecting cocaine (AOR=0.06), snorting or smoking methamphetamine (AOR=0.27), and being born in the Mexican state of Baja California (AOR=0.35) were inversely associated with registration.
Registered FSWs were more likely than unregistered FSWs to have had HIV testing and to engage in less drug use, but did not have significantly lower HIV or STI prevalence after adjusting for confounders. Current regulation of FSWs in Tijuana should be further examined to enhance the potential public health benefits of registration.
PMCID: PMC2882980  PMID: 20626197

Results 1-9 (9)