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.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) comprise the largest risk group of
individuals living with HIV in the United States and have the highest rates of
new infections. A minority of HIV-infected MSM engage in unprotected anal
intercourse after learning about their infection, potentially transmitting the
virus to others. The current study sought to generate self-generated descriptive
themes, from a group of HIV-infected MSM who reported high rates of sexual
transmission risk behavior that may be relevant for understanding sexual risk in
this group. Five descriptive themes emerged during content analysis: a)
serostatus attribution, b) assumption of sexual partner’s responsibility
for safer-sex, c) sexual sensation seeking, d) ongoing substance use, and e)
dissatisfaction with current relationships. Traditional HIV transmission
risk-reduction interventions that have been known to have only modest effects
should be augmented by developing HIV prevention strategies for this subgroup of
MSM to address these salient themes.
HIV-infection; MSM; gay and bisexual men; HIV prevention; risky sexual behavior
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
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 Center for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) 004 and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Initiative (iPrEx) studies demonstrated that topical or oral chemoprophylaxis could decrease HIV transmission. Yet to have an appreciable public health impact, physicians will need to be educated about these new HIV prevention modalities. Massachusetts physicians were recruited via e-mail to complete an online survey of their knowledge and use of HIV prevention interventions. Data were collected before (July–December, 2010) (n=178) and after (December, 2010–April, 2011) (n=115) the release of iPrEx data. Over the two time intervals, knowledge of oral PrEP significantly increased (79% to 92%, p<0.01), whereas knowledge about topical microbicides was already high (89% pre-iPrEx). Post-iPrEx, specialists were more knowledgeable about oral PrEP (p<0.01) and topical microbicides (p<0.001) than generalists. The majority of the respondents would prefer to prescribe topical microbicides (75%) than oral PrEP (25%; p<0.001), primarily because they perceived fewer side effects (95%). Respondents indicated that PrEP should be available if it were a highly effective, daily pill; however, ongoing concerns included: potential drug resistance (93%), decreased funds for other forms of HIV prevention (88%), medication side effects (83%), and limited data regarding PrEP's clinical efficacy (75%). Participants indicated that formal CDC guidelines would have the greatest impact on their willingness to prescribe PrEP (96%). Among Massachusetts physicians sampled, chemoprophylaxis knowledge was high, but current experience was limited. Although topical gel was preferred, responses suggest a willingness to adapt practices pending additional efficacy data and further guidance from normative bodies. Educational programs aimed at incorporating antiretroviral chemoprophylaxis into physicians' HIV prevention practices are warranted.
In The HIV Prevention Trials Network 061 study, 155 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected men reported no prior HIV diagnosis; 83 of those men had HIV RNA levels of <1000 copies/mL at enrollment. Antiretroviral drug testing revealed that 65 of the 83 (78.3%) men were on antiretroviral treatment. Antiretroviral drug testing can help distinguish between newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed HIV infection.
HIV; antiretroviral; self-report; MSM; new diagnosis
United States guidelines endorse one-time HCV antibody screening at HIV diagnosis. Rescreening HCV-seronegative patients on a regular basis is still not policy, although HIV-infected persons have reasonably substantial HCV incidence. We evaluated routine risk factor-independent HCV antibody re-testing in a Rhode Island HIV clinic. We instituted annual HCV antibody testing for HCV-seronegative patients who had not been rescreened in a year or more. Testing based on clinical suspicion continued. We conducted a chart review of new antibody-positive cases in the first year of rescreening, July 2006 to June 2007. Of 245 rescreened patients, 11 (4.5%) seroconverted. Five (45%) were female. Median time between last negative and first positive result was 32 months (range 8–98 months). Six (55%) had documented risk factors and 6 (55%) elevated ALT (>45 IU/L) between antibody tests; none prompted re-testing. One seroconverter died of hepatocellular carcinoma 3.7 years after HCV diagnosis. A twelfth was rescreened for suspected acute HCV based on ALT of 515 IU/L. He had newly detectable HCV RNA then seroconversion, and achieved SVR following 6 months of treatment in the acute phase for genotype 1 infection. Incident HCV is not uncommon among HIV-infected patients in care. Rescreening identified undiagnosed HCV in this population. HCV RNA should be checked promptly in HCV-seronegative persons with ALT elevation. We observed consequences of late diagnosis (hepatocellular carcinoma) and benefits of early diagnosis (cure with treatment of acute HCV). Adding annual rescreening to the Ryan White Program would facilitate earlier identification of undiagnosed HCV and create an instant widespread surveillance system, providing HCV incidence data.
Sexual behavior of men who have sex with men (MSM), within and outside of one’s primary relationship, may contribute to increased risk of HIV transmission among those living with HIV. The current study sought to understand how HIV-infected MSM report their relationship status and the degree to which this corresponds with their sexual behavior. Further, we examined rates and psychosocial associations with sexual HIV transmission risk behavior (TRB) across relationship categories. In a sample of 503 HIV-infected MSM in HIV care, 200 (39.8%) reported having a primary partner. Of these, 115 reported that their relationship was open and 85 reported that it was monogamous. Of the 85 who reported a monogamous relationship, 23 (27%) reported more than one sexual partner in the prior three months, 53 (62%) reported only one partner, and nine did not report on the number of partners in the past 3 months. Hence, there were three categories of relationships: (1) “monogamous with one sexual partner,” (2) “monogamous with more than one sexual partner,” and (3) “open relationship.” The “monogamous with more than one sexual partner” group reported higher TRB and crystal methamphetamine use compared to the “monogamous with one sexual partner” group and different patterns of relationships with TRB emerged across the three groups. Couples-based HIV prevention interventions for MSM may be enhanced by considering that there may be different definitions of monogamy among MSM, and that the context of relationship status may require tailoring interventions to meet the needs of specific subgroups of MSM couples.
HIV/AIDS; MSM; couples; sexual risk; monogamy; sexual orientation
In 2010, the CAPRISA 004 and iPrEx trials (microbicide gel containing tenofovir and oral pill containing tenofovir-emtricitabine, respectively) demonstrated that antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduced the risk of HIV acquisition among high-risk individuals. To determine facilitators and barriers to PrEP provision by healthcare providers, we conducted an online, quantitative survey of Massachusetts-area physicians following the publication of the CAPRISA and iPrEx results. We assessed awareness and comprehension of efficacy data, prescribing experience, and anticipated provision of oral and topical PrEP among physicians, as well as demographic and behavioral factors associated with PrEP awareness and prescribing intentions. The majority of HIV specialists and generalist physicians were aware of data from these PrEP trials and able to correctly interpret the results, however, correct interpretation of findings tended to vary according to specialty (i.e., HIV specialists had greater awareness than generalists). Additionally provider concerns regarding PrEP efficacy and safety, as well its ability to divert funds from other HIV prevention resources, were associated with decreased intentions to prescribe both oral and topical PrEP. Findings suggest that a substantial proportion of physicians who may have contact with at-risk individuals may benefit from interventions that provide accurate data on the risks and benefits of PrEP in order to facilitate effective PrEP discussions with their patients. Future studies to develop and test interventions aimed at healthcare providers should be prioritized to optimize implementation of PrEP in clinical settings.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis; PrEP; Physicians; HIV; Prevention
We conducted a study to investigate HIV and hepatitis delta virus (HDV) coinfection among patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and the triple infection’s (HIV/HBV/HDV) clinical implications in India, an intermediate HBV endemic region, with an estimated HIV-positive population of 2.5 million. A total of 450 patients (men: 270; women: 180) with chronic HBV infections and 135 healthy volunteers were screened for HIV and HDV. The incidence of the triple infection was low (4 [0.8%]) compared with dual infections of HIV-1/HBV (7 [1.5%]) and HBV/HDV (22[4.8%]). Among 21- to 40-year-olds, HBV/HDV coinfection (45.8%) and HBV/HDV/HIV-1 triple infection was predominant (75%). Among 11 patients coinfected with HIV-1/HBV, 4 (36%) were tri-infected and were also associated with chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. The HDV coinfection was higher among patients coinfected with HBV/HIV-1, despite the declining trend in HDV infection among HIV-negative patients, as previously reported. Thus, it is important to assess the impact of HIV, chronic HBV, and HDV tri-infection in India.
coinfection in India; hepatitis delta virus (HDV); hepatitis B virus (HBV); human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
GB virus C (GBV-C) may have a beneficial impact on HIV disease progression; however, the epidemiologic characteristics of this virus are not well characterized. Behavioral factors and gender may lead to differential rates of GBV-C infection; yet, studies have rarely addressed GBV-C infections in women or racial/ethnic minorities. Therefore, we evaluated GBV-C RNA prevalence and genotype distribution in a large prospective study of high-risk women in the US.
438 hepatitis C virus (HCV) seropositive women, including 306 HIV-infected and 132 HIV-uninfected women, from the HIV Epidemiologic Research Study were evaluated for GBV-C RNA. 347 (79.2%) women were GBV-C RNA negative, while 91 (20.8%) were GBV-C RNA positive. GBV-C positive women were younger than GBV-C negative women. Among 306 HIV-infected women, 70 (22.9%) women were HIV/GBV-C co-infected. Among HIV-infected women, the only significant difference between GBV-negative and GBV-positive women was age (mean 38.4 vs. 35.1 years; p<0.001). Median baseline CD4 cell counts and plasma HIV RNA levels were similar. The GBV-C genotypes were 1 (n = 31; 44.3%), 2 (n = 36; 51.4%), and 3 (n = 3; 4.3%). The distribution of GBV-C genotypes in co-infected women differed significantly by race/ethnicity. However, median CD4 cell counts and log10 HIV RNA levels did not differ by GBV-C genotype. GBV-C incidence was 2.7% over a median follow-up of 2.9 (IQR: 1.5, 4.9) years, while GBV-C clearance was 35.7% over a median follow-up of 2.44 (1.4, 3.5) years. 4 women switched genotypes.
Age, injection drug use, a history of sex for money or drugs, and number of recent male sex partners were associated with GBV-C infection among all women in this analysis. However, CD4 cell count and HIV viral load of HIV/HCV/GBV-C co-infected women were not different although race was associated with GBV-C genotype.
Background & aims
Prior cross-sectional studies have found inconsistent relationships between body mass index (BMI) and disease progression in HIV-infected individuals.
Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were conducted on data from a sample of 864 HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) obtained from a large, nationally-distributed HIV clinical cohort.
Of the 864 HIV-infected MSM, 394 (46%) were normal weight, 363 (42%) were overweight, and 107 (12%) were obese at baseline. The baseline CD4 count was 493 (SE = 9), with viral load(log10) = 2.4 (SE = .04), and 561 (65%) were virologically suppressed. Over time, controlling for viral load, HAART adherence, age, and race/ethnicity, overweight and obese HIV-infected men possessed higher CD4 counts compared to normal weight HIV-infected men. Further, overweight and obese men possessed lower viral loads compared to normal weight HIV-infected men.
For HIV-infected MSM, in this longitudinal cohort study, possessing a heavier than normal BMI is longitudinally associated with improved immunological health.
HIV/AIDS; Body Mass Index; Obesity; CD4; Viral Load
American men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to have increased rates of HIV and STD. Between 2004 and 2010, 1155 MSM were screened for HIV and/or STD at a Providence, RI, bathhouse. The prevalence of HIV was 2.3%; syphilis, 2.0%; urethral gonorrhea, 0.1%; urethral Chlamydia, 1.3%; 2.2% of the men had hepatitis C antibodies. Although 43.2% of the men engaged in unprotected anal intercourse in the prior two months, the majority of the men thought that their behaviors did not put them at increased risk for HIV or STDs. Multivariate analyses found that men who engaged in unprotected anal intercourse were more likely to have had sex with unknown status or HIV-infected partners; have sex while under the influence of drugs; tended to find partners on the internet; and were more likely to have a primary male partner. Men who were newly diagnosed with HIV or syphilis tended to be over 30 years old; had sex with an HIV-infected partner; had a prior STD diagnosis; and met partners on the internet. For 10.5% of the men, their HIV testing in the bathhouse was the first time that they had ever been screened for HIV. Of 24 men who were newly diagnosed with HIV infection, only one was not successfully linked to care. These data suggest that offering HIV and STD screening in a bathhouse setting is successful in attracting MSM who were at increased risk for HIV and/or STD acquisition or transmission, and may help decrease spread.
Sexually transmitted infections; HIV; sexual risk; men having sex with men (MSM); bathhouse
The HIV Prevention Trials Network 052 study enrolled serodiscordant couples. Index participants infected with human immunodeficiency virus reported no prior antiretroviral (ARV) treatment at enrollment. ARV drug testing was performed retrospectively using enrollment samples from a subset of index participants. ARV drugs were detected in 45 of 96 participants (46.9%) with an undetectable viral load, 2 of 48 (4.2%) with a low viral load, and 1 of 65 (1.5%) with a high viral load (P < .0001); they were also detected in follow-up samples from participants who were not receiving study-administered treatment. ARV drug testing may be useful in addition to self-report of ARV drug use in some clinical trial settings.
HIV; antiretroviral drug; self-report; HPTN 052; Africa; clinical trial
The objective of this article is to present the rationale and baseline results for a randomized controlled pilot trial using economic incentives to reduce HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk among male sex workers (MSWs) in Mexico City.
Participants (n=267) were tested and treated for STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV) and viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and C), received HIV and STI prevention education and were randomized into four groups: (1) control, (2) medium conditional incentive ($50/six months), (3) high conditional incentive ($75/six months) and (4) unconditional incentive ($50/six months). In the conditional arms, incentives were contingent upon testing free of new curable STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis) at follow-up assessments.
Participants’ mean age was 25 years; 8% were homeless or lived in a shelter, 16% were unemployed and 21% lived in Mexico City less than 5 years. At baseline, 38% were living with HIV, and 32% tested positive for viral hepatitis or at least one STI (other than HIV). Participants had a mean of five male clients in the previous week; 18% reported condomless sex with their last client. For 37%, sex work was their main occupation and was conducted mainly on the streets (51%) or in bars/discotheques (24%) and hotels (24%). The average price for a sex transaction was $25 with a 35% higher payment for condomless sex.
The findings suggest that economic incentives are a relevant approach for HIV prevention among MSWs, given the market-based inducements for unprotected sex. This type of targeted intervention seems to be justified and should continue to be explored in the context of combination prevention efforts.
male sex workers; men who have sex with men; conditional cash transfer; conditional economic incentives; HIV/STI prevention; risk premium; compensating differential; Mexico
This cross-sectional study describes the baseline prevalence and correlates of common bacterial and viral sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and risk behaviors among individuals at high risk for HIV recruited in five low- and middle-income countries. Correlations of risk behaviors and demographic factors with prevalent STDs and the association of STDs with HIV prevalence are examined. Between 2,212 and 5,543 participants were recruited in each of five countries (China, India, Peru, Russia, and Zimbabwe). Standard protocols were used to collect behavioral risk information and biological samples for STD testing. Risk factors for HIV/STD prevalence were evaluated using logistic regression models. STD prevalence was significantly higher for women than men in all countries, and the most prevalent STD was Herpes simplex virus-type 2 (HSV-2). HIV prevalence was generally low (below 5%) except in Zimbabwe (30% among women, 11.7% among men). Prevalence of bacterial STDs was generally low (below 5% for gonorrhea and under 7% for syphilis in all sites), with the exception of syphilis among female sex workers in India. Behavioral and demographic risks for STDs varied widely across the five study sites. Common risks for STDs included female gender, increasing number of recent sex partners, and in some sites, older age, particularly for chronic STDs (i.e., HSV-2 and HIV). Prevalence of HIV was not associated with STDs except in Zimbabwe, which showed a modest correlation between HIV and HSV-2 prevalence (Pearson coefficient = .55). These findings underscore the heterogeneity of global STD and HIV epidemics and suggest that local, focused interventions are needed to achieve significant declines in these infections.
HIV prevention; sexually transmitted diseases; behavioral risk factors; international
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a promising strategy for HIV prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) and men who engage in sex work. But access will require routine HIV testing and contacts with healthcare providers. This study investigated men’s healthcare and HIV testing experiences to inform PrEP implementation.
We conducted 8 focus groups (n = 38) in 2012 and 56 in-depth qualitative interviews in 2013–14 with male sex workers (MSWs) (n = 31) and other MSM (n = 25) in Providence, RI. MSWs primarily met clients in street-based sex work venues. Facilitators asked participants about access to healthcare and HIV/STI testing, healthcare needs, and preferred PrEP providers.
MSWs primarily accessed care in emergency rooms (ERs), substance use clinics, correctional institutions, and walk-in clinics. Rates of HIV testing were high, but MSWs reported low access to other STI testing, low insurance coverage, and unmet healthcare needs including primary care, substance use treatment, and mental health services. MSM not engaging in sex work were more likely to report access to primary and specialist care. Rates of HIV testing among these MSM were slightly lower, but they reported more STI testing, more insurance coverage, and fewer unmet needs. Preferred PrEP providers for both groups included primary care physicians, infectious disease specialists, and psychiatrists. MSWs were also willing to access PrEP in substance use treatment and ER settings.
PrEP outreach efforts for MSWs and other MSM should engage diverse providers in many settings, including mental health and substance use treatment, ERs, needle exchanges, correctional institutions, and HIV testing centers. Access to PrEP will require financial assistance, but can build on existing healthcare contacts for both populations.
African American women are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Concurrent sexual partnerships may contribute to racial disparities in HIV infection. Little is known about attitudes and practices related to concurrency among African American women and the social, structural and behavioral factors that influence concurrency.
We recruited 19 heterosexual African American women engaging in concurrent sexual partnerships from a public health clinic in Philadelphia in 2009. We conducted in-depth interviews exploring social norms, attitudes and practices about concurrency, and the structural, social and behavioral factors influencing concurrent sexual partnerships. Grounded theory guided interview protocols and data analysis.
Seventeen women reported one main and one or more non-main partners; two reported no main partners. Many women used condoms more frequently with non-main than main partners, noting they trust main partners more than non-main partners. Social factors influencing concurrency included social normalization of concurrency, inability to negotiate partners’ other concurrent partnerships, being unmarried, and not trusting main and non-main partners. Not trusting partners and the community at large were the most commonly cited reasons that women engaged in concurrent partnerships. Structural factors included economic dependence on partners, partners’ dependence on women for economic support and housing, and incarceration that interrupted partnerships. Behavioral factors including alcohol and cocaine use influenced concurrency.
Social, structural, and behavioral factors strongly influenced these African American women’s concurrent sexual partnerships. Many evidence-based interventions (EBIs) disseminated by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) focus largely on behavioral factors and may fail to address the social and structural factors influencing African American women’s sexual networks. Novel HIV prevention interventions that address the social determinants of African American women’s HIV risks in addition to conventional HIV risk- taking behaviors are urgently needed.
Concurrency; HIV/AIDS; Incarceration
Low physical activity is associated with depression, which may in turn, negatively impact antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among HIV-infected individuals; however, prior studies have not investigated the relationships between physical inactivity and ART non-adherence.
To examine the association of physical inactivity, depression, ART non-adherence, and viral load in HIV-infected men who have sex with men.
The sample (N = 860) was from a large, multicenter cohort of HIV-infected patients engaged in clinical care.
Across time, depression mediated the relationship between physical inactivity and ART non-adherence, γ = .075, and the relationship between physical inactivity and viral load, γ = .05. ART non-adherence mediated the relationship between depression and viral load, γ = .002, and the relationship between physical inactivity and viral load, γ = .009.
Low levels of physical activity predicted increased depression and poor ART adherence over time, which subsequently predicted higher viral load.
HIV/AIDS; physical activity; depression; adherence; viral load
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.
HIV; AIDS; sexual behavior; HAART; India
Indian men who have sex with men (MSM) are at increased risk for HIV compared to the general Indian population. Psychosocial factors may be uniquely associated with HIV risk among Indian MSM and may moderate the beneficial impact of standard HIV prevention approaches. Psychiatric diagnostic interviews and psychosocial and sexual risk assessments were conducted among 150 MSM in Mumbai, India. Logistic regression was employed to examine the association of psychiatric disorders and psychosocial problems to recent sexual risk behavior. Twenty-five percent of participants reported engaging in unprotected anal sex (UAS) during their last sexual contact with a man. Men who were married to a woman were more likely to have engaged in UAS during their last sexual contact with a man (35% vs. 17%, p = 0.018). In multivariable models, significant predictors of engaging in UAS were current major depression (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.61; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07, 6.39) and number of stressful life events (AOR = 0.91; 95% CI 0.83, 0.99). Alcohol dependence, anxiety, and self-esteem were not associated with engaging in UAS. Indian MSM with depression are at higher odds of engaging in UAS compared to MSM without depression. HIV prevention programs for Indian MSM may benefit from incorporating treatment or triage for mental health problems.
men who have sex with men (MSM); Mumbai; India; mental health; depression; minority stress; HIV
Use of antiretroviral treatment for HIV-1 infection has decreased AIDS-related morbidity and mortality and prevents sexual transmission of HIV-1. However, the best time to initiate antiretroviral treatment to reduce progression of HIV-1 infection or non-AIDS clinical events is unknown. We reported previously that early antiretroviral treatment reduced HIV-1 transmission by 96%. We aimed to compare the effects of early and delayed initiation of antiretroviral treatment on clinical outcomes.
The HPTN 052 trial is a randomised controlled trial done at 13 sites in nine countries. We enrolled HIV-1-serodiscordant couples to the study and randomly allocated them to either early or delayed antiretroviral treatment by use of permuted block randomisation, stratified by site. Random assignment was unblinded. The HIV-1-infected member of every couple initiated antiretroviral treatment either on entry into the study (early treatment group) or after a decline in CD4 count or with onset of an AIDS-related illness (delayed treatment group). Primary events were AIDS clinical events (WHO stage 4 HIV-1 disease, tuberculosis, and severe bacterial infections) and the following serious medical conditions unrelated to AIDS: serious cardiovascular or vascular disease, serious liver disease, end-stage renal disease, new-onset diabetes mellitus, and non-AIDS malignant disease. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00074581.
1763 people with HIV-1 infection and a serodiscordant partner were enrolled in the study; 886 were assigned early antiretroviral treatment and 877 to the delayed treatment group (two individuals were excluded from this group after randomisation). Median CD4 counts at randomisation were 442 (IQR 373–522) cells per μL in patients assigned to the early treatment group and 428 (357–522) cells per μL in those allocated delayed antiretroviral treatment. In the delayed group, antiretroviral treatment was initiated at a median CD4 count of 230 (IQR 197–249) cells per μL. Primary clinical events were reported in 57 individuals assigned to early treatment initiation versus 77 people allocated to delayed antiretroviral treatment (hazard ratio 0·73, 95% CI 0·52–1·03; p=0·074). New-onset AIDS events were recorded in 40 participants assigned to early antiretroviral treatment versus 61 allocated delayed initiation (0·64, 0·43–0·96; p=0·031), tuberculosis developed in 17 versus 34 patients, respectively (0·49, 0·28–0·89, p=0·018), and primary non-AIDS events were rare (12 in the early group vs nine with delayed treatment). In total, 498 primary and secondary outcomes occurred in the early treatment group (incidence 24·9 per 100 person-years, 95% CI 22·5–27·5) versus 585 in the delayed treatment group (29·2 per 100 person-years, 26·5–32·1; p=0·025). 26 people died, 11 who were allocated to early antiretroviral treatment and 15 who were assigned to the delayed treatment group.
Early initiation of antiretroviral treatment delayed the time to AIDS events and decreased the incidence of primary and secondary outcomes. The clinical benefits recorded, combined with the striking reduction in HIV-1 transmission risk previously reported, provides strong support for earlier initiation of antiretroviral treatment.
US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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.