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1.  “ARVs” as Sickness and Medicine: Examining children’s knowledge and experience in the HIV era in urban Zambia 
AIDS care  2012;25(6):763-766.
Since the roll out of no cost antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) in health centers in Zambia in 2004, the number of Zambians receiving treatment has substantially increased. While research has addressed adult responses to ARVs in Zambia and elsewhere, there is little known about how children experience and respond to the presence of treatment in their communities and households. The increasing acknowledgement that children provide care and treatment support to people with HIV in their households demands a better understanding of children’s knowledge of HIV and ARVs. To examine children’s ARV knowledge, this article focuses on three children’s workshops carried out with 38 children ages 8 to 12, who participated in a yearlong ethnographic study in 2007 and 2008. All children lived in a low-income and heavily HIV-affected residential area in Lusaka, and many children lived with parents or guardians who had HIV. Findings suggest that when the children discussed ARVs, they made two intersecting points: 1) local conditions make living with HIV, even while on ART, difficult; and 2) children face particular challenges, concerns, and insecurities when caring for and living with the ill. Children’s discussions about ARVs offer a deeper understanding of experiences of HIV and childhood in a disproportionately HIV-affected and low resource area. Such insights might productively inform future programming and research aimed at assisting children and adults.
PMCID: PMC3610860  PMID: 23256500
HIV/AIDS; antiretroviral therapy; children; Zambia
2.  Behavior and psychological functioning of young children of HIV positive mothers in South Africa 
AIDS care  2013;25(6):721-725.
Adults with HIV are living longer due to earlier diagnosis and increased access to antiretroviral medications. Therefore, fewer young children are being orphaned and instead, are being cared for by parents who know they are HIV-positive, although they may be asymptomatic. Presently, it is unclear whether the psychological functioning of these young children is likely to be affected or, alternatively, whether it is only when a mother is ill, that children suffer adverse effects. We thus aimed to compare the behavior and psychological functioning of young children (ages 6–10 years) of HIV-positive and HIV-negative mothers. We also aimed to examine the association between HIV status disclosure and child outcomes. This study uses cross-sectional data from the baseline assessment of a randomized controlled trial conducted in Tshwane, South Africa. Participants (n=509) and their children were recruited from area health clinics. Among the 395 mothers with HIV, 42% reported symptoms of HIV disease. Multivariate linear regression models suggested that after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, children of HIV-positive mothers had significantly greater externalizing behaviors than children of HIV-negative mothers. Importantly, children whose mothers were symptomatic had greater internalizing and externalizing behaviors compared with children of HIV-negative mothers, but this was not true for children of asymptomatic mothers. Additionally, among children of HIV-positive mothers, those who had been told their mothers were sick compared with children who had been told nothing had less internalizing and externalizing behaviors and improved communication and daily living skills. This study therefore provides evidence that maternal HIV disease can affect the behaviors of young children in South Africa but, importantly, only when the mothers are symptomatic from their disease. Furthermore, results suggest that disclosure of maternal illness but not HIV status was associated with improved behavior and psychological functioning among young children.
PMCID: PMC3665730  PMID: 23514366
Maternal HIV; child behavior; psychological; disclosure; South Africa
3.  Basic Body Knowledge in Street-Recruited, Active Drug-Using Women Enrolled in a “Body Empowerment” Intervention Trial 
AIDS care  2012;25(6):732-737.
Drug-using women remain at high risk for HIV infection. Female condoms (FC) have proven potential and cervical barriers have promise to reduce HIV risk; their effective use may by boosted by familiarity and confidence about female anatomy. Women with high levels of crack cocaine use were assessed for their knowledge about reproductive anatomy, HIV/ STI risk, as well as cancer screening behaviors.
Women were recruited for a randomized trial of a behavioral intervention via mobile vans in Philadelphia known for high crack use and sex exchange. Knowledge and behavioral data on 198 women were collected via interviewer-administered questionnaire. Women were randomized into Control (n=99) and Intervention (n=99) arms. Five weekly, small-group, intervention sessions stressed “body empowerment” and teaching use of female-initiated barrier methods. Follow-up body knowledge data were collected at 12 months. Changes in and correlates of body knowledge were analyzed and compared.
Most participants were African-American (66%); their mean age was 39.6 years. At baseline, 44% of the sample erroneously believed women have sex and urinate from the same place; 62% erroneously believed that tampons could get lost in the abdominal cavity. Only 27% knew douching increased STI transmission risk; only 10% knew condoms reduce cervical cancer risk. At follow-up, overall body knowledge improved substantially, across both arms. Race was associated with high body knowledge at baseline but not at follow-up.
Knowledge favoring use of women-initiated methods and cervical cancer prevention was very low in this hard-to-reach sample. Body knowledge improved substantially with enhanced VCT as well as the women-focused intervention. Body knowledge education must be targeted and tailored to drug-using women.
PMCID: PMC3665731  PMID: 23216297
Drug-using women; female condom; body knowledge; HPV knowledge; HIV prevention; behavioral intervention; women-controlled methods; cervical barriers
4.  Reducing the risk of HIV infection during pregnancy among South African women: A randomized controlled trial 
AIDS care  2013;25(6):702-709.
Mpumalanga Province, South Africa has one of the highest HIV/AIDS diagnosis rates among pregnant women (~29.4%). This study sought to enhance male involvement in pregnancy to increase HIV disclosure, sexual communication, HIV knowledge and reduce unprotected sex. Participants attending Antenatal Clinics (ANC) completed HIV counselling and testing and were enrolled with male partners (n = 239 couples, 478 individuals). Twelve ANCs were randomly assigned to provide a prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) intervention or the standard of care, health education sessions plus PMTCT. Participants were assessed at baseline and post-intervention (approximately 6–8 weeks post-baseline) on demographics, sexual behaviour, HIV-related knowledge, and conflict resolution strategies. Experimental participants increased HIV knowledge, use of negotiation, and decreased intimate partner violence. Additionally, they were more likely to have increased condom use from baseline to post-intervention (OR = 5.1, 95% CI = (2.0, 13.3)). Seroconversions in the control condition exceeded experimental (6 vs. 0). HIV serostatus disclosure to partner did not increase over time for men or women within the experimental or control condition. Male involvement in pregnancy may be an important strategy to reduce sexual risk behavior and HIV transmission. Results support the utility of group interventions to enhance communication and HIV knowledge among pregnant couples.
PMCID: PMC3665743  PMID: 23438041
HIV; PMTCT; male involvement; pregnancy; sexual risk reduction
5.  Alcohol use and HIV disease management: The impact of individual and partner-level alcohol use among HIV-positive men who have sex with men 
AIDS care  2013;26(6):702-708.
Alcohol use among HIV-positive (HIV+) individuals is associated with decreased adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and consequently poorer HIV treatment outcomes. This study examined the independent association of individual and partner-level alcohol use with HIV disease management among men who have sex with men (MSM) in primary partnerships. In total, 356 HIV+ MSM and their male primary partners completed a baseline visit for a longitudinal study examining the role of couple-level factors in HIV treatment. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) was administered to assess the individual and the partner-level alcohol use. Primary outcome variables included: self-reported ART adherence, ART adherence self-efficacy and HIV viral load. Results demonstrated that abstainers, compared to hazardous drinkers, had higher self-efficacy to integrate and persevere in HIV-treatment and a lower odds of having a detectable viral load. Participants with a partner-abstainer, versus a partner-hazardous drinker, had less self-efficacy to persevere in HIV-treatment, a lower odds of 100% 3-day adherence and a higher viral load. Together, these findings suggest that assessment and treatment of both the patient’s and the patient’s primary partner’s pattern of alcohol consumption is warranted when attempting to optimize HIV care among MSM.
PMCID: PMC4001861  PMID: 24215238
6.  Differences in testing, stigma, and perceived consequences of stigmatization among heterosexual men and women living with HIV in Bengaluru, India 
AIDS care  2013;26(3):396-403.
Approximately 2.4 million people in India are living with HIV. Gender inequality affects HIV prevention, detection, and management. The purpose of this paper was to describe gender differences in the experience of living with HIV in Bengaluru, India. A subsample of n = 313 (159 men and 154 women) from a larger cohort was used for these analyses. Participants were recruited through AIDS service organizations. They completed an interviewer-administered survey assessing HIV testing experience, types of stigma, and perceived consequences of stigmatization. The majority of men (67%) reported getting HIV tested because of illness, while women were more likely to be tested after learning their spouse’s HIV-positive status (42%). More men (59%) than women (45%, p <0.05) were tested in private care settings. Men reported significantly higher mean levels of internalized stigma (men: M = 0.71, SD = 0.63; women: M = 0.46, SD=0.55; p<0.001), whereas the women reported significantly higher scores for enacted stigma (men: M = 1.30, SD = 1.69; women: M = 2.10, SD = 2.17; p <0.001). These differences remained significant after controlling for potential socio-demographic covariates. Following their diagnosis, more women reported moving out of their homes (men: 16%; women: 26%; p <0.05). More men (89%) than women (66%; p <0.001) reported to have modified their sexual behavior after being diagnosed. These findings suggest that the experience of living with HIV and HIV stigma varies by gender in this population. Suggestions for a gender-based approach to HIV prevention and stigma reduction are provided.
PMCID: PMC4033403  PMID: 23869716
gender differences; HIV; stigma; India
7.  Mamekhaya: A pilot study combining a cognitive behavioral intervention and mentor mothers with PMTCT services in South Africa 
AIDS care  2010;22(9):1093-1100.
Nearly 30% of pregnant women in South Africa are estimated to be HIV seropositive, yet adherence to guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) is often low. A pilot study was developed to see whether PMTCT services provided by the South African government could be enhanced by the Mamekhaya program, a combination of the mothers2mothers (M2M) peer-mentoring program and a culturally adapted cognitive-behavioral intervention (CBI) from the United States. Pregnant women attending two maternity clinics offering PMTCT in Gugulethu and Vanguard Townships, Cape Town, South Africa, were invited to participate in the study. Women at the intervention site (Gugulethu) received the support of a mentor mother and also attended an eight-session Mamekhaya CBI. At the control site (Vanguard), women received standard services provided by midwives and counselors. Baseline assessments were completed by all participants at enrollment (n = 160), and follow-ups were completed six months later by 44% of participants. Self-reports of adherence to PMTCT practices were high across both sites (90% or more engaging in the core practices). Women at the Mamekhaya site showed significantly greater improvement in establishing social support and reducing depression scores than women at the control site. Mamekhaya participants also showed trends for better attendance at follow-up medical visits, and greater improvements in positive coping. The greatest effect of the Mamekhaya program was to increase HIV knowledge scores, particularly with regard to understanding the meaning and importance of viral load and CD4 test results. Results from this pilot study show promise that augmenting basic PMTCT services with mentor mothers and a culturally adapted CBI can be effective in conveying information and in improving the emotional outlook and hopefulness of HIV-positive pregnant women in South Africa.
PMCID: PMC4019405  PMID: 20824562
HIV; South Africa; intervention; mentor mothers; mother-to-child transmission
8.  Clients of street-based female sex workers and potential bridging of HIV/STI in Russia: Results of a pilot study 
AIDS care  2012;24(5):665-672.
In Russia, sexual transmission of HIV is increasing and street-based female sex workers (FSW) have a high HIV prevalence, but the role of male clients of FSW in HIV transmission and bridging to the general population has not been studied. Sixty-two male clients completed structured interviews during February-March of 2010 in St. Petersburg Russia. Descriptive analyses focused on condom use with different types of sex partners, substance use, and STI/HIV testing histories. The median lifetime and past 12 month numbers of FSW partners were 10 and 3, respectively. A majority of clients (74%) reported having non-FSW partners during the past 12 months, and nearly half (47%) reported having regular sex partners. Consistent condom use was reported in 61% of relationships with FSW partners and in 43% of relationships with non-FSW partners. A majority of clients (58%) was classified as active or potential bridgers based on having both FSW and non-FSW partners and reporting inconsistent condom use with their non-FSW partners. A majority (61%) also reported concurrent partnerships with FSW and non-FSW partners. Nearly half (48%) of last contacts with FSW partners involved consumption of alcohol by the client. Non-injection and injection drug use in the past 30 days were reported by 15% and 7% of clients, respectively. Twenty-nine percent reported history of an STI and 74% reported a previous HIV test; active/potential bridgers were significantly less likely than unlikely bridgers to have ever been tested for HIV. These data signal the potential for HIV/STI transmission among male clients of street-based FSW in St. Petersburg Russia due to their variety of partner types, sub-optimal condom use, and concurrent partnerships. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings, further explore the roles of alcohol and drug use, and identify effective strategies and interventions for HIV prevention.
PMCID: PMC4009684  PMID: 22292804
HIV; bridging; female sex workers; clients; Russia
9.  Domestic chores workload and depressive symptoms among children affected by HIV/AIDS in China 
AIDS care  2012;25(5):632-639.
Limited data are available regarding the effects of domestic chores workload on psychological problems among children affected by HIV/AIDS in China. The current study aims to examine association between children’s depressive symptoms and the domestic chores workload (i.e., the frequency and the amount of time doing domestic chores). Data were derived from the baseline survey of a longitudinal study which investigated the impact of parental HIV/AIDS on psychological problems of children. A total of 1,449 children in family-based care were included in the analysis: 579 orphaned children who lost one or both parents due to AIDS, 466 vulnerable children living with one or both parents being infected with HIV, and 404 comparison children who did not have HIV/AIDS infected family members in their families. Results showed differences on domestic chores workload between children affected by HIV/AIDS (orphans and vulnerable children) and the comparison children. Children affected by HIV/AIDS worked more frequently and worked longer time on domestic chores than the comparison children. Multivariate linear regression analysis showed that domestic chores workload was positively associated with depressive symptoms. The data suggest that children affected by HIV/AIDS may face increasing burden of domestic chores and it is necessary to reduce the excessive workload of domestic chores among children affected by HIV/AIDS through increasing community-based social support for children in the families affected by HIV/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC3622201  PMID: 22970996
Domestic chores workload; Depressive symptoms; Orphan; HIV/AIDS; China
10.  Serostatus Disclosure to Sexual Partners among People Living with HIV: Examining the Roles of Partner Characteristics and Stigma 
AIDS care  2012;25(5):566-572.
HIV serostatus disclosure among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) is an important component of preventing HIV transmission to sexual partners. Due to barriers like stigma, however, many PLWHA do not disclose their serostatus to all sexual partners. This study explored differences in HIV serostatus disclosure based on sexual behavior subgroup [men who have sex with men (MSM), heterosexual men, and women], characteristics of the sexual relationship (relationship type and HIV serostatus of partner), and perceived stigma. We examined disclosure in a sample of 341 PLWHA: 138 MSM, 87 heterosexual men, and 116 heterosexual women who were enrolled in SafeTalk, a randomized, controlled trial of a safer sex intervention. We found that, overall, 79% of participants disclosed their HIV status to all sexual partners in the past 3 months. However, we found important differences in disclosure by subgroup and relationship characteristics. Heterosexual men and women were more likely to disclose their HIV status than MSM (86%, 85%, and 69%, respectively). Additionally, disclosure was more likely among participants with only primary partners than those with only casual or both casual and primary partners (92%, 54%, and 62%, respectively). Participants with only HIV-positive partners were also more likely to disclose than those with only HIV-negative partners, unknown serostatus partners, or partners of mixed serostatus (96%, 85%, 40%, and 60%, respectively). Finally, people who perceived more HIV-related stigma were less likely to disclose their HIV serostatus to partners, regardless of subgroup or relationship characteristics. These findings suggest that interventions to help PLWHA disclose, particularly to serodiscordant casual partners, are needed and will likely benefit from inclusion of stigma reduction components.
PMCID: PMC3622199  PMID: 23020136
HIV serostatus disclosure; stigma; gender differences; sexual partners
11.  Cost analyses of peer health worker and mHealth support interventions for improving AIDS care in Rakai, Uganda 
AIDS care  2012;25(5):652-656.
A cost analysis study calculates resources needed to deliver an intervention and can provide useful information on affordability for service providers and policy makers. We conducted cost analyses of both a peer health worker (PHW) and a mHealth (mobile phone) support intervention. Excluding supervisory staffing costs, total yearly costs for the PHW intervention was $8,475, resulting in a yearly cost per patient of $8.74, per virologic failure averted cost of $189, and per patient lost to follow-up averted cost of $1025. Including supervisory staffing costs increased total yearly costs to $14,991. Yearly costs of the mHealth intervention were an additional $1046, resulting in a yearly cost per patient of $2.35. In a threshold analysis, the PHW intervention was found to be cost saving if it was able to avert 1.50 patients per year from switching to second-line antiretroviral therapy. Other AIDS care programs may find these intervention costs affordable.
PMCID: PMC3773472  PMID: 22971113
cost analysis; mHealth; community health workers; Uganda; antiretroviral treatment
12.  Frequency, Patterns and Preferences of Lubricant Use During Anal Intercourse Within Male Sexual Partnerships in Lima, Peru: Implications for a Rectal Microbicide HIV Prevention Intervention 
AIDS care  2012;25(5):579-585.
Understanding current practices of lubricant use during anal intercourse can help to assess the contexts for the introduction of topical rectal microbicides as an HIV prevention tool for men who have sex with men (MSM). We used quantitative and qualitative methods to assess: current patterns of lubricant use; preferred characteristics of commercial lubricant formulations; and social and behavioral contexts of lubricant use within male sexual partnerships in Lima, Peru. Between 2007 and 2008, we conducted a quantitative behavioral survey with 547 MSM followed by qualitative individual and group interviews with 36 MSM from Lima, Peru. Approximately half of all participants in the quantitative survey (50.3%) reported using commercial lubricant during intercourse occasionally or consistently during the preceding two months, with lack of availability at the time of intercourse the most commonly reported reason for non-use. No clear preferences regarding the color, smell, taste, or viscosity of commercial lubricants were identified, and all participants who reported using a commercial lubricant used the same product (“Love-Lub”). In the qualitative analysis, participants characterized lubricant use as a sexual practice consistently controlled by the receptive partner, who typically obtained and applied lubricant independently, with or without the consent of the insertive partner. Quantitative findings supported this differential pattern of lubricant use, with men who reported sexual identities or roles consistent with receptive anal intercourse, including unprotected receptive intercourse, more likely to report lubricant use than MSM who claimed an exclusively insertive sexual role. Given the social, behavioral, and biological factors contributing to increased vulnerability for HIV and STI acquisition by the receptive partner in anal intercourse, delivery of a topical rectal microbicide as a lubricant formulation could provide an important HIV prevention resource for at-risk MSM in Lima, Peru.
PMCID: PMC3556347  PMID: 23082796
13.  The Provider Perception Inventory: Psychometrics of a Scale Designed to Measure Provider Stigma about HIV, Substance Abuse, and MSM Behavior 
AIDS care  2012;25(5):586-591.
Non-gay identified men who have sex with men and women (NGI MSMW) and who use alcohol and other drugs are a vulnerable, understudied, and undertreated population. Little is known about the stigma faced by this population or about the way that health service providers view and serve these stigmatized clients. The Provider Perception Inventory (PPI) is a 39-item scale that measures health services providers’ stigma about HIV/AIDS, substance use, and MSM behavior. The PPI is unique in that it was developed to include service provider stigma targeted at NGI MSMW individuals. PPI was developed through a mixed methods approach. Items were developed based on existing measures and findings from focus groups with 18 HIV and substance abuse treatment providers. Exploratory factor analysis using data from 212 health service providers yielded a two dimensional scale: 1) Individual Attitudes (19 items), and 2) Agency Environment (11 items). Structural equation model analysis supported the scale’s predictive validity (N=190 sufficiently complete cases). Overall findings indicate initial support for the psychometrics of the PPI as a measure of service provider stigma pertaining to the intersection of HIV/AIDS, substance use, and MSM behavior. Limitations and implications to future research are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3556353  PMID: 23082899
14.  Associations between Partner Violence Perpetration and History of STI among HIV-infected Substance Using Men in Russia 
AIDS care  2012;25(5):646-651.
Studies document a significant association between victimization from intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV among substance using women in Russia and elsewhere, but no study has examined IPV perpetration and STI among Russian men or HIV-infected men in Eastern Europe. This study was designed to assess the association between lifetime history of IPV perpetration and STI (lifetime and current) among substance using HIV-infected men in Russia. Cross-sectional analyses were conducted with baseline data from 415 male participants enrolled in a randomized HIV intervention clinical trial [the HERMITAGE Study]. Participants were HIV-infected men reporting recent heavy alcohol use and unprotected sex in St. Petersburg, Russia. Baseline surveys assessed demographics, IPV perpetration, risk behaviors, and STI history. Current STI was assessed via blood testing for syphilis and urine testing for gonorrhea, Chlamydia and trichomonas. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association between history of IPV with lifetime and current STI. Participants were aged 20–57 years. Almost half of participants (46%) reported a history of IPV perpetration; 81% reported past 30-day binge alcohol use, and 43% reported past 30-day injection drug use. Past and current STI was 41% and 12%, respectively. Men reporting a history of IPV perpetration had significantly higher odds of reporting ever having an STI (AOR=1.6, 95% CI=1.1, 2.4) but lower odds of testing positive for a current STI (AOR=0.50, 95% CI=0.26, 0.96). These findings demonstrate that a history of male IPV perpetration is common in HIV-infected Russian men and associated with a history of STI. Programmatic work toward IPV prevention is needed in Russia and may be beneficial in mitigating STIs, but more research is needed to understand how and why the association between IPV and STI changes over time in this population.
PMCID: PMC3582729  PMID: 22971088
15.  Patient–provider perceptions on engagement in HIV care in Argentina 
AIDS care  2013;26(5):602-607.
Approximately 30% of patients participating in the national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program in Argentina fail to achieve an undetectable viral load, and approximately 25% are not retained in care. This qualitative study was designed to explore and identify factors associated with engagement and retention in public and private health care in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Qualitative data from key informants (n = 12) and focus groups (n = 4 groups) of patients and providers from private and public HIV treatment facilities were recorded and transcribed. Predetermined and arising themes related to adherence, engagement, and retention in care were coded and analyzed using qualitative data analysis software. Reasons identified for patients’ lack of adherence or engagement in care differed between patients and providers, and patients attributed limitations to low self-efficacy, fear and concerns about HIV, and lack of provider involvement in treatment. In contrast, providers viewed themselves as decision-makers in patient care and patients as responsible for their own nonadherence due to lack of commitment to their own health or due to medication side effects. Patients reported health care system limitations and HIV concerns contributed to a lack of engagement, and providers identified limited HIV literacy and stigma as additional problems. Both agreed that chronic illness and substance addiction impacted adherence and retention, and agreed on the importance of trust, honesty, and communication in the patient–provider relationship. Results support the incorporation of system-, provider-, and patient-focused components into interventions to facilitate patient engagement, adherence, and retention in public and private settings in Argentina.
PMCID: PMC3966648  PMID: 24138788
HIV; adherence; engagement; communication; Argentina
16.  Rates of HIV, syphilis, and HCV infections among different demographic groups of female sex workers in Guangxi China: Evidence from 2010 national sentinel surveillance data 
AIDS care  2013;25(11):1433-1441.
To examine the prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections by demographic characteristics and identify the subgroups of female sex workers (FSW) who are at a higher risk of the infections. Secondary analysis of the 2010 National Sentinel Surveillance (NSS) data was conducted in the current study. A total of 12,622 FSW recruited from 35 NSS sites in Guangxi, China were included in the analysis. FSW were tested for HIV, syphilis, and HCV. The overall prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and HCV infections were 1.0%, 6.1% and 1.0%, respectively. The prevalence of HIV and syphilis infections were significantly higher among women who aged 40 years or older, worked in small commercial sex venues or on street, divorced or widowed, or no formal schooling. A very high HIV infection prevalence (8.2%) was observed among a small number of cross-border foreign FSW (n=49). The prevalence of HCV infection did not differ by most of the demographic characteristics. Living in other provinces or being a Zhuang-ethnic served as protective factors for HCV. The multivariable analyses confirmed the results of bivariate results suggesting higher prevalence of HIV and syphilis infections among FSW who were older, divorced or widowed, or no formal schooling. Future HIV intervention prevention efforts among FSW need to pay particular attention to these women in order to effectively curtail the infections among this most-at-risk population as well as to prevent the further spread of HIV and syphilis to other populations.
PMCID: PMC3992266  PMID: 23438031
FSW; HIV; Syphilis; HCV; National Sentinel Surveillance; China
17.  Social and behavioral characteristics of gharwalis who operate brothels in the Ganga-Jamuna area of Nagpur, India 
AIDS care  2012;25(4):438-442.
Nagpur is an industrial hub in Maharashtra, a state in Central India that has the second highest HIV prevalence in the country. Approximately 3000 brothel-based female sex workers (FSWs) are estimated to be working in Nagpur’s Ganga-Jamuna red light district. The extent to which brothel madams, known as gharwalis, support HIV/STI prevention for FSWs has not been examined. The present study sought to identify personal, social, and behavioral characteristics of gharwalis in Nagpur as well as enhance our understanding of the gharwali’s role in shaping the sexual practices of brothel-based FSWs. Thirty gharwalis participated in a survey that covered personal, social, behavioral, and environmental characteristics. Respondents ranged in age from 29 to 50 years (M = 38.9) and had worked as a gharwali for an average of 5.3 years; 80% had no formal education, 43% had never married and 30% were divorced or separated, and 93% earned money from their own sex work. Gharwalis managed an average of 4.2 FSWs (range 2 to 10). Overall, gharwalis reported positive attitudes toward condoms, promoted use of condoms by their FSWs with clients, taught FSWs how to use condoms, knew where to obtain condoms for free, and required HIV testing for their FSWs; however, levels of HIV prevention knowledge were low. Gharwalis also reported providing a range of support services to FSWs who lived in their brothels, including shelter, protection from drunk and aggressive clients and police, emotional support, caring and love, and health care. These data suggest the feasibility of involving gharwalis in brothel-based HIV prevention programs.
PMCID: PMC3502656  PMID: 22877415
18.  Situating HIV risk in the lives of formerly trafficked female sex workers on the Mexico-US border 
AIDS care  2012;25(4):459-465.
Due to stigma and the psychosocial repercussions of past trauma and abuse, survivors of sex trafficking may experience increased susceptibility to violence, revictimization, and various harmful health outcomes, including HIV infection. Given the paucity of research characterizing the experiences of formerly trafficked female sex workers (FSWs), we set out to describe and contextualize perceptions of HIV risk among women who have experienced past episodes of sex trafficking and who are currently engaged in sex work in Tijuana, Mexico. Based on semi-structured interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, we describe the following interrelated themes as influencing formerly trafficked FSWs' perceptions and experiences of HIV risk: economic vulnerability; susceptibility to violence; and psychological trauma. Our findings highlight the need for HIV prevention efforts to incorporate broader structural and social interventions aimed at reducing vulnerability to violence and human rights abuses among this population and improving their general economic, psychological, and social well-being.
PMCID: PMC3521850  PMID: 22963518
Sex trafficking; HIV; sex work; violence; Mexico border
19.  Chronic illness burden and quality of life in an aging HIV population 
AIDS care  2012;25(4):451-458.
The population of persons living with HIV (PLWH) is growing older and more prone to developing other chronic health conditions. Disease progression has been shown to be related to quality of life. However, descriptions of chronic comorbid illnesses and the unique quality of life challenges of older adults living with HIV are not well understood and have not been examined in multiple geographic locations. 452 PLWH aged 50 years or older were recruited from AIDS Service Organizations in 9 states. Participants completed a telephone survey that included measures of other chronic health conditions, perceived stress, depression and health related quality of life. 94% of the sample reported a chronic health condition in addition to HIV (mode = 2). The highest reported conditions were hypertension, chronic pain, hepatitis, and arthritis. Despite relatively high rates of depression, overall quality of life was moderately high for the sample. Physical functioning was most impacted by the addition of other chronic health problems. Social functioning, mental health functioning, stress and depression were also strongly associated with chronic disease burden. Additional chronic health problems are the norm for PLWH aged 50 years and older. Quality of life is significantly related to the addition of chronic health problems. As increasing numbers of PLWH reach older age, this raises challenges for providing comprehensive healthcare to older PLWH with multiple chronic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3535557  PMID: 22894702
HIV; Older Adults; Chronic Illness; Quality of Life
20.  Intimate partner violence and HIV risk factors among African American and African Caribbean women in clinic-based settings 
AIDS care  2012;25(4):472-480.
Despite progress against intimate partner violence (IPV) and HIV/AIDS in the past two decades, both epidemics remain major public health problems, particularly among women of color. The objective of this study was to assess the relationship between recent IPV and HIV risk factors (sexual and drug risk behaviors, STIs, condom use and negotiation) among women of African descent. We conducted a comparative case-control study in women’s health clinics in Baltimore, Maryland and St. Thomas and St. Croix, US Virgin Islands (USVI). Women aged 18–55 years who experienced physical and/or sexual IPV in the past two years (Baltimore, n=107; USVI, n=235) were compared to women who never experienced any form of abuse (Baltimore, n=207; USVI, n=119). Logistic regression identified correlates of recent IPV by site. In both sites, having a partner with concurrent sex partners was independently associated with a history of recent IPV (Baltimore, AOR: 3.91, 95% CI:1.79–8.55 and USVI, AOR: 2.25, 95% CI:1.11–4.56). In Baltimore, factors independently associated with recent IPV were lifetime casual sex partners (AOR: 1.99, 95% CI: 1.11–3.57), exchange sex partners (AOR: 5.26, 95% CI:1.92–14.42), infrequent condom use during vaginal sex (AOR: 0.24, 95% CI:0.08–0.72), and infrequent condom use during anal sex (AOR: 0.29, 95% CI:0.09–0.93). In contrast, in the USVI, having a concurrent sex partner (AOR: 3.33, 95% CI:1.46–7.60), frequent condom use during vaginal sex (AOR: 1.97, 95% CI:1.06–3.65), frequent condom use during anal sex (AOR: 6.29, 95% CI:1.57–25.23), drug use (AOR: 3.16, 95% CI:1.00–10.06), and a past-year STI (AOR: 2.68, 95% CI:1.25–5.72) were associated with recent IPV history. The divergent results by site warrant further investigation into the potential influence of culture, norms, and intentions on the relationships examined. Nonetheless, study findings support a critical need to continue the development and implementation of culturally tailored screening for IPV within HIV prevention and treatment programs.
PMCID: PMC3556174  PMID: 23006050
HIV/AIDS; intimate partner violence; Caribbean; African descent; women
21.  A Randomized Controlled Trial of an HIV/AIDS Symptom Management Manual for Depressive Symptoms 
AIDS care  2012;25(4):391-399.
Depressive symptoms are highly prevalent, underdiagnosed and undertreated in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH), and are associated with poorer health outcomes. This randomized controlled trial examined the effects of the HIV/AIDS Symptom Management Manual self-care symptom management strategies compared to a nutrition manual on depressive symptoms in an international sample of PLWH. The sample consisted of a sub-group (N=222) of participants in a larger study symptom management study who reported depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms of the intervention (n=124) and control (n=98) groups were compared over three months: baseline, one-month and two-months. Use and effectiveness of specific strategies were examined. Depressive symptom frequency at baseline varied significantly by country (χ2 12.9; p=0.04). Within the intervention group there were significant differences across time in depressive symptom frequency [F(2, 207) = 3.27, p=0.05], intensity [F(2, 91) = 4.6, p=0.01] and impact [F(2, 252) = 2.92, p= 0.05), and these were significantly lower at one-month but not at two-months, suggesting that self-care strategies are effective in reducing depressive symptoms, however effects may be short-term. Most used and most effective self-care strategies were distraction techniques and prayer. This study suggests the people living with HIV can be taught and will employ self-care strategies for management of depressive symptoms, and that they are effective in reducing these symptoms. Self-care strategies are non-invasive, have no side-effects and can be readily taught as an adjunct to other forms of treatment. Studies are needed to identify the most effective self-care strategies and quantify optimum dose and frequency of use as a basis for evidence-based practice.
PMCID: PMC3561506  PMID: 22880943
depressive symptoms; HIV disease; self-management; symptom management; randomized controlled trial
22.  HIV-related symptoms and patient clusters among Chileans living with HIV 
AIDS care  2012;25(4):488-495.
Identifying both HIV-related and co-morbid symptoms experienced by people living with HIV (PLWH) who are receiving antiretroviral therapy treatment (ART) is a major challenge for health care providers globally. Yet little research to date has examined the symptoms of illness experienced by PLWH including patients living in Central and South American. To address this gap, this study was designed to identify symptoms of HIV by socio-demographic and/or clinical characteristics among Chilean patients living with the virus. A convenience sample of 209 Chilean PLWH was recruited from an outpatient clinic in Santiago, Chile. A structured interview was used to elicit socio-demographic information and HIV symptoms status. Additional clinical information was obtained through a review of the participants’ medical records. Results show that patients’ most commonly reported HIV-related symptoms were fear/worries (66%), anxiety (52%), gas/bloating (50%), and thirst (50%). Multivariate analysis revealed a positive association between the number of reported HIV-related symptoms and number of years living with HIV. Having completed college was negatively associated with number of symptoms. Latent class analysis indicated that PLWH in the sample who had completed college were two times more likely to experience a mild intensity of HIV-related symptoms than their lesser educated counterparts. Similarly, logistic regression revealed that college-educated PLWH were twice as likely to be classified in the subgroup reporting mild intensity of symptoms than those who lacked a college degree. Overall, the study’s results reveal that many Chilean PLWH, even those with high CD4 counts and low or undetectable viral loads, are not symptom free. The findings point to the need for clinicians to tailor a plan of care for individuals living with HIV that is based on their symptomatology.
PMCID: PMC3563858  PMID: 22909386
Symptoms; HIV infections; people living with HIV; clusters analysis; quantitative method
23.  Unprotected sex with their clients among low-paying female sex workers in southwest China 
AIDS care  2012;25(4):503-506.
China has been experiencing a rapid increase in the HIV epidemic for decades. Commercial sex plays a critical role in heterosexual transmission of HIV. Limited studies suggested that low-paying female sex workers (FSWs) faced a higher risk of HIV infection. Low-paying FSWs are women who usually encounter their clients on the street or small establishments in rural or less-developed areas, or who charge low fees for each sexual service.
A total of 720 low-paying FSWs from 130 commercial sex venues/locations in southwest China were included in the data analysis. Multivariate regression models were employed to examine the associations of unprotected sex with a number of exploratory variables among the study sample.
About 33.9% and 61.5% of low-paying FSWs reported unprotected sex with clients in the last sex act and in the last month, respectively. After controlling for confounders, women’s HIV knowledge, risk perception, experience of police arrest, and venue types were significantly associated with unprotected sex among low-paying FSWs.
Low-paying FSWs are at an alarmingly high risk of HIV infection. HIV prevention programs are urgently needed to address risk factors posit in both individual and contextual levels among this most-at-risk population in order to curb the HIV epidemic in China.
PMCID: PMC3594428  PMID: 23062062
Low-paying FSWs; HIV risks; Unprotected sex; China
24.  The importance of HIV prevention messaging for orphaned youth in Zimbabwe 
AIDS care  2012;24(7):877-885.
The AIDS epidemic has contributed to a drastic increase in the number of orphans in Zimbabwe. Female adolescent orphans are particularly in jeopardy of contracting HIV due to disadvantages including extreme poverty, low education, and the absent of parental oversight which can lead to higher risk-taking sexual behaviors. By understanding where girls receive education about HIV and who they rely on for information, organizations can effectively modify existing programs to better target this at-risk population. For this study a household survey was conducted which included 216 orphans and 324 non-orphans (n=540), aged 12–17 years old, in the resource-poor setting of Hwange District, Zimbabwe. The aims of this paper were to examine the differences between orphans and non-orphans in HIV prevention message exposure, level of motivation for learning about HIV, and communication with caregivers about safe sex. The household survey revealed that younger orphans, aged 12–15 years old, were more motivated to learn about HIV and had greater HIV messaging exposure in school than non-orphans. These exposure and differences in the levels of motivation between groups dissipated at older ages. Our research also discovered less caregiver communication among orphans than non-orphans. Our findings suggest that HIV programs targeting orphans need to do a better job at keeping older orphans interested in HIV prevention at a time when it matters most. Furthermore, intervention strategies that provide caregiver support are instrumental in effectively delivering prevention messages to girls at home.
PMCID: PMC3966070  PMID: 22293040
orphans; AIDS; parent communication; HIV prevention programs; Zimbabwe; adolescents
25.  Gender Equality and Education: Increasing the Uptake of HIV Testing among Married Women in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe 
AIDS care  2013;25(11):1452-1461.
Gender equality and education are being promoted as strategies to combat the HIV epidemic in Africa, but few studies have looked at the role of gender equality and education in the uptake of a vital service - HIV testing. This study looks at associations between education (a key input needed for gender equality) and key gender equality measures (financial decision-making and attitudes towards violence) with ever tested for HIV and tested for HIV in the past year. The study focused on currently married women ages 15–24 and 25–34 in three countries - Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The data came from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Logistic regression was used to study the role of gender equality and education on the HIV testing outcomes after controlling for both social and biological factors. Results indicated that education had a consistent positive relationship with testing for both age groups, and the associations were always significant for young women 15–24 (p<0.01). The belief that gender-based violence is unacceptable was positively associated with testing for women 25–34 in all three countries though the associations were only significant in Kenya (among women reporting ever being tested: OR 1.58, p<0.00; among women reporting being tested in the past year: OR 1.34, p<0.05) and Zambia (among women reporting ever being tested: OR 1.24, p<0.10; among women reporting being tested in the past year: OR 1.29, p< 0.05). High financial decision-making was associated with testing for women 25–34 in Zimbabwe only (among women reporting ever being tested: OR 1.66, p< 0.01). Overall the findings indicate that education and the promotion of gender equality are important strategies for increasing uptake of a vital HIV service, and thus are important tools for protecting girls and young women against HIV.
PMCID: PMC3966089  PMID: 23438082
empowerment; financial decision-making; gender equality; gender-based violence; HIV; voluntary counseling and test (VCT)

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