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1.  HIV Drug Resistance Mutations in Proviral DNA from a Community Treatment Program 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0117430.
Drug resistance mutations archived in resting memory CD4+ cells may persist despite suppression of HIV RNA to <50 copies/ml. We sequenced pol gene from proviral DNA among viremic and suppressed patients to identify drug resistance mutations.
The Peninsula AIDS Research Cohort study enrolled and followed over 2 years 120 HIV infected patients from San Mateo and San Francisco Counties. HIV-1 pol genotyping by bulk sequencing was performed on 38 DNA and RNA from viremic patients and DNA only among 82 suppressed patients at baseline. Antiretroviral susceptibility was predicted by
Among 120 subjects, 81% were on antiretroviral therapy and had been treated for a median time of 7 years. Thirty-two viremic patients showed concordant RNA and DNA genotypes (84%); the discordant profiles were mainly observed in patients with low-level viremia. Among suppressed patients, 21 had drug resistance mutations in proviral DNA (26%) with potential resistance to one, two or three ARV classes in 16, 4 and 1 samples respectively.
The high level of genotype concordance between DNA and RNA in viremic patients suggested that DNA genotyping might be used to assess drug resistance in resource-limited settings, and further investigation of extracted DNA from dried blood spots is needed. Drug resistance mutations in proviral DNA in 26% of subjects with less than 50 copies/ml pose a risk for the transmission of drug resistant virus with virologic failure, treatment interruption or decreased adherence.
PMCID: PMC4311981  PMID: 25635815
2.  Point-of-Care Diagnosis and Prognostication of Cryptococcal Meningitis With the Cryptococcal Antigen Lateral Flow Assay on Cerebrospinal Fluid 
The cryptococcal antigen (CRAG) lateral flow assay (LFA) had 100% sensitivity and specificity on cerebrospinal fluid samples. Pretreatment LFA titers correlated with quantitative cultures (R2 = 0.7) and predicted 2- and 10-week mortality. The CRAG LFA is an accurate diagnostic assay for CSF and should be considered for point-of-care diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis.
PMCID: PMC3864499  PMID: 24065327
HIV; cryptococcal meningitis; diagnosis; point-of-care; sub-Saharan Africa
3.  Relationship between social cognitive theory constructs and self-reported condom use: assessment of behaviour in a subgroup of the Safe in the City trial 
BMJ Open  2014;4(12):e006093.
Previous studies have found social cognitive theory (SCT)-framed interventions are successful for improving condom use and reducing sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We conducted a secondary analysis of behavioural data from the Safe in the City intervention trial (2003–2005) to investigate the influence of SCT constructs on study participants’ self-reported use of condoms at last intercourse.
The main trial was conducted from 2003 to 2005 at three public US STI clinics. Patients (n=38 635) were either shown a ‘safer sex’ video in the waiting room, or received the standard waiting room experience, based on their visit date. A nested behavioural assessment was administered to a subsample of study participants following their index clinic visit and again at 3 months follow-up. We used multivariable modified Poisson regression models to examine the relationships among SCT constructs (sexual self-efficacy, self-control self-efficacy, self-efficacy with most recent partner, hedonistic outcome expectancies and partner expected outcomes) and self-reported condom use at last sex act at the 3-month follow-up study visit.
Of 1252 participants included in analysis, 39% reported using a condom at last sex act. Male gender, homosexual orientation and single status were significant correlates of condom use. Both unadjusted and adjusted models indicate that sexual self-efficacy (adjusted relative risk (RRa)=1.50, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.84), self-control self-efficacy (RRa=1.67, 95% CI 1.37 to 2.04), self-efficacy with most recent partner (RRa=2.56, 95% CI 2.01 to 3.27), more favourable hedonistic outcome expectancies (RRa=1.83, 95% CI 1.54 to 2.17) and more favourable partner expected outcomes (RRa=9.74, 95% CI 3.21 to 29.57) were significantly associated with condom use at last sex act.
Social cognitive skills, such as self-efficacy and partner expected outcomes, are an important aspect of condom use behaviour.
Trial registration number (#NCT00137370).
PMCID: PMC4281534  PMID: 25550295
5.  Optimising sexually transmitted infection screening in correctional facilities: San Francisco, 2003–5 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2007;83(5):416-418.
Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening in correctional facilities provides access to people at high risk for STIs who might not be screened elsewhere. These screening programmes are becoming more widespread, but with decreasing funding for STI control, maximising screening impact has become increasingly important. We aimed to make recommendations about the impact of age and sex targeted screening in correctional facilities.
We compared the prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhoea for January 2003–July 2005 among different age groups of females and males screened in San Francisco correctional facilities—youth detention (12–17 years) and adult jail (18–35 years).
16 975 chlamydia tests and 13 443 gonorrhoea tests were performed. The age specific chlamydia test positivity among females aged 12–17 years, 18–25 years, and 26–30 years, respectively, was 9.6% (105/1092), 9.4% (196/2088), and 6.3% (40/639), compared with 3.3% (100/3065), 6.2% (400/6470), and 3.9% (118/3046) among males. The age specific gonorrhoea test positivity among females in these same age groups was 3.2% (34/1062), 2.7% (57/2082), and 2.4% (15/635), compared with 0.7% (7/1026), 1.2% (67/5507), and 1.0% (25/2555) among males. Of the 1198 STIs identified, 1020 (85.1%) were treated.
On the basis of this report and national data, STI control programmes with limited funds should prioritise screening females in youth detention first, women aged ⩽30 years in adult jail second, and men aged ⩽25 years in adult jail third. Males in youth detention should have a lower priority than young adults in jails.
PMCID: PMC2659043  PMID: 17567685
gonorrhoea;  Chlamydia trachomatis ; sexually transmitted diseases; prisons; United States
6.  Chlamydial and gonococcal reinfection among men: a systematic review of data to evaluate the need for retesting 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2006;83(4):304-309.
This study aimed to systematically review and describe the evidence on chlamydia and gonorrhoea reinfection among men, and to evaluate the need for retesting recommendations in men. PubMed and STI conference abstract books from January 1995 to October 2006 were searched to identify studies on chlamydia and gonorrhoea reinfection among men using chlamydia and gonorrhoea nucleic acid amplification tests or gonorrhoea culture. Studies were categorised as using either active or passive follow‐up methods. The proportions of chlamydial and gonococcal reinfection among men were calculated for each study and summary medians were reported. Repeat chlamydia infection among men had a median reinfection probability of 11.3%. Repeat gonorrhoea infection among men had a median reinfection probability of 7.0%. Studies with active follow‐up had moderate rates of chlamydia and gonorrhoea reinfection among men, with respective medians of 10.9% and 7.0%. Studies with passive follow‐up had higher proportions of both chlamydia and gonorrhoea reinfections among men, with respective medians of 17.4% and 8.5%. Proportions of chlamydia and gonorrhoea reinfection among men were comparable with those among women. Reinfection among men was strongly associated with previous history of sexually transmitted diseases and younger age, and inconsistently associated with risky sexual behaviour. Substantial repeat chlamydia and gonorrhoea infection rates were found in men comparable with those in women. Retesting recommendations in men are appropriate, given the high rate of reinfection. To optimise retesting guidelines, further research to determine effective retesting methods and establish factors associated with reinfection among men is suggested.
PMCID: PMC2598678  PMID: 17166889
7.  Meningitis in HIV-positive patients in sub-Saharan Africa: a review 
Meningitis is one of the leading causes of death among patients living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. There is no widespread tracking of the incidence rates of causative agents among patients living with HIV, yet the aetiologies of meningitis are different than those of the general population.
We reviewed the scientific literature published in PubMed to determine the incidence rates of meningitis among hospitalized people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa and report our findings from seven studies across sub-Saharan Africa.
We found high rates of cryptococcal meningitis (19–68%). Tuberculous meningitis was lower (1–36%), although some centres included possible cases as “other” meningitis; therefore, this may not be a true representation of the total cases. Pyogenic meningitis ranged from 6 to 30% and “other” meningitis ranged from 7 to 28% of all reported cases of meningitis. Mortality rates ranged from 25 to 68%. This review describes the most common aetiologies and provides practical diagnostic, treatment and prevention considerations as they apply to the individual living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
Diagnosis is often limited, and wider availability of accurate and low-cost laboratory diagnostics is desperately needed for prompt diagnosis and initiation of appropriate treatment. Wider acceptance and adoption of available preventative modalities can decrease the incidence of potentially fatal central nervous system infections in African patients living with HIV.
PMCID: PMC4195174  PMID: 25308903
meningitis; HIV/AIDS; adult; sub-Saharan Africa
8.  Exploring the relationship between sexually transmitted diseases and HIV acquisition by using different study designs 
It is hypothesized that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) increase the risk of HIV acquisition. Yet, difficulties establishing an accurate temporal relation and controlling confounders have obscured this relationship. In an attempt to overcome prior methodologic shortcomings, we explored the use of different study designs to examine the relationship between STDs and HIV acquisition.
Acutely HIV-infected patients were included as cases and compared to 1) HIV-uninfected patients (matched case-control), 2) newly diagnosed, chronically HIV-infected patients (infected analysis), and 3) themselves at prior clinic visits when they tested HIV-negative (case-crossover). We used t-tests to compare the average number of STDs and logistic regression to determine independent correlates and the odds of acute HIV infection.
Between October 2003 and March 2007, 13,662 male patients who had sex with men were tested for HIV infection at San Francisco's municipal STD clinic and 350 (2.56%) HIV infections were diagnosed. Among the HIV-infected patients, 36 (10.3%) cases were identified as acute. We found consistently higher odds of having had an STD within the 12 months (matched case-control, OR 5.2 [2.2-12.6]; infected analysis, OR 1.4 [1.0-2.0]; case-crossover, OR 1.3 [0.5-3.1]) and 3 months (matched case-control, OR 34.5 [4.1-291.3]; infected analysis, OR 2.3 [1.1-4.8]; case-crossover OR 1.8 [0.6-5.6]) prior to HIV testing among acutely HIV-infected patients. We found higher odds of acute HIV infection among patients with concurrent rectal gonorrhea (17.0 [2.6 - 111.4], p<0.01) or syphilis (5.8 [1.1 - 32.3], p=0.04) when compared to those HIV-uninfected.
Acute HIV infection was associated with a recent or concurrent STD, particularly rectal gonorrhea, among men at San Francisco's municipal STD clinic. Given the complex relationship between STDs and HIV infection, no single design will appropriately control for all the possible confounders; studies using complementary designs are required.
PMCID: PMC2680242  PMID: 19367993
9.  Prevalence and Correlates of Unknown HIV Infection Among Patients Seeking Care in a Public Hospital Emergency Department 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(Suppl 3):41-50.
Screening for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the emergency department (ED) has been proposed as an effective approach to increase early HIV diagnosis. To evaluate the potential for the implementation of routine screening, we determined the prevalence of unknown HIV infection among patients being seen in an urban public hospital ED.
We conducted a cross-sectional study among patients presenting to the San Francisco General Hospital's ED during March 2007. We reviewed patients' medical records to determine HIV infection status. In patients with unknown or negative HIV-infection status, we tested de-identified remnant blood specimens by HIV-antibody and nucleic-acid assays. We used a sensitive/less sensitive testing algorithm to determine the duration of HIV infection.
During the study period, 1,820 patients had blood collected for clinical evaluation. Of those patients, 146 (8.0%) were known to be HIV-infected. Among the remaining 1,674 patients with unknown HIV-infection status, HIV-infection prevalence was 0.9% (15 of 1,674, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.55, 1.47). In addition, one case of acute HIV infection (HIV-antibody negative, HIV RNA detected) was identified. Patients with unknown HIV infection vs. those who were uninfected were more likely to be homeless (odds ratio [OR] = 3.89, 95% CI 1.32, 11.45, p<0.05) and 18 to 30 years of age (OR=3.15, 95% CI 1.03, 9.61, p<0.05).
In a sample of patients visiting a county ED, the relative prevalence of unknown HIV infection (10%) was modest and less than national estimates (25%). Acutely HIV-infected patients might account for a significant proportion of those with unknown HIV infection in an ED setting.
PMCID: PMC2567018  PMID: 19166088
10.  A prospective cohort study characterising the role of anogenital warts in HIV acquisition among men who have sex with men: a study protocol 
BMJ Open  2014;4(9):e005687.
The HIV epidemic in Latin America is concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) with transmission predominately occurring during unprotected anal intercourse. This mode of transmission is also responsible for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes simplex, chlamydia and gonorrhoea, human papillomavirus (HPV)/genital warts and syphilis. Studies assessing the prevalence of HIV and HPV among MSM have not addressed the role of genital warts and HPV-related diseases in the acquisition of HIV infection. Community-based testing programmes are a potentially important way to remove barriers including stigma for individuals to learn about their STI status.
Methods and analysis
The prospective cohort study will recruit 600 MSM/TGW at a community centre in Lima, Peru, named Epicentro. Half of the participants will have a history of or have current anogenital warts (AGW), and the other half will have no history of AGW. We will measure the prevalence and acquisition of STIs including syphilis, HPV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea and the HIV-incidence in the two groups. To the best of our knowledge, it will be the first study that specifically examines the impact of genital warts on incident HIV infection. This study will help to understand the relationship between AGW and HIV infection among MSM/TGW in Peru. Furthermore, it may facilitate the development of preventive intervention strategies to reduce the prevalence of AGW and prevent incident HIV infection. HPV-related manifestations may be a good proxy for HIV risk.
Ethics and dissemination
This study was approved by institutional review boards at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the USA and Impacta in Peru. Study findings will be shared with the Peruvian Ministry of Health as well as other international and national public health organisations. Study results will be translated into Spanish for participants.
Trial registration number
The registration number is NCT01387412
PMCID: PMC4166134  PMID: 25227629
Human papillomavirus; men who have sex with men; genital warts
12.  Acceptability of Using Electronic Vending Machines to Deliver Oral Rapid HIV Self-Testing Kits: A Qualitative Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103790.
Rates of unrecognized HIV infection are significantly higher among Latino and Black men who have sex with men (MSM). Policy makers have proposed that HIV self-testing kits and new methods for delivering self-testing could improve testing uptake among minority MSM. This study sought to conduct qualitative assessments with MSM of color to determine the acceptability of using electronic vending machines to dispense HIV self-testing kits.
Materials and Methods
African American and Latino MSM were recruited using a participant pool from an existing HIV prevention trial on Facebook. If participants expressed interest in using a vending machine to receive an HIV self-testing kit, they were emailed a 4-digit personal identification number (PIN) code to retrieve the test from the machine. We followed up with those who had tested to assess their willingness to participate in an interview about their experience.
Twelve kits were dispensed and 8 interviews were conducted. In general, participants expressed that the vending machine was an acceptable HIV test delivery method due to its novelty and convenience.
Acceptability of this delivery model for HIV testing kits was closely associated with three main factors: credibility, confidentiality, and convenience. Future research is needed to address issues, such as user-induced errors and costs, before scaling up the dispensing method.
PMCID: PMC4116256  PMID: 25076208
13.  New Populations at High Risk of HIV/STIs in Low-income, Urban Coastal Peru 
AIDS and behavior  2007;12(4):544-551.
The HIV epidemic in Peru is concentrated primarily among men who have sex with men. HIV interventions have focused exclusively on a narrowly defined group of MSM and FSW to the exclusion of other populations potentially at increased risk. Interventions targeting MSM and FSW are insufficient and there is evidence that focusing prevention efforts solely on these populations may ignore others that do not fall directly into these categories. This paper describes non-traditional, vulnerable populations within low-income neighborhoods. These populations were identified through the use of ethnographic and epidemiologic formative research methods and the results are reported in this publication. Although the traditional vulnerable groups are still in need of prevention efforts, this study provides evidence of previously unrecognized populations at increased risk that should also receive attention from HIV/STI prevention programs.
PMCID: PMC4084620  PMID: 18161019
HIV epidemiology; MSM; Sexual behavior; Risk; Community intervention trial; Vulnerability
14.  Integrating Clinical Services for HIV, Tuberculosis, and Cryptococcal Disease in the Developing World: A Step Forward with 2 Novel Diagnostic Tests 
The success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs in the developing world is limited by the lack of adequate diagnostic tests to screen for life-threatening opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis (TB) and cryptococcal disease. Furthermore, there is an increasing need for implementation research in measuring the effectiveness of currently available rapid diagnostic tests. The recently developed lateral flow assays for both cryptococcal disease and TB have the potential to improve care and greatly reduce the time to initiation of ART among individuals who need it the most. However, we caution that the data on feasibility and effectiveness of these assays are limited and such research agendas must be prioritized.
PMCID: PMC4077348  PMID: 24065780
cryptococcosis; tuberculosis; point-of-care diagnostics; service integration
15.  Mixed Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex Infections and False-Negative Results for Rifampin Resistance by GeneXpert MTB/RIF Are Associated with Poor Clinical Outcomes 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(7):2422-2429.
The Xpert MTB/RIF (Xpert) assay is becoming a principal screening tool for diagnosing rifampin-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) infection. However, little is known about the performance of the Xpert assay in infections with both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains (mixed MTBC infections). We assessed the performance of the Xpert assay for detecting rifampin resistance using phenotypic drug sensitivity testing (DST) as the reference standard in 370 patients with microbiologically proven pulmonary tuberculosis. Mixed MTBC infections were identified genetically through 24-locus mycobacterial interspersed repetitive-unit–variable-number tandem-repeat (MIRU-VNTR) analysis. Logistic regression was used to identify the factors associated with poor (defined as treatment failure, default, and death from any cause) or good (defined as cure or successful treatment completion) clinical outcomes. The analytic sensitivity of the Xpert assay for detecting rifampin resistance was assessed in vitro by testing cultures containing different ratios of drug-sensitive and drug-resistant organisms. Rifampin resistance was detected by the Xpert assay in 52 (14.1%) and by phenotypic DST in 55 (14.9%) patients. Mixed MTBC infections were identified in 37 (10.0%) patients. The Xpert assay was 92.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 82.4% to 97.9%) sensitive for detecting rifampin resistance and 99.7% (95% CI, 98.3% to 99.9%) specific. When restricted to patients with mixed MTBC infections, Xpert sensitivity was 80.0% (95% CI, 56.3 to 94.3%). False-negative Xpert results (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 6.6; 95% CI,1.2 to 48.2) and mixed MTBC infections (aOR, 6.5; 95% CI, 2.1 to 20.5) were strongly associated with poor clinical outcome. The Xpert assay failed to detect rifampin resistance in vitro when <90% of the organisms in the sample were rifampin resistant. Our study indicates that the Xpert assay has an increased false-negative rate for detecting rifampin resistance with mixed MTBC infections. In hyperendemic settings where mixed infections are common, the Xpert results might need further confirmation.
PMCID: PMC4097703  PMID: 24789181
16.  Improved virologic outcomes over time for HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy in a cohort from Rio de Janeiro, 1997–2011 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:322.
Previous cohort studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on viral load suppression. We aimed to examine the factors associated with virologic suppression for HIV-infected patients on ART receiving care at the Evandro Chagas Clinical Research Institute, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
HIV-1 RNA levels and CD4+ T-cell counts at the date closest to midyear (1 July) were evaluated for 1,678 ART-naïve patients ≥18 years of age initiating ART between 1997 and 2010. The odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for having an undetectable viral load (≤400 copies/mL) were estimated using generalized estimating equations regression models adjusted for clinical and demographic factors. Time-updated covariates included age, years since HIV diagnosis, hepatitis C diagnosis and ART interruptions.
Between 1997 and 2011, the proportion of patients with an undetectable viral load increased from 6% to 78% and the median [interquartile range] CD4+ T-cell count increased from 207 [162, 343] to 554 [382, 743] cells/μL. Pre-treatment median CD4+ T-cell count significantly increased over the observation period from 114 [37, 161] to 237 [76, 333] cells/μL (p < .001). The per-year adjusted OR (aOR) for having undetectable viral load was 1.18 (95% CI = 1.16-1.21). ART interruptions >1 month per calendar significantly decreased the odds [aOR = 0.32 (95% CI = 0.27-0.38)] of having an undetectable viral load. Patients initiating on a protease inhibitor (PI)-based first-line regimen were less likely to have undetectable viral load [aOR = 0.72 (95% CI = 0.63-0.83)] compared to those initiating on a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based regimen.
Our results demonstrate significant improvements in virologic outcomes from 1997 to 2011, which persisted after adjusting for other factors. This may in part be due to improvements in care and new treatment options. NNRTI- versus PI-based first-line regimens were found to be associated with increased odds of having an undetectable viral load, consistent with previous studies. Treatment interruptions were found to be the most important determinant of not having an undetectable viral load. Studies are needed to characterize the reasons for treatment interruptions and to develop subsequent strategies for improving adherence to ART.
PMCID: PMC4067376  PMID: 24919778
Antiretroviral therapy; Cohort studies; Brazil; Viral load; Adherence
17.  Does Male Circumcision Protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections? Arguments and Meta-Analyses to the Contrary Fail to Withstand Scrutiny 
ISRN Urology  2014;2014:684706.
We critically evaluate a recent article by Van Howe involving 12 meta-analyses that concludes, contrary to current evidence, that male circumcision increases the risk of various common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Our detailed scrutiny reveals that these meta-analyses (1) failed to include results of all relevant studies, especially data from randomized controlled trials, (2) introduced bias through use of inappropriate control groups, (3) altered original data, in the case of human papillomavirus (HPV), by questionable adjustments for “sampling bias,” (4) failed to control for confounders through use of crude odds ratios, and (5) used unnecessarily complicated methods without adequate explanation, so impeding replication by others. Interventions that can reduce the prevalence of STIs are important to international health. Of major concern is the global epidemic of oncogenic types of HPV that contribute to the burden of genital cancers. Meta-analyses, when well conducted, can better inform public health policy and medical practice, but when seriously flawed can have detrimental consequences. Our critical evaluation leads us to reject the findings and conclusions of Van Howe on multiple grounds. Our timely analysis thus reaffirms the medical evidence supporting male circumcision as a desirable intervention for STI prevention.
PMCID: PMC4040210  PMID: 24944836
18.  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
19.  Relationship Between Alcohol Consumption Prior to Sex, Unprotected Sex and Prevalence of STI/HIV Among Socially Marginalized Men in Three Coastal Cities of Peru 
AIDS and behavior  2013;17(5):1724-1733.
This article presents data about the relationship between alcohol consumption prior to sex and unprotected sex and the prevalence of at least one sexually transmitted infection (STI) including HIV among socially marginalized men in three coastal Peruvians cities. During an epidemiological survey with 2,146 men, we assessed their STI prevalence, frequency of alcohol consumption prior to sex, unprotected sex and other sexual risk behaviors. The overall prevalence of at least one STI/HIV was 8.5 % (95 % CI 7.3–9.7), the prevalence of unprotected sex was 79.1 % (95 % CI 77.8–80.3) and alcohol consumption prior to sex with any of the last five sex partners in the previous 6 months was 68.9 % (95 % CI 66.9–70.9). Bivariate and multivariate analysis showed that alcohol consumption of participants or their partners prior to sex were associated with the prevalence of at least one STI, adjusted Prevalence Ratio (aPR) = 1.3 (95 % CI 1.01–1.68). Unprotected sex was significantly associated with alcohol consumption prior to sex when both partners used alcohol, aPR = 1.15 (95 % CI 1.10–1.20) or when either one of them used alcohol aPR = 1.14 (95 % CI 1.09–1.18). These findings concur with previous literature suggesting a relationship between alcohol consumption prior to sex and STI and HIV. These data improve our understanding of this relationship in this context and could be used to enhance STI and HIV prevention strategies for socially marginalized men in Peru.
PMCID: PMC3943345  PMID: 23054035
Alcohol consumption; Sexual risk behavior; Unprotected sex; Sexually transmitted diseases; Human immunodeficiency virus; Marginalized population
20.  Problem drinking is associated with increased prevalence of sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Lima, Peru 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2013;132(0):134-139.
Alcohol use is an important but understudied HIV risk factor among men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly in Latin America. We studied the relationship between problem drinking and sexual risk among MSM in Lima, Peru.
We recruited 718 participants from 24 neighborhoods for a study on sexually transmitted infections and community-building among MSM. Multivariate analysis was used to identify factors independently associated with problem drinking, which was defined via the CAGE Questionnaire.
Of 718 participants, 58% met criteria for problem drinking. In univariate analysis, problem drinkers were significantly more likely to report failing to always use condoms, use alcohol or drugs prior to their most recent sexual encounter, report a history of sexual coercion and to engage in transactional sex. Problem drinkers also reported significantly higher numbers of recent and lifetime sexual partners. In multivariate analysis, factors independently associated with problem drinking included a history of sexual coercion [OR 1.8 95%, CI 1.2–2.6], having consumed alcohol prior to the most recent sexual encounter [OR 2.1 95%, CI 1.5–2.9], receiving compensation for sex in the last six months [OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.2] or having reported a prior HIV+ test [OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.2–0.9].
We found a high prevalence of problem drinking among MSM in Lima, Peru, which was associated with increased sexual risk in our study. Of note, individuals who were already HIV-infected were less likely to be problem drinkers. Further studies and targeted interventions to reduce problem drinking among MSM are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3932358  PMID: 23434130
Alcohol; HIV; Sexual risk; Men who have sex with men (MSM); Sexually transmitted infection; Latin America; Peru; CAGE questionnaire
21.  Leveraging A Rapid, Round-the-Clock HIV Testing System to Screen for Acute HIV Infection in a Large Urban Public Medical Center 
To describe the prevalence and location of new and acute HIV diagnoses in a large urban medical center. Secondary objectives were to evaluate rapid HIV test performance, the added yield of acute HIV screening, and linkage to care outcomes.
Cross-sectional study from November 1, 2008, to April 30, 2009.
The hospital laboratory performed round-the-clock rapid HIV antibody testing on venipuncture specimens from patients undergoing HIV testing in hospital and community clinics, inpatient settings, and the emergency department. For patients with negative results, a public health laboratory conducted pooled HIV RNA testing for acute HIV infection. The laboratories communicated positive results from the hospital campus to a linkage team. Linkage was defined as one outpatient HIV-related visit.
Among 7,927 patients, 8,550 rapid tests resulted in 137 cases of HIV infection (1.7%, 95% CI 1.5%–2.0%), of whom 46 were new HIV diagnoses (0.58%, 95% CI 0.43%–0.77%). Pooled HIV RNA testing of 6,704 specimens (78.4%) resulted in 3 cases of acute HIV infection (0.05%, 95% CI 0.01%–0.14) and increased HIV case detection by 3.5%. Half of new HIV diagnoses and 2/3 of acute infections were detected in the emergency department and urgent care clinic. Rapid test sensitivity was 98.9% (95% CI 93.8%– 99.8%); specificity was 99.9% (95% CI 99.7%–99.9%). Over 95% of newly diagnosed and out-of-care HIV-infected patients were linked to care.
Patients undergoing HIV testing in emergency departments and urgent care clinics may benefit from being simultaneously screened for acute HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3548997  PMID: 23117503
HIV serodiagnosis; HIV rapid tests; acute HIV infection; HIV testing in medical settings
22.  Performance of BVBlue Rapid Test in Detecting Bacterial Vaginosis among Women in Mysore, India 
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of abnormal vaginal discharge in reproductive age women. It is associated with increased susceptibility to HIV/STI and adverse birth outcomes. Diagnosis of BV in resource-poor settings like India is challenging. With little laboratory infrastructure there is a need for objective point-of-care diagnostic tests. Vaginal swabs were collected from women 18 years and older, with a vaginal pH > 4.5 attending a reproductive health clinic. BV was diagnosed with Amsel's criteria, Nugent scores, and the OSOM BVBlue test. Study personnel were blinded to test results. There were 347 participants enrolled between August 2009 and January 2010. BV prevalence was 45.1% (95% confidence interval (CI): 41.5%–52.8%) according to Nugent score. When compared with Nugent score, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value for Amsel's criteria and BVBlue were 61.9%, 88.3%, 81.5%, 73.7% and 38.1%, 92.7%, 82.1%, 63.9%, respectively. Combined with a “whiff” test, the performance of BVBlue increased sensitivity to 64.4% and negative predictive value to 73.8%. Despite the good specificity, poor sensitivity limits the usefulness of the BVBlue as a screening test in this population. There is a need to examine the usefulness of this test in other Indian populations.
PMCID: PMC3913452  PMID: 24526829
23.  Predictors of serological failure after treatment in HIV-infected patients with early syphilis in the emerging Era of universal antiretroviral therapy use 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:605.
The optimal treatment of early syphilis (primary, secondary and early latent) in HIV-infected patients remains controversial. The Center for Diseases Control STD Treatment Guidelines recommended 1 dose of benzathine penicillin G (BPG) regardless of HIV infection. However, many providers modify the treatment for early syphilis.
We performed a retrospective chart review of all cases of early syphilis with positive serologic test results in HIV-infected patients from May 2006 to May 2011 in 2 large, urban HIV clinics. Early syphilis includes primary, secondary, and early latent syphilis. Serological failure was defined as a lack of 4-fold decrease in rapid plasma reagent (RPR) titers 9 to 12 months after syphilis treatment. Patients whose RPR titers decreased after treatment and subsequently increased 4-fold at 9 to 12 months were excluded from the analysis of serological response because of possibility as “reinfection”. Baseline characteristics were tested as predictive factors of serological failure using a univariate and multivariate logistic regression model, respectively.
Of 560 patients with confirmed cases of early syphilis, 51 (9.0%) experienced serological failure. Multivariate logistic regression modeling demonstrated that the predictive factors associated with serological failure after early syphilis treatment were baseline RPR titer ≤ 1:16 (OR 3.91 [95% CI, 2.04-7.47]), a previous history of syphilis (OR 3.12 [95% CI, 1.55-6.26]), and a CD4 T-cell count below 350 cells/ml (OR 2.41 [95% CI, 1.27-4.56]). Of note, type of syphilis treatment (1 dose versus 3 doses of BPG) did not appear to affect the proportion of serological failure (4% versus 10%, P = 0.29), however the power of this study to detect small differences was limited.
HIV-infected patients with baseline RPR titer ≤1:16, syphilis history, and/or a CD4 T-cell count <350 cells/ml should be closely monitored for serologic failure after early syphilis treatment. This study did not detect a substantial difference between treatment with > 1 dose of BPG and decreased frequency of serological failure, supporting the current recommendation that one dose of BPG is adequate treatment for early syphilis in HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3877955  PMID: 24369955
Syphilis; HIV; Serological failure; Benzathine penicillin
24.  Performance of Rapid Point-of-Care and Laboratory Tests for Acute and Established HIV Infection in San Francisco 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80629.
Current laboratory and point-of-care tests for HIV detect different analytes and use different sample types. Some have fast turnaround times (<1 hour). We investigated how HIV test choice could impact case finding by testing programs.
We analyzed 21,234 consecutive HIV tests with venous blood obtained by San Francisco HIV testing programs from 2003 to 2008. For a subset, oral fluid (n = 6446) or fingerstick blood (n = 8127) samples were also obtained for rapid testing. In all cases, HIV status was determined using an HIV antibody-plus-RNA test algorithm. We assessed how the screening antibody tests performed individually versus the gold standard of the full algorithm. We then evaluated the potential ability of other tests (including new tests) to detect more cases, by re-testing all specimens that had negative/discrepant antibody results on initial screening.
The antibody-RNA algorithm identified 58 acute and 703 established HIV infection cases. 1st-generation (Vironostika) and 3rd-generation (Genetic Systems) immunoassays had 92 and 96 percent sensitivity, respectively. The Oraquick rapid test had clinical sensitivity of only 86 percent on oral fluid samples, but 92 percent on finger-stick blood. Newer 4th-generation, antigen-antibody combo rapid immunoassay (ARCHITECT) detected HIV in 87 percent of all the acute cases that had been missed by one of the previous screening assays. A point-of-care 4th generation antigen-antibody combo rapid test (Determine) detected about 54 percent of such acute cases.
Our study suggests that some rapid antibody blood tests will give similar case detection to laboratory antibody tests, but that oral fluid testing greatly reduces ability to detect HIV. New 4th-generation combo tests can detect the majority of acute infections detectable by HIV RNA but with rapid results. Using these tests as a primary screening assay in high-risk HIV testing programs could reduce or eliminate the need for HIV RNA testing.
PMCID: PMC3861178  PMID: 24349007

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