Migrant sex workers are known to be vulnerable to HIV. There is substantial female sex worker (FSW) mobility between the borders of Maharashtra and Karnataka, but little programming emphasis on migrant FSWs in India. We sought to understand the individual/cultural, structural and contextual determinants of migration among FSWs from Karnataka.
A cross sectional face-to-face interview of 1567FSWs from 142 villages in 3 districts of northern Karnataka, India was conducted from January–June 2008. Villages having 10+FSWs, a large number of whom were migrant, were selected following mapping of FSWs. Multinomial logistic regression was conducted to identify characteristics associated with migrant (travelled for ≥2weeks outside the district past year) and mobile (travelled for <2weeks outside the district past year) FSWs; adjusting for age and district.
Compared to non-migrants, migrant FSWs were more likely to be brothel than street-based (AOR 5.7; 95%CI 1.6–20.0), have higher income from sex work (AOR 42.2; 12.6–142.1), speak >2languages (AOR 5.6%; 2.6–12.0), have more clients (AORper client 2.9; 1.2–7.2) and have more sex acts/day (AORper sex act 3.5; 1.3–9.3). Mobile FSWs had higher income from sex work (AOR=13.2; 3.9–44.6) relative to non-migrants, but not as strongly as for migrant FSWs.
Out-migration of FSWs in Karnataka was strongly tied to sex work characteristics; thus, the structure inherent in sex work should be capitalized on when developing HIV preventive interventions. The important role of FSWs in HIV epidemics, coupled with the potential for rapid spread of HIV with migration, requires the most effective interventions possible for mobile and migrant FSWs.
Migration; HIV; India; Female sex worker
Coxsackievirus B (CVB) infection is a common cause of acute viral myocarditis. The clinical presentation of myocarditis caused by this enterovirus is highly variable, ranging from mildly symptoms to complete hemodynamic collapse. These variations in initial symptoms and in the immediate and long term outcomes of this disease have impeded development of effective treatment strategies. Nine cynomolgus monkeys were inoculated with myocarditic strains of CVB. Virological studies performed up to 28 days post-inoculation demonstrated the development of neutralizing antibody in all animals, and the presence of CVB in plasma. High dose intravenous inoculation (n = 2) resulted in severe disseminated disease, while low dose intravenous (n = 6) or oral infection (1 animal) resulted in clinically unapparent infection. Transient, minor, echocardiographic abnormalities were noted in several animals, but no animals displayed signs of significant acute cardiac failure. Although viremia rapidly resolved, signs of myocardial inflammation and injury were observed in all animals at the time of necropsy, and CVB was detected in postmortem myocardial specimens up to 28 days PI. This non-human primate system replicates many features of illness in acute coxsackievirus myocarditis and demonstrates that myocardial involvement may be common in enteroviral infection; it may provide a model system for testing of treatment strategies for enteroviral infections and acute coxsackievirus myocarditis.
We previously showed that a prototype gel comprising zinc acetate (ZA) in carrageenan (CG) protected mice against vaginal and rectal herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) challenge as well as macaques against vaginal simian-human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) challenge. In this work, we modified buffers and cosolvents to obtain a stable, nearly iso-osmolal formulation and evaluated its safety and efficacy against SHIV-RT and HSV-2. In vitro toxicity to lactobacilli and Candida albicans was determined. Macaques were given daily doses of ZA and CG (ZA/CG) or CG alone vaginally for 14 days and challenged with SHIV-RT 24 h later. Mice were challenged vaginally or rectally with HSV-2 immediately after a single gel treatment to measure efficacy or vaginally 12 h after daily gel treatment for 7 days to evaluate the gel's impact on susceptibility to HSV-2 infection. The modified ZA/CG neither affected the viability of lactobacilli or C. albicans nor enhanced vaginal HSV-2 infection after daily ZA/CG treatment. Vaginal SHIV-RT infection of macaques was reduced by 66% (P = 0.006) when macaques were challenged 24 h after the last dose of gel. We observed 60% to 80% uninfected mice after vaginal (P < 0.0001) and rectal (P = 0.008) high-dose HSV-2 challenge. The modified ZA/CG gel is safe and effective in animal models and represents a potential candidate to limit the transmission of HIV and HSV-2.
Little is known about the determinants of pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) infection in Canada among low-income, inner city populations. To inform future influenza planning, the seroprevalence of pH1N1 antibodies among inner city clinic attendees in Winnipeg (Manitoba) according to sociodemographic and risk factor characteristics were estimated and vaccination rates were explored.
Adults presenting to three inner city community clinics in Winnipeg from October 2009 to December 2009 were recruited as study participants (n=458). A questionnaire was administered to collect demographic, risk factor and symptom information, and a venous blood sample was collected for hemagglutination inhibition assay testing to detect the presence of antibodies against pH1N1.
Approximately one-half (53%) of the study participants reported an annual household income of <$10,000/year, and 65% identified as Aboriginal. pH1N1 positivity was 5.7% among those enrolled early in the study and 15.5% among those enrolled later in the study. Positivity was higher among participants who were female, Aboriginal and in contact with children ≤5 years of age. The overall pH1N1 vaccination rate was 28%.
pH1N1 positivity was high among low-income adults accessing clinics in Winnipeg’s inner city compared with the general population. Of further concern were the low rates of uptake of both seasonal and pH1N1 influenza vaccinations. When planning for future influenza outbreaks, it is important to incorporate strategies for the prevention, control, and care of influenza among low-income and inner city adults.
Epidemiology; Hemagglutination inhibition assay; Inner city; Pandemic Influenza A H1N1; pH1N1; Serological survey
As part of efforts to reduce maternal deaths in Karnataka state, India, there has been a concerted effort to increase institutional deliveries. However, little is known about the quality of care in these healthcare facilities. We investigated the availability and distribution of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) services in eight northern districts of Karnataka state in south India.
Methods & Findings
We undertook a cross-sectional study of 444 government and 422 private health facilities, functional 24-hours-a-day 7-days-a-week. EmOC availability and distribution were evaluated for 8 districts and 42 taluks (sub-districts) during the year 2010, based on a combination of self-reporting, record review and direct observation. Overall, the availability of EmOC services at the sub-state level [EmOC = 5.9/500,000; comprehensive EmOC (CEmOC) = 4.5/500,000 and basic EmOC (BEmOC) = 1.4/500,000] was seen to meet the benchmark. These services however were largely located in the private sector (90% of CEmOC and 70% of BemOC facilities). Thirty six percent of private facilities and six percent of government facilities were EmOC centres. Although half of eight districts had a sufficient number of EmOC facilities and all eight districts had a sufficient number of CEmOC facilities, only two-fifths of the 42 taluks had a sufficient number of EmOC facilities. With the private facilities being largely located in select towns only, the ‘non-headquarter’ taluks and ‘backward’ taluks suffered from a marked lack of coverage of these services. Spatial mapping further helped identify the clustering of a large number of contiguous taluks without adequate government EmOC facilities in northeastern Karnataka.
In conclusion, disaggregating information on emergency obstetric care service availability at district and subdistrict levels is critical for health policy and planning in the Indian setting. Reducing maternal deaths will require greater attention by the government in addressing inequities in the distribution of emergency obstetric care services.
The pandemic of HIV-1 has continued for decades, yet there remains no licensed vaccine. Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of a multi-envelope, multi-vectored HIV-1 vaccine in a macaque-SHIV model, illustrating a potential means of combating HIV-1. Specifically, recombinant DNA, vaccinia virus (VV) and purified protein (DVP) delivery systems were used to vaccinate animals with dozens of antigenically-distinct HIV-1 envelopes for induction of immune breadth. The vaccinated animals controlled disease following challenge with a heterologous SHIV. This demonstration suggested that the antigenic cocktail vaccine strategy, which has succeeded in several other vaccine fields (e.g. pneumococcus), might also succeed against HIV-1. The strategy remains untested in an advanced clinical study, in part due to safety concerns associated with the use of replication-competent VV. To address this concern, we designed a macaque study in which psoralen/ultraviolet light-inactivated VV (UV VV) was substituted for replication-competent VV in the multi-envelope DVP protocol. Control animals received a vaccine encompassing no VV, or no vaccine. All VV vaccinated animals generated an immune response toward VV, and all vaccinated animals generated an immune response toward HIV-1 envelope. After challenge with heterologous SHIV 89.6P, animals that received replication-competent VV or UV VV experienced similar outcomes. They exhibited reduced peak viral loads, maintenance of CD4+ T cell counts and improved survival compared to control animals that received no VV or no vaccine; there were 0/15 deaths among all animals that received VV and 5/9 deaths among controls. Results define a practical means of improving VV safety, and encourage advancement of a promising multi-envelope DVP HIV-1 vaccine candidate.
HIV-1 vaccine; pathogenic SHIV; non-human primate; envelope cocktail; ultra violet-inactived vaccinia virus
(See the editorial commentary by Kernodle, on pages 1186–8.)
Background. Sigma H (sigH) is a major Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) stress response factor. It is induced in response to heat, oxidative stress, cell wall damage, and hypoxia. Infection of macrophages with the Δ-sigH mutant generates more potent innate immune response than does infection with Mtb. The mutant is attenuated for pathology in mice.
Methods. We used a nonhuman primate (NHP) model of acute tuberculosis, to better understand the phenotype of the Δ-sigH mutant in vivo. NHPs were infected with high doses of Mtb or the mutant, and the progression of tuberculosis was analyzed in both groups using clinical, pathological, microbiological, and immunological parameters.
Results. Animals exposed to Mtb rapidly progressed to acute pulmonary tuberculosis as indicated by worsening clinical correlates, high lung bacterial burden, and granulomatous immunopathology. All the animals rapidly succumbed to tuberculosis. On the other hand, the NHPs exposed to the Mtb:Δ-sigH mutant did not exhibit acute tuberculosis, instead showing significantly blunted disease. These NHPs survived the entire duration of the study.
Conclusions. The Mtb:Δ-sigH mutant is completely attenuated for bacterial burden as well as immunopathology in NHPs. SigH and its regulon are required for complete virulence in primates. Further studies are needed to identify the molecular mechanism of this attenuation.
While community mobilization has been widely endorsed as an important component of HIV prevention among vulnerable populations such as female sex workers (FSWs), there is uncertainty as to the mechanism through which it impacts upon HIV risk. We explored the hypothesis that individual and collective empowerment of FSW is an outcome of community mobilization, and we examined the means through which HIV risk and vulnerability reduction as well as personal and social transformation are achieved.
This study was conducted in five districts in south India, where community mobilization programs are implemented as part of the Avahan program (India AIDS Initiative) of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We used a theoretically derived “integrated empowerment framework” to conduct a secondary analysis of a representative behavioural tracking survey conducted among 1,750 FSWs. We explored the associations between involvement with community mobilization programs, self-reported empowerment (defined as three domains including power within to represent self-esteem and confidence, power with as a measure of collective identity and solidarity, and power over as access to social entitlements, which were created using Principal Components analysis), and outcomes of HIV risk reduction and social transformation.
In multivariate analysis, we found that engagement with HIV programs and community mobilization activities was associated with the domains of empowerment. Power within and power with were positively associated with more program contact (p < .01 and p < .001 respectively). These measures of empowerment were also associated with outcomes of “personal transformation” in terms of self-efficacy for condom and health service use (p < .001). Collective empowerment (power with others) was most strongly associated with “social transformation” variables including higher autonomy and reduced violence and coercion, particularly in districts with programs of longer duration (p < .05). Condom use with clients was associated with power with others (p < .001), while power within was associated with more condom use with regular partners (p < .01) and higher service utilization (p < .05).
These findings support the hypothesis that community mobilization has benefits for empowering FSWs both individually and collectively. HIV prevention is strengthened by improving their ability to address different psycho-social and community-level sources of their vulnerability. Future challenges include the need to develop social, political and legal contexts that support community mobilization of FSWs, and to prospectively measure the impact of combined community-level interventions on measures of empowerment as a means to HIV prevention.
We previously reported efficient transmission of the pathogenic R5 simian-human immunodeficiency virus SHIVSF162P3N isolate in Indian rhesus macaques by intravenous and intrarectal inoculations, with a switch to CXCR4 coreceptor usage in ∼50% of infected animals that progressed rapidly to disease. Since women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, we developed an animal model based on the intravaginal challenge of female rhesus monkeys with SHIVSF162P3N and sought to validate the utility of this model to study relevant aspects of HIV transmission and pathogenesis. The effect of viral dose on infection outcome was evaluated to determine the optimal conditions for the evaluation of HIV-1 preventive and therapeutic strategies. We found that the virus can successfully cross the vaginal mucosal surface to establish infection and induce disease with coreceptor switch, but with lower efficiencies compared to intravenous and rectal transmissions. In contrast to intrarectal infection, peak and cumulative viral load over a 1 year-infection period were significantly greater in macaques exposed intravaginally to lower rather than higher inoculum doses. Moreover, low and transient viremia was observed only in macaques that were challenged intravaginally twice within the same day with a high dose of virus, which can be seen as doubling the dose. Taken together, these results show that SHIVSF162P3N can successfully transmit across the genital mucosa, undergo coreceptor switch, and induce disease. However, the administered dose appears to impact SHIVSF162P3N vaginal infection outcome in an unexpected manner.
While mental comorbidity is considered common in multiple sclerosis (MS), its impact is poorly defined; methods are needed to support studies of mental comorbidity. We validated and applied administrative case definitions for any mental comorbidities in MS.
Using administrative health data we identified persons with MS and a matched general population cohort. Administrative case definitions for any mental comorbidity, any mood disorder, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were developed and validated against medical records using a a kappa statistic (k). Using these definitions we estimated the prevalence of these comorbidities in the study populations.
Compared to medical records, administrative definitions showed moderate agreement for any mental comorbidity, mood disorders and depression (all k ≥ 0.49), fair agreement for anxiety (k = 0.23) and bipolar disorder (k = 0.30), and near perfect agreement for schizophrenia (k = 1.0). The age-standardized prevalence of all mental comorbidities was higher in the MS than in the general populations: depression (31.7% vs. 20.5%), anxiety (35.6% vs. 29.6%), and bipolar disorder (5.83% vs. 3.45%), except for schizophrenia (0.93% vs. 0.93%).
Administrative data are a valid means of surveillance of mental comorbidity in MS. The prevalence of mental comorbidities, except schizophrenia, is increased in MS compared to the general population.
Multiple sclerosis; Administrative data; Validation; Prevalence; Depression; Anxiety; Bipolar disorder; Schizophrenia
Mucosally transmissible and pathogenic CCR5 (R5)-tropic simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) molecular clones are useful reagents to identity neutralization escape in HIV-1 vaccine experiments and to study the envelope evolutionary process and mechanistic basis for coreceptor switch during the course of natural infection.
We observed progression to AIDS in rhesus macaques infected intrarectally with molecular clones of the pathogenic R5 SHIVSF162P3N isolate. Expansion to CXCR4 usage was documented in one diseased macaque that mounted a neutralizing antibody response and in another that failed to do so, with the latter displaying a rapid progressor phenotype. V3 loop envelop glycoprotein gp120 sequence changes that are predictive of a CXCR4 (X4)-using phenotype in HIV-1 subtype B primary isolates, specifically basic amino acid substations at positions 11 (S11R), 24 (G24R) and 25 (D25K) of the loop were detected in the two infected macaques. Functional assays showed that envelopes with V3 S11R or D25K mutation were dual-tropic, infecting CD4+ target cells that expressed either the CCR5 or CXCR4 coreceptor. And, consistent with findings of coreceptor switching in macaques infected with the pathogenic isolate, CXCR4-using variant was first detected in the lymph node of the chronically infected rhesus monkey several weeks prior to its presence in peripheral blood. Moreover, X4 emergence in this macaque coincided with persistent peripheral CD4+ T cell loss and a decline in neutralizing antibody titer that are suggestive of immune deterioration, with macrophages as the major virus-producing cells at the end-stage of disease.
The data showed that molecular clones derived from the R5 SHIVSF162P3N isolate are mucosally transmissible and induced disease in a manner similar to that observed in HIV-1 infected individuals, providing a relevant and useful animal infection model for in-depth analyses of host selection pressures and the env evolutionary changes that influence disease outcome, coreceptor switching and vaccine escape.
R5 SHIV molecular clone; Coreceptor switch; Antiviral antibody response; Macrophage infection
Purpose. Little is known about the risky sexual behaviors of HIV-positive female sex workers (FSWs) in the developing world, which is critical for programmatic purposes. This study aims to shed light on their condom use with regular clients as well as husband/cohabiting partner, a first in India. Methods. Multivariate logistic regression analyses for consistent condom use with regular clients and husband/cohabiting partner are conducted for the sample of 606 HIV-positive FSWs. Results. Older FSWs are 90% less likely and nonmobile FSWs are 70% less likely to consistently use condoms. FSWs on ART are 3.84 times more likely to use condoms. Additionally, FSWs who changed their occupation after HIV diagnosis are 70% less likely to use condoms. FSWs who are currently cohabiting are more likely to consistently use condoms with repeat clients and are 3.22 times more likely to do so if they have felt stigma associated with being HIV-positive. FSWs who have multiple repeat clients, and who do not know the sexual behavior of these clients, are more likely to use condoms consistently. Conclusion. This study would help inform programs to target the following particularly vulnerable HIV-positive FSWs: those who are older, those who changed their occupation post-HIV diagnosis, and those who are nonmobile.
Objective. To examine the reproductive health practices of female sex workers (FSWs) in the context of an HIV prevention program in Karnataka, India.
Methods. Data obtained from a survey of 1,011 FSWs registered with an HIV prevention program. We examined reproductive health indicators, and performed multivariate logistic regression among primiparous FSWs to assess sex work during pregnancy and antenatal HIV testing.
Results. Among primiparous FSWs (N = 251), 92.0% continued sex work during pregnancy, and 55.4% received antenatal HIV testing. A longer duration in sex work (AOR 2.7, 95% CI: 1.0–7.5), rural residence (AOR 3.3, 95% CI: 1.2–8.9), and antenatal HIV testing (AOR 6.3, 95% CI: 2.0–20.1) were associated with continued sex work during pregnancy. Older FSWs (age >25 years, AOR 0.12, 95% CI: 0.05–0.33), who delivered at home (AOR 0.14, 95% CI: 0.09–0.34), were least likely to receive antenatal HIV testing. Antenatal HIV testing was associated with awareness of methods to prevent vertical HIV transmission (AOR 3.9, 95% CI: 1.9–14.1).
Conclusions. Antenatal HIV testing remains low in the context of ongoing sex work during pregnancy. Existing HIV prevention programs are well positioned to immediately integrate reproductive health care with HIV interventions targeted to FSWs.
HIV prevalence in India remains high among female sex workers. This paper presents the main findings of a qualitative study of the modes of operation of female sex work in Belgaum district, Karnataka, India, incorporating fifty interviews with sex workers. Thirteen sex work settings (distinguished by sex workers' main places of solicitation and sex) are identified. In addition to previously documented brothel, lodge, street, dhaba (highway restaurant), and highway-based sex workers, under-researched or newly emerging sex worker categories are identified, including phone-based sex workers, parlour girls, and agricultural workers. Women working in brothels, lodges, dhabas, and on highways describe factors that put them at high HIV risk. Of these, dhaba and highway-based sex workers are poorly covered by existing interventions. The paper examines the HIV-related vulnerability factors specific to each sex work setting. The modes of operation and HIV-vulnerabilities of sex work settings identified in this paper have important implications for the local programme.
Development of an effective vaccine or topical compound to prevent HIV transmission remains a major goal for control of the AIDS pandemic. Using a nonhuman primate model of heterosexual HIV-1 transmission, we tested whether a topical microbicide that reduces viral infectivity can potentiate the efficacy of a T-cell-based HIV vaccine.
A DNA prime and rAd5 virus boost vaccination strategy was employed, and a topical microbicide against the HIV nucleocapsid protein was used. To rigorously test the combination hypothesis, the vaccine constructs contained only two transgenes and the topical microbicide inhibitor was used at a sub-optimal dose. Vaccinees were exposed in the absence and presence of the topical microbicide to repeated vaginal R5 SHIVSF162P3 challenge at an escalating dose to more closely mimic high-risk exposure of women to HIV.
Infection status was determined by PCR. Antiviral immune responses were evaluated by gp120 ELISA and intracellular cytokine staining.
A significant delay in SHIV acquisition (Log-rank test; p=0.0416) was seen only in vaccinated macaques that were repeatedly challenged in the presence of the topical microbicide. Peak acute viremia was lower (Mann-Whitney test; p=0.0387) and viral burden was also reduced (Mann-Whitney test; p=0.0252) in the combination-treated animals.
The combined use of a topical microbicide to lower the initial viral seeding/spread and a T-cell-based vaccine to immunologically contain the early virological events of mucosal transmission holds promise as a preventive approach to control the spread of the AIDS epidemic.
HIV; vaccine; topical microbicide; nucleocapsid inhibitor; prevention
Previously we showed that repeated vaginal application of a MIV-150/zinc acetate carrageenan (MIV-150/ZA/CG) gel and a zinc acetate carrageenan (ZA/CG) gel significantly protected macaques from vaginal simian human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) infection. Gels were applied either daily for 2 weeks or every other day for 4 weeks, and the animals were challenged 4–24 h later. Herein, we examined the effects of a single vaginal dose administered either before or after virus challenge. Encouraged by the vaginal protection seen with MIV-150/ZA/CG, we also tested it rectally. Vaginal applications of MIV-150/ZA/CG, ZA/CG, and CG gel were performed once 8–24 h before, 1 h after, or 24 h before and 1 h after vaginal challenge. Rectal applications of MIV-150/ZA/CG and CG gel were performed once 8 or 24 h before rectal challenge. While vaginal pre-challenge and pre/post-challenge application of MIV-150/ZA/CG gel offered significant protection (88%, p<0.002), post-challenge application alone did not significantly protect. ZA/CG gel reduced infection prechallenge, but not significantly, and the effect was completely lost post-challenge. Rectal application of MIV-150/ZA/CG gel afforded limited protection against rectal challenge when applied 8–24 h before challenge. Thus, MIV-150/ZA/CG gel is a highly effective vaginal microbicide that demonstrates 24 h of protection from vaginal infection and may demonstrate efficacy against rectal infection when given close to the time of HIV exposure.
We previously showed that a carrageenan (CG) gel containing 50 μM MIV-150 (MIV-150/CG) reduced vaginal simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-RT infection of macaques (56%, p>0.05) when administered daily for 2 weeks with the last dose given 8 h before challenge. Additionally, when 100 mg of MIV-150 was loaded into an intravaginal ring (IVR) inserted 24 h before challenge and removed 2 weeks after challenge, >80% protection was observed (p<0.03). MIV-160 is a related NNRTI with a similar IC50, greater aqueous solubility, and a shorter synthesis. To objectively compare MIV-160 with MIV-150, herein we evaluated the antiviral effects of unformulated MIV-160 in vitro as well as the in vivo protection afforded by MIV-160 delivered in CG (MIV-160/CG gel) and in an IVR under regimens used with MIV-150 in earlier studies. Like MIV-150, MIV-160 exhibited potent antiviral activity against SHIV-RT in macaque vaginal explants. However, formulated MIV-160 exhibited divergent effects in vivo. The MIV-160/CG gel offered no protection compared to CG alone, whereas the MIV-160 IVRs protected significantly. Importantly, the results of in vitro release studies of the MIV-160/CG gel and the MIV-160 IVR suggested that in vivo efficacy paralleled the amount of MIV-160 released in vitro. Hundreds of micrograms of MIV-160 were released daily from IVRs while undetectable amounts of MIV-160 were released from the CG gel. Our findings highlight the importance of testing different modalities of microbicide delivery to identify the optimal formulation for efficacy in vivo.
Interventions designed to prevent HIV and STIs in female sex-workers (FSWs) reach women after they formally enter the sex-trade. We aimed to characterize the pattern of sexual behaviour among FSWs from first-sex to when they identify as sex-workers (transition period) in a region with traditional (historically characterized by dedication into sex-work at first-sex) and non-traditional forms of sex-work.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 246 traditional and 765 non-traditional FSWs across three districts in Karnataka, India. We performed univariate and multivariate logistic regression to profile FSWs most likely to engage in a commercial first-sex before identifying as a sex-worker. Sexual life-course patterns were distinguished using univariate and multivariate linear regression based on key events associated with length of transition period.
Overall, 266 FSWs experienced a commercial first-sex, of whom 45.9% (95% CI: 38.2,53.7) continued a long-term relationship with the first partner. In adjusted analysis, traditional FSWs were more likely to experience a commercial first-sex (AOR 52.5, 95% CI: 27.4,100.7). The average transition time was 8.8 years (SD 3.9), but there was considerable variability between respondents. Among women who experienced a commercial first-sex, a slower transition was independently associated with non-traditional sex-work, the presence of long-term partnerships during the transition period, and ongoing partnerships at time of entry into sex-work. In the absence of a commercial first-sex, a faster transition was associated with traditional sex-work and the dissolution of long-term partnerships, while a slower transition was associated with the presence of long-term partnerships and widowhood. Only 18.5% (95% CI: 12.7,26.2) and 47.3% (95% CI: 32.7,62.3) of women reported ‘always’ condom use with their long-term and occasional partners during the transition period, respectively.
FSWs identify as sex-workers several years after becoming sexually active, even when the first-sex is commercial in nature. Long-term partnerships are common after a commercial first-sex, and are associated with a delay in formally entering the sex-trade. The findings call for a better understanding of HIV/STI risk before FSWs identify as sex-workers, and an adaptive programme to reach this period of vulnerability.
Sex-work; HIV prevention; Sexual life-course; India; Devadasis
Sichuan Province is an agricultural and economically developing province in western China. To understand practices of prescribing medications for outpatients in rural township health centers is important for the development of the rural medical and health services in this province and western China.
This is an observational study based on data from the 4th National Health Services Survey of China. A total of 3,059 prescriptions from 30 township health centers in Sichuan Province were collected and analyzed. Seven indicators were employed in the analyses to characterize the prescription practices. They are disease distribution, average cost per encounter, number of medications per encounter, percentage of encounters with antibiotics, percentage of encounters with glucocorticoids, percentage of encounters with combined glucocorticoids and antibiotics, and percentage of encounters with injections.
The average medication cost per encounter was 16.30 Yuan ($2.59). About 60% of the prescriptions contained Chinese patent medicine (CPM), and almost all prescriptions (98.07%) contained western medicine. 85.18% of the prescriptions contained antibiotics, of which, 24.98% contained two or more types of antibiotics; the percentage of prescriptions with glucocorticoids was 19.99%; the percentage of prescriptions with both glucocorticoids and antibiotics was 16.67%; 51.40% of the prescriptions included injections, of which, 39.90% included two or more injections.
The findings from this study demonstrated irrational medication uses of antibiotics, glucocorticoids and injections prescribed for outpatients in the rural township health centers in Sichuan Province. The reasons for irrational medication uses are not only solely due to the pursuit of maximizing benefits in the township health centers, but also more likely attributable to the lack of medical knowledge of rational medication uses among rural doctors and the lack of medical devices for disease diagnosis in those township health centers. The policy implication from this study is to enhance professional training in rational medication uses for rural doctors, improve hardware facilities for township health centers, promote health education to rural residents and establish a public reporting system to monitor prescription practices in rural township health centers, etc.
Tuberculosis (TB) and AIDS together present a devastating public health challenge. Over three million deaths every year are attributed to these twin epidemics. Annually, ~ 11 million people are co-infected with HIV and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). AIDS is thought to alter the spontaneous rate of latent TB reactivation.
Macaques are excellent models of both TB and AIDS. Therefore, it is conceivable that they can also be used to model co-infection. Using clinical, pathological and microbiological data we addressed if latent TB infection in rhesus macaques can be reactivated by infection with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV).
A low-dose aerosol infection of rhesus macaques with Mtb caused latent, asymptomatic TB infection. Infection of macaques exhibiting latent TB with a rhesus-specific strain of SIV significantly reactivated TB.
Rhesus macaques are excellent model of TB/AIDS co-infection and can be used to study the phenomena of TB latency and reactivation.
M. tuberculosis; TB/AIDS co-infection; nonhuman primate; macaque; latency; reactivation
There is a lack of information on sexual violence (SV) among men who have sex with men and transgendered individuals (MSM-T) in southern India. As SV has been associated with HIV vulnerability, this study examined health related behaviours and practices associated with SV among MSM-T.
Data were from cross-sectional surveys from four districts in Karnataka, India.
Multivariable logistic regression models were constructed to examine factors related to SV. Multivariable negative binomial regression models examined the association between physician visits and SV.
A total of 543 MSM-T were included in the study. Prevalence of SV was 18% in the past year. HIV prevalence among those reporting SV was 20%, compared to 12% among those not reporting SV (p = .104). In multivariable models, and among sex workers, those reporting SV were more likely to report anal sex with 5+ casual sex partners in the past week (AOR: 4.1; 95%CI: 1.2–14.3, p = .029). Increased physician visits among those reporting SV was reported only for those involved in sex work (ARR: 1.7; 95%CI: 1.1–2.7, p = .012).
These results demonstrate high levels of SV among MSM-T populations, highlighting the importance of integrating interventions to reduce violence as part of HIV prevention programs and health services.
To design HIV prevention programmes, it is critical to understand the temporal and geographic aspects of the local epidemic and to address the key behaviours that drive HIV transmission. Two methods have been developed to appraise HIV epidemics and guide prevention strategies. The numerical proxy method classifies epidemics based on current HIV prevalence thresholds. The Modes of Transmission (MOT) model estimates the distribution of incidence over one year among risk-groups. Both methods focus on the current state of an epidemic and provide short-term metrics which may not capture the epidemiologic drivers. Through a detailed analysis of country and sub-national data, we explore the limitations of the two traditional methods and propose an alternative approach.
Methods and Findings
We compared outputs of the traditional methods in five countries for which results were published, and applied the numeric and MOT model to India and six districts within India. We discovered three limitations of the current methods for epidemic appraisal: (1) their results failed to identify the key behaviours that drive the epidemic; (2) they were difficult to apply to local epidemics with heterogeneity across district-level administrative units; and (3) the MOT model was highly sensitive to input parameters, many of which required extraction from non-regional sources. We developed an alternative decision-tree framework for HIV epidemic appraisals, based on a qualitative understanding of epidemiologic drivers, and demonstrated its applicability in India. The alternative framework offered a logical algorithm to characterize epidemics; it required minimal but key data.
Traditional appraisals that utilize the distribution of prevalent and incident HIV infections in the short-term could misguide prevention priorities and potentially impede efforts to halt the trajectory of the HIV epidemic. An approach that characterizes local transmission dynamics provides a potentially more effective tool with which policy makers can design intervention programmes.
In the context of AVAHAN, the India AIDS Initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, general population surveys (GPS) were carried out between 2006 and 2008 in Belgaum (northern), Bellary (mid-state) and Mysore (southern) districts of Karnataka state, south India. Data from these three surveys were analysed to understand heterogeneity in HIV risk.
Outcome variables were the prevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Independent variables included age, district, place of residence, along with socio-demographic, medical and behavioural characteristics. Multivariate logistic regression was undertaken to identify characteristics associated with HIV and differences between districts, incorporating survey statistics to consider weights and cluster effects.
The participation rate was 79.0% for the interview and 72.5% for providing a blood or urine sample that was tested for HIV. Belgaum had the highest overall HIV (1.43%) and Herpes simplex type-2 (HSV-2) (16.93%) prevalence, and the lowest prevalence of curable STIs. In Belgaum, the HIV epidemic is predominantly rural, and among women. In Bellary, the epidemic is predominantly in urban areas and among men, and HIV prevalence was 1.18%. Mysore had the lowest prevalence of HIV (0.80%) and HSV-2 (10.89%) and the highest prevalence of curable STIs. Higher HIV prevalence among men was associated with increasing age (p<0.001), and with history of STIs (AOR=2.44,95%CI:1.15-5.17). Male circumcision was associated with lower HIV prevalence (AOR=0.33,95%CI:0.13-0.81). Higher HIV prevalence among women was associated with age (AOR25-29years=11.22,95%CI:1.42-88.74, AOR30-34years=13.13,95%CI:1.67-103.19 and AOR35-39years=11.33,95%CI:1.32-96.83), having more than one lifetime sexual partner (AOR=4.61,95%CI:1.26-16.91) and having ever used a condom (AOR=3.32,95%CI:1.38-7.99). Having a dissolved marriage (being widowed/divorced/separated) was the strongest predictor (AOR=10.98,95%CI: 5.35-22.57) of HIV among women. Being a muslim woman was associated with lower HIV prevalence (AOR=0.27,95%CI:0.08-0.87).
The HIV epidemic in Karnataka shows considerable heterogeneity, and there appears to be an increasing gradient in HIV prevalence from south to north. The sex work structure in the northern districts may explain the higher prevalence of HIV in northern Karnataka. The higher prevalence of HIV and HSV-2 and lower prevalence of curable STIs in Belgaum suggests a later epidemic phase. Similarly, higher prevalence of curable STIs and lower HIV and HSV-2 prevalence in Mysore suggests an early phase epidemic.
Studies have demonstrated the significance of commercial sex work in the ongoing transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in India. Clients of female sex workers (FSWs) are thought to be an important bridging population for HIV/STIs. However, there is a lack of information on basic characteristics of sex work clients. This study sought to describe the prevalence of HIV and other STIs, as well as examine the determinants of these pathogens among a sample of clients in south India.
Data were from a cross-sectional biological and behavioural survey of FSW clients from six districts in Karnataka State, India. The prevalence of HIV, syphilis, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhoea (NG) among clients was examined. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to analyse the socio-demographic, sexual behaviour and sex-work related characteristics related to the prevalence of each pathogen. Sampling weights and appropriate survey methods were utilized in regression models to account for complex sampling design.
The total sample size was 2,745. The average age of clients was 30.4 (SE:0.3). Across the total sample, the prevalence of HIV, HSV-2, syphilis and CT/NG was 5.6%, 28.4%, 3.6% and 2.2%, respectively. The prevalence of HIV/STIs varied substantially across districts, reaching statistical significance for HIV (p<.0001) and CT/NG (p=.005). In multivariable models, duration of paying for commercial sex was associated with increased risk for HIV and HSV-2 (AOR: 1.1; 95%CI: 1.0-1.1, p<.0001). Clients with brothels as a main FSW solicitation site were associated with increased risk of HIV (AOR: 2.4; 95%CI: 1.2-4.7, p=.001), while those frequenting lodges were at increased risk for CT/NG (AOR: 6.3; 95%CI: 1.9-20.6, p=.03). Examining co-infections, clients with HSV-2 infections were at substantially higher risk of being HIV-positive (AOR: 10.4; 95%CI: 6.1-17.7, p<.0001).
This study fills in important gaps in knowledge regarding clients in southern India. The strong association between HIV and HSV-2 infections highlights the complications in designing effective prevention, intervention and management programs of this well-hidden population.
Structural factors are known to affect individual risk and vulnerability to HIV. In the context of an HIV prevention programme for over 60,000 female sex workers (FSWs) in south India, we developed structural interventions involving policy makers, secondary stakeholders (police, government officials, lawyers, media) and primary stakeholders (FSWs themselves). The purpose of the interventions was to address context-specific factors (social inequity, violence and harassment, and stigma and discrimination) contributing to HIV vulnerability. We advocated with government authorities for HIV/AIDS as an economic, social and developmental issue, and solicited political leadership to embed HIV/AIDS issues throughout governmental programmes. We mobilised FSWs and appraised them of their legal rights, and worked with FSWs and people with HIV/AIDS to implement sensitization and awareness training for more than 175 government officials, 13,500 police and 950 journalists.
Standardised, routine programme monitoring indicators on service provision, service uptake, and community activities were collected monthly from 18 districts in Karnataka between 2007 and 2009. Daily tracking of news articles concerning HIV/AIDS and FSWs was undertaken manually in selected districts between 2005 and 2008.
The HIV prevention programme is now operating at scale, with over 60,000 FSWs regularly contacted by peer educators, and over 17,000 FSWs accessing project services for sexually transmitted infections monthly. FSW membership in community-based organisations has increased from 8,000 to 37,000, and over 46,000 FSWs have now been referred for government-sponsored social entitlements. FSWs were supported to redress > 90% of the 4,600 reported incidents of violence and harassment reported between 2007-2009, and monitoring of news stories has shown a 50% increase in the number of positive media reports on HIV/AIDS and FSWs.
Stigma, discrimination, violence, harassment and social equity issues are critical concerns of FSWs. This report demonstrates that it is possible to address these broader structural factors as part of large-scale HIV prevention programming. Although assessing the impact of the various components of a structural intervention on reducing HIV vulnerability is difficult, addressing the broader structural factors contributing to FSW vulnerability is critical to enable these vulnerable women to become sufficiently empowered to adopt the safer sexual behaviours which are required to respond effectively to the HIV epidemic.