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author:("hare, Shilpa")
1.  Prevalence of HIV, Syphilis, and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections among MSM from Three Cities in Panama 
Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) was used to conduct a biobehavioral survey among men who have sex with men (MSM) in three cities in the Republic of Panama. We estimated the prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sociodemographic characteristics, and sexual risk behaviors. Among 603 MSM recruited, RDS-adjusted seroprevalences (95 % confidence intervals) were: HIV—David 6.6 % (2.2–11.4 %), Panama 29.4 % (19.7–39.7 %), and Colon 32.6 % (18.0–47.8 %); active syphilis—David 16.0 % (8.9–24.2 %), Panama 24.7 % (16.7–32.9 %), Colon 31.6 % (14.8–47.5 %); resolved HBV infection—David 10.0 % (4.8–16.8 %), Panama 29.4 % (20.0–38.3 %), and Colon 40.6 % (21.9–54.4 %); herpes simplex virus type 2—David 38.4 % (27.9–48.9 %), Panama 62.6 % (52.8–71.0 %), and Colon 72.9 % (57.4–85.8 %). At least a third of MSM in each city self-identified as heterosexual or bisexual. HIV prevalence is concentrated among MSM. Preventive interventions should focus on increasing HIV and syphilis testing, and increasing promotion of condom awareness and use.
PMCID: PMC4134449  PMID: 24927712
HIV; Syphilis; Sexually transmitted diseases; Sexual behavior; Respondent-driven sampling; Sampling hidden populations; Panama
2.  Chlamydia trachomatis infection rates among a cohort of mobile soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2005–2010 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:181.
Fort Bragg, a large Army installation with reported high Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection rates, is characterized by a highly mobile population and a surrounding Ct-endemic community. We assessed the rates of Ct incidence and recurrence among the installation’s active component Army personnel and determined the association of soldier transience, sociodemographic factors, and history of sexually transmitted infection (STI) with these rates.
A cohort of soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg during 2005 to mid-2010 was followed for incident and recurrent Ct infection using laboratory-confirmed reportable disease data. Linkage to demographic and administrative data permitted multivariate analysis to determine association of covariates with initial or recurrent infection.
Among 67,425 soldiers, 2,198 (3.3%) contracted an incident Ct infection (crude incidence, 21.7 per 1,000 person-years). Among soldiers followed for incident infection, 223 (10.6%, crude incidence 110.8 per 1,000 person-years) contracted a recurrent Ct infection. Being female, of lower rank, under 26 years of age, of non-white race, single, or with a high school diploma or less was significantly associated with incident Ct infection. Having breaks in duty or having deployments during follow-up was associated with a lower infection rate. Among women, having prior deployments was associated with a lower rate of both incident and recurrent infection. Specifically associated with recurrent infection in women was age under 21 years or no education beyond high school.
This analysis reaffirms risk factors for Ct infection determined in other studies. In addition, infection risk was lower for more mobile soldiers and tied to the specific location of their regular duty assignment. The findings support the STI prevention efforts at Fort Bragg and the surrounding community, regardless of how often or for how long soldiers have deployed for military operations.
PMCID: PMC3943576  PMID: 24552420
Chlamydia; Army; Mobility
3.  Short Communication: Investigation of Incident HIV Infections Among U.S. Army Soldiers Deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, 2001–2007 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(10):1308-1312.
The U.S. Army initiated an investigation in response to observations of a possible increase in HIV incidence among soldiers deployed to combat. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected U.S. Army soldiers are not eligible to deploy. Combat presents a health hazard to HIV-infected soldiers and they pose a threat to the safety of the battlefield blood supply and their contacts. All soldiers are routinely screened for HIV every 2 years and those who deploy are also screened both prior to and after deployment. Seroconversion rates were estimated for all soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq in the period 2001–2007 and all active duty soldiers who did not. Seroconverters with an estimated date of infection, based on calculation of the midpoint between the last seronegative and first seropositive test date, that was either before or during deployment were eligible for inclusion. Confidential interviews and medical record reviews were conducted to determine the most likely time, geographic location, and mode of infection. Reposed predeployment samples were tested for HIV ribonucleic acid. The HIV seroconversion rate among all soldiers who deployed was less than the rate among those who did not deploy: 1.04 and 1.42 per 10,000 person-years, respectively. Among 48 cases, most were determined to have been infected in the United States or Germany and prior to deployment (n=20, 42%) or during rest and relaxation leave (n=13, 27%). Seven seronegative acute infections were identified in the predeployment period. Subtype was determined for 40 individuals; all were subtype B infections. All were acquired through sexual contact. These findings can inform development of preventive interventions and refinement of existing screening policy to further reduce HIV-infected deployed soldier person time.
PMCID: PMC3448093  PMID: 22280248
4.  Spatial correlations of mapped malaria rates with environmental factors in Belize, Central America 
The purposes of this study were to map overall malaria incidence rates from 1989 through 1999 for villages in Belize; to assess the seasonal distribution of malaria incidence by region; and to correlate malaria incidence rates with vegetation cover and rivers in villages, using geographic information system technology.
Malaria information on 156 villages was obtained from an electronic database maintained by the Belize National Malaria Control Program. Average annual malaria incidence rates per 1000 population over 10 years were calculated for villages using the 1991 population census as a denominator. Malaria incidence rates were integrated with vegetation cover from a 1995 vegetation map, and with river data from a digital data set.
Mapping malaria incidence over the 10-year period in the study villages indicated the existence of a spatial pattern: the southern and western areas of Belize had consistently higher rates of malaria than northern areas. Examination of the seasonal distribution of malaria incidence by month over 10 years indicated that a statistically significant difference existed among districts and among months (p < 0.05). Spatial analysis of malaria incidence rates and of vegetation in Belize showed villages with high malaria rates having more broadleaf hill forests, agricultural land, and wetland vegetation types (i.e. SWF-seasonally waterlogged fire-induced shrubland of the plains). Statistical and spatial analyses of malaria incidence and of river distributions in Belize determined the high 10 percentile malaria incidence villages in western and southern Belize to have more rivers within two kilometers of the center of a village and a statistically significant correlation between proximity to rivers and villages (Spearman's γ = -0.23; p < 0.05), especially in Stann Creek District (Spearman's γ = -0.82; p < 0.05).
Examination of the distribution of malaria during 10 years indicated transmission varied among geographic areas and among seasons. Additional studies are needed to examine, in more detail, the association between environmental and meteorological factors and malaria transmission. Furthermore, the role of An. darlingi in malaria transmission in Stann Creek needs further study since, of the three main vectors in Belize, An. darlingi has been found strongly associated with rivers.
PMCID: PMC406417  PMID: 15035669
5.  Prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and factors associated with syphilis among female sex workers in Panama 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2012;89(2):156-164.
Biological and behavioural surveillance of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among populations at highest risk have been used to monitor trends in prevalence and in risk behaviours. Sex work in Panama is regulated through registration with the Social Hygiene Programme, Ministry of Health. We estimated prevalence of HIV and STIs, and factors associated with active syphilis among female sex workers (FSWs).
A cross-sectional study using venue-based, time-space sampling was conducted among FSWs in Panama from 2009 to 2010. FSWs were interviewed about sociodemographic characteristics, sexual risk behaviour, health history and drug use using an anonymous structured questionnaire. Blood was collected for serological testing of HIV and other STIs. Factors associated with active syphilis were studied using logistic regression analysis.
The overall HIV-1 prevalence of 0.7% varied by FSW category; 1.6% in 379 unregistered, and 0.2% in 620 registered FSWs. Overall prevalence (and 95% CI) of STIs were: syphilis antibody, 3.8% (2.7% to 5.2%); herpes simplex virus type 2 antibody (anti-HSV-2), 74.2% (71.4% to 76.9%); hepatitis B surface antigen, 0.6% (0.2% to 1.3%); hepatitis B core antibody, 8.7% (7.0% to 10.6%); and hepatitis C antibody, 0.2% (0.0% to 0.7%). In multivariate analysis, registration (adjusted OR (AOR)=0.35; 95% CI 0.16 to 0.74), having a history of STI (AOR=2.37; 95% CI 1.01 to 5.58), forced sex (AOR=2.47; 95% CI 1.11 to 5.48), and anti-HSV-2 (AOR=10.05; 95% CI 1.36 to 74.38) were associated with active syphilis.
Although HIV prevalence is low among FSWs in Panama, unregistered FSWs bear a higher burden of HIV and STIs than registered FSWs. Programmes aimed at overcoming obstacles to registration, and HIV, STI and harm reduction among unregistered FSWs is warranted to prevent HIV transmission, and to improve their sexual and reproductive health.
PMCID: PMC3595153  PMID: 23002191
Surveillance; Commercial Sex; HIV; Seroprevalence; Syphilis

Results 1-5 (5)