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1.  Hospitalizations associated with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus among patients attending a network of private hospitals in South Africa, 2007–2012 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):694.
Background
Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection are common causes of lower respiratory tract illness. Data on their burden in low and middle-income settings and from Africa are scarce. We aimed to estimate age-specific rates of hospitalization attributable to influenza and RSV among patients attending private hospitals in South Africa during 2007–2012.
Methods
We estimated annual age-specific rates of influenza- and RSV-associated hospitalization (that is respiratory hospitalizations likely due to influenza or RSV infection) by applying regression models to monthly administrative hospitalization data from a national private hospital group, using influenza and RSV surveillance data as covariates.
Results
Estimated mean hospitalization rates associated with seasonal influenza were 75 (95% confidence interval (CI), 41–108) and 3 (95% CI, 2–5) per 100,000 person-years for all-respiratory and all-circulatory causes, respectively. Children <1 year and adults ≥75 years were the most affected, with influenza-associated all-respiratory hospitalization rates estimated at 255 (95% CI, 143–358) and 380 (95% CI, 227–506) per 100,000 person-years, respectively. Excess all-circulatory hospitalizations associated with seasonal influenza were only observed in adults ≥65 years. Annual hospitalization rates associated with RSV averaged an estimate of 223 (95% CI, 128–317) per 100,000 person-years for all-respiratory causes. Among children <1 year, RSV-associated all-respiratory hospitalization rate of 7,601 (95% CI, 4,312-10,817) per 100,000 person-years was estimated.
Conclusions
Influenza and RSV substantially contributed to hospitalizations over the study period.
doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0694-x
PMCID: PMC4278267  PMID: 25510622
Influenza virus; Respiratory syncytial virus; Hospitalization; South Africa
2.  High HIV-1 incidence, correlates of HIV-1 acquisition, and high viral loads following seroconversion among men who have sex with men in Coastal Kenya 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(3):437-446.
Background
HIV-1 incidence estimates and correlates of HIV-1 acquisition in African men who have sex with men are largely unknown.
Methods
Since 2005, HIV-1-uninfected men who reported sex with men and women (MSMW) or sex with men exclusively (MSME) were followed at scheduled visits for collection of behavioural and clinical examination data and plasma for HIV-1 testing. Urethral or rectal secretions were collected from symptomatic men to screen for gonorrhoea. Poisson regression methods were used to estimate adjusted incidence rate ratios (aIRR) to explore associations between risk factors and incident HIV-1 infection. Plasma viral loads (PVL) were assessed over two years following seroconversion.
Results
Overall HIV-1 incidence in 449 men was 8.6 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.7–11.0) per 100 person-years (py). Incidence was 5.8 (95% CI: 4.2–7.9) per 100 py among MSMW, and 35.2 (95% CI: 23.8–52.1) per 100 py among MSME. Unprotected sex, receptive anal intercourse, exclusive sex with men, group sex, and gonorrhoea in the past 6 months were strongly associated with HIV-1 acquisition, adjusted for confounders. PVL in seroconverters was >4 log10 copies/mL at 230 (73.4%) of 313 visits in MSMW and 153 (75.0%) of 204 visits in MSME.
Conclusions
HIV-1 incidence is very high among MSM in coastal Kenya, and many seroconverters maintain high PVL for up to two years after infection. Effective HIV-1 prevention interventions, including treatment as prevention, are urgently needed in this population.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835b0f81
PMCID: PMC3929859  PMID: 23079811
HIV-1 incidence; MSM; gonorrhoea; anal intercourse; viral load; sexually transmitted infection; group sex; Africa
3.  Experiences of Kenyan healthcare workers providing services to men who have sex with men: qualitative findings from a sensitivity training programme 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2013;16(4Suppl 3):18741.
Introduction
Men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kenya are at high risk for HIV and may experience prejudiced treatment in health settings due to stigma. An on-line computer-facilitated MSM sensitivity programme was conducted to educate healthcare workers (HCWs) about the health issues and needs of MSM patients.
Methods
Seventy-four HCWs from 49 ART-providing health facilities in the Kenyan Coast were recruited through purposive sampling to undergo a two-day MSM sensitivity training. We conducted eight focus group discussions (FGDs) with programme participants prior to and three months after completing the training programme. Discussions aimed to characterize HCWs’ challenges in serving MSM patients and impacts of programme participation on HCWs’ personal attitudes and professional capacities.
Results
Before participating in the training programme, HCWs described secondary stigma, lack of professional education about MSM, and personal and social prejudices as barriers to serving MSM clients. After completing the programme, HCWs expressed greater acknowledgement of MSM patients in their clinics, endorsed the need to treat MSM patients with high professional standards and demonstrated sophisticated awareness of the social and behavioural risks for HIV among MSM.
Conclusions
Findings provide support for this approach to improving health services for MSM patients. Further efforts are needed to broaden the reach of this training in other areas, address identified barriers to HCW participation and evaluate programme effects on patient and HCW outcomes using rigorous methodology.
doi:10.7448/IAS.16.4.18741
PMCID: PMC3852126  PMID: 24321109
on-line computer facilitated MSM sensitivity programme; healthcare worker; stigma; MSM; Kenya; HIV
4.  Men who have sex with men sensitivity training reduces homoprejudice and increases knowledge among Kenyan healthcare providers in coastal Kenya 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2013;16(4Suppl 3):18748.
Introduction
Healthcare workers (HCWs) in Africa typically receive little or no training in the healthcare needs of men who have sex with men (MSM), limiting the effectiveness and reach of population-based HIV control measures among this group. We assessed the effect of a web-based, self-directed sensitivity training on MSM for HCWs (www.marps-africa.org), combined with facilitated group discussions on knowledge and homophobic attitudes among HCWs in four districts of coastal Kenya.
Methods
We trained four district “AIDS coordinators” to provide a two-day training to local HCWs working at antiretroviral therapy-providing facilities in coastal Kenya. Self-directed learning supported by group discussions focused on MSM sexual risk practices, HIV prevention and healthcare needs. Knowledge was assessed prior to training, immediately after training and three months after training. The Homophobia Scale assessed homophobic attitudes and was measured before and three months after training.
Results
Seventy-four HCWs (68% female; 74% clinical officers or nurses; 84% working in government facilities) from 49 health facilities were trained, of whom 71 (96%) completed all measures. At baseline, few HCWs reported any prior training on MSM anal sexual practices, and most HCWs had limited knowledge of MSM sexual health needs. Homophobic attitudes were most pronounced among HCWs who were male, under 30 years of age, and working in clinical roles or government facilities. Three months after training, more HCWs had adequate knowledge compared to baseline (49% vs. 13%, McNemar's test p<0.001); this was most pronounced in those with clinical or administrative roles and in those from governmental health providers. Compared to baseline, homophobic attitudes had decreased significantly three months after training, particularly among HCWs with high homophobia scores at baseline, and there was some evidence of correlation between improvements in knowledge and reduction in homophobic sentiment.
Conclusions
Scaling up MSM sensitivity training for African HCWs is likely to be a timely, effective and practical means to improve relevant sexual health knowledge and reduce personal homophobic sentiment among HCWs involved in HIV prevention, testing and care in sub-Saharan Africa.
doi:10.7448/IAS.16.4.18748
PMCID: PMC3852129  PMID: 24321111
sensitivity training; MSM behaviour; Homophobia Scale; homoprejudice; healthcare workers; Kenya
5.  Is Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview (ACASI) Useful in Risk Behaviour Assessment of Female and Male Sex Workers, Mombasa, Kenya? 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(5):e5340.
Background
Audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI) may elicit more frequent reporting of socially sensitive behaviours than face-to-face (FtF)-interview. However, no study compared responses to both methods in female and male sex workers (FSW; MSW) in Africa.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We sequentially enrolled adults recruited for an HIV-1 intervention trial into a comparative study of ACASI and FtF-interview, in a clinic near Mombasa, Kenya. Feasibility and acceptability of ACASI, and a comparative analysis of enrolment responses between ACASI and FtF on an identical risk assessment questionnaire were evaluated. In total, 139 women and 259 men, 81% of eligible cohort participants, completed both interviews. ACASI captured a higher median number of regular (2 vs. 1, p<0.001, both genders) and casual partners in the last week (3 vs. 2, p = 0.04 in women; 2 vs. 1, p<0.001 in men). Group sex (21.6 vs. 13.5%, p<0.001, in men), intravenous drug use (IDU; 10.8 vs. 2.3%, p<0.001 in men; 4.4 vs. 0%, p = 0.03 in women), and rape (8.9 vs. 3.9%, p = 0.002, in men) were reported more frequently in ACASI. A surprisingly high number of women reported in ACASI that they had paid for sex (49.3 vs. 5.8%, p<0.001). Behaviours for recruitment (i.e. anal sex, sex work, sex between males) were reported less frequently in ACASI. The majority of women (79.2%) and men (69.7%) felt that answers given in ACASI were more honest. Volunteers who were not able to take ACASI (84 men, and 37 women) mostly lacked reading skills.
Conclusions/Significance
About 1 in 5 cohort participants was not able to complete ACASI, mostly for lack of reading skills. Participants who completed ACASI were more likely to report IDU, rape, group sex, and payment for sex by women than when asked in FtF interview. ACASI appears to be a useful tool for high risk behaviour assessments in the African context.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005340
PMCID: PMC2671594  PMID: 19412535
6.  Imported malaria and high risk groups: observational study using UK surveillance data 1987-2006 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7661):103-106.
Objective To examine temporal, geographic, and sociodemographic trends in case reporting and case fatality of malaria in the United Kingdom.
Setting National malaria reference laboratory surveillance data in the UK.
Design Observational study using prospectively gathered surveillance data and data on destinations from the international passenger survey.
Participants 39 300 cases of proved malaria in the UK between 1987 and 2006.
Main outcome measures Plasmodium species; sociodemographic details (including age, sex, and country of birth and residence); mortality; destination, duration, and purpose of international travel; and use of chemoprophylaxis.
Results Reported cases of imported malaria increased significantly over the 20 years of the study; an increasing proportion was attributable to Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum/P vivax reporting ratio 1.3:1 in 1987-91 and 5.4:1 in 2002-6). P vivax reports declined from 3954 in 1987-91 to 1244 in 2002-6. Case fatality of reported P falciparum malaria did not change over this period (7.4 deaths per 1000 reported cases). Travellers visiting friends and relatives, usually in a country in Africa or Asia from which members of their family migrated, accounted for 13 215/20 488 (64.5%) of all malaria reported, and reports were geographically concentrated in areas where migrants from Africa and South Asia to the UK have settled. People travelling for this purpose were at significantly higher risk of malaria than other travellers and were less likely to report the use of any chemoprophylaxis (odds ratio of reported chemoprophylaxis use 0.23, 95% confidence interval 0.21 to 0.25).
Conclusions Despite the availability of highly effective preventive measures, the preventable burden from falciparum malaria has steadily increased in the UK while vivax malaria has decreased. Provision of targeted and appropriately delivered preventive messages and services for travellers from migrant families visiting friends and relatives should be a priority.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a120
PMCID: PMC2453297  PMID: 18599471
7.  Imported malaria and high risk groups: observational study using UK surveillance data 1987-2006 
Objective To examine temporal, geographic, and sociodemographic trends in case reporting and case fatality of malaria in the United Kingdom.
Setting National malaria reference laboratory surveillance data in the UK.
Design Observational study using prospectively gathered surveillance data and data on destinations from the international passenger survey.
Participants 39 300 cases of proved malaria in the UK between 1987 and 2006.
Main outcome measures Plasmodium species; sociodemographic details (including age, sex, and country of birth and residence); mortality; destination, duration, and purpose of international travel; and use of chemoprophylaxis.
Results Reported cases of imported malaria increased significantly over the 20 years of the study; an increasing proportion was attributable to Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum/P vivax reporting ratio 1.3:1 in 1987-91 and 5.4:1 in 2002-6). P vivax reports declined from 3954 in 1987-91 to 1244 in 2002-6. Case fatality of reported P falciparum malaria did not change over this period (7.4 deaths per 1000 reported cases). Travellers visiting friends and relatives, usually in a country in Africa or Asia from which members of their family migrated, accounted for 13 215/20 488 (64.5%) of all malaria reported, and reports were geographically concentrated in areas where migrants from Africa and South Asia to the UK have settled. People travelling for this purpose were at significantly higher risk of malaria than other travellers and were less likely to report the use of any chemoprophylaxis (odds ratio of reported chemoprophylaxis use 0.23, 95% confidence interval 0.21 to 0.25).
Conclusions Despite the availability of highly effective preventive measures, the preventable burden from falciparum malaria has steadily increased in the UK while vivax malaria has decreased. Provision of targeted and appropriately delivered preventive messages and services for travellers from migrant families visiting friends and relatives should be a priority.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a120
PMCID: PMC2453297  PMID: 18599471
8.  Cross-sectional survey of treatment practices for urethritis at pharmacies, private clinics and government health facilities in coastal Kenya: many missed opportunities for HIV prevention 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2013;89(7):583-589.
Background
While bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are important cofactors for HIV transmission, STI control has received little attention in recent years. The aim of this study was to assess STI treatment and HIV testing referral practices among health providers in Kenya.
Methods
In 2011 we assessed quality of case management for male urethritis at pharmacies, private clinics and government health facilities in coastal Kenya using simulated visits at pharmacies and interviews at pharmacies and health facilities. Quality was assessed using Ministry of Health guidelines.
Results
Twenty (77%) of 26 pharmacies, 20 (91%) of 22 private clinics and all four government facilities in the study area took part. The median (IQR) number of adult urethritis cases per week was 5 (2–10) at pharmacies, 3 (1–3) at private clinics and 5 (2–17) at government facilities. During simulated visits, 10% of pharmacies prescribed recommended antibiotics at recommended dosages and durations and, during interviews, 28% of pharmacies and 27% of health facilities prescribed recommended antibiotics at recommended dosages and durations. Most regimens were quinolone-based. HIV testing was recommended during 10% of simulated visits, 20% of pharmacy interviews and 25% of health facility interviews.
Conclusions
In an area of high STI burden, most men with urethritis seek care at pharmacies and private clinics. Most providers do not comply with national guidelines and very few recommend HIV testing. In order to reduce the STI burden and mitigate HIV transmission, there is an urgent need for innovative dissemination of up-to-date guidelines and inclusion of all health providers in HIV/STI programmes.
doi:10.1136/sextrans-2012-050979
PMCID: PMC3812900  PMID: 23698510
CLINICAL STI CARE; URETHRITIS; SYNDROMIC MANAGEMENT; HIV; PREVENTION
9.  Evaluation of WHO screening algorithm for the presumptive treatment of asymptomatic rectal gonorrhoea and chlamydia infections in at-risk MSM in Kenya 
Objectives
The WHO recommends that men who have sex with men (MSM) reporting unprotected receptive anal intercourse (RAI) and either multiple partners or a partner with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past 6 months should be presumptively treated for asymptomatic rectal Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infections. We evaluated this recommendation in a cohort of ‘high-risk’ MSM in Coastal Kenya.
Methods
We assessed presence of genitourinary and rectal symptoms, and determined prevalence and 3-month incidence of rectal NG and CT infections. We performed nucleic acid amplification testing of urine and rectal swab samples collected from MSM followed prospectively, and assessed predictive values of the WHO algorithm at baseline screening.
Results
Of 244 MSM screened, 240 (98.4%) were asymptomatic, and 147 (61.3%) reported any RAI in the past 6 months. Among 85 (35.4%) asymptomatic MSM meeting criteria for the WHO presumptive treatment (PT) recommendation, we identified 20 with rectal infections (six NG, 12 CT and two NG–CT co-infections). Among 62 asymptomatic MSM who did not meet criteria, we identified seven who were infected. The sensitivity and specificity of the WHO algorithm were 74.1% (95% CI 53.7% to 88.9%) and 45.8% (95% CI 36.7% to 55.2%), respectively. The 3-month incidence of any rectal NG or CT infection in asymptomatic men reporting any RAI was 39.7 (95% CI 24.3 to 64.8) per 100 person-years.
Conclusions
About one-third of asymptomatic MSM were eligible to receive PT for NG and CT infections. Among MSM who would qualify for PT of rectal STIs, the number needed to treat in order to treat one infection was four. Our results support the value of the WHO screening algorithm and recommended PT strategy in this population.
doi:10.1136/sextrans-2013-051078
PMCID: PMC3932748  PMID: 24327758
NEISSERIA GONORRHOEA; CHLAMYDIA TRACHOMATIS; MEN; TREATMENT; PUBLIC HEALTH
10.  Acute HIV-1 infection is as common as malaria in young febrile adults seeking care in coastal Kenya 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(9):1357-1363.
Background:
Febrile adults are usually not tested for acute HIV-1 infection (AHI) in Africa. We assessed a strategy to diagnose AHI among young adult patients seeking care.
Methods:
Young adults (<30 years) who met predefined AHI criteria at care seeking, including fever, sexually transmitted disease symptoms, diarrhoea, body pains or multiple partners were referred from five pharmacies and screened at five health facilities. Prevalent HIV-1 was diagnosed by nationally recommended serial rapid HIV-1 testing. Willing HIV-1-negative patients were evaluated for AHI, defined as a positive p24 antigen test, and subsequent seroconversion or RNA detection. Febrile patients evaluated for AHI were also screened for malaria using a rapid test, with PCR confirmation of positives.
Results:
In 3602 adults seeking care, overall HIV-1 prevalence was 3.9%: 7.6% (68/897) among patients meeting AHI criteria vs. 2.6% (71/2705) among those who did not (P < 0.001). AHI was diagnosed in five of 506 HIV-1-negative or discordant patients who met AHI risk criteria and were completely evaluated [prevalence 1.0%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.3–2.3%]. Of these five AHI cases, four were diagnosed among the 241 patients with fever (prevalence 1.7%, 95% CI 0.5–4.2%), vs. one among 265 non-febrile patients (prevalence 0.4%, 95% CI 0.0–2.0%, P = 0.1). Malaria was confirmed by PCR in four (1.7%) of the 241 febrile patients.
Conclusion:
AHI was as common as confirmed malaria in young febrile adults seeking care. An AHI detection strategy targeting young febrile adults seeking care at pharmacies and health facilities is feasible and should be considered as an HIV-prevention strategy in high-transmission settings.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0000000000000245
PMCID: PMC4032215  PMID: 24556872
acute HIV-1 infection; Africa; clinical algorithm; provider initiated testing and counselling; treatment as prevention

Results 1-10 (10)