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1.
Lancet ; 397(10279): 1116-1126, 2021 03 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525995

ABSTRACT

Men who have sex with men (MSM) in the USA were the first population to be identified with AIDS and continue to be at very high risk of HIV acquisition. We did a systematic literature search to identify the factors that explain the reasons for the ongoing epidemic in this population, using a social-ecological perspective. Common features of the HIV epidemic in American MSM include role versatility and biological, individual, and social and structural factors. The high-prevalence networks of some racial and ethnic minority men are further concentrated because of assortative mixing, adverse life experiences (including high rates of incarceration), and avoidant behaviour because of negative interactions with the health-care system. Young MSM have additional risks for HIV because their impulse control is less developed and they are less familiar with serostatus and other risk mitigation discussions. They might benefit from prevention efforts that use digital technologies, which they often use to meet partners and obtain health-related information. Older MSM remain at risk of HIV and are the largest population of US residents with chronic HIV, requiring culturally responsive programmes that address longer-term comorbidities. Transgender MSM are an understudied population, but emerging data suggest that some are at great risk of HIV and require specifically tailored information on HIV prevention. In the current era of pre-exposure prophylaxis and the undetectable equals untransmittable campaign, training of health-care providers to create culturally competent programmes for all MSM is crucial, since the use of antiretrovirals is foundational to optimising HIV care and prevention. Effective control of the HIV epidemic among all American MSM will require scaling up programmes that address their common vulnerabilities, but are sufficiently nuanced to address the specific sociocultural, structural, and behavioural issues of diverse subgroups.


Subject(s)
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/epidemiology , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male/statistics & numerical data , Sexual and Gender Minorities/psychology , Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/drug therapy , Adolescent , Adult , Anti-Retroviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , COVID-19/virology , Comorbidity , HIV Infections/transmission , Humans , Incidence , Male , Middle Aged , Minority Groups/psychology , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis/methods , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sexual Behavior/psychology , Sexual Partners/psychology , Transgender Persons/psychology , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
2.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 24 Suppl 6: e25800, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487485

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: There are limited data on the impact of COVID-19-associated disruptions and novel HIV service delivery strategies among key populations (KPs) in low- and middle-income countries. In March 2020, in response to COVID-19, the Government of India revised HIV service delivery policies to include community antiretroviral therapy (ART) distribution and multi-month dispensing (MMD) of ART for all people living with HIV (PLHIV). METHODS: To assess the acceptability of these adaptations and impact of the pandemic among KPs, we conducted focus groups in November-December 2020 with purposively sampled men who have sex with men (MSM), female sex workers (FSWs) and transgender women (TGW) in Telangana and Maharashtra. Seven discussions were conducted. Topics included HIV service access, risk behaviours, economic security and feedback to ensure service continuity. Inductive coding identified themes across topics. RESULTS: Forty-four individuals aged 20-49 years participated in discussions (13 MSM; 16 FSW; and 15 TGW). Twenty-four participants self-identified as living with HIV. People not living with HIV reported challenges in accessing HIV antibody testing at hospitals due to travel restrictions and fear of contracting COVID-19. Participants accessed HIV antibody testing using transportation arranged by community-based organizations after lockdowns eased. PLHIV reported uninterrupted ART refills and generally consistent adherence; however, there were experiences of delayed CD4 and HIV RNA testing. Participants shared appreciation for MMD as it saved time, money, and reduced exposure to COVID-19. Participants expressed gratitude for home deliveries which enabled ART access, yet shared concerns about home-based services causing confidentiality breaches with family/neighbours. Participants voiced preferences for community-based service provision due to proximity, convenient hours, and welcoming environments compared to public hospitals. Other requests included support for income, employment, nutrient-rich food and more accessible mental health, HIV, and other health services. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 restrictions had a greater impact on access to HIV antibody, CD4, and RNA testing services compared to ART access. High acceptance of MMD and community-based services support the continued role of differentiated service delivery models to improve KP access to HIV antibody, CD4, RNA testing services, convenient ART retrieval, and integrated services beyond HIV, which may be critical for survival and wellbeing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Focus Groups , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , India , Male , SARS-CoV-2
6.
American Journal of Public Health ; 111(3):366-368, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1197975

ABSTRACT

[...]of this unprecedented effort, two vaccine candidates, mRNA-1273 (Moderna, Cambridge, MA) and BNT162b2 (Pfizer, New York, NY), have been found to be safe and more than 90% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 shortly after vaccination. [...]we have created "outreach fatigue" among many stakeholders (i.e., exhaustion related to interactions with researchers with little foreseeable benefit to the communities themselves) and doubt regarding the trustworthiness of engagement efforts. [...]partnerships with external entities, such as academia and industry, are inherently unequal. CONCLUSIONS With many COVID-19 vaccine candidates still under study, the race to find effective and safe options is far from over. [...]we must consider relevant ways to maximize the return on the extensive public investment in COVID-19 vaccine development and ensure equity in access.

7.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(3)2021 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125498

ABSTRACT

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations are particularly vulnerable to poor COVID-19 outcomes and are more likely to experience stigma and medical mistrust that may impact COVID-19 vaccine acceptance. This study examined the prevalence of COVID testing and diagnosis and assessed COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among a large sample of SGM. Participants were recruited as part of an online cross-sectional study focused on an HIV biomedical prevention technology willingness in the United States at increased risk for HIV sero-conversion. Multivariate linear analysis was conducted to examine COVID-19 vaccine acceptance. The study sample included 1350 predominately gay (61.6%), Black (57.9%), cis-gender (95.7%) males with a mean age of 32.9 years. Medical mistrust and social concern regarding COVID-19 vaccine stigma were significantly associated with decreased COVID-19 vaccine acceptance, and altruism was significantly associated with increased vaccine acceptance. Black participants were significantly less likely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine, and Asian participants were significantly more likely to accept a vaccine, compared to White peers. As the planning of COVID-19 vaccine rollout efforts is conceptualized and designed, these data may inform equitable implementation strategies and prevent worsening health inequities among SGM populations.

8.
Lancet HIV ; 8(4): e206-e215, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1093284

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, men who have sex with men (MSM) in the USA have reported similar or fewer sexual partners and reduced HIV testing and care access compared with before the pandemic. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use has also declined. We aimed to quantify the potential effect of COVID-19 on HIV incidence and HIV-related mortality among US MSM. METHODS: We used a calibrated, deterministic, compartmental HIV transmission model for MSM in Baltimore (MD, USA) and available data on COVID-19-related disruptions to HIV services to predict effects of reductions in sexual partners (0%, 25%, 50%), condom use (5%), HIV testing (20%), viral suppression (10%), PrEP initiations (72%), PrEP adherence (9%), and antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiations (50%). In our main analysis, we modelled disruptions due to COVID-19 starting Jan 1, 2020, and lasting 6 months. We estimated the median change in cumulative new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths among MSM over 1 and 5 years, compared with a base case scenario without COVID-19-related disruptions. FINDINGS: A 25% reduction in sexual partners for 6 months among MSM in Baltimore, without HIV service changes, could reduce new HIV infections by median 12·2% (95% credible interval 11·7 to 12·8) over 1 year and median 3·0% (2·6 to 3·4) over 5 years. In the absence of changes in sexual behaviour, the 6-month estimated reductions in condom use, HIV testing, viral suppression, PrEP initiations, PrEP adherence, and ART initiations combined are predicted to increase new HIV infections by median 10·5% (5·8 to 16·5) over 1 year, and by median 3·5% (2·1 to 5·4) over 5 years. Disruptions to ART initiations and viral suppression are estimated to substantially increase HIV-related deaths (ART initiations by median 1·7% [0·8 to 3·2], viral suppression by median 9·5% [5·2 to 15·9]) over 1 year, with smaller proportional increases over 5 years. The other individual disruptions (to HIV testing, PrEP and condom use, PrEP initiation, and partner numbers) were estimated to have little effect on HIV-related deaths (<1% change over 1 or 5 years). A 25% reduction in sexual partnerships is estimated to offset the effect of the combined service disruptions on new HIV infections (change over 1 year: median -3·9% [-7·4 to 1·0]; over 5 years: median 0·0% [-0·9 to 1·4]), but not on HIV deaths (change over 1 year: 11·0% [6·2 to 17·7]; over 5 years: 2·6% [1·5 to 4·3]). INTERPRETATION: Maintaining access to ART and adherence support is of the utmost importance to maintain viral suppression and minimise excess HIV-related mortality due to COVID-19 restrictions in the USA, even if disruptions to services are accompanied by reductions in sexual partnerships. FUNDING: National Institutes of Health.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Condoms/statistics & numerical data , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Models, Statistical , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , African Americans , Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active , Baltimore/epidemiology , HIV Infections/ethnology , HIV Infections/mortality , HIV Infections/transmission , Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Incidence , Male , Prognosis , Risk-Taking , Sexual Partners , Survival Analysis
9.
Lancet ; 397(10279): 1151-1156, 2021 03 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087331

ABSTRACT

With more than 1·2 million people living with HIV in the USA, a complex epidemic across the large and diverse country, and a fragmented health-care system marked by widening health disparities, the US HIV epidemic requires sustained scientific and public health attention. The epidemic has been stubbornly persistent; high incidence densities have been sustained over decades and the epidemic is increasingly concentrated among racial, ethnic, and sexual and gender minority communities. This fact remains true despite extraordinary scientific advances in prevention, treatment, and care-advances that have been led, to a substantial degree, by US-supported science and researchers. In this watershed year of 2021 and in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the USA will not meet the stated goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, particularly those goals relating to reductions in new infections, decreases in morbidity, and reductions in HIV stigma. The six papers in the Lancet Series on HIV in the USA have each examined the underlying causes of these challenges and laid out paths forward for an invigorated, sustained, and more equitable response to the US HIV epidemic than has been seen to date. The sciences of HIV surveillance, prevention, treatment, and implementation all suggest that the visionary goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative in the USA might be achievable. However, fundamental barriers and challenges need to be addressed and the research effort sustained if we are to succeed.


Subject(s)
Epidemics/prevention & control , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Health Plan Implementation/organization & administration , Public Health Administration , Epidemiological Monitoring , HIV Infections/therapy , Health Status Disparities , Humans , Minority Groups/statistics & numerical data , Sexual and Gender Minorities/statistics & numerical data , Social Stigma
11.
Contemp Clin Trials ; 100: 106176, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-849022

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of vitamin D supplementation on disease progression and post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19 infection. We hypothesize that high-dose vitamin D3 supplementation will reduce risk of hospitalization/death among those with recently diagnosed COVID-19 infection and will reduce risk of COVID-19 infection among their close household contacts. METHODS: We report the rationale and design of a planned pragmatic, cluster randomized, double-blinded trial (N = 2700 in total nationwide), with 1500 newly diagnosed individuals with COVID-19 infection, together with up to one close household contact each (~1200 contacts), randomized to either vitamin D3 (loading dose, then 3200 IU/day) or placebo in a 1:1 ratio and a household cluster design. The study duration is 4 weeks. The primary outcome for newly diagnosed individuals is the occurrence of hospitalization and/or mortality. Key secondary outcomes include symptom severity scores among cases and changes in the infection (seroconversion) status for their close household contacts. Changes in vitamin D 25(OH)D levels will be assessed and their relation to study outcomes will be explored. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed pragmatic trial will allow parallel testing of vitamin D3 supplementation for early treatment and post-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19. The household cluster design provides a cost-efficient approach to testing an intervention for reducing rates of hospitalization and/or mortality in newly diagnosed cases and preventing infection among their close household contacts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Dietary Supplements , Vitamin D/therapeutic use , Adult , COVID-19/mortality , Comorbidity , Double-Blind Method , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Middle Aged , Minority Groups/statistics & numerical data , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroconversion , Severity of Illness Index , Socioeconomic Factors
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