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1.
Indian J Med Res ; 155(3&4): 403-412, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2249486

ABSTRACT

Background & objectives: Globally, several countries consider HIV self-test as an important element in the toolbox to end AIDS by 2030. Against this background, the present investigation was conducted to pilot test the performance of an indigenous HIV oral self-test (HIVOST) and explore its acceptability. The overall purpose was to examine if this kit could serve as a promising tool and merit future larger clinical evaluation. Methods: A concurrent mixed-method investigation was undertaken during March-October 2019. One hundred and thirty two consecutive HIV/sexually transmitted diseases/tuberculosis clinic attendees were invited for participation; of whom, 100 were enrolled, and among them, 40 provided consent for qualitative in-depth interviews. The HIVOST kit assessed for its performance served as the 'index test', which worked on the principle of lateral flow chromatography. The results of the HIVOST were interpreted independently by the study physicians and participants at 20 min. HIVOST kit performance was assessed against the HIV confirmatory blood test result based on the national algorithm (3 rapid test or 1 ELISA and 2 rapid test) serving as the 'reference'. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and inter-rater agreement were estimated. The voices and concerns of the study participants were coded followed by identification of qualitative themes and ideas. Results: The sensitivity and specificity of the index test at the end of 20 min as interpreted by the participants were 83.3 per cent [95% confidence interval (CI): 69.8 to 92.5] and 98 per cent (95% CI: 89.4 to 99.5), respectively. Study physicians and participants independently interpreted HIVOST results with substantial inter-rater agreement (kappa value 0.88; 95% CI: 0.78-0.97). All HIVOST test strips were valid. Majority of the participants preferred saliva over blood for HIV self-test. 'Comfort', 'confidentiality' and 'convenience' were the perceived advantages of HIVOST. Some of the participants wished the package inserts contained 'how-to-do instructions in local languages', 'expiry date (if any)' and 'contact helpline number'. A few of them highlighted the need for a confirmatory HIV result following oral self-test. Concerns of the participants revolved around potential self-harm following HIVOST-positive result and safe disposal of kits. Interpretation & conclusions: Two major highlights of the present investigation are (i) high level of concordance in HIVOST results interpreted by participants and physicians, and (ii) encouraging level of acceptance of HIVOST. These findings and encouraging HIVOST performance statistics lend support towards large-scale clinical evaluation of this index test.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Tuberculosis , Cross-Sectional Studies , HIV Infections/diagnosis , Humans , Pilot Projects , Sensitivity and Specificity , Tuberculosis/diagnosis
2.
PLoS One ; 17(8): e0273389, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2021915

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has rapidly emerged as a global public health threat with infections recorded in nearly every country. Responses to COVID-19 have varied in intensity and breadth, but generally have included domestic and international travel limitations, closure of non-essential businesses, and repurposing of health services. While these interventions have focused on testing, treatment, and mitigation of COVID-19, there have been reports of interruptions to diagnostic, prevention, and treatment services for other public health threats. OBJECTIVES: We conducted a scoping review to characterize the early impact of COVID-19 on HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, sexual and reproductive health, and malnutrition. METHODS: A scoping literature review was completed using searches of PubMed and preprint servers (medRxiv/bioRxiv) from November 1st, 2019 to October 31st, 2020, using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms related to SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 and HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, sexual and reproductive health, and malnutrition. Empiric studies reporting original data collection or mathematical models were included, and available data synthesized by region. Studies were excluded if they were not written in English. RESULTS: A total of 1604 published papers and 205 preprints were retrieved in the search. Overall, 8.0% (129/1604) of published studies and 10.2% (21/205) of preprints met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review: 7.3% (68/931) on HIV, 7.1% (24/339) on tuberculosis, 11.6% (26/224) on malaria, 7.8% (19/183) on sexual and reproductive health, and 9.8% (13/132) on malnutrition. Thematic results were similar across competing health risks, with substantial indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and response on diagnostic, prevention, and treatment services for HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, sexual and reproductive health, and malnutrition. DISCUSSION: COVID-19 emerged in the context of existing public health threats that result in millions of deaths every year. Thus, effectively responding to COVID-19 while minimizing the negative impacts of COVID-19 necessitates innovation and integration of existing programs that are often siloed across health systems. Inequities have been a consistent driver of existing health threats; COVID-19 has worsened disparities, reinforcing the need for programs that address structural risks. The data reviewed here suggest that effective strengthening of health systems should include investment and planning focused on ensuring the continuity of care for both rapidly emergent and existing public health threats.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Malaria , Malnutrition , Tuberculosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Malaria/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
3.
PLoS One ; 17(6): e0270034, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1910668

ABSTRACT

There remains a limited understanding of the HIV prevention and treatment needs among female sex workers in many parts of the world. Systematic reviews of existing literature can help fill this gap; however, well-done systematic reviews are time-demanding and labor-intensive. Here, we propose an automatic document classification approach to a systematic review to significantly reduce the effort in reviewing documents and optimizing empiric decision making. We first describe a manual document classification procedure that is used to curate a pertinent training dataset and then propose three classifiers: a keyword-guided method, a cluster analysis-based method, and a random forest approach that utilizes a large set of feature tokens. This approach is used to identify documents studying female sex workers that contain content relevant to either HIV or experienced violence. We compare the performance of the three classifiers by cross-validation in terms of area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic and precision and recall plot, and found random forest approach reduces the amount of manual reading for our example by 80%; in sensitivity analysis, we found that even trained with only 10% of data, the classifier can still avoid reading 75% of future documents (68% of total) while retaining 80% of relevant documents. In sum, the automated procedure of document classification presented here could improve both the precision and efficiency of systematic reviews and facilitate live reviews, where reviews are updated regularly. We expect to obtain a reasonable classifier by taking 20% of retrieved documents as training samples. The proposed classifier could also be used for more meaningfully assembling literature in other research areas and for rapid documents screening with a tight schedule, such as COVID-related work during the crisis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Systematic Reviews as Topic , Female , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , ROC Curve
4.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr ; 87(1): 644-651, 2021 05 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1865024

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus pandemic has necessitated a range of population-based measures to stem the spread of infection. These measures may be associated with disruptions to other health services including for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) at risk for or living with HIV. Here, we assess the relationship between stringency of COVID-19 control measures and interruptions to HIV prevention and treatment services for MSM. SETTING: Data for this study were collected between April 16, 2020, and May 24, 2020, as part of a COVID-19 Disparities Survey implemented by the gay social networking app, Hornet. Pandemic control measures were quantified using the Oxford Government Response Tracker Stringency Index: each country received a score (0-100) based on the number and strictness of 9 indicators related to restrictions, closures, and travel bans. METHODS: We used a multilevel mixed-effects generalized linear model with Poisson distribution to assess the association between stringency of pandemic control measures and access to HIV services. RESULTS: A total of 10,654 MSM across 20 countries were included. Thirty-eight percent (3992/10,396) reported perceived interruptions to in-person testing, 55% (5178/9335) interruptions to HIV self-testing, 56% (5171/9173) interruptions to pre-exposure prophylaxis, and 10% (990/9542) interruptions to condom access. For every 10-point increase in stringency, there was a 3% reduction in the prevalence of perceived access to in-person testing (aPR: 0·97, 95% CI: [0·96 to 0·98]), a 6% reduction in access to self-testing (aPR: 0·94, 95% CI: [0·93 to 0·95]), and a 5% reduction in access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (aPR: 0·95, 95% CI: [0·95 to 0·97]). Among those living with HIV, 20% (218/1105) were unable to access their provider; 65% (820/1254) reported being unable to refill their treatment prescription remotely. CONCLUSIONS: More stringent responses were associated with decreased perceived access to services. These results support the need for increasing emphasis on innovative strategies in HIV-related diagnostic, prevention, and treatment services to minimize service interruptions during this and potential future waves of COVID-19 for gay men and other MSM at risk for HIV acquisition and transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male/statistics & numerical data , Sexual and Gender Minorities/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Self-Testing , Sexual Behavior , Social Networking , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
5.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0265434, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742024

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite the established efficacy of PrEP to prevent HIV and the advantages of a user-controlled method, PrEP uptake and persistence by women in both trials and demonstration projects has been suboptimal. We utilized real-world data from an HIV service provider to describe persistence on oral PrEP among female sex workers (FSW) in eThekwini, South Africa. METHODS: We examined time from PrEP initiation to discontinuation among all FSW initiating PrEP at TB HIV Care in eThekwini between 2016-2020. We used a discrete time-to-event data setup and stacked cumulative incidence function plots, displaying the competing risks of 1) not returning for PrEP, 2) client discontinuation, and 3) provider discontinuation. We calculated hazard ratios using complementary log-log regression and sub-hazard ratios using competing risks regression. RESULTS: The number of initiations increased each year from 155 (9.3%, n = 155/1659) in 2016 to 1224 (27.5%, n = 1224/4446) in 2020. Persistence 1-month after initiation was 53% (95% CI: 51%-55%). Younger women were more likely to discontinue PrEP by not returning compared with those 25 years and older. Risk of discontinuation through non-return declined for those initiating in later years. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a greater number of initiations and sustained persistence were observed in 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Low levels of PrEP persistence were observed, consistent with data among underserved women elsewhere. Encouragingly, the proportion of women persisting increased over time, even as the number of women newly initiating PrEP and staff workload increased. Further research is needed to understand which implementation strategies the program may have enacted to facilitate these improvements and what further changes may be necessary.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Medication Adherence/statistics & numerical data , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis/statistics & numerical data , Sex Workers/statistics & numerical data , Administration, Oral , Adult , Anti-HIV Agents/administration & dosage , Female , Humans , Medication Adherence/psychology , Sex Workers/psychology , South Africa/epidemiology , Young Adult
6.
Public Health Rep ; 137(2): 197-202, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1582752

ABSTRACT

The public health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a deluge of scientific research aimed at informing the public health and medical response to the pandemic. However, early in the pandemic, those working in frontline public health and clinical care had insufficient time to parse the rapidly evolving evidence and use it for decision-making. Academics in public health and medicine were well-placed to translate the evidence for use by frontline clinicians and public health practitioners. The Novel Coronavirus Research Compendium (NCRC), a group of >60 faculty and trainees across the United States, formed in March 2020 with the goal to quickly triage and review the large volume of preprints and peer-reviewed publications on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 and summarize the most important, novel evidence to inform pandemic response. From April 6 through December 31, 2020, NCRC teams screened 54 192 peer-reviewed articles and preprints, of which 527 were selected for review and uploaded to the NCRC website for public consumption. Most articles were peer-reviewed publications (n = 395, 75.0%), published in 102 journals; 25.1% (n = 132) of articles reviewed were preprints. The NCRC is a successful model of how academics translate scientific knowledge for practitioners and help build capacity for this work among students. This approach could be used for health problems beyond COVID-19, but the effort is resource intensive and may not be sustainable in the long term.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Data Curation/methods , Information Dissemination/methods , Interdisciplinary Research/organization & administration , Peer Review, Research , Preprints as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Public Health , United States
7.
Ann Epidemiol ; 63: 63-67, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1326908

ABSTRACT

Shelter-in-place mandates and closure of nonessential businesses have been central to COVID19 response strategies including in Toronto, Canada. Approximately half of the working population in Canada are employed in occupations that do not allow for remote work suggesting potentially limited impact of some of the strategies proposed to mitigate COVID-19 acquisition and onward transmission risks and associated morbidity and mortality. We compared per-capita rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths from January 23, 2020 to January 24, 2021, across neighborhoods in Toronto by proportion of the population working in essential services. We used person-level data on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 community cases and deaths, and census data for neighborhood-level attributes. Cumulative per-capita rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths were 3.3-fold and 2.5-fold higher, respectively, in neighborhoods with the highest versus lowest concentration of essential workers. Findings suggest that the population who continued to serve the essential needs of society throughout COVID-19 shouldered a disproportionate burden of transmission and deaths. Taken together, results signal the need for active intervention strategies to complement restrictive measures to optimize both the equity and effectiveness of COVID-19 responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epidemics , Canada , Humans , Occupations , SARS-CoV-2
8.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(3): e24696, 2021 03 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1123725

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 and influenza are lipid-enveloped viruses with differential morbidity and mortality but shared modes of transmission. OBJECTIVE: With a descriptive epidemiological framing, we assessed whether recent historical patterns of regional influenza burden are reflected in the observed heterogeneity in COVID-19 cases across regions of the world. METHODS: Weekly surveillance data reported by the World Health Organization from January 2017 to December 2019 for influenza and from January 1, 2020 through October 31, 2020, for COVID-19 were used to assess seasonal and temporal trends for influenza and COVID-19 cases across the seven World Bank regions. RESULTS: In regions with more pronounced influenza seasonality, COVID-19 epidemics have largely followed trends similar to those seen for influenza from 2017 to 2019. COVID-19 epidemics in countries across Europe, Central Asia, and North America have been marked by a first peak during the spring, followed by significant reductions in COVID-19 cases in the summer months and a second wave in the fall. In Latin America and the Caribbean, COVID-19 epidemics in several countries peaked in the summer, corresponding to months with the highest influenza activity in the region. Countries from regions with less pronounced influenza activity, including South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, showed more heterogeneity in COVID-19 epidemics seen to date. However, similarities in COVID-19 and influenza trends were evident within select countries irrespective of region. CONCLUSIONS: Ecological consistency in COVID-19 trends seen to date with influenza trends suggests the potential for shared individual, structural, and environmental determinants of transmission. Using a descriptive epidemiological framework to assess shared regional trends for rapidly emerging respiratory pathogens with better studied respiratory infections may provide further insights into the differential impacts of nonpharmacologic interventions and intersections with environmental conditions. Ultimately, forecasting trends and informing interventions for novel respiratory pathogens like COVID-19 should leverage epidemiologic patterns in the relative burden of past respiratory pathogens as prior information.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Cost of Illness , Global Health/statistics & numerical data , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Epidemiologic Studies , Humans
10.
AIDS Behav ; 25(2): 311-321, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-639050

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need to measure the impacts of COVID-19 among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). We conducted a cross-sectional survey with a global sample of gay men and other MSM (n = 2732) from April 16, 2020 to May 4, 2020, through a social networking app. We characterized the economic, mental health, HIV prevention and HIV treatment impacts of COVID-19 and the COVID-19 response, and examined whether sub-groups of our study population are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Many gay men and other MSM not only reported economic and mental health consequences, but also interruptions to HIV prevention and testing, and HIV care and treatment services. These consequences were significantly greater among people living with HIV, racial/ethnic minorities, immigrants, sex workers, and socio-economically disadvantaged groups. These findings highlight the urgent need to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 among gay men and other MSM.


RESUMEN: Existe una necesidad urgente para medir los impactos de COVID-19 entre hombres gay y otros hombres que tienen sexo con hombres (HSH). Hemos conducido una encuesta multifuncional con una prueba mundial de hombres gay y otros HSH (n = 2732) desde el 16 de Abril hasta el 4 de Mayo del 2020, a través de una aplicación de red social. Nosotros caracterizamos los impactos económicos, de salud mental, prevención del VIH y tratamiento del VIH e impactos a COVID-19 y la respuesta de COVID-19, y examinamos si subgrupos de nuestra población de estudio fueron impactados desproporcionadamente por COVID-19. Muchos hombres no tan solo reportaron consecuencias económicas y de salud mental, sino también interrupciones de prevención y de pruebas de VIH, y cuidado del VIH y servicios de tratamiento. Encontramos consecuencias más significantes entre personas viviendo con VIH, grupos raciales/etnicos, migrantes, sexo servidores, y groupos socioeconomicamente disfavorecidos. Los resultados subrayan la necesidad crucial de mitigar los impactos multifacéticos de COVID-19 entre los hombres homosexuales y otros HSH, especialmente para aquellos con vulnerabilidades entrelazadas.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Homosexuality, Male/psychology , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Cross-Sectional Studies , Ethnicity , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2
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