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1.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(13):262-269, 2022.
Article in English | PubMed | ID: covidwho-2162891

ABSTRACT

Beginning in March 2020, to reduce COVID-19 transmission, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief supporting voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services was delayed in 15 sub-Saharan African countries. We reviewed performance indicators to compare the number of VMMCs performed in 2020 with those performed in previous years. In all countries, the annual number of VMMCs performed decreased 32.5% (from 3,898,960 in 2019 to 2,631,951 in 2020). That reduction is largely attributed to national and local COVID-19 mitigation measures instituted by ministries of health. Overall, 66.7% of the VMMC global annual target was met in 2020, compared with 102.0% in 2019. Countries were not uniformly affected;South Africa achieved only 30.7% of its annual target in 2020, but Rwanda achieved 123.0%. Continued disruption to the VMMC program may lead to reduced circumcision coverage and potentially increased HIV-susceptible populations. Strategies for modifying VMMC services provide lessons for adapting healthcare systems during a global pandemic.

2.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 22(1):1476, 2022.
Article in English | PubMed | ID: covidwho-2153582

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Facilitating access to HIV prevention and treatment is imperative in Miami-Dade County (MDC), a U.S. HIV epicenter. With COVID-19, disruptions to these services have occurred, leading HIV organizations to innovate and demonstrate resilience. This study documented COVID-19 related disruptions and resilient innovations in HIV services within MDC. METHODS: This mixed methods cross-sectional study included HIV test counselors in MDC. In the quantitative component (N=106), participants reported COVID-19 impacts on HIV service delivery. Data visualization examined patterns within organizations and throughout the study period. Generalized estimating equation modeling examined differences in service disruptions and innovations. In the qualitative component, participants (N=20) completed interviews regarding COVID-19 impacts on HIV services. Rapid qualitative analysis was employed to analyze interviews. RESULTS: Quantitative data showed that innovations generally matched or outpaced disruptions, demonstrating resilience on HIV service delivery during COVID-19. HIV testing (36%, 95%CI[28%, 46%]) and STI testing (42%, 95%CI[33%, 52%]) were most likely to be disrupted. Sexual/reproductive health (45%, 95%CI[35%, 55%]), HIV testing (57%, 95%CI[47%,66%]), HIV case management (51%, 95%CI[41%, 60%]), PrEP initiation (47%, 95%CI[37%,57%]), and STI testing (47%, 95%CI[37%, 57%]) were most likely to be innovated. Qualitative analysis revealed three orthogonal themes related to 1) disruptions (with five sub-components), 2) resilient innovations (with four sub-components), and 3) emerging and ongoing health disparities. CONCLUSIONS: HIV organizations faced service disruptions during COVID-19 while also meaningfully innovating. Our findings point to potential changes in policy and practice that could be maintained beyond the immediate impacts of COVID-19 to enhance the resilience of HIV services. Aligning with the US Ending the HIV Epidemic Plan and the National Strategy for HIV/AIDS, capitalizing on the observed innovations would facilitate improved HIV-related health services for people living in MDC and beyond.

3.
Gates Open Research ; 4:1-17, 2020.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2067243

ABSTRACT

In contexts of scarce resources, varied assets, and diverse communities, engaging local stakeholders in the problem-solving process is critical to develop interventions for HIV prevention and treatment. Communities of practice (CPs) - groups of people organized around a key purpose and a delivery point - can develop expertise in identifying their local community's key challenges and selecting viable solutions. We propose a framework for systematically understanding the stages a CP may go through as it develops its capacity to identify and solve problems and implement good practices. Our framework is based on the experience of practitioners of the LISTEN model (Local Initiatives Scaled Through Enterprise Networks) in eight local-level CPs in Kenya and Eswatini. LISTEN seeks to help CPs integrate continuous improvement processes, data, and human-centered design into their development and solutioning activities. The four stages in our framework for a CP's problem-solving journey are: 1) Community Identity: Identify and understand the community's purpose and goals, and build rapport with its members and leaders;2) Quick Win: Use a process of human-centered design to obtain a rapid and clear success in addressing a problem that the local community has identified for itself and which it can tackle with its own resources;3) Stewardship: Support the CP in addressing more complex or long-term issues, including links to other CPs at the localcommunity or higher levels to disseminate knowledge and obtain resources and support, where needed;and 4) Evolution: Support the CP as it transitions into potentially new structures or functions. For each stage of the framework, we describe the kinds of support that may be provided to the CP in the LISTEN model, and the types of tools that could be developed to assist them in problem-solving and in disseminating sustainable solutions. Copyright © 2020. Hanschke C et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

4.
Int J Drug Policy ; 103: 103649, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2061064

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Syringe vending machines (SVM) have proven to be an effective vehicle for providing an uninterrupted supply of sterile equipment to PWID, but they have not been implemented or disseminated broadly. The aim of this study was to implement and evaluate outcomes of introducing SVM in Tbilisi, Georgia. METHODS: We installed SVM at five HIV prevention sites in 10 locations in Tbilisi, Georgia and studied implementation over 20 months. We used the RE-AIM framework to assess outcomes across four RE-AIM domains: reach, effectiveness at providing syringe access, adoption and implementation. RESULTS: Reach. SVM reached 8% of the target population. Effectiveness at Providing Syringe Access. SVM dispensed 14% of all syringes distributed by HIV prevention services. Using SVM was associated with PWID receiving more sterile syringes from HIV prevention outlets. Adoption. All HIV prevention sites (N=5) invited to implement SVM agreed to participate. Sixty one percent of PWID who received SVM access cards used SVM at least once. Women and young PWID were more likely to use SVM compared to other PWID. IMPLEMENTATION: At some sites adherence of the outreach staff to the operational protocol was suboptimal. CONCLUSIONS: SVM are an acceptable, feasible and effective intervention for improving access to sterile injection equipment for PWID. Future research will need to elaborate approaches to build the sense of ownership and improve motivation of the field staff to engage with the new intervention, and to examine strategies for attracting groups of PWID who are not in contact with prevention and treatment services.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Female , Georgia , Georgia (Republic)/epidemiology , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Needle-Exchange Programs , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Syringes
5.
Implement Sci ; 17(1): 68, 2022 10 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2053930

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Natural disasters and public health crises can disrupt communities' capacities to implement important public health programs. A nationwide implementation of an evidence-based HIV prevention program, Focus on Youth in The Caribbean (FOYC) and Caribbean Informed Parents and Children Together (CImPACT), in The Bahamas was disrupted by Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in its more remote, Family Islands. We explored the teacher- and school-level factors that affected implementation of the program in these islands during those disruptions. METHODS: Data were collected from 47 Grade 6 teachers and 984 students in 34 government elementary schools during the 2020-2021 school year. Teachers completed a pre-implementation questionnaire to record their characteristics and perceptions that might affect their implementation fidelity and an annual program training workshop. School coordinators and high-performing teachers acting as mentors received additional training to provide teachers with monitoring, feedback, and additional support. Teachers submitted data on their completion of the 9 sessions and 35 core activities of FOYC + CImPACT. The fidelity outcomes were the number of sessions and core activities taught by teachers. RESULTS: On average, teachers taught 60% of sessions and 53% of core activities. Teachers with "very good" school coordinators (34% of teachers) taught more activities than those with "satisfactory" (43%) or no (34%) school coordinator (27.5 vs. 16.8 vs. 14.8, F = 12.86, P < 0.001). Teachers who had attended online training or both online and in-person training taught more sessions (6.1 vs. 6.2 vs. 3.6, F = 4.76, P < 0.01) and more core activities (21.1 vs. 20.8 vs. 12.6, F = 3.35, P < 0.05) than those who received no training. Teachers' implementation was associated with improved student outcomes (preventive reproductive health skills, self-efficacy, and intention). CONCLUSIONS: The Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic greatly disrupted education in The Bahamas Family Islands and affected implementation of FOYC + CImPACT. However, we identified several strategies that supported teachers' implementation following these events. Teacher training and implementation monitoring increased implementation fidelity despite external challenges, and students achieved the desired learning outcomes. These strategies can better support teachers' implementation of school-based interventions during future crises.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Adolescent , Bahamas , COVID-19/prevention & control , Child , Emergencies , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Health , School Health Services
6.
AIDS Behav ; 2022 Sep 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2041288

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted sexual health services among those most vulnerable to HIV acquisition, such as adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM). We sought to characterize the changes in sexual-risk behaviors, HIV and other STI testing, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use among a longitudinal cohort of AMSM aged 13 to 18 years before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We observed a significant decline in HIV testing and a marginal decrease in other STI testing since the pandemic began in March 2020. Outreach efforts and innovative remote delivery of sexual health services are needed to support access to healthcare services among AMSM as the pandemic persists.


RESUMEN: La pandemia de COVID-19 ha afectado la prestación de servicios de salud sexual para los más vulnerables, tales como los hombres adolescentes que tienen relaciones sexuales con hombres (AMSM; por sus siglas en ingles). En una cohorte longitudinal de AMSM de 13 a 18 años, examinamos los cambios en comportamientos sexuales de alto riesgo, la prueba de VIH, las pruebas de otras enfermedades de transmisión sexual, y el uso de Profilaxis Preexposición (PrEP) para el VIH antes y durante la pandemia. Desde el inicio de la pandemia en marzo de 2020, observamos una disminución significativa en la frecuencia de pruebas de VIH y una disminución marginal en la frecuencia de pruebas de otras enfermedades de transmisión sexual. Mientras persista la pandemia, serán necesarios más esfuerzos de divulgación e innovaciones en la prestación remota de servicios de salud sexual para apoyar el acceso a dichos servicios por parte de AMSM.

7.
Health Promot Pract ; : 15248399221102913, 2022 Sep 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2038586

ABSTRACT

In Chicago, Black men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals experience higher rates of HIV diagnoses. The Southside of Chicago has a thriving house ball culture powered by MSM and TGNC individuals who are disproportionately impacted by HIV. While this community has a history of facilitating health promotion at their events, gaps exist in community-empowered education specific to this community. Through partnership between nursing students from University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and leaders from the Southside Health Advocacy Resource Partnership (SHARP) and the University of Chicago Center for HIV Elimination (CCHE), we aimed to reduce health disparities experienced by the Black MSM/TGNC community in Chicago. We promoted COVID-19 vaccinations and obtained funding for a community-led project to reduce HIV-related stigma. Our team consisted of two community leaders, seven students, and two professors. We met weekly during the development stages and detailed notes were maintained by students and updated with next steps. Four months of collaboration demonstrated how nursing coursework can facilitate community-academic partnership and yielded a COVID-19 viral vaccination promotion video, community administration of vaccines, and SHARP's procurement of funding to implement a project to reduce HIV-related stigma. Students learned the importance of community leaders' presence when bringing health care to communities. Community leaders learned to communicate population needs and best utilize students as a resource. Enriching nursing curriculum using an integrated service-learning format offers the opportunity for student development while simultaneously serving the community.

8.
JMIR Form Res ; 6(8): e33309, 2022 Aug 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2022325

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Internet and mobile phones, widely available in Brazil, could be used to disseminate information about HIV prevention and to recruit gay, bisexual, and other cisgender men who have sex with men (MSM) to HIV prevention services. Data evaluating the characteristics of MSM recruited through different web-based strategies and estimating their cost and yield in the country are not available. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to describe a web-based recruitment cascade, compare the characteristics of MSM recruited to a large HIV prevention service in Rio de Janeiro according to web-based venues, and estimate the cost per participant for each strategy. METHODS: We promoted advertisements on geosocial networking (GSN) apps (Hornet and Grindr) and social media (Facebook and Instagram) from March 2018 to October 2019. The advertisements invited viewers to contact a peer educator to schedule a visit at the HIV prevention service. Performance of web-based recruitment cascade was based on how many MSM (1) were reached by the advertisement, (2) contacted the peer educator, and (3) attended the service. We used chi-square tests to compare MSM recruited through GSN apps and social media. The estimated advertisement cost to recruit a participant was calculated by dividing total advertisement costs by number of participants who attended the service or initiated preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). RESULTS: Advertisement reached 1,477,344 individuals; 1270 MSM contacted the peer educator (86 contacts per 100,000 views)-564 (44.4%), 401 (31.6%) and 305 (24.0%)-through social media, Grindr, and Hornet. Among the 1270 individuals who contacted the peer educator, 36.3% (n=461) attended the service with similar proportion for each web-based strategy (social media: 203/564, 36.0%; Grindr: 152/401, 37.9%; and Hornet: 107/305, 35.1%). MSM recruited through GSN apps were older (mean age 30 years vs 26 years; P<.001), more frequently self-reported as White (111/247, 44.9% vs 62/191, 32.5%; P=.03), and had higher schooling level (postsecondary: 157/254, 61.8% vs 94/194, 48.5%; P=.007) than MSM recruited through social media. GSN apps recruited MSM with higher HIV risk as measured by PrEP eligibility (207/239, 86.6% vs 133/185, 71.9%; P<.001) compared with social media, but there was no difference in PrEP uptake between the two strategies (P=.22). The estimated advertisement costs per participant attending the HIV prevention service were US $28.36 for GSN apps and US $12.17 for social media. The estimated advertisement costs per participant engaging on PrEP were US $58.77 for GSN apps and US $27.75 for social media. CONCLUSIONS: Social media and GSN app advertisements were useful to disseminate information on HIV prevention strategies and to recruit MSM to a large HIV prevention service in Brazil. Compared to GSN apps, social media advertisements were less expensive and reached more vulnerable and younger MSM. Digital marketing campaigns should use different and complementary web-based venues to reach a plurality of MSM.

9.
AIDS Patient Care STDS ; 36(8): 313-320, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1992050

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic continues driving unprecedented disruptions to health care provision, including HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services. We explored service provider experiences promoting and prescribing PrEP to marginalized populations during the COVID-19 pandemic in Baltimore, Maryland. In February to April 2021, we facilitated four virtual focus group discussions with 20 PrEP providers, representing various professional cadres and practice settings. Employing an iterative, team-based thematic analysis, we identified salient enablers and constraints to PrEP promotion, initiation, and maintenance in the COVID-19 era, along with innovative adaptations to PrEP service delivery. Discussants described attenuated demands for PrEP early in the pandemic, exemplified by high PrEP discontinuation rates. This was attributed to changes in clients' sexual behaviors and shifting priorities, including caregiving responsibilities, during the pandemic. Substantial systems-level disruptions impacting PrEP provision were identified, including outreach service suspension, personnel shortages, and facility restrictions on face-to-face visits. Providers emphasized that these disruptions, though occurring early in the pandemic, had protracted impacts on PrEP accessibility. The transition to telemedicine rendered health care services, including PrEP, more accessible/convenient to some clients and expeditious to providers. However, structural barriers to telehealth engagement (telephone/internet access), coupled with limitations of the virtual care environment (difficulty establishing rapport), impeded efforts to equitably promote and prescribe PrEP. Expanding the PrEP outreach workforce and availing alternatives to telemedicine (e.g., community-based PrEP provision, specimen self-collection) could facilitate PrEP care continuity, especially as COVID-19 transitions from an acute to a protracted health crisis.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents , COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , Baltimore/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Qualitative Research
10.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 22: 100486, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1983612

ABSTRACT

Background: Oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been available and fully reimbursed for people at high risk of sexually acquired HIV infection in France since January 2016. Its dissemination has been widely promoted to reduce HIV incidence in high-risk populations. This study aimed to assess the roll-out of PrEP use in France from its implementation until mid-2021. Methods: Using the French National Health Data System (SNDS) covering 99% of people residing in France, all PrEP users defined as individuals aged 15 years or older who received at least one dispensing of PrEP between 1 January 2016 and 30 June 2021 were identified. PrEP users number and their socio-demographic and PrEP use characteristics were assessed over time. Findings: As of 30 June 2021, a total of 42 159 individuals had initiated PrEP in France. Monthly PrEP initiations increased steadily up to 1027 in February 2020, and then slowed down sharply from the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic until a recovery in the first half of 2021. PrEP users were overwhelmingly men (97·5%, 41 126/42 159), aged 36 years on average, living in a large metropolitan area (73·8%, 31 096/42 159), and among whom a minority (7·0%, 2966/42 159) were socio-economically disadvantaged. Throughout the study period, 80-90% of users renewed PrEP from one semester to another, suggesting a good level of maintenance among those engaged in treatment. Nevertheless, for 20·1% (7148/35 549) of new PrEP users no prescription renewal was recorded in the first six months after initiation, suggesting a substantial proportion of early treatment discontinuation. Private practitioners accounted for a minority (21·3%, 77 885/366 399) of PrEP renewal prescriptions. Interpretation: PrEP roll-out has been markedly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in France. Although PrEP deployment has been substantial among men who have sex with men, further action is needed to expand access to PrEP to all other population groups who could benefit from it and to promote adherence to treatment. Funding: This research was carried out within EPI-PHARE without external funding.

11.
Arch Sex Behav ; 2022 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1959019

ABSTRACT

This study analyzes how the COVID-19 pandemic affected sexual behavior and use of HIV prevention methods among young transgender women (YTGW) and young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (YGBMSM) participating in an HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) demonstration study in Brazil. Online interviews with 39 participants aged 15-22 years old were conducted between September and November 2020 and analyzed based on social constructionism and human rights-based approaches to health. The pandemic disrupted interviewees' routines, negatively affecting their life conditions. Among those who did not have a steady partner, social distance measures led to temporary interruption of sexual encounters and increased sexting and solo sex. Conversely, for those who had a steady relationship such measures contributed to increasing sexual practices and intimacy. Participants who had sexual encounters during the pandemic reported having continued to use PrEP. However, home confinement with family, lack of privacy, loss of daily routines and changes in housing impaired PrEP adherence and attendance at follow-up consultations. These results highlight the importance of maintaining HIV-service delivery for these groups during a public health crisis, as well as to address the structural drivers of the epidemic with comprehensive HIV prevention policies and by ensuring access of YGBMSM and YTGW to social protection policies.

12.
AIDS Behav ; 2022 Jul 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1959018

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has disrupted sexual behaviour and access to health systems. We adapted regular HIV behavioural surveillance of gay and bisexual men (GBM) in Australia in response to COVID-19, assessed the impact on the profile of the sample, the participants' HIV-related behaviour, and whether COVID-19 may have accentuated existing disparities in the Australian HIV epidemic. Data collected from five states during July 2017-June 2021 were included (N = 31,460). The emphasis on online recruitment after COVID-19 led to smaller sample sizes, greater geographic reach, and a higher proportion of bisexual-identifying participants. Most participants (88.1%) reported physical distancing and 52.1% had fewer sex partners due to COVID-19. In the COVID-19-affected rounds (July 2020-June 2021), the number of male partners, recent HIV testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use all fell, and HIV risk among the smaller group of participants who reported casual sex increased. COVID-related changes were generally more pronounced among GBM aged under 25 years, participants from suburbs with fewer gay residents, and bisexual men. These groups should be prioritised when encouraging GBM to reengage with HIV testing services and effective prevention methods, like condoms and PrEP.


RESUMEN: COVID-19 ha interrumpido el comportamiento sexual y el acceso a los sistemas de salud. Adaptamos la vigilancia regular del comportamiento de hombres homosexuales y bisexuales (GBM) hacia el VIH en Australia en respuesta a COVID-19, evaluamos el impacto en el perfil de la muestra, el comportamiento relacionado con el VIH de los participantes y si COVID-19 puede haber acentuado las existentes disparidades en la epidemia australiana de VIH. Se incluyeron los datos recopilados de cinco estados entre julio de 2017 y junio de 2021 (N = 31 460). El énfasis en el reclutamiento en línea después de COVID-19 resulto en tamaños de muestra más pequeños, mayor alcance geográfico y una mayor proporción de participantes que se identifican como bisexuales. La mayoría de los participantes (88,1%) describieron participando en el distanciamiento físico y el 52,1% tuvo menos parejas sexuales debido a la COVID-19. En las rondas afectadas por COVID-19 (julio de 2020 a junio de 2021), disminuyó la cantidad de parejas masculinas, el uso reciente de pruebas de VIH y de la profilaxis previa a la exposición (PrEP), y el riesgo de VIH entre el grupo más pequeño de participantes que participaron en sexo casual aumentó. Los cambios relacionados con COVID fueron generalmente más pronunciados entre GBM menores de 25 años, participantes de suburbios con menos residentes homosexuales y hombres bisexuales. Se debe priorizar a estos grupos al alentar a GBM a volver a comprometerse con los servicios de pruebas de VIH y métodos de prevención efectivos, como condones y PrEP.

13.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 25(7): e25968, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1958777

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Community-based delivery of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to South African adolescent girls and young women's (AGYW) could increase access but needs evaluation. We integrated PrEP services via home-based services and pop-up tents into existing community-based HIV testing services (CB-HTS) in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. METHODS: After accessing CB-HTS via a "pop-up" tent or home-based services, HIV-negative AGYW aged 16-25 years were invited to complete a baseline questionnaire and referred for PrEP services at a community-based PrEP site co-located with pop-up HTS tents. A 30-day supply of PrEP was dispensed. PrEP uptake, time-to-initiation, cohort characteristics and first medication refill within 90 days were measured using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Of the 1164 AGYW who tested for HIV, 825 (74.3%) completed a questionnaire and 806 (97.7%) were referred for community-based PrEP. Of those, 624 (77.4%) presented for PrEP (482/483 [99.8%] from pop-up HTS and 142/323 [44.0%] from home-based HTS), of which 603 (96.6%) initiated PrEP. Of those initiating PrEP following home-based HTS, 59.1% initiated within 0-3 days, 25.6% within 4-14 days and 15.3% took ≥15 days to initiate; 100% of AGYW who used pop-up HTS initiated PrEP the same day. Among AGWY initiating PrEP, 37.5% had a detectable sexually transmitted infection (STI). Although AGYW reported a low self-perception of HIV risk, post-hoc application of HIV risk assessment measures to available data classified most study participants as high risk for HIV acquisition. Cumulatively, 329 (54.6%) AGYW presented for a first medication refill within 90 days of accepting their first bottle of PrEP. CONCLUSIONS: Leveraging CB-HTS platforms to provide same-day PrEP initiation and refill services was acceptable to AGYW. A higher proportion of AGYW initiated PrEP when co-located with CB-HTS sites compared to those referred following home-based HTS, suggesting that proximity of CB-HTS and PrEP services facilitates PrEP uptake among AGYW. The high prevalence of STIs among those initiating PrEP necessitates the integration of STI and HIV prevention programs for AGYW. Eligibility for PrEP initiation should not be required among AHYW in high HIV burden communities. Community-based service delivery will be crucial to maintaining access to PrEP services during the COVID-19 pandemic and future health and humanitarian emergencies.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents , COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , Adolescent , Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , Counseling , Feasibility Studies , Female , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics , South Africa
15.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 25 Suppl 2: e25912, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1941095

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Historical approaches to clinical development of novel therapeutics for treatment and prevention of HIV have led to unacceptable delays in the generation of data to support optimal antiretroviral drug use in pregnancy. Over the last 5 years, multiple stakeholders have voiced their concerns around the exclusion of pregnant women from drug trials, and some progress has been made to consolidate principles and forge consensus. Building on ongoing efforts, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Maternal Paediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network (IMPAACT) convened a technical consultation designed to move the discussion from theory to practice. DISCUSSION: Accelerating the inclusion of pregnant women in pre-licensure clinical trials, with a goal to have pharmacokinetics (PK) and preliminary safety data for all new HIV agents in pregnancy available at the time of drug approval, requires: (1) performing non-clinical developmental and reproductive toxicology studies early in drug development for all new HIV agents; (2) recognizing and acting on the central role of women of childbearing potential affected by HIV through the research being conducted and the dissemination of associated results; (3) enrolling pregnant women in studies to specifically determine pregnancy PK and preliminary safety, as soon as late non-clinical studies are completed with no negative signals, for all new HIV agents that have demonstrated preliminary evidence of safety and efficacy from phase 2 trials; (4) investigating adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes through dedicated pregnancy safety studies for all new priority HIV agents; and (5) expanding active surveillance of drug safety in pregnancy for rare events, such as birth defects. Strategic actions to pursue include developing tools and resources to support designing and implementing studies among pregnant and breastfeeding women, identifying and promoting modifications of the regulatory framework that are supportive of systematic ethical investigation of new drugs in pregnancy, coordinating surveillance efforts, mobilizing key stakeholders and promoting transparency and accountability for all involved. CONCLUSIONS: With more than 19 million women living with HIV worldwide, ensuring greater inclusion of pregnant women in research on novel therapeutics is a priority to support drug optimization and effective introduction of innovations for treatment and prevention of HIV.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , Adolescent , Anti-Retroviral Agents/therapeutic use , Breast Feeding , Child , Drug Therapy, Combination , Female , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/drug therapy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/prevention & control
16.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(11)2022 05 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1924218

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: High participant retention is essential to achieve adequate statistical power for clinical trials. We assessed participant retention and predictors of loss to follow-up (LTFU) in an HIV vaccine-preparedness study in Masaka, Uganda. METHODS: Between July 2018 and March 2021, HIV sero-negative adults (18-45 years) at high risk of HIV infection were identified through HIV counselling and testing (HCT) from sex-work hotspots along the trans-African highway and fishing communities along the shores of Lake Victoria. Study procedures included collection of baseline socio-demographic data, quarterly HCT, and 6-monthly collection of sexual risk behaviour data. Retention strategies included collection of detailed locator data, short clinic visits (1-2 h), flexible reimbursement for transport costs, immediate (≤7 days) follow-up of missed visits via phone and/or home visits, and community engagement meetings. LTFU was defined as missing ≥2 sequential study visits. Poisson regression models were used to identify baseline factors associated with LTFU. RESULTS: 672 participants were included in this analysis. Of these, 336 (50%) were female and 390 (58%) were ≤24 years. The median follow-up time was 11 months (range: 0-31 months). A total 214 (32%) participants were LTFU over 607.8 person-years of observation (PYO), a rate of 35.2/100 PYO. LTFU was higher in younger participants (18-24 years versus 35-45 years, adjusted rate ratio (aRR) = 1.29, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.80-2.11), although this difference was not significant. Female sex (aRR = 2.07, 95% CI, 1.51-2.84), and recreational drug use (aRR = 1.61, 95% CI, 1.12-2.34) were significantly associated with increased LTFU. Engagement in transactional sex was associated with increased LTFU (aRR = 1.36, 95% CI, 0.97-1.90) but this difference was not significant. LTFU was higher in 2020-2021 (the period of COVID-19 restrictions) compared to 2018-2019 (aRR = 1.54, 1.17-2.03). Being Muslim or other (aRR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47-0.97) and self-identification as a sex worker (aRR = 0.47, 95% CI, 0.31-0.72) were associated with reduced LTFU. CONCLUSION: We observed a high LTFU rate in this cohort. LTFU was highest among women, younger persons, recreational drug users, and persons who engage in transactional sex. Efforts to design retention strategies should focus on these subpopulations.


Subject(s)
AIDS Vaccines , COVID-19 , HIV Infections , AIDS Vaccines/therapeutic use , Adult , Female , Follow-Up Studies , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Male , Uganda/epidemiology
17.
JMIR Serious Games ; 10(2): e35869, 2022 Jun 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1923860

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Digital interventions have been applied for promoting HIV prevention and care among men who have sex with men (MSM). As user interface (UI) design plays a role in determining usability and user experience (UX), the intervention outcome could be affected. OBJECTIVE: In this study, we hypothesized that 2 UI design styles, namely gamification and neumorphism, could impact usability and be differentially preferred by distinct groups of MSM. METHODS: A prospective parallel-group open-label randomized controlled trial was conducted in Hong Kong. Eligible participants were adult MSM recruited by the research team or referred by enrolled participants, who followed instructions for performing an HIV self-test and promoted its use within their social network. Participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio into either a gamification or neumorphism arm, with primarily visual differences in the UI only. The primary outcome was usability measured by the System Usability Scale (SUS) between the 2 arms. Distinct characteristics of promoters in the 2 arms who gave an SUS score of 80 or above were identified. RESULTS: Of 463 MSM registered in the study, 232 and 231 were randomized to the gamification and neumorphism arms, respectively. Excluding those who did not request a self-test kit, data from 218 and 216 participants in the gamification and neumorphism arms, respectively, were analyzed (totally 434 participants). With a median SUS score of 80 overall, participants in the neumorphism arm gave a higher score (P<.001), with a higher proportion giving a promoter-level SUS score (P=.002). Promoters used social media for sex networking (P=.02), used pre-exposure prophylaxis in the preceding year (P=.006), had higher satisfaction in UI design (P<.001), and had made a self-test referral (P=.04). In general, higher usability was recorded among participants who were confident in performing the HIV self-test (P<.001), and this was associated with a promoter-level SUS score in both arms. While no other personal characteristics were associated with promoters in the neumorphism arm, those in the gamification arm had higher HIV-related knowledge (P=.01), preferred a specific partner body image type (P=.03), and progressed toward peer referral by completing online training (P=.04). CONCLUSIONS: Both gamified and neumorphic UI designs were well-accepted by MSM. UX and satisfaction of UI were both crucial in influencing the willingness of MSM to promote the application by referring their peers in the community to participate. The simplistic visual design of neumorphism conferred a more general acceptance in the community, whereas gamification was preferred in certain MSM subcommunities. Appropriate UI/UX design should be considered when developing digital interventions targeting the MSM community. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04379206; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04379206.

18.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 1026, 2022 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1910296

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Safe Spaces are a feature of combination HIV prevention interventions for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in South Africa. We investigated whether AGYW at risk for adverse sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes accessed Safe Spaces that were part of an intervention, as well as their feasibility and acceptability. METHODS: In December 2020 to February 2021, as part of a process evaluation of a combination HIV prevention intervention, we randomly sampled 2160 AGYW intervention beneficiaries aged 15-24 years from 6 of the 12 intervention districts. We invited them to participate in a phone survey, with questions about their vulnerability to adverse SRH outcomes, and participation in intervention components including Safe Spaces. We examined factors associated with use of Safe Spaces using bivariate analyses and Pearson's chi squared tests. We also conducted in-depth interviews with 50 AGYW beneficiaries, 27 intervention implementers, 4 health workers, 7 social workers, and 12 community stakeholders, to explore perceptions and experiences of the intervention. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data was performed. RESULTS: At least 30 Safe Spaces were established across 6 districts. Five hundred fifteen of two thousand one hundred sixty sampled AGYW participated in the survey of whom 22.6% visited a Safe Space, accessing HIV testing (52.2%), mobile health services (21.2%) and counselling for distress (24.8%) while there. Beneficiaries of lower socioeconomic status (SES) were less likely to have visited a Safe Space, compared with those of higher SES (13.6% versus 25.3%; p < 0.01). Implementers described political, structural and financial challenges in identifying and setting up Safe Spaces that were safe, accessible and adequately-resourced, and challenges with AGYW not utilising them as expected. AGYW shared positive views of Safe Spaces, describing benefits such as access to computers and the internet, support with homework and job and education applications, and a space in which to connect with peers. CONCLUSION: AGYW are attracted to Safe Spaces by educational and employment promoting interventions and recreational activities, and many will take up the offer of SRH services while there. The poorest AGYW are more likely to be excluded, therefore, an understanding of the obstacles to, and enablers of their inclusion should inform Safe Space intervention design.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Adolescent , Counseling , Feasibility Studies , Female , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Sexual Behavior , South Africa
19.
AIDS Behav ; 2022 Jun 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1906163

ABSTRACT

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective for HIV prevention, yet PrEP delivery to women in periconception and pregnancy has lagged. We report qualitative research from a study evaluating PrEP use as part of safer conception care for 330 South African women. Fifty-two semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 study participants to identify influences on PrEP adherence. Influences were: (1) changing proximity to male partners; (2) COVID-19 lockdown; (3) mobile lifestyle; (4) PrEP-related stigma; (5) disclosure of PrEP use; and (6) pregnancy and motherhood. Data also revealed important contextual information shaping adherence influences for women, including: (a) not living with partners, (b) partners as drivers of pregnancy intention, and (c) feeling at high risk for HIV. Disclosure of PrEP use, addressing stigma, strategies for traveling with pills, and counseling on prevention effective adherence are promising components of PrEP-inclusive HIV prevention interventions for South African women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy.

20.
Glob Implement Res Appl ; 2(2): 166-177, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1899420

ABSTRACT

Harmonizing measures across studies can facilitate comparisons and strengthen the science, but procedures for establishing common data elements are rarely documented. We detail a rigorous, 2-year process to harmonize measures across the Prevention And Treatment through a Comprehensive Care Continuum for HIV-affected Adolescents in Resource Constrained Settings (PATC3H) consortium, consisting of eight federally-funded studies. We created a repository of measured constructs from each study, classified and selected constructs for harmonization, and identified survey instruments. Measures were harmonized for implementation science, HIV prevention and care, demographics and sexual behavior, mental health and substance use, and economic assessment. Importantly, we present our harmonized implementation science constructs. A common set of implementation science constructs have yet to be recommended in the literature for low-to-middle-income countries despite increasing recognition of their importance to delivering and scaling up effective interventions. Drawing on RE-AIM (Reach Effectiveness Adoption Implementation Maintenance) and the Implementation Outcomes Framework, items were harmonized for staff/administrators and study participants to measure reach, adoption, implementation, maintenance, feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness, and fidelity. The process undertaken to harmonize measures and the codified set of implementation science measures developed by our consortium can inform future data harmonization efforts, critical to strengthening the replication and generalizability of findings while facilitating collaborative research-especially in resource-limited settings. We conclude with recommendations for research consortia, namely ensuring representation from all study teams and research priorities; adopting a flexible, transparent, and systematic approach; strengthening the literature on implementation science harmonization; and being responsive to life events (e.g., COVID-19). Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s43477-022-00042-7.

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