Posted: Nov 18, 2016
PrEP as a feature in the optimal landscape of combination HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa
Introduction: The new WHO guidelines recommend offering pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to people who are at substantial risk of HIV infection. However, where PrEP should be prioritised, and for which population groups, remains an open question. The HIV landscape in sub-Saharan Africa features limited prevention resources, multiple options for achieving cost saving, and epidemic heterogeneity. This paper examines what role PrEP should play in optimal prevention in this complex and dynamic landscape.
Methods: We use a model that was previously developed to capture subnational HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. With this model, we can consider how prevention funds could be distributed across and within countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa to enable optimal HIV prevention (that is, avert the greatest number of infections for the lowest cost). Here, we focus on PrEP to elucidate where, and to whom, it would optimally be offered in portfolios of interventions (alongside voluntary medical male circumcision, treatment as prevention, and behaviour change communication). Over a range of continental expenditure levels, we use our model to explore prevention patterns that incorporate PrEP, exclude PrEP, or implement PrEP according to a fixed incidence threshold.
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Results: At low-to-moderate levels of total prevention expenditure, we find that the optimal intervention portfolios would include PrEP in only a few regions and primarily for female sex workers (FSW). Prioritisation of PrEP would expand with increasing total expenditure, such that the optimal prevention portfolios would offer PrEP in more subnational regions and increasingly for men who have sex with men (MSM) and the lower incidence general population. The marginal benefit of including PrEP among the available interventions increases with overall expenditure by up to 14% (relative to excluding PrEP). The minimum baseline incidence for the optimal offer of PrEP declines for all population groups as expenditure increases. We find that using a fixed incidence benchmark to guide PrEP decisions would incur considerable losses in impact (up to 7%) compared with an approach that uses PrEP more flexibly in light of prevailing budget conditions.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that, for an optimal distribution of prevention resources, choices of whether to implement PrEP in subnational regions should depend on the scope for impact of other possible interventions, local incidence in population groups, and total resources available. If prevention funding were to become restricted in the future, it may be suboptimal to use PrEP according to a fixed incidence benchmark, and other prevention modalities may be more cost-effective. In contrast, expansions in funding could permit PrEP to be used to its full potential in epidemiologically driven prevention portfolios and thereby enable a more cost-effective HIV response across Africa.
McGillen JB et al. PrEP as a feature in the optimal landscape of combination HIV
prevention in sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of the International AIDS Society 2016, 19(Suppl 6):21104
Posted: Nov 18, 2016
Resourcing resilience: social protection for HIV prevention amongst children and adolescents in Eastern and Southern Africa
Adolescents are the only age group with growing AIDS-related morbidity and mortality in Eastern and Southern Africa, making HIV prevention research among this population an urgent priority. Structural deprivations are key drivers of adolescent HIV infection in this region. Biomedical interventions must be combined with behavioural and social interventions to alleviate the socio-structural determinants of HIV infection. There is growing evidence that social protection has the potential to reduce the risk of HIV infection among children and adolescents. This research combined expert consultations with a rigorous review of academic and policy literature on the effectiveness of social protection for HIV prevention among children and adolescents, including prevention for those already HIV-positive. The study had three goals: (i) assess the evidence on the effectiveness of social protection for HIV prevention, (ii) consider key challenges to implementing social protection programmes that promote HIV prevention, and (iii) identify critical research gaps in social protection and HIV prevention, in Eastern and Southern Africa. Causal pathways of inequality, poverty, gender and HIV risk require flexible and responsive social protection mechanisms. Results confirmed that HIV-inclusive child- and adolescent-sensitive social protection has the potential to interrupt risk pathways to HIV infection and foster resilience. In particular, empirical evidence (literature and expert feedback) detailed the effectiveness of combination social protection particularly cash/in-kind components combined with “care” and “capability” among children and adolescents. Social protection programmes should be dynamic and flexible, and consider age, gender, HIV-related stigma, and context, including cultural norms, which offer opportunities to improve programmatic coverage, reach and uptake. Effective HIV prevention also requires integrated social protection policies, developed through strong national government ownership and leadership. Future research should explore which combinations of social protection work for sub-groups of children and adolescents, particularly those living with HIV.
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Toska E, Gittings L, Hodes R, et al. Resourcing resilience: social protection for HIV prevention amongst children and adolescents in Eastern and Southern Africa. African journal of AIDS research : AJAR 2016;15(2):123-40. doi: 10.2989/16085906.2016.1194299 [published Online First: 2016/07/12]
Posted: Nov 15, 2016
Using HPV vaccination for promotion of an adolescent package of care: opportunity and perspectives
Background: Adolescents are a difficult population to access for preventive health care, particularly in less resourced countries. Evidence from developed countries indicates that the HPV vaccine schedule may be a useful platform from which to deliver other adolescent health care services. We conducted a qualitative cross sectional study to assess the potential for using the HPV vaccine in the South African public health care system as an opportunity for integrated health care services for adolescents.
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Methods: Parents, young adolescents, community members and key informants participated in interviews and focus group discussions about feasibility and acceptability, particularly the use of the HPV vaccination as the basis for an integrated adolescent package of care. Health care providers in both provinces participated in focus group discussions and completed a pairwise ranking exercise to compare and prioritise interventions for inclusion in an adolescent package of care.
Results: Participants were in favour of integration and showed preference for detailed information about the HPV vaccine, general health information and specific sexual and reproductive health information. Among health care workers, results differed markedly by location. In North West, prioritisation was given to information, screening and referral for tobacco and alcohol abuse, and screening for hearing and vision. In Gauteng integration with referral for male circumcision, and information, screening and referral for child abuse were ranked most highly.
Conclusions: There is generally support for the delivery of adolescent preventive health services. Despite national priorities to address adolescent health needs, our data suggest that national policies might not always be appropriate for vastly different local situations. While decisions about interventions to include have traditionally been made at country level, our results suggest that local context needs to be taken account of. We suggest low resource strategies for ensuring that national policies are introduced at local level in a manner that addresses local priorities, context and resource availability.
MACPHAIL, C., VENABLES, E., REES, H. & DELANY-MORETLWE, S. 2013. Using HPV vaccination for promotion of an adolescent package of care: opportunity and perspectives. BMC Public Health, 13, 1
Posted: Aug 17, 2016
HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women
This programming guidance is meant to inform programmes that aim to reduce HIV infection among adolescent girls and young women in countries and locations where HIV incidence is high among adolescent girls and young women and where HIV is primarily spread through heterosexual transmission. This report primarily is for policy-makers, planners and implementers of HIV prevention programmes across multiple sectors, including organizations led by young people.
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The document also is useful for experts in wider health and social sector programmes, including health workers and teaching staff, or any other professionals who can integrate dimensions of HIV prevention into their area of work.
HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women,. 2016. Print.