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  • Journal article
    Ensor S, Davies B, Rai T, Ward Het al., 2019,

    The effectiveness of demand creation interventions for voluntary male medical circumcision for HIV prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa; a mixed methods systematic review

    , Journal of the International AIDS Society, Vol: 22, Pages: 40-53, ISSN: 1758-2652

    IntroductionUNAIDS has recommended that in 14 countries across sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA), 90% of men aged 10 to 29 years should be circumcised by 2021 to help reduce transmission of HIV. To achieve this target demand creation programmes have been widely implemented to increase demand for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC). This review explores the effectiveness of demand creation interventions and factors affecting programme implementation.MethodsWe completed a mixed methods systematic review searching Medline, Embase, Global health, psycINFO and CINAHL databases in August 2018 with no time restrictions. Demand creation interventions conducted in SSA were categorized and quantitative data about VMMC uptake was used to compare relative and absolute effectiveness of interventions. Qualitative data were summarized into themes relevant to the delivery and impact of programmes.Results and discussionEighteen of the 904 titles were included in the review. Effective interventions were identified in each demand creation category: financial incentives, counselling or education, involvement of influencers and novel information delivery. Of the 11 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), the greatest absolute impact on VMMC prevalence was seen with a complex intervention including VMMC promotion training for religious leaders (compared to control: 23% (95% CI 22.8 to 23.8) absolute increase; odds ratio (OR) 3.2 (1.4 to 7.3)). Financial incentives generally produced the largest relative effects with men up to seven‐times more likely to undergo VMMC in the intervention arm compared to control (adjusted OR 7.1 (95% CI 2.4 to 20.8), 7.1% (3.7 to 10.5) absolute increase). Qualitative findings suggest that interventions are more impactful when they are judged appropriate and acceptable by the target population; delivered by people with relevant personal experience; and addressing broader social and cultural influences through partnership with and education of community leaders.Con

  • Journal article
    Ward H, Garnett GP, Mayer KH, Dallabetta GAet al., 2019,

    Maximizing the impact of HIV prevention technologies in sub‐Saharan Africa

    , Journal of the International AIDS Society, Vol: 22, ISSN: 1758-2652
  • Conference paper
    Papageorgiou V, Crittendon E, Davies B, Ward Het al., 2019,

    Impact of pre-exposure prophylaxis on the risk of bacterial sexually transmitted infections among cisgender women: systematic review

    , AIDS Impact 2019
  • Conference paper
    Ensor S, Davies B, Rai T, Ward Het al., 2019,

    The effectiveness of demand creation interventions for voluntary male medical circumcision for HIV prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa; a mixed methods systematic review

    , AIDS Impact 2019
  • Conference paper
    Pristera P, Bruton J, Cooke G, Day S, Ward Het al., 2019,

    Perspectives on transmission, treatment and elimination of hepatitis C in HIV-positive MSM in London: a qualitative study

    , AIDS IMPACT 2019
  • Journal article
    Ronn M, Mc Grath-Lone L, Davies B, Wilson J, Ward Het al., 2019,

    Evaluation of the performance of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) in detection of chlamydia and gonorrhoea infection in vaginal specimens relative to patient infection status: a systematic review

    , BMJ Open, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2044-6055

    OBJECTIVE: We aimed to assess the performance of NAATs using vaginal specimens in comparison to other urogenital specimens in their ability to detect chlamydia and gonorrhea infection in women.DESIGN: Systematic review.DATA SOURCES: EMBASE and Ovid MEDLINE databases through 3 October 2017.ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES: We included studies that tested samples from the vagina and ≥1 other site (cervix and/or urine) with ≥2 NAATs for chlamydia and ≥2 NAATs or 1 NAAT and culture for gonorrhoea for each site.DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: We compared the performance of NAATs on specimens taken from the vagina to those from the cervix or urine in diagnosing chlamydia and gonorrhoea infection in women based on patient infection status (PIS). We analysed the performance using vaginal specimens compared to PIS. Performance is defined as the sensitivity of a NAAT using a specimen site and PIS status of the patient. We assessed risk of bias using modified QUADAS-2.RESULTS: Nine publications met the inclusion criteria (eight for chlamydia; six for gonorrhoea) and were narratively reviewed. Pooled summary estimates were not calculated due to the variable methodology and PIS definitions. Tests performed on vaginal specimens accomplished similar performance to cervical and urine specimens for chlamydia (range of performance estimates: vaginal 65-100%, cervical 59-97%, urine 57-100%) and gonorrhoea (vaginal 64-100%, cervical 85-100%, urine 67-94%). Vaginal specimens were estimated to have a performance >80% for chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections in all but one study.CONCLUSIONS: Performance of the NAATs for chlamydia and gonorrhea detection using vaginal specimens was similar to that of cervical and urine specimens relativeto PIS. As vaginal samples have a higher acceptability and lower cost, the study can support clinical testing guidelines by providing evidence that vaginal samples are a suitable alternative to traditional test sites.

  • Journal article
    Rai T, Bruton P, Day S, Ward Het al., 2018,

    From activism to secrecy: contemporary experiences of living with HIV in London in people diagnosed from 1986 to 2014

    , Health Expectations, Vol: 21, Pages: 1134-1141, ISSN: 1369-6513

    Background:Successes in biomedicine have transformed HIV from a debilitating and frequently fatal infection to a chronic, manageable condition. Objective:To explore how the contemporary metanarrative of HIV as a chronic condition is understood by patients and how it varies depending on when they were diagnosed.Design:Qualitative interviews with fifty-two people living with HIV who were diagnosed during different phases in the history of the epidemic. Setting and participantsParticipants were recruited from two HIV clinics in London to include four “HIV generations”: generation 1 were those who had been diagnosed pre-1997 (pre-ART), generation 2 from 1997-2005 (complex ART), generation 3 from 2006-2012 (simpler ART) and generation 4 were diagnosed in the year before the study (2013-2014). Results: Participants in all HIV generations took their medication as prescribed, attended clinic appointments and were well-informed about their immunological biomarkers. While the pre-treatment generation had been engaged in community endeavours such as activism, public education and use of support groups, those more recently diagnosed had little experience of collective activities and their HIV was essentially a private matter, separate from their social identity. These strategies worked for some however those experiencing clinical or social problems related to HIV or wider issues often relied exclusively on their HIV clinic for wider support. Conclusion:The loss of public conversation around HIV, the imperative for patients to take on greater individual responsibility for HIV management and the streamlining of HIV services alongside reductions in ancillary support services may expose some people to suboptimal health outcomes.

  • Journal article
    Aghaizu A, Tosswill J, De Angelis D, Ward H, Hughes G, Murphy G, Delpech Vet al., 2018,

    HIV incidence among sexual health clinic attendees in England: First estimates for black African heterosexuals using a biomarker, 2009-2013

    , PLoS ONE, Vol: 13, ISSN: 1932-6203

    IntroductionThe HIV epidemic in England is largely concentrated among heterosexuals who are predominately black African and men who have sex with men (MSM). We present for the first time trends in annual HIV incidence for adults attending sexual health clinics, where 80% of all HIV diagnoses are made.MethodsWe identified newly diagnosed incident HIV using a recent infection testing algorithm (RITA) consisting of a biomarker (AxSYM assay, modified to determine antibody avidity), epidemiological and clinical information. We estimated HIV incidence using the WHO RITA formula for cross-sectional studies, with HIV testing data from sexual health clinics as the denominator.ResultsFrom 2009 to 2013, each year, between 9,700 and 26,000 black African heterosexuals (of between 161,000 and 231,000 heterosexuals overall) were included in analyses. For the same period, annually between 19,000 and 55,000 MSM were included. Estimates of HIV incidence among black Africans increased slightly (although non-significantly) from 0.15% (95% C.I.0.05%-0.26%) in 2009 to 0.19% (95% C.I.0.04%-0.34%) in 2013 and was 4-5-fold higher than among all heterosexuals among which it remained stable between 0.03% (95% C.I.0.02%-0.05%) and 0.05% (95% C.I.0.03%-0.07%) over the period. Among MSM incidence was highest and increased (non-significantly) from 1.24% (95%C.I 0.96–1.52%) to 1.46% (95% C.I 1.23%-1.70%) after a peak of 1.52% (95%C.I 1.30%-1.75%) in 2012.ConclusionThese are the first nationwide estimates for trends in HIV incidence among black African and heterosexual populations in England which show black Africans, alongside MSM, remain disproportionately at risk of infection. Although people attending sexual health clinics may not be representative of the general population, nearly half of black Africans and MSM had attended in the previous 5 years. Timely and accurate incidence estimates will be critical in monitoring the impact of the reconfiguration of sexual health services in England

  • Journal article
    Pufall EL, Kall M, Shahmanesh M, Nardone A, Gilson R, Delpech V, Ward H, Positive Voices study groupet al., 2018,

    Sexualized drug use ('chemsex') and high-risk sexual behaviours in HIV-positive men who have sex with men

    , HIV Medicine, Vol: 19, Pages: 261-270, ISSN: 1464-2662

    OBJECTIVES: The incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV infection remains high in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in the UK, and sexualized drug use ("chemsex") and injecting drug use ("slamsex") may play a part in this. We aimed to characterize HIV-positive MSM engaging in chemsex/slamsex and to assess the associations with self-reported STI diagnoses and sexual behaviours. METHODS: Data from a 2014 survey of people attending HIV clinics in England and Wales were linked to clinical data from national HIV surveillance records and weighted to be nationally representative. Multivariable logistic regression assessed the associations of chemsex and slamsex with self-reported unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), serodiscordant UAI (sdUAI) (i.e. UAI with an HIV-negative or unknown HIV status partner), sdUAI with a detectable viral load (>50 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL), hepatitis C, and bacterial STIs. RESULTS: In the previous year, 29.5% of 392 sexually active participants engaged in chemsex, and 10.1% in slamsex. Chemsex was significantly associated with increased odds of UAI [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 5.73; P < 0.001], sdUAI (AOR 2.34; P < 0.05), sdUAI with a detectable viral load (AOR 3.86; P < 0.01), hepatitis C (AOR 6.58; P < 0.01), and bacterial STI diagnosis (AOR 2.65; P < 0.01). Slamsex was associated with increased odds of UAI (AOR 6.11; P < 0.05), hepatitis C (AOR 9.39; P < 0.001), and bacterial STI diagnosis (AOR 6.11; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Three in ten sexually active HIV-positive MSM engaged in chemsex in the past year, which was positively associated with self-reported depression/anxiety, smoking, nonsexual drug use, risky sexual behaviours, STIs, and hepatitis C. Chemsex may therefore play a role in the ongoing HIV and STI epidemics in the UK.

  • Journal article
    Bruton PJ, Rai T, Day S, Ward Het al., 2018,

    Patient perspectives on the HIV continuum of care in London: a qualitative study of people diagnosed between 1986 and 2014

    , BMJ Open, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2044-6055

    Objectives: To describe the experiences of the HIV treatment cascade of diagnosis, engagement with care and initiation of treatment, from the perspective of patients; we explored whether this differed according to the year of their diagnosis, for example whether they had experienced HIV care in the pre-treatment era.Design: Qualitative interview study with framework analysisSetting: Two large HIV adult outpatient clinics in central London. Participants: 52 HIV positive individuals, 41 men, 11 women, purposively sampled to include people who had been diagnosed at different stages in the history of the epidemic classified as four ‘generations’: pre-1996 (pre-ART), 1997 to 2005 (complex ARTs), 2006 to 2012 (simpler ARTs), 2013 onwards (recent diagnoses).Results: Some important differences were identified; for earlier generations, the visible illness and deaths from AIDS made it harder to engage with care following diagnosis. Subsequent decisions about starting treatment were deeply influenced by the fear of severe side-effects from early antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, despite improvements in ART and life expectancy over the epidemic we found a striking similarity across participants’ accounts of the key stages of the care continuum, regardless of when they were diagnosed. Diagnosis was a major traumatic life event for almost everyone, fear of testing positive or having low self-perceived risk affected the timing of testing and diagnosis, engaging with care was facilitated by a flexible approach from services/clinicians and initiating treatment was a major life decision. Conclusion: We found patients’ experiences are influenced by when they were diagnosed, with earliest cohorts facing substantial challenges. However, being diagnosed with HIV and starting treatment continue to be significant life-altering events even in the era of effective, simple treatments. Despite the advances of biomedical treatment services should continue to recogn

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