BACKGROUND: Combined prevention interventions, including early antiretroviral therapy initiation, may substantially reduce HIV incidence in hyperendemic settings. Our aim was to assess the potential short-term impact of combined interventions on HIV spreading in the adult population of Mbongolwane and Eshowe (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) using sex- and age-specific scenarios, and age-targeted interventions.
METHODS: A mathematical model was used with data on adults (15-59 years) from the Mbongolwane and Eshowe HIV Impact in Population Survey to compare the effects of various interventions on the HIV incidence rate. These interventions included increase in antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage with extended eligibility criteria, increase in voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), and implementation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among women.
RESULTS: With no additional interventions to the ones in place at the time of the survey (ART at CD4
CONCLUSIONS: In Mbongolwane and Eshowe, implementation of the new South African guidelines, recommending ART initiation regardless of CD4 count, would accelerate incidence reduction. In this setting, combining these guidelines, VMMC, and PrEP among young women could be an effective strategy in reducing the incidence to low levels.