Evidence of HIV incidence reduction in young women, but not in adolescent girls, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Mhlanga L Welte A Grebe E Ohler L Van Cutsem G Huerga H Conan N
IJID regions 2023 Sep ; 8; . doi: 10.1016/j.ijregi.2023.07.004. Epub 2023 07 13
ART Cross-sectional surveys HIV Incidence Prevalence Recency tests


OBJECTIVES: We estimated changes in the HIV incidence from 2013-2018 in Eshowe/Mbongolwane, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa where Médecins Sans Frontières is engaged in providing HIV testing and care since 2011.

METHODS: Using data from two cross-sectional household-based surveys conducted in 2013 and 2018, with consenting participants aged 15-59 years, we applied the incidence estimation frameworks of Mahiane et al and Kassanjee et al.

RESULTS: In total, 5599 (62.4% women) and 3276 (65.9% women) individuals were included in 2013 and 2018, respectively. We found a mean incidence in women aged 20-29 years of 2.71 cases per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.23;4.19) in 2013 and 0.4 cases per 100 person-years (95% CI: 0.0;1.5) in 2018. The incidence in men aged 20-29 years was 1.91 cases per 100 person-years (95% CI: 0.87; 2.93) in 2013 and 0.53 cases per 100 person-years (95% CI: 0.0; 1.4) in 2018. The incidence decline among women aged 15-19 was -0.34 cases per 100 person-years (95% CI: -1.31;0.64).

CONCLUSIONS: The lack of evidence of incidence decline among adolescent girls is noteworthy and disconcerting. Our findings suggest that large-scale surveys should seriously consider focusing their resources on the core group of women aged 15-19 years.

© 2023 The Authors.