Risk of HIV transmission through condomless sex in serodifferent gay couples with the HIV-positive partner taking suppressive antiretroviral therapy (PARTNER)

Risk of HIV transmission through condomless sex in serodifferent gay couples with the HIV-positive partner taking suppressive antiretroviral therapy (PARTNER): final results of a multicentre, prospective, observational study

The Lancet, Published Online May 2, 2019

Background

The level of evidence for HIV transmission risk through condomless sex in serodifferent gay couples with the HIV-positive partner taking virally suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART) is limited compared with the evidence available for transmission risk in heterosexual couples. The aim of the second phase of the PARTNER study (PARTNER2) was to provide precise estimates of transmission risk in gay serodifferent partnerships.
Findings
Between Sept 15, 2010, and July 31, 2017, 972 gay couples were enrolled, of which 782 provided 1593 eligible couple-years of follow-up with a median follow-up of 2·0 years (IQR 1·1–3·5). At baseline, median age for HIV-positive partners was 40 years (IQR 33–46) and couples reported condomless sex for a median of 1·0 years (IQR 0·4–2·9). During eligible couple-years of follow-up, couples reported condomless anal sex a total of 76 088 times. 288 (37%) of 777 HIV-negative men reported condomless sex with other partners. 15 new HIV infections occurred during eligible couple-years of follow-up, but none were phylogenetically linked within-couple transmissions, resulting in an HIV transmission rate of zero (upper 95% CI 0·23 per 100 couple-years of follow-up).

Interpretation

Our results provide a similar level of evidence on viral suppression and HIV transmission risk for gay men to that previously generated for heterosexual couples and suggest that the risk of HIV transmission in gay couples through condomless sex when HIV viral load is suppressed is effectively zero. Our findings support the message of the U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable) campaign, and the benefits of early testing and treatment for HIV.

 

Rapid HIV testing increases testing frequency among gay and bisexual men: a controlled before–after study

Sexual Health – https://doi.org/10.1071/SH18161

Keen Phillip, Jamil Muhammad, Callander Denton, Conway Damian P., McNulty Anna, Davies Stephen C., Couldwell Deborah C., Smith Don E., Holt Martin, Vaccher Stefanie J., Gray James, Cunningham Philip, Prestage Garrett, Guy Rebecca, (2019)

Published online: 4 April 2019

Abstract:

BackgroundRapid HIV testing was introduced at 12 clinics in New South Wales (NSW) for routine testing and promoted with social marketing. The effect of the availability of rapid HIV testing on testing frequency among gay and bisexual men (GBM) was evaluated.

Methods: An observational design using patient data from 12 clinics was used. The primary outcome was the mean number of HIV tests in 12 months. The intervention group comprised GBM who had one or more rapid tests from October 2013 to September 2014 and this was compared with two control groups; a concurrent group (no rapid test in the same period) and a historical group (attended between July 2011 and June 2012). Independent sample t-tests were conducted to compare mean number of tests among men in the intervention, concurrent and historical groups. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association between rapid HIV testing and testing frequency.

Results: Men in the intervention group (n = 3934) had a mean of 1.8 HIV tests in 12 months, compared with 1.4 in the concurrent group (n = 5063; P < 0.001) and 1.4 in the historical group (n = 5904; P < 0.001); testing frequency was higher among men at increased risk of HIV in the intervention group compared with the other two groups (mean 2.2, 1.6 and 1.5 respectively; P < 0.001). Membership of the intervention group was associated with increased odds of having two or more HIV tests in 12 months (AOR = 2.5, 95%CI 2.2–2.8; P < 0.001) compared with the concurrent group, after controlling for demographic and behavioural factors.

Conclusion: Introducing and promoting rapid HIV testing in clinics in NSW was associated with increased HIV testing frequency among GBM.

 

Are We Blinded by Desire? Relationship Motivation and Sexual Risk-Taking Intentions during Condom Negotiation

The Journal of Sex Research, Shayna Skakoon-Sparling & Kenneth M. Cramer (2019) DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2019.1579888

ABSTRACT

Effective condom negotiation skills support better sexual health for both men and women. The current study explored relationship motivation (motivation to establish and maintain long-term romantic relationships), gender, and sexual orientation as factors influencing the condom negotiation process.

Participants (177 heterosexual women, 157 heterosexual men, and 106 men who have sex with men) read a vignette describing an encounter with a hypothetical new sexual/romantic partner and responded to embedded items and scales.

Stronger relationship motivation predicted increased willingness to have condomless sex among women who perceived greater familiarity with the hypothetical partner. Gender and sexual orientation predicted different preferences for condom insistence strategies.

The findings suggest that there are a number of conditions that make it more difficult to recognize risk during a sexual encounter and demonstrate how the process of condom negotiation can be impacted by gender, sexual orientation, and relationship motivation.

Expanded HIV PrEP implementation in communities in NSW (EPIC-NSW): design of an open label, single arm implementation trial

BMC Public Health 
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-5018-9

 Published: 2 February 2018

Abstract:

Background

The New South Wales (NSW) HIV Strategy 2016–2020 aims for the virtual elimination of HIV transmission in NSW, Australia, by 2020. Despite high and increasing levels of HIV testing and treatment since 2012, the annual number of HIV diagnoses in NSW has remained generally unchanged. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective in preventing HIV infection among gay and bisexual men (GBM) when taken appropriately. However, there have been no population-level studies that evaluate the impact of rapid PrEP scale-up in high-risk GBM. Expanded PrEP Implementation in Communities in NSW (EPIC-NSW) is a population-level evaluation of the rapid, targeted roll-out of PrEP to high-risk individuals.

Methods

EPIC-NSW, is an open-label, single-arm, multi-centre prospective observational study of PrEP implementation and impact. Over 20 public and private clinics across urban and regional areas in NSW have participated in the rapid roll-out of PrEP, supported by strong community mobilization and PrEP promotion. The study began on 1 March 2016, aiming to enroll at least 3700 HIV negative people at high risk of HIV. This estimate took into consideration criteria for PrEP prescription in people at high risk for acquiring HIV as defined in the NSW PrEP guidelines. Study participants receive once daily co-formulated tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) and are followed for up to 24 months. Follow-up includes: testing for HIV at 1 month, HIV and other sexually transmissible infections three-monthly, HCV annually and monitoring of renal function six-monthly. Optional online behavioural surveys are conducted quarterly. The co-primary endpoints are (i) HIV diagnoses and incidence in the cohort and (ii) HIV diagnoses in NSW.

Discussion

EPIC-NSW is a population-based PrEP implementation trial which targets the entire estimated population of GBM at high risk for HIV infection in NSW. It will provide a unique opportunity to evaluate the population impact of PrEP on a concentrated HIV epidemic.