High-risk behaviors and their association with awareness of HIV status among participants of a prevention intervention

High-risk behaviors and their association with awareness of HIV status among participants of a large-scale prevention intervention in Athens, Greece.

Pavlopoulou, I.D., Dikalioti, S.K., Gountas, I. et al.

BMC Public Health 20, 105 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-8178-y

Abstract

Background

Aristotle was a seek-test-treat intervention during an outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Athens, Greece that started in 2011. The aims of this analysis were: (1) to study changes of drug injection-related and sexual behaviors over the course of Aristotle; and (2) to compare the likelihood of risky behaviors among PWID who were aware and unaware of their HIV status.

Methods

Aristotle (2012–2013) involved five successive respondent-driven sampling rounds of approximately 1400 PWID each; eligible PWID could participate in multiple rounds. Participants were interviewed using a questionnaire, were tested for HIV, and were classified as HIV-positive aware of their status (AHS), HIV-positive unaware of their status (UHS), and HIV-negative. Piecewise linear generalized estimating equation models were used to regress repeatedly measured binary outcomes (high-risk behaviors) against covariates.

Results

Aristotle recruited 3320 PWID (84.5% males, median age 34.2 years). Overall, 7110 interviews and blood samples were collected. The proportion of HIV-positive first-time participants who were aware of their HIV infection increased from 21.8% in round A to 36.4% in the last round. The odds of dividing drugs at least half of the time in the past 12 months with a syringe someone else had already used fell from round A to B by 90% [Odds Ratio (OR) (95% Confidence Interval-CI): 0.10 (0.04, 0.23)] among AHS and by 63% among UHS [OR (95% CI): 0.37 (0.19, 0.72)]. This drop was significantly larger (p = 0.02) among AHS. There were also decreases in frequency of injection and in receptive syringe sharing in the past 12 months but they were not significantly different between AHS (66 and 47%, respectively) and UHS (63 and 33%, respectively). Condom use increased only among male AHS from round B to the last round [OR (95% CI): 1.24 (1.01, 1.52)].

Conclusions

The prevalence of risky behaviors related to drug injection decreased in the context of Aristotle. Knowledge of HIV infection was associated with safer drug injection-related behaviors among PWID. This highlights the need for comprehensive interventions that scale-up HIV testing and help PWID become aware of their HIV status.

Job vacancy: SAMESH Health Promotion Officer

Thorne Harbour Health / SHINE SA, August 2018

You are a highly motivated leader who is passionate about, and experienced in working to improve the sexual health and wellbeing of LGBTI communities. You’re a collaborative team player who is focused and outcome oriented.

The South Australia Mobilisation and Empowerment for Sexual Health (SAMESH) program delivers a range of health promotion strategies targeting gay men, people living with HIV and/or affected communities. The program is a partnership between Thorne Harbour Health (formerly VAC) and SHINE SA.

The Health Promotion Officer will work with a small team to design, implement and evaluate a diverse range of health promotion and community development projects in Adelaide and regional South Australia.

For a detailed position description, including selection criteria, click on the attachment below.

For further information, contact Matthew Tyne, SAMESH Team Leader, on 0429 188 733

How to apply

Applications close Monday, 3rd September 2018 and should be marked ‘Confidential Recruitment; SAMESH Health Promotion Officer application’, addressed to Matthew Tyne and emailed to recruitment@thorneharbour.org

Members of the LGBTI community, people living with HIV and those with past lived experience of recovery from alcohol and other drug issues and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Generous salary packaging and a commitment to quality improvement and professional development are on offer.

 

Rosie in the Classroom: Lesson plans for teachers

Rosie, a national harm prevention initiative by the Dugdale Trust for Women & Girls.

Rosie in the Classroom is an educational program based on the original Rosie Videos, created to assist teachers in talking about difficult but important topics.

Topics like sexting or respect in relationships should be incorporated into the curriculum so that all teenagers are aware of their rights and can encourage respect within their school community. Each module includes a downloadable lesson plan and video which can be screened in class.

These lesson plans have been written by Briony O’Keeffe, lead teacher at Fitzroy High School and facilitator of the Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective.

 

MSM in London diagnosed with early syphilis are a priority group for PrEP

nam/aidsmap, 16 October 2017

Gay and other men who have sex with men (MSM) recently diagnosed with early syphilis are a priority group for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), results of a study published in Sexually Transmitted Infections suggest.

Over two years of follow-up, 11% of men diagnosed with early syphilis subsequently became infected with HIV. Incidence of rectal sexually transmitted infections and syphilis re-infection was also high.

“Our study highlights early syphilis as a risk factor for HIV acquisition in MSM,” write the investigators. “Intensive risk reduction and PrEP would be beneficial for HIV-negative MSM with early syphilis by reducing their risk of HIV acquisition.”

Gardasil 9 now on the National Immunisation Program

AJP, 9th Oct 2017

The Government has announced free access for young people to the improved HPV vaccine.

From 2018, Gardasil 9, which protects against nine HPV strains (up from four) will be offered through school-based immunisation programs to all 12 to 13-year-old boys, and girls in years seven or eight.

Behaviour change interventions in HIV prevention: is there still a place for them?

nam/aidsmap, 12 April 2017

A meta-analysis of studies of brief interventions to reduce HIV risk behaviour in HIV-negative gay men has concluded that there is evidence that such techniques did have a significant impact on the behaviours they were designed to change.

It also found evidence that the best way to conduct such interventions was face-to-face, i.e. not via the internet, telephone or phone apps, and that immediately or shortly after HIV testing was an ideal “learning moment” to conduct them.

  • Read more here
  • Download full text of study here