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      A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Risk Factors for Sexual Transmission of HIV in India

      1 , 3 , * , 2 , 1 , 3

      PLoS ONE

      Public Library of Science

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          Abstract

          Background

          Approximately 2.4 million people are living with HIV in India. This large disease burden, and potential for epidemic spread in some areas, demands a full understanding of transmission in that country. We wished to quantify the effects of key sexual risk factors for HIV infection for each gender and among high- and low-HIV risk populations in India.

          Methodology

          We conducted a systematic review of sexual risk factors for HIV infection from 35 published studies. Risk factors analyzed were: male circumcision/religion, Herpes Simplex Virus 2, syphilis, gonorrhoea, genital ulcer, multiple sexual partners and commercial sex. Studies were included if they met predetermined criteria. Data were extracted and checked by two researchers and random-effects meta analysis of effects was conducted. Heterogeneity in effect estimates was examined by I 2 statistic. Publication bias was tested by Begg's test and funnel plots. Meta regression was used to assess effect modification by various study attributes.

          Results

          All risk factors were significantly associated with HIV status. The factor most strongly associated with HIV for both sexes was HSV-2 infection (OR men: 5.87; 95%CI: 2.46–14.03; OR women: 6.44; 95%CI: 3.22–12.86). The effect of multiple sexual partners was similar among men (OR = 2.46; 95%CI: 1.91–3.17,) and women (OR = 2.02; 95%CI: 1.43–2.87) and when further stratified by HIV-risk group. The association between HSV-2 and HIV prevalence was consistently stronger than other STIs or self-reported genital ulcer. If the strong associations between HSV-2 and HIV were interpreted causally, these results implied that approximately half of the HIV infections observed in our study population were attributable to HSV-2 infection.

          Conclusions

          The risk factors examined in our analysis should remain targets of HIV prevention programs. Our results confirm that sexual risk factors for HIV infection continue to be an important part of Indian HIV epidemic 26 years after it began.

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          Most cited references 57

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          Meta-analysis of observational studies in epidemiology: a proposal for reporting. Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) group.

           T Sipe,  D Rennie,  D Stroup (2000)
          Because of the pressure for timely, informed decisions in public health and clinical practice and the explosion of information in the scientific literature, research results must be synthesized. Meta-analyses are increasingly used to address this problem, and they often evaluate observational studies. A workshop was held in Atlanta, Ga, in April 1997, to examine the reporting of meta-analyses of observational studies and to make recommendations to aid authors, reviewers, editors, and readers. Twenty-seven participants were selected by a steering committee, based on expertise in clinical practice, trials, statistics, epidemiology, social sciences, and biomedical editing. Deliberations of the workshop were open to other interested scientists. Funding for this activity was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We conducted a systematic review of the published literature on the conduct and reporting of meta-analyses in observational studies using MEDLINE, Educational Research Information Center (ERIC), PsycLIT, and the Current Index to Statistics. We also examined reference lists of the 32 studies retrieved and contacted experts in the field. Participants were assigned to small-group discussions on the subjects of bias, searching and abstracting, heterogeneity, study categorization, and statistical methods. From the material presented at the workshop, the authors developed a checklist summarizing recommendations for reporting meta-analyses of observational studies. The checklist and supporting evidence were circulated to all conference attendees and additional experts. All suggestions for revisions were addressed. The proposed checklist contains specifications for reporting of meta-analyses of observational studies in epidemiology, including background, search strategy, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Use of the checklist should improve the usefulness of meta-analyses for authors, reviewers, editors, readers, and decision makers. An evaluation plan is suggested and research areas are explored.
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            Heterosexual risk of HIV-1 infection per sexual act: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.

            We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies of the risk of HIV-1 transmission per heterosexual contact. 43 publications comprising 25 different study populations were identified. Pooled female-to-male (0.04% per act [95% CI 0.01-0.14]) and male-to-female (0.08% per act [95% CI 0.06-0.11]) transmission estimates in high-income countries indicated a low risk of infection in the absence of antiretrovirals. Low-income country female-to-male (0.38% per act [95% CI 0.13-1.10]) and male-to-female (0.30% per act [95% CI 0.14-0.63]) estimates in the absence of commercial sex exposure (CSE) were higher. In meta-regression analysis, the infectivity across estimates in the absence of CSE was significantly associated with sex, setting, the interaction between setting and sex, and antenatal HIV prevalence. The pooled receptive anal intercourse estimate was much higher (1.7% per act [95% CI 0.3-8.9]). Estimates for the early and late phases of HIV infection were 9.2 (95% CI 4.5-18.8) and 7.3 (95% CI 4.5-11.9) times larger, respectively, than for the asymptomatic phase. After adjusting for CSE, presence or history of genital ulcers in either couple member increased per-act infectivity 5.3 (95% CI 1.4-19.5) times versus no sexually transmitted infection. Study estimates among non-circumcised men were at least twice those among circumcised men. Low-income country estimates were more heterogeneous than high-income country estimates, which indicates poorer study quality, greater heterogeneity of risk factors, or under-reporting of high-risk behaviour. Efforts are needed to better understand these differences and to quantify infectivity in low-income countries.
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              Probability of HIV-1 transmission per coital act in monogamous, heterosexual, HIV-1-discordant couples in Rakai, Uganda.

               T VanCott,  ,  Xiaohui Li (2001)
              The probability of HIV-1 transmission per coital act in representative African populations is unknown. We aimed to calculate this probability overall, and to estimate how it is affected by various factors thought to influence infectivity. 174 monogamous couples, in which one partner was HIV-1 positive, were retrospectively identified from a population cohort in Rakai, Uganda. Frequency of intercourse and reliability of reporting within couples was assessed prospectively. HIV-1 seroconversion was determined in the uninfected partners, and HIV-1 viral load was measured in the infected partners. Adjusted rate ratios of transmission per coital act were estimated by Poisson regression. Probabilities of transmission per act were estimated by log-log binomial regression for quartiles of age and HIV-1 viral load, and for symptoms or diagnoses of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the HIV-1-infected partners. The mean frequency of intercourse was 8.9 per month, which declined with age and HIV-1 viral load. Members of couples reported similar frequencies of intercourse. The overall unadjusted probability of HIV-1 transmission per coital act was 0.0011 (95% CI 0.0008-0.0015). Transmission probabilities increased from 0.0001 per act at viral loads of less than 1700 copies/mL to 0.0023 per act at 38 500 copies/mL or more (p=0.002), and were 0.0041 with genital ulceration versus 0.0011 without (p=0.02). Transmission probabilities per act did not differ significantly by HIV-1 subtypes A and D, sex, STDs, or symptoms of discharge or dysuria in the HIV-1-positive partner. Higher viral load and genital ulceration are the main determinants of HIV-1 transmission per coital act in this Ugandan population.
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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                [1 ]Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [2 ]Department of Community Medicine, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
                [3 ]Centre for Global Health Research, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                University of Washington, United States of America
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: PA PJ. Performed the experiments: PA. Analyzed the data: PA. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: PA NN. Wrote the paper: PA NN PJ.

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2012
                28 August 2012
                : 7
                : 8
                3429412
                22937158
                PONE-D-12-03623
                10.1371/journal.pone.0044094
                (Editor)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Counts
                Pages: 11
                Funding
                The authors have no support or funding to report.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology
                Population Biology
                Epidemiology
                Infectious Disease Epidemiology
                Medicine
                Clinical Research Design
                Systematic Reviews
                Infectious Diseases
                Viral Diseases
                HIV
                HIV epidemiology
                HIV prevention
                Sexually Transmitted Diseases
                Public Health

                Uncategorized

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