AIDS 2022

24th International AIDS Conference @ Montreal


Oral communications and poster presented at the 24th International AIDS Conference 2022 in Montreal.

List of communications

  • Larmarange Joseph (2022) “Self-Testing, Empowerment and Self-Care: perspectives from lessons learned in implementing HIV self-testing in West Africa” (communication orale (symposium SA019), presented at the 24th International AIDS Conference, Montreal.

  • Nouaman Marcellin, Coffie Patrick A, Plazy Mélanie, Becquet Valentine, Agoua Aline, Zébago Clémence, Dao Hervé, Larmarange Joseph, Eholié Serge and ANRS 12381 PRINCESSE study group (2022) “Prevalence and incidence of sexually transmitted infections in a cohort of female sex workers in San Pedro, Côte d'Ivoire (ANRS 12381 PRINCESSE)” (poster), presented at the 24th International AIDS Conference, Montreal.
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: The ANRS 12381 PRINCESSE study is an interventional single-arm cohort. Participants recruitment started in November 2019. The study aimed to evaluate a comprehensive and community-based care offer among FSWs aged '¥ 18 years in the San Pedro area. METHODS: Care services included quarterly syndromic screening for STIs, as well as vaginal and anal swabs for the screening of chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and neisseria gonorrhoea (NG) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at M0, M12 and M24. At the same visits, identification of dysplasias and precancerous lesions of the cervix was performed by visual inspection after applying acetic acid and Lugol's iodine. STIs were managed according to the national algorithm. We describe (i) the characteristics of cervical lesions as well as the prevalence of STIs (syndromic and PCR) and associated symptoms and (ii) the incidence of syndromic STIs during follow-up. RESULTS: In November 2021, 372 FSWs were included. The median age was 29 years, 34% had never been to school, 56% were Ivorian, and the median duration of sex work was 2 years. At inclusion, 4.7% [95% confidence interval: 2.8-7.5] had cervical lesions with 3.5% leukoplakia and 2.2% haemorrhagic cervical junction zone. The prevalence of syndromic STIs was 17.2% [13.0-22.6]; associated clinical signs were vaginal discharge (13.7%), vaginal ulceration (2.1%), lower abdominal pain (4.3%) and cervical inflammation (2.6%). The prevalence of anovaginal CT and NG were 8.7% [6.2- 12.1] and 10.4% [7.6- 13.9], respectively; clinical signs were found in 2.4% of CT-positive and 12.2% of NG-positive FSWs. Most FSWs with syndromic STIs did not have CT or NG infection. During the follow-up, 82 cases of syndromic STIs were observed per 209 person-years, i.e. an incidence of 39.1% [31.1- 49.0]. PCR data at M12 and M24 are being consolidated and will allow estimating the incidence of CT and NG. CONCLUSIONS: A high prevalence and incidence of syndromic STIs were observed among FSWs, highlighting the importance and the interest of a regular follow-up. The results also showed the predominantly asymptomatic nature of STIs discovered by PCR in this at-risk population and, therefore, the importance of coupling syndromic screening and PCR analyses.

  • Plazy Mélanie, Nouaman Marcellin, Becquet Valentine, Agoua Aline, Zébago Clémence, Dao Hervé, Coffie Patrick A, Eholié Serge, Larmarange Joseph and ANRS 12381 PRINCESSE study group (2022) “Delays to PrEP initiation among female sex workers in Côte d'Ivoire (ANRS 12381 PRINCESSE project)” (poster), presented at the 24th International AIDS Conference, Montreal.
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: To describe the delays to initiation of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among female sex workers (FSW) in Côte d''Ivoire. METHODS: The ANRS 12381 PRINCESSE project is a single-arm interventional cohort aiming to evaluate the implementation of a comprehensive and community-based care offer among FSW aged '¥18 years in the San Pedro region since end-2019, through a mobile clinic operating on 10 prostitution sites (visited every two weeks). PrEP is offered to all HIV-positive FSW after verifying the creatinine level (results valid for one month). We described the time between FSW's interest for PrEP and PrEP initiation (or end of follow-up) among HIV- and hepatitis B virus-negative (HBsAg-) FSW included until end-October 2021. The probability of PrEP initiation since PrEP interest is described through a Kaplan-Meier curve censored on end-November 2021 (an analysis censored at the date of the last visit was also conducted). RESULTS: Of the 362 FSW included in the PRINCESSE cohort, 302 were HIV-/AgHBs-, and for 296 of them, PrEP was presented by medical staff (95.2% at inclusion). In total, 292 FSW expressed PrEP interest, and 192 (65.8%) initiated PrEP: 18 on the same day (the biological test having been performed during a previous visit), 148 during the next visit (median time since interest: 3 weeks [Inter-Quartile Range: 2-6]) and 26 during a subsequent visit (median time: 20 weeks [9-36]). The probability of PrEP initiation after PrEP interest was 39.0% at 1 month and 56.6% at 3 months (censoring on the date of the last visit, these proportions were 50.7% and 74.6%, respectively). Among the 100 FSW who did not initiate PrEP despite expressing interest, 68 were never seen again in the project; 4 declared that they were no longer interested in PrEP (median time since interest: 12 weeks [10-19]), 1 was tested HIV+ (delay of 2 weeks), and 27 were seen >1 month later (their biological tests were no longer valid). CONCLUSIONS: Despite strong PrEP interest among FSW, PrEP initiation remained suboptimal. Barriers to PrEP initiation should be more explored and considered to find appropriate solutions to make PrEP effective among this specific key population.

  • Silhol Romain, Maheu-Giroux Mathieu, Soni Nirali, Simo Fotso Arlette, Rouveau Nicolas, Vautier Anthony, Doumenc-Aïdara Clémence, N'Guessan Kouakou, Mukandavire Christinah, Vickerman Peter, Keita Abdelaye, Ndour Cheikh Tidiane, Larmarange Joseph, Boily Marie Claude and ATLAS Team (2022) “Identifying population-specific HIV diagnosis gaps in Western Africa and assessing their impact on new infections: a modelling analysis for Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Senegal” (poster), presented at the 24th International AIDS Conference, Montreal.
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Progress towards HIV elimination in Western Africa may be hindered by diagnosis gaps among people living with HIV (PLHIV), especially among key populations (KP) such as female sex workers (FSW), their clients, and men who have sex with men (MSM). We aimed to identify largest gaps in diagnosis by risk group in Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, and Senegal, and project their contribution to new HIV infections. METHODS: Deterministic models of HIV transmission/diagnosis/treatment that incorporate HIV transmission among KP were parameterized following comprehensive country-specific reviews of demographic, behavioural, HIV and intervention data. The model was calibrated to country- and group-specific empirical outcomes such as HIV incidence/prevalence, the fractions of PLHIV ever tested, diagnosed, and on treatment. We estimated the distribution of undiagnosed PLHIV by risk group in 2020 and the population-attributable-fractions (tPAFs) (i.e. fraction of new primary and secondary HIV infections 2020-2029 originating from risk groups of undiagnosed PLHIV). RESULTS: From 46% (95% UI: 38-58) to 69% (59-79) of undiagnosed PLHIV in 2020 were males, with the lowest proportion in Mali and the highest proportion in Senegal, where 41% (28-59) of undiagnosed PLHIV were MSM. Undiagnosed men are estimated to contribute most new HIV infections occurring over 2020-2029 (Table). Undiagnosed FSW and their clients contribute substantial proportions of new HIV infections in Mali, with tPAF=20% (10-36) and tPAF=43% (26-56), respectively, while undiagnosed MSM in Senegal are estimated to contribute half of new infections. A lower proportion of new HIV infections are transmitted by undiagnosed KP in Côte d'Ivoire (tPAF=21%(10-38)). CONCLUSIONS: Current HIV testing services and approaches are leaving members of KP behind. Increasing the availability of confidential HIV testing modalities in addition to traditional tests may substantially reduce gaps in HIV diagnosis and accelerate the decrease of new HIV infections in Western Africa since half of them could be transmitted by undiagnosed KP.

  • Simo Fotso Arlette, Johnson Cheryl, Vautier Anthony, Kouamé Konan Blaise, Diop Papa Moussa, Silhol Romain, Maheu-Giroux Mathieu, Boily Marie-Claude, Rouveau Nicolas, Doumenc-Aïdara Clémence, Baggaley Rachel, Ehui Eboi, Larmarange Joseph and ATLAS Team (2022) “Estimating the impact of HIV self-testing on HIV testing services, diagnoses, and treatment initiation at the population-level with routine data: the example of the ATLAS program in Côte d'Ivoire” (poster), presented at the 24th International AIDS Conference, Montreal.
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: HIV self-testing (HIVST) is a critical testing approach particularly for reaching those at HIV risk who are hesitant or unable to access existing services. While the discreet and flexible nature of HIVST is appealing to users, these features can limit the ability for programmes to monitor and estimate the population-level impacts of HIVST implementation. This study triangulates publicly available routine programme data from Côte d'Ivoire in order estimate the effects of HIVST distribution on access to testing, conventional testing (self-testing excluded), HIV diagnoses, and antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiations. METHODS: We used quarterly programmatic data (Q3-2019 to Q1-2021) from ATLAS, a project that aims to promote and implement network-based HIVST distribution in West Africa, in addition to routine HIV testing services program data obtained from the PEPFAR dashboard. We performed ecological time series regression using linear mixed-models. RESULTS: Between Q3-2019 and Q1-2021, 99,353 HIVST kits were distributed by ATLAS in 78 health districts included in the analysis. The results (Table 1) show a negative but non-significant effect of the number of ATLAS HIVST on the volume of conventional tests (-190), suggesting the possibility of a slight substitution effect. Despite this, the the beneficial effect on access to testing is significant: for each 1000 HIVST distributed via ATLAS, 390 to 590 additional HIV tests were performed if 60% to 80% of HIVST are used . The effect of HIVST on HIV diagnosis was significant and positive, with 8 additional diagnoses per 1,000 HIVST distributed. No effect of HIVST was observed on ART initiations. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides a standard methodology for estimating the population-level impact of HIVST that can be used across countries. It shows that HIVST distribution was associated with increased access to HIV testing and diagnosis in Côte d'Ivoire. Wide-scale adoption of this method will improve HIVST data quality and inform evidence-based programming.

  • Stannah James, Flores Anato Jorge Luis, Mitchell Kate M, Larmarange Joseph, Maheu-Giroux Mathieu and Boily Marie‐Claude (2022) “Improving our understanding of how structural determinants impact HIV epidemics: a scoping review of dynamic models to guide future research” (poster), presented at the 24th International AIDS Conference, Montreal.
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Dynamic models of HIV transmission have proven valuable tools for informing HIV prevention strategies. Including structural determinants in models is crucial to estimate their population-level impacts on HIV transmission and inform efforts towards HIV elimination. However, this is challenging due to a lack of coherent conceptual frameworks, limited understanding of their specific causal pathways, and few empirical estimates of their impacts on downstream mediators. METHODS: With the overarching aim to improve models, we conducted a scoping review of studies that used dynamic HIV transmission models to evaluate the impact of structural determinants. From included studies, we extracted information on the types of structural determinants and methods used to model their impacts on HIV transmission. We appraised studies on how they conceptualized structural exposures and represented their causal relationships over time within models. RESULTS: We identified 9 dynamic transmission modelling studies that incorporated structural determinants of HIV, including violence (N=3), incarceration (N=2), stigma (N=2), housing instability (N=2), migration (N=1), and education (N=1). Only one study modelled multiple determinants simultaneously. In most models, structural determinants were conceptualized using current, recent, non-recent and/or lifetime exposure categories. Modelled structural determinants largely impacted HIV transmission through mediated effects on one or more proximate risk factors, including sharing injection equipment, condom use, number of partners, and access to treatment. However, causal pathways were simplistic, with few mediators and/or lack of clear empirical justification. To measure impact, most studies simply assumed the elimination of structural determinants in counterfactual comparison scenarios. Few models included long-term and/or delayed effects of past, recurrent, or acute exposure, potentially overestimating impacts of determinants. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the importance of structural determinants for HIV prevention, methods for including them in dynamic HIV transmission models remain insufficient. Few studies have attempted to incorporate structural determinants in HIV models, and methods vary considerably. To improve inferences, models should adopt precise exposure definitions, deconstruct and estimate their complex causal pathways, and translate them into their mechanistic components. The need for development of coherent frameworks to conceptualize the synergistic interplay between strengthened empirical data analysis and the inclusion of structural determinants in dynamic models is pressing.