Missed opportunities for HIV control: Gaps in HIV testing for partners of people living with HIV in Lima, Peru

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Abstract

© 2017 Vasquez et al. 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. Introduction: Based on the hypothesis that HIV programs struggle to deliver health services that harmonize necessities of treatment and prevention, we described the outcomes of routinely provided HIV testing to partners of people living with HIV (PLWH) through a secondary analysis of routine data collected at a public hospital in Lima, Peru. Methods: Among PLWH enrolled in the study center’s HIV program between 2005 and 2014, we identified index cases (IC): PLWH who reported a unique partner not previously enrolled. We grouped partners according to their HIV status as reported by IC and collected data on HIV testing, clinical characteristics and admissions. The main outcome was the frequency of HIV testing among partners with reported unknown/seronegative HIV status. Results: Out of 1586 PLWH who reported a unique partner at enrollment, 171 had a previously enrolled partner, leaving 1415 (89%) IC. HIV status of the partner was reported as unknown in 571 (40%), seronegative in 325 (23%) and seropositive in 519 (37%). Out of 896 partners in the unknown/seronegative group, 72 (8%) had HIV testing, 42/72 (58%) tested within three months of IC enrollment. Among the 49/72 (68%) who tested positive for HIV, 33 (67%) were enrolled in the HIV program. The proportion in WHO clinical stage IV was lower in enrolled partners compared to IC (37% vs 9%, p = 0.04). Non-tested partners (824) were likely reachable by the hospital, as 297/824 (36%) of their IC were admitted in the study center at least once, 51/243 (21%) female IC had received pregnancy care at the study center, and 401/692 (64%) of IC on antiretroviral therapy had achieved viral suppression, implying frequent visits to the hospital for pill pick-up. Conclusion: In this setting, HIV testing of partners of PLWH was suboptimal, illustrating missed opportunities for HIV control. Integration of HIV strategies in primarily clinical-oriented services is a challenging need.

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Vasquez, A. L., Errea, R. A., Hoces, D., Echevarria, J., González-Lagos, E., & Gotuzzo, E. (2017). Missed opportunities for HIV control: Gaps in HIV testing for partners of people living with HIV in Lima, Peru. PLoS ONE, 12(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181412

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