Title: The state of the HIV epidemic in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a novel application of disease metrics to assess trajectories and highlight areas for intervention
Authors: Vandormael A, Cuadros D, Kim HY, Bärnighausen T, Tanser F.
Journal: Int J Epidemiol.,pii: dyz269. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyz269: (2020)
BACKGROUND: South Africa is at the epicentre of the HIV pandemic, with the world's highest number of new infections and the largest treatment programme. Using metrics proposed by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), we evaluate progress toward epidemic control and highlight areas for intervention in a hyperendemic South African setting.
METHODS: The Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) maintains a comprehensive population-based surveillance system in the Hlabisa sub-district of KwaZulu-Natal. Between 2005 and 2017, we tested 39 735 participants (aged 15-49?years) for HIV and followed 22 758 HIV-negative and 13 460 HIV-positive participants to identify new infections and all-cause AIDS-related deaths, respectively. Using these data, we estimated the percentage reduction in incidence, the absolute incidence rate, the incidence-mortality ratio and the incidence-prevalence ratio over place and time.
RESULTS: We observed a 62% reduction in the number of new infections among men between 2012 and 2017 and a 34% reduction among women between 2014 and 2017. Among men, the incidence-mortality ratio peaked at 4.1 in 2013 and declined to 3.1 in 2017, and among women it fell from a high of 6.4 in 2014 to 4.3 in 2017. Between 2012 and 2017, the female-incidence/male-prevalence ratio declined from 0.24 to 0.13 and the male-incidence/female-prevalence ratio from 0.05 to 0.02.
CONCLUSIONS: Using data from a population-based cohort study, we report impressive progress toward HIV epidemic control in a severely affected South African setting. However, overall progress is off track for 2020 targets set by the UNAIDS. Spatial estimates of the metrics, which demonstrate remarkable heterogeneity over place and time, indicate areas that could benefit from additional or optimized HIV prevention services.
Citation: Vandormael A, Cuadros D, Kim HY, Bärnighausen T, Tanser F. The state of the HIV epidemic in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a novel application of disease metrics to assess trajectories and highlight areas for intervention Int J Epidemiol.,pii: dyz269. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyz269: (2020).