Swaziland HIV incidence results announced at AIDS 2012

July 27, 2012

The results from a nationally representative HIV incidence study in Swaziland indicate that the national rate of new HIV infections is 2.38% among adults ages 18-49. This figure, comparable to the 2009 UNAIDS estimate of 2.66% for Swaziland adults ages 15-49, suggests that the HIV epidemic in Swaziland may have begun to stabilize in the past few years. The findings of the Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS) were presented today at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington DC.

"The country continues to have very high . Since HIV services in Swaziland are more widely available now and we understand that ART treatment prevents the spread of new infections, the Ministry of Health will use these new results to plan , care, and treatment programs in Swaziland," said Rejoice Nkambule, deputy director of – public health at the Ministry of Health. SHIMS was led by the Swaziland Ministry of Health and supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ICAP at Columbia University through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

SHIMS is a multi-phase study designed to evaluate the impact of HIV prevention and treatment services in the country. The first phase of the SHIMS survey included approximately 13,000 households in Swaziland, representing a cross-section of the national population and consisting of 18,154 men and women, ages 18-49. Findings from the first phase indicated that the national prevalence of HIV in Swaziland is the highest in the world, with 31% of adults infected.

HIV-negative adults from the survey who gave permission were retested six months later and the number of new HIV infections were assessed using state-of-the-art laboratory methods. Retention rates were high, with 94% of participants completing follow-up at six months. "This is the gold standard method for measuring HIV incidence and it hasn't been attempted before at a national level," said Jessica Justman, MD, ICAP's senior technical director, and Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. While overall HIV incidence is 2.4 %, HIV incidence among women in Swaziland peaks among those 20-24 and 35-39 years old, with rates of 4.2 % and 4.1 %. Among men, HIV incidence peaks among those 30-34 years old, at 3.0 %. Not knowing the HIV status of the current partner predicts new for both men and women and suggests prevention and treatment programs need to target this specific problem.

"SHIMS provides a remarkable epidemiologic look into the most severe national in the world. Clearly, the strategic scale-up of effective HIV interventions in combination is warranted. SHIMS has established an unequivocal baseline incidence rate against which to judge the effectiveness of such strategies for an entire national population. This may not be feasible anywhere else," said Dr. Jason Reed of the CDC.

While SHIMS is primarily assessing new HIV infections, the study has several other goals such as enhancing laboratory infrastructure and strengthening research capacity in Swaziland.

Explore further: First findings released from Swaziland HIV incidence measurement survey announced at CROI 2012

Related Stories

First findings released from Swaziland HIV incidence measurement survey announced at CROI 2012

March 8, 2012
The first findings from a nationally representative HIV survey were presented today at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2012) in Seattle, WA. The Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey ...

NIH-funded study finds high HIV infection rates among gay and bisexual black men in the US

July 26, 2012
The rate of new HIV infections among black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States, particularly younger men, is high and suggests the need for prevention programs specifically tailored to this population, according ...

New book on HIV from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

December 15, 2011
The worldwide AIDS epidemic makes research on HIV, the disease processes it induces, and potential HIV therapies among the most critical in biomedical science. Furthermore, the basic biology of HIV infections provides a model ...

Cancer treatment funds run out for Swazi patients

June 30, 2011
(AP) -- Swaziland's government has run out of money to send its cancer patients to neighboring South Africa for treatment, and a spokeswoman said Thursday the tiny impoverished kingdom does not have any government hospitals ...

HIV rates for black women in parts of the US much higher than previously estimated

March 9, 2012
Study results released today indicate that the HIV incidence rate for US women living in areas hardest hit by the epidemic is much higher than the overall estimated incidence rate in the US for black adolescent and adult ...

Recommended for you

Study suggests a way to stop HIV in its tracks

December 1, 2017
When HIV-1 infects an immune cell, the virus travels to the nucleus so quickly there's not enough time to set off the cell's alarm system.

Discovery puts the brakes on HIV's ability to infect

November 30, 2017
Viewed with a microscope, the virus faintly resembles a pineapple—the universal symbol of welcome. But HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is anything but that. It has claimed the lives of more than 35 million people so far.

Rising levels of HIV drug resistance

November 30, 2017
HIV drug resistance is approaching and exceeding 10% in people living with HIV who are about to initiate or reinitiate first-line antiretroviral therapy, according to the largest meta-analysis to date on HIV drug resistance, ...

Male circumcision and antiviral drugs appear to sharply reduce HIV infection rate

November 29, 2017
A steep drop in the local incidence of new HIV infections accompanied the rollout of a U.S.-funded anti-HIV program in a large East-African population, according to a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

Combination HIV prevention reduces new infections by 42 percent in Ugandan district

November 29, 2017
A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine provides real-world evidence that implementing a combination of proven HIV prevention measures across communities can substantially reduce new HIV infections ...

Research on HIV viral load urges updates to WHO therapy guidelines

November 24, 2017
A large cohort study in South Africa has revealed that that low-level viraemia (LLV) in HIV-positive patients who are receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) is an important risk factor for treatment failure.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.