HIV prevention among female sex workers in India reduces HIV and syphilis

June 16, 2013

HIV prevention programs for female sex workers in India reduce rates of syphilis, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), a University of Toronto study has found.

About two million Indians are infected with HIV, mostly in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The study, led by Professor Prabhat Jha from U of T's Dalla Lana School of Public Health and St. Michael's Hospital's Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR), examined the impact of prevention among female sex workers whose contact with male clients contributes substantially to new HIV infections in the general population. The virus is then spread to the wives and other sex partners of these male clients.

"We not only have to prevent HIV, but also other infections like syphilis. Prevention among sex workers can reduce various infections, and prompt treatment of sexually transmitted infections is particularly important," said CGHR's Paul Arora, the lead author.

The peer-based prevention programs provided condoms and treated STIs among sex workers and their clients in addition to other activities. The authors examined data from 868 prevention projects -- serving about 500,000 female sex workers -- implemented between 1995 and 2008. They found that reaching sex workers through prevention programs decreased HIV and syphilis infection rates among young pregnant women tested routinely at government prenatal health clinics.

Other findings included: "This vital study is a reminder that governments must invest in prevention, and that even modest amounts of funding that reach the most at risk groups can yield big reductions in HIV and other infections" added Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and former Director of UNAIDS, who was not involved in the study.
-end-
The study was supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The study will be published on June 16 at 8pm EST in BMJ Open. Additional information can be found at http://www.cghr.org.

Media Inquiries

Professor Prabhat Jha will be in India and available for media inquiries on June 17 and 18.

Mr. Paul Arora is also overseas, but available for interviews by phone or Skype.

For Indian media inquiries, please contact Prabha Sati (+91 971 196 4550; satip@smh.ca). For all other media inquiries, please contact Leslie Shephard (416-864-6094; ShepherdL@smh.ca) or Nicole Bodnar (416-978-5811; Nicole.Bodnar@utoronto.ca).

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About The Dalla Lana School, University of Toronto

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) is a regional and global leader in public health education, research and service, with one of the largest concentrations of academic population and public health researchers in Canada and more than $30 million in research funding each year.

University of Toronto

Related HIV Articles from Brightsurf:

BEAT-HIV Delaney collaboratory issues recommendations measuring persistent HIV reservoirs
Spearheaded by Wistar scientists, top worldwide HIV researchers from the BEAT-HIV Martin Delaney Collaboratory to Cure HIV-1 Infection by Combination Immunotherapy (BEAT-HIV Collaboratory) compiled the first comprehensive set of recommendations on how to best measure the size of persistent HIV reservoirs during cure-directed clinical studies.

The Lancet HIV: Study suggests a second patient has been cured of HIV
A study of the second HIV patient to undergo successful stem cell transplantation from donors with a HIV-resistant gene, finds that there was no active viral infection in the patient's blood 30 months after they stopped anti-retroviral therapy, according to a case report published in The Lancet HIV journal and presented at CROI (Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections).

Children with HIV score below HIV-negative peers in cognitive, motor function tests
Children who acquired HIV in utero or during birth or breastfeeding did not perform as well as their peers who do not have HIV on tests measuring cognitive ability, motor function and attention, according to a report published online today in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Efforts to end the HIV epidemic must not ignore people already living with HIV
Efforts to prevent new HIV transmissions in the US must be accompanied by addressing HIV-associated comorbidities to improve the health of people already living with HIV, NIH experts assert in the third of a series of JAMA commentaries.

The Lancet HIV: Severe anti-LGBT legislations associated with lower testing and awareness of HIV in African countries
This first systematic review to investigate HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression in men who have sex with men in Africa finds that among the most recent studies (conducted after 2011) only half of men have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months.

The Lancet HIV: Tenfold increase in number of adolescents on HIV treatment in South Africa since 2010, but many still untreated
A new study of more than 700,000 one to 19-year olds being treated for HIV infection suggests a ten-fold increase in the number of adolescents aged 15 to 19 receiving HIV treatment in South Africa, according to results published in The Lancet HIV journal.

Starting HIV treatment in ERs may be key to ending HIV spread worldwide
In a follow-up study conducted in South Africa, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have evidence that hospital emergency departments (EDs) worldwide may be key strategic settings for curbing the spread of HIV infections in hard-to-reach populations if the EDs jump-start treatment and case management as well as diagnosis of the disease.

NIH HIV experts prioritize research to achieve sustained ART-free HIV remission
Achieving sustained remission of HIV without life-long antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a top HIV research priority, according to a new commentary in JAMA by experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet HIV: PrEP implementation is associated with a rapid decline in new HIV infections
Study from Australia is the first to evaluate a population-level roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men who have sex with men.

Researchers date 'hibernating' HIV strains, advancing BC's leadership in HIV cure research
Researchers have developed a novel way for dating 'hibernating' HIV strains, in an advancement for HIV cure research.

Read More: HIV News and HIV Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.