Persons living with HIV in sero-discordant partnerships experience improved HIV care engagement compared with persons living with HIV in sero-concordant partnerships: a cross-sectional analysis of four African countries

Reed, Domonique M.; Esber, Allahna L.; Crowell, Trevor A.; Ganesan, Kavitha; Kibuuka, Hannah; Maswai, Jonah; Owuoth, John; Bahemana, Emmanuel; Iroezindu, Michael; Ake, Julie A.; Polyak, Christina S.

Persons living with HIV (PLWH) who are members of sero-discordant and sero-concordant relationships may experience psychological stressors or motivators that affect HIV care. We assessed the association between sero-discordance status, antiretroviral therapy (ART) uptake, and viral suppression in the African Cohort Study (AFRICOS).

AFRICOS enrolls PLWH and HIV-uninfected individuals at 12 sites in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria. At enrollment, we determined ART use through self-report. Viral suppression was defined as HIV RNA < 1000 copies/mL. We analyzed PLWH who were index participants within two types of sexual dyads: sero-discordant or sero-concordant. Binomial regression models were used to estimate prevalence ratios (PRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for factors associated with ART use and viral suppression at study enrollment.

From January 2013 through March 2018, 223 index participants from sero-discordant dyads and 61 from sero-concordant dyads were enrolled. The majority of the indexes were aged 25–34 years (50.2%), female (53.4%), and married (96.5%). Sero-discordant indexes were more likely to disclose their status to partners compared with sero-concordant indexes (96.4% vs. 82.0%, p < 0.001). After adjustment, sero-discordant index participants were more likely to be on ART (aPR 2.8 [95% CI 1.1–6.8]), but no more likely to be virally suppressed. Results may be driven by unique psycho-social factors and global implementation of treatment as prevention.

PLWH in sero-discordant sexual partnerships demonstrated improved uptake of ART compared with those in sero-concordant partnerships. Interventions are needed to increase care engagement by individuals in sero-concordant relationships to improve HIV outcomes.

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AIDS Research and Therapy

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Published Here
September 22, 2023


Sero-discordant relationship, Viral load, ART uptake, HIV care continuum, Sub-Saharan Africa