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Evaluating the impact of DREAMS on HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women: A population-based cohort study in Kenya and South Africa

Birdthistle, Isolde, Kwaro, Daniel, Shahmanesh, Maryam, Baisley, Kathy, Khagayi, Sammy, Chimbindi, Natsayi, Kamire, Vivenne, Mthiyane, Nondumiso, Gourlay, Annabelle, Dreyer, Jaco, Phillips-Howard, Penelope ORCID:, Glynn, Judith and Floyd, Sian (2021) 'Evaluating the impact of DREAMS on HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women: A population-based cohort study in Kenya and South Africa'. PLoS Medicine, Vol 18, Issue 10, e1003837.

Birdthistle I et al 2021 DREAMS impact evaluation on HIV uncorr proof.pdf - Accepted Version
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Through a multisectoral approach, the DREAMS Partnership aimed to reduce HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) by 40% over 2 years in high-burden districts across sub-Saharan Africa. DREAMS promotes a combination package of evidence-based interventions to reduce individual, family, partner, and community-based drivers of young women’s heightened HIV risk. We evaluated the impact of DREAMS on HIV incidence among AGYW and young men in 2 settings.

Methods and findings
We directly estimated HIV incidence rates among open population-based cohorts participating in demographic and HIV serological surveys from 2006 to 2018 annually in uMkhanyakude (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) and over 6 rounds from 2010 to 2019 in Gem (Siaya, Kenya). We compared HIV incidence among AGYW aged 15 to 24 years before DREAMS and up to 3 years after DREAMS implementation began in 2016. We investigated the timing of any change in HIV incidence and whether the rate of any change accelerated during DREAMS implementation. Comparable analyses were also conducted for young men (20 to 29/34 years).

In uMkhanyakude, between 5,000 and 6,000 AGYW were eligible for the serological survey each year, an average of 85% were contacted, and consent rates varied from 37% to 67%. During 26,395 person-years (py), HIV incidence was lower during DREAMS implementation (2016 to 2018) than in the previous 5-year period among 15- to 19-year-old females (4.5 new infections per 100 py as compared with 2.8; age-adjusted rate ratio (aRR) = 0.62, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.48 to 0.82), and lower among 20- to 24-year-olds (7.1/100 py as compared with 5.8; aRR = 0.82, 95% CI 0.65 to 1.04). Declines preceded DREAMS introduction, beginning from 2012 to 2013 among the younger and 2014 for the older women, with no evidence of more rapid decline during DREAMS implementation. In Gem, between 8,515 and 11,428 AGYW were eligible each survey round, an average of 34% were contacted and offered an HIV test, and consent rates ranged from 84% to 99%. During 10,382 py, declines in HIV incidence among 15- to 19-year-olds began before DREAMS and did not change after DREAMS introduction. Among 20- to 24-year-olds in Gem, HIV incidence estimates were lower during DREAMS implementation (0.64/100 py) compared with the pre-DREAMS period (0.94/100 py), with no statistical evidence of a decline (aRR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.53 to 2.18). Among young men, declines in HIV incidence were greater than those observed among AGYW and also began prior to DREAMS investments. Study limitations include low study power in Kenya and the introduction of other interventions such as universal treatment for HIV during the study period.

Substantial declines in HIV incidence among AGYW were observed, but most began before DREAMS introduction and did not accelerate in the first 3 years of DREAMS implementation. Like the declines observed among young men, they are likely driven by earlier and ongoing investments in HIV testing and treatment. Longer-term implementation and evaluation are needed to assess the impact of such a complex HIV prevention intervention and to help accelerate reductions in HIV incidence among young women.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 309 Women's health
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503 Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV infections
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Cheryl Giddings
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2021 13:18
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2021 13:18


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