HIV Incidence in Asia: A Review of Available Data and Assessment of the Epidemic

June 2013 - Epidemiology

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Dokubo, E.K., Kim, A.A., Linh-Vi, L. et al. AIDS Reviews (2013), Vol. 15, pp.  67-76.

The authors conducted a systematic review of studies on HIV incidence in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) conducted in the past 30 years. The results showed that studies on HIV incidence are not routinely conducted or published across Asia, but shed light on estimated HIV incidences and risk factors, mostly among key populations. HIV incidence rates varied; the highest were 43.6 among people who inject drugs (PWID); 27.8 per 100 person-years among commercial sex workers (CSW); and 15.0 among men who have sex with men (MSM). A few studies identified commonly known HIV risk factors, e.g., cervical infection among CSW; young age and frequent needle sharing among PWID; and having multiple sexual partners among MSM. Of the 111 studies included (70 publications and 41 conference abstracts), most were from Thailand, China, and India (53, 26, and 17 studies, respectively). The prospective cohort methodology remains most commonly used in studies of HIV incidence, and the use of antibody-based laboratory assays for detecting HIV infection has recently increased. While surveillance can be challenging among hidden key populations, it is necessary to establish routine surveillance systems to obtain data on new HIV infection rates and risk factors, both among key populations and the general population, to better understand and address the HIV epidemic in Asia.

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