African Journal of AIDS Research <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>African Journal of AIDS Research (AJAR)</em></a> is a peer-reviewed research journal publishing papers that make an original contribution to the understanding of social dimensions of HIV/AIDS in African contexts. <em>AJAR</em> includes articles from, amongst others, the disciplines of sociology, demography, epidemiology, social geography, economics, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, health communication, media, cultural studies, public health, education, nursing science and social work. Papers relating to impact, care, prevention and social planning, as well as articles covering social theory and the history and politics of HIV/AIDS, will be considered for publication.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Subscriber information for this journal is available online <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> en-US Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the publisher. (Publishing Manager) (Editorial Office) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 15:25:04 +0000 OJS 60 The effects of COVID-19 on food insecurity, financial vulnerability and housing insecurity among women and girls living with or at risk of HIV in Nigeria <p><strong><em>Aim: </em></strong><strong>Women and girls living with or at high risk of acquiring HIV (WGL&amp;RHIV) in Africa are economically vulnerable. This study aims to advance understanding of the economic impact of COVID-19 on WGL&amp;RHIV and to identify the factors associated with this insecurity.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Methods: </em></strong><strong>Data were collected from a cross-sectional survey conducted among a convenience sample of WGL&amp;RHIV in Nigeria between May and September 2021. Logistic regressions enabled the study of the role of HIV status, mental health and macrosocial characteristics (people with disability, transgender women, sex workers, persons engaged in transactional sex, substance users, and people on the move) on economic vulnerability, measured by food, financial and housing insecurity, since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The model accounted for the possible interactions between the macrosocial characteristics and controlled for confounders.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Results: </em></strong><strong>There were 3 313 (76.1%) of 4 355 respondents facing food insecurity, 3 664 (83.6%) of 4 385 with financial vulnerability and 1 282 (36.2%) of 3 544 with housing insecurity. Being a member of the key and vulnerable groups was strongly associated with food insecurity, financial vulnerability and housing insecurity, regardless of HIV serostatus. For example, WGL&amp;RHIV engaging in transactional sex were more than four times more likely (aOR 4.42; 95% CI 2.57–7.59) to face housing insecurity and more than twice more likely to face food insecurity (aOR 2.47, 95% CI 1.35–4.52) and financial vulnerability (aOR 2.87, 95% CI 1.39–5.93). This economic vulnerability may reduce their negotiating power for safer sex or the use of HIV prevention methods, exposing them to increased risks of HIV infection. Poor mental health was also associated with the three forms of economic vulnerability. </strong></p> <p><strong><em>Conclusions: </em></strong><strong>As the long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis on African economies unfolds, HIV programmes at the country level must include economic vulnerability and mental unwellness mitigation activities for WGL&amp;RHIV.</strong></p> Erik Lamontagne, Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan, Olujide Arije, Amaka Enemo, Aaron Sunday, Amira Muhammad, Hasiya Yunusa Nyako, Rilwan Mohammed Abdullah, Henry Okiwu, Veronica Akwenabuaye Undelikwo, Pamela Adaobi Ogbozor, Oluwaranmilowo Amusan, Oluwatoyin Adedoyin Alaba Copyright (c) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Associations between COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and the experience of violence among women and girls living with and at risk of HIV in Nigeria <p><strong><em>Aim</em></strong><strong>: Women and girls living with and at high risk of HIV (WGL&amp;RHIV) had an increased risk for gender-based violence (GBV) during COVID-19. The study aimed to assess the associations between vaccine hesitancy and GBV, HIV status and psychological distress among these vulnerable women and girls in Nigeria.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Methods: </em></strong><strong>This cross-sectional study collected data from WGL&amp;RHIV in 10 states in Nigeria between June and October 2021. The dependent variable was vaccine hesitancy. The independent variables were the experience of physical, sexual, economic and emotional GBV, HIV status and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a multivariable logistics regression analysis to test the associations between vaccine hesitancy and the independent variables and covariates.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Results: </em></strong><strong>Among the 3 431 participants, 1 015 (22.8%) were not willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Not knowing or willing to disclose HIV status (aOR 1.40) and having mild (aOR 1.36) and moderate (aOR 1.38) symptoms of anxiety and depression were significantly associated with higher odds of vaccine hesitancy. Being a survivor of intimate partner physical violence (aOR 5.76), non-intimate partner sexual violence (aOR 3.41), as well as emotional abuse (aOR 1.55) were significantly associated with respectively more than five, three and one and half times higher odds of vaccine hesitancy. One positive outcome is that HIV-positive women and girls appeared to be more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine when available.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Conclusions: </em></strong><strong>Sexual and gender-based violence, low socio-economic status, psychological distress and an unknown HIV status are essential determinants of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among vulnerable women and girls in Nigeria. National authorities and civil society organisations need to better integrate COVID-19 mitigation activities with HIV and gender-based violence interventions through a more feminist approach that promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity for better access to health services.</strong></p> Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan, Olujide Arije, Amaka Enemo, Aaron Sunday, Amira Muhammad, Hasiya Yunusa Nyako, Rilwan Mohammed Abdullah, Henry Okiwu, Erik Lamontagne Copyright (c) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Impact of COVID-19 public health responses on income, food security and health services among key and vulnerable women in South Africa <p><strong>Globally, COVID-19 has impacted lives and livelihoods. Women living with HIV and/or at high risk of acquiring HIV are socially and economically vulnerable. Less is known of the impact of COVID-19 public health responses on women from key and vulnerable populations. The purpose of this cross-sectional survey conducted in four South African provinces with a high burden of HIV and COVID-19 from September to November 2021 was to advance understanding of the socio-economic and health care access impact of COVID-19 on women living with HIV or at high risk of acquiring HIV. A total of 2 812 women </strong>&gt;<strong>15 years old completed the survey. Approximately 31% reported a decrease in income since the start of the pandemic, and 43% an increase in food insecurity. Among those accessing health services, 37% and 36% reported that COVID-19 had impacted their access to HIV and family planning services respectively. Economic and service disruptions were enhanced by living in informal housing, urbanisation and being in the Western Cape. Food insecurity was increased by being a migrant, having fewer people contributing to the household, having children and experience of gender-based violence. Family planning service disruptions were greater for sex workers and having fewer people contributing to the household. These differentiated impacts on income, food security, access to HIV and family planning services were mediated by age, housing, social cohesion, employment and household income, highlighting the need for improved structural and systemic interventions to reduce the vulnerability of women living with HIV or at high risk of acquiring HIV.</strong></p> Hilton Humphries, Lara Lewis, Erik Lamontagne, Shakira Choonara, Keabetswe Dikgale, Anna Yakusik, Dianne Massawe, Ntombenhle Mkhize, Farai Mzungu, Quarraisha Abdool Karim Copyright (c) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Economic implications of COVID-19 for the HIV epidemic and the response in Zimbabwe <p><strong>Understanding the economic implications of COVID-19 for the HIV epidemic and response is critical for designing policies and strategies to effectively sustain past gains and accelerate progress to end these colliding pandemics. While considerable cross-national empirical evidence exists at the global level, there is a paucity of such deep-dive evidence at national level. This article addresses this gap. While Zimbabwe experienced fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths than most countries, the pandemic has had profound economic effects, reducing gross domestic product by nearly 7% in 2020. This exacerbates the long-term economic crisis that began in 1998. This has left many households vulnerable to the economic fallout from COVID-19, with the number of the extreme poor having increased to 49% of the population in 2020 (up from 38% in 2019). The national HIV response, largely financed externally, has been one of the few bright spots. Overall, macro-economic and social conditions heavily affected the capacity of Zimbabwe to respond to COVID-19. Few options were available for borrowing the needed sums of money. National outlays for COVID-19 mitigation and vaccination amounted to 2% of GDP, with one-third funded by external donors. Service delivery innovations helped sustain access to HIV treatment during national lockdowns. As a result of reduced access to HIV testing, the number of people initiating HIV treatment declined. In the short term, there are likely to be few immediate health care consequences of the slowdown in treatment initiation due to the country’s already high level of HIV treatment coverage. However, a longer-lasting slowdown could impede national progress towards ending HIV and AIDS. The findings suggest a need to finance the global commons, specifically recognising that investing in health care is investing in economic recovery.</strong></p> Charles Birungi, Markus Haacker, Isaac Taramusi, Amon Mpofu, Bernard Madzima, Tsitsi Apollo, Owen Mugurungi, Martin Odiit, Michael A Obst Copyright (c) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Psychological flexibility as a moderator of the relationship between HIV-related stigma and resilience among HIV/AIDS patients <p><strong>HIV-related stigmatisation is common in many parts of the world and is experienced by all categories of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA). Although the negative consequences of HIV-related stigmatisation on the resilience of PLWHA is well documented, little is known about the plausible role of certain personal characteristics in moderating the stigma-resilience relationship. In addition to investigating the direct association of HIV-related stigma (personalised stigma, disclosure concern, concern about public attitude and negative self-image) with resilience, the present study examined whether psychological flexibility (PF) moderates the HIV-related stigma-resilience relationship among PLWHA. Participants included 280 PLWHA (</strong><strong><em>M </em></strong>= <strong>39.48; SD </strong>= <strong>9.03) selected from Sacred Heart Catholic Hospital (SHCH), Obudu, Cross River State, Nigeria. Participants completed relevant self-report measures. Results showed that patients reported moderately high levels of resilience (</strong><strong><em>M </em></strong>= <strong>59.13; SD </strong>= <strong>13.98). Hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that HIV-related stigma (personalised stigma, disclosure concern and concern about public attitudes) were not significantly associated with resilience (</strong><strong><em>p </em></strong>= <strong>0.230; </strong><strong><em>p </em></strong>= <strong>0.747; </strong><strong><em>p </em></strong>= <strong>0.528). HIV-related negative self-image and PF were independently and significantly associated with resilience (</strong><strong><em>p </em></strong>= <strong>0.024; </strong><strong><em>p </em></strong>= <strong>0.000). Results of moderation hypothesis revealed that PF did not moderate the relationship between HIV-related disclosure concern and resilience (</strong><strong><em>p </em></strong>= <strong>0.903), and between HIV-related concern about public attitudes and resilience (</strong><strong><em>p </em></strong>= <strong>0.905), but PF moderated the relationship of HIV-related personalised stigma and resilience (</strong><strong><em>p </em></strong>= <strong>0.023), and the relationship of HIV-related negative self-image and resilience (</strong><strong><em>p </em></strong>= <strong>0.004). Therefore, interventions to promote resilience abilities in PLWHA should consider facilitating patients’ psychological flexibility skills as it is critical in decreasing the hazardous effect of HIV-related stigma on the patients.</strong></p> Chinenye Joseph Aliche, Chuka Mike Ifeagwazi, Chisom Christopher Ozor Copyright (c) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Understanding the role of men in women’s use of the vaginal ring and oral PrEP during pregnancy and breastfeeding: multi-stakeholder perspectives <p><strong>We examined men’s influence on women’s interest in biomedical HIV prevention during pregnancy and breastfeeding through structured questionnaires and focus group discussions with currently or recently pregnant and breastfeeding (P/BF) women (</strong><strong><em>n </em></strong><strong>= 65), men with P/BF partners (</strong><strong><em>n </em></strong><strong>= 63) and mothers/mothers-in-law of P/BF women (</strong><strong><em>n </em></strong><strong>= 68) in eastern and southern Africa. Data were transcribed, coded and summarised into analytical memos. Men were depicted by most participants as joint decision-makers and influencers of women’s use of HIV prevention. Cultural and religious norms depicting men as heads, breadwinners and protectors of the family were cited to legitimise their involvement in decision-making. Male partner education and engagement were recommended to garner their support in women’s HIV prevention. This study elucidates how P/BF women’s ability to prevent HIV is shaped by traditional and contemporary gender norms in social settings and locations where the study was conducted. Findings may aid intervention design to engage men for P/BF women’s effective use of microbicide and oral PrEP.</strong></p> Petina Musara, Miriam Hartmann, Julia H Ryan, Krishnaveni Reddy, Joseph Ggita, Prisca Mutero, Nicole Macagna, Frank Taulo, Nyaradzo M Mgodi, Jeanna Piper, Ariane van der Straten Copyright (c) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Validity and reliability of the HIV Disability Questionnaire for people living with HIV in South Africa <p><strong>This study determined the measurement properties of the HIV Disability Questionnaire (HDQ) on a sample of people living with HIV (PLWHIV) to validate this assessment in a resource-limited environment. A quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional research design was used with PLWHIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) for six months or more. Participants completed the HDQ, World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Scale (WHODAS 2.0) and the Medical Outcomes Study – Social Support Survey (MOS-SSS). Disability presence, severity and episodic scores on the HDQ were tested against the WHODAS 2.0 and MOS-SSS to determine convergent and divergent construct validity and internal consistency. Results for the HDQ were compared to four other populations from high-income countries. Of the sample of 498 participants, 68% were female, the median age was 41 years and 19% had a median of one concurrent health condition. Median HDQ scores were 24.63 for disability presence, 10.14 for disability severity and 15.94 for the episodic scale. Moderate correlations confirmed 92.8% of convergent a priori hypotheses, while 85.7% of divergent a priori hypotheses were accepted. Cronbach’s alpha for the HDQ scales ranged from 0.89 to 0.84. Results from the HDQ differed from those determined in Canada, Ireland, the United States and the United Kingdom, with presence and severity scores for the South African sample being lower. Episodic scores were higher, which may be related to the socio-economic context. The HDQ is reliable and valid for disability determination and may be used as a rehabilitation outcome measure for PLWHIV in South Africa.</strong></p> Adetunji Adeleke, Denise Franzsen, Patricia de Witt, Rulaine Smith Copyright (c) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Exploring preferences of market traders of the type and delivery methods of HIV services in Lilongwe, Malawi <p><strong><em>Background</em></strong><strong>: Reaching all people with HIV services, including traders in the informal economy, is critical to meeting UNAIDS’ 95-95-95 goals. However, traders prioritise their business over attendance at health facilities. This limits their access to health services. This study explores market traders’ preferences for the potential type and delivery methods of HIV services at Lilongwe Central market.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Method</em></strong><strong>: The study used an exploratory qualitative study design in Lilongwe, Malawi. Sixteen in-depth interviews were conducted among traders at Lilongwe Central market between June and September 2022. In the same period, we also conducted four key informant interviews involving three officers responsible for HIV services at the district and council levels, and the market chairman.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Results</em></strong><strong>: HIV services preferred by market traders include HIV testing, antiretroviral therapy, condom dispensation, voluntary medical male circumcision and HIV awareness campaigns. These services should be offered daily or when the market is less crowded, and they could be delivered either in the market or a health facility setting. These services can be provided by both lay and health workers, depending on traders’ preferences, and must be integrated with other health services to mitigate unintended HIV status disclosure concerns.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Conclusion</em></strong><strong>: The achievement of UNAIDS’ 95-95-95 goals by 2030 requires that HIV services should be available to all those who require them at times and locations that are convenient for them, through providers they have chosen, and provided as either integrated or standalone services depending on the target group’s perception of the role of these two models in mitigating stigma. This will necessitate the development of new approaches targeting underserved groups, such as traders in markets.</strong></p> James Jere, Alinane Linda Nyondo-Mipando Copyright (c) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Estimating the cost and efficiency gain of rolling out a multi-month dispensing programme for antiretroviral treatment in Tanzania <p><strong><em>Background: </em></strong><strong>Globally, efforts to curtail the HIV pandemic are growing. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) and partners set the 95-95-95 targets to be achieved by 2025. Tanzania’s ongoing transition from single-month ARV to longer multi-month dispensing (MMD) involves significant planning and shifts in existing resources, including health commodities, clinical staff and storage space. This study aimed at evaluating the costs and efficiency gains of rolling out MMD compared to the prior monthly dispending (MD) standard of care before the new guidelines.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Methods: </em></strong><strong>The analysis employed a health provider perspective utilising prior costing data collected to estimate cost of treatment for HIV/AIDS, including salaries, laboratory costs, antiretroviral drugs, other supplies and overhead costs. The projections were run from 2018 to 2030 using the Spectrum package for Tanzania.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Results: </em></strong><strong>Our model estimated that total treatment cost without MMD (including salaries, laboratory costs, antiretroviral drugs, other supplies, and overhead costs) is estimated to rise from USD 189 million in 2018 to USD 244 million in 2030. The introduction of a six-month MMD would lead to the total annual facility-based treatment costs being reduced to USD 205 million in 2030. When comparing MD to a six-month MMD, the total savings over the 13-year period would be USD 425 million. The introduction of six-month MMD for stable patients would reduce the average cost from USD 180 to USD 156 per patient per year if stable patients were only required to make six-monthly visit.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Conclusions: </em></strong><strong>The introduction of differentiated service delivery models (DSDMs) and MMD is already contributing to significant cost savings for Tanzania and will continue to do so as the country puts more stable patients on MMD. The potential gains from MMD implantation could further be harnessed if retention of treatment and viral suppression monitoring are prioritised.</strong></p> George Ruhago, Steven Forsythe, Roland Van de Ven, Louis Apicella Copyright (c) Tue, 03 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000