Antiretroviral drug use in a cross-sectional population survey in Africa: NIMH Project Accept (HPTN 043).

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999) (2016)


BACKGROUND: Antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment benefits the treated individual and can prevent HIV transmission. We assessed ARV drug use in a community-randomized trial that evaluated the impact of behavioral interventions on HIV incidence.

METHODS: Samples were collected in a cross-sectional survey after a 3-year intervention period. ARV drug testing was performed using samples from HIV-infected adults at four study sites (Zimbabwe; Tanzania; KwaZulu-Natal and Soweto, South Africa; survey period 2009-2011), using an assay that detects 20 ARV drugs (6 nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors [NRTIs]; 3 non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors [NNRTIs]; 9 protease inhibitors; maraviroc; raltegravir).

RESULTS: ARV drugs were detected in 2,011 (27.4%) of 7,347 samples; 88.1% had 1 NNRTI +/- 1-2 NRTIs. ARV drug detection was associated with sex (women>men), pregnancy, older age (>24 years), and study site (p<0.0001 for all four variables). ARV drugs were also more frequently detected in adults who were widowed (p=0.006) or unemployed (p=0.02). ARV drug use was more frequent in intervention versus control communities early in the survey (p=0.01), with a significant increase in control (p=0.004) but not in intervention communities during the survey period. In KwaZulu-Natal, a 1% increase in ARV drug use was associated with a 0.14% absolute decrease in HIV incidence (p=0.018).

CONCLUSIONS: This study used an objective, biomedical approach to assess ARV drug use on a population level. This analysis identified factors associated with ARV drug use and provided information on ARV drug use over time. ARV drug use was associated with lower HIV incidence at one study site.