New HIV infections fall in Ugandan villages

A study found that the introduction and expansion of combination HIV prevention services, including HIV testing, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), and antiretroviral therapy, led to significant decreases in new HIV infections in four Ugandan fishing villages heavily affected by HIV, Healio reports. The authors of the study write in The Lancet HIV that “to our knowledge this is the first report of prospectively observed declines in overall HIV incidence with rapid scale-up of combination HIV interventions in HIV-hyperendemic communities.” HIV incidence dropped from 3.43 per 100 person-years in 2011 to 1.59 person-years in 2017 as the number of people benefiting from combination prevention increased. VMMC coverage increased from 35 to 65 percent, and circumcised men had a lower risk of incident HIV compared to uncircumcised men. Despite surpassing the 90-90-90 targets for HIV testing, treatment, and viral suppression, however, these villages still have an HIV incidence 15 times higher than the rate needed for epidemic control (Healio, 30 September 2019).