PUBLICATION: An assessment of fishing communities around Lake Victoria, Uganda, as potential populations for future HIV vaccine efficacy studies: an observational cohort study. BMC Public Health 14: 986.

Aurthors: Kiwanuka, N., J. Mpendo, A. Nalutaaya, M. Wambuzi, A. Nanvubya, P. K. Kitandwe, E. Muyanja, J. Ssempiira, A. Balyegisawa and A. Ssetaala (2014).
Publication Category: Health and HIV in Lake Victoria Fishing Communities

An effective HIV vaccine is still elusive. Of the 9 HIV preventive vaccine efficacy trials conducted to-date, only one reported positive results of modest efficacy. More efficacy trials need to be conducted before one or more vaccines are eventually licensed. We assessed the suitability of fishing communities in Uganda for future HIV vaccine efficacy trials.

METHODS: A community-based cohort study was conducted among a random sample of 2191 participants aged 18-49 years. Data were collected on socio-demographic characteristics, HIV risky behaviors, and willingness to participate in future HIV vaccine trials (WTP). Venous blood was collected for HIV serological testing. Retention/follow rates and HIV incidence rates per 100 person years at-risk (pyar) were estimated. Adjusted prevalence proportion ratios (PPRs) of retention and odds ratios (ORs) of lack of WTP were estimated using log-binomial and logistic regression models respectively.

RESULTS: Overall retention rate was 76.9% (1685/2191), highest (89%) among participants who had spent 5+ years in the community and lowest (54.1%) among those with <1 year stay. Significant predictors of retention included tribe/ethnicity, baseline HIV negative status, and longer than 1 year stay in the community. Overall WTP was 89.1% (1953/2191). Lack of WTP was significantly higher among women than men [adj.OR = 1.51 (95% CI, 1.14- 2.00)] and among participants who had stayed in fishing communities for 10 or more years relative to those with less than one year [adj.OR = 1.78 (95% CI, 1.11 - 2.88)].

Overall HIV incidence rate per 100 pyar was 3.39 (95% CI; 2.55 - 4.49). Participants aged 25-29 years had highest incidence rates (4.61 - 7.67/100 pyar) and high retention rates between 78.5 and 83.1%. In a combined analysis of retention and incidence rates participants aged 30+ years had retention rates ~80% but low incidence rates (2.45 - 3.57 per 100 pyar) while those aged 25-29 years had the highest incidence rates (4.61 - 7.67/100 pyar) and retention rates 78.5 - 83.1%.

CONCLUSIONS: There is high HIV incidence, retention and WTP among fishing communities around L. Victoria, Uganda which make these communities appropriate for future HIV prevention efficacy studies including vaccine trials.

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