Association of medical male circumcision and antiretroviral therapy scale-up with community HIV incidence in Rakai, Uganda

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Importance: Medical male circumcision (MMC) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) are proven HIV prevention interventions, but there are limited data on the population-level effect of scale-up of these interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. Such evaluation is important for planning and resource allocation. Objective: To examine whether increasing community MMC and ART coverage was associated with reduced community HIV incidence in Rakai District, Uganda. Design, Setting, and Participants: Using person-level data from population-based surveys conducted from 1999 through 2013 in 45 rural Rakai communities, community-level ART and MMC coverage, sociodemographics, sexual behaviors, and HIV prevalence and incidence were estimated in 3 periods: prior to the availability of ART and MMC (1999–2004), during early availability of ART and MMC (2004–2007), and during mature program scale-up (2007–2013). Exposures: Community MMC coverage in males and ART coverage in HIV-positive persons of the opposite sex based on self-reported MMC status and ART use. Main Outcomes and Measures: Adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for sex-specific community HIV incidence estimated using multivariable Poisson regression with generalized estimating equations. Results: From 1999 through 2013, 44 688 persons participated in 1 or more surveys (mean age at the first survey, 24.6 years [range, 15-49]; female, 56.5%; mean survey participation rate, 92.6% [95% CI, 92.4%-92.7%]). Median community MMC coverage increased from 19% to 39%, and median community ART coverage rose from 0% to 21% in males and from 0% to 26% in females. Median community HIV incidence declined from 1.25 to 0.84 per 100 person-years in males, and from 1.25 to 0.99 per 100 person-years in females. Among males, each 10% increase in community MMC coverage was associated with an adjusted IRR of 0.87 (95% CI, 0.82-0.93). Comparing communities with MMC coverage more than 40% (mean male community incidence, 1.03 per 100 person-years) with communities with coverage of 10% or less (mean male incidence, 1.69 per 100 person-years), the adjusted IRR was 0.61 (95% CI, 0.43-0.88). For each 10% increase in female self-reported ART coverage, there was no significant reduction in male HIV incidence (adjusted IRR, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.81-1.13]). Comparing communities with female ART coverage more than 20% (mean male incidence, 0.87 per 100 person-years) to communities with female ART coverage of 20% or less (mean male incidence, 1.17 per 100 person-years), the adjusted IRR was 0.77 (95% CI, 0.61-0.98). Neither MMC nor male ART coverage was associated with lower female community HIV incidence. Conclusions and Relevance: In Rakai, Uganda, increasing community MMC and female ART coverage was associated with lower community HIV incidence in males. If similar associations are found elsewhere, this would support further scale-up of MMC and ART for HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa.