Acute HIV infection and the care continuum of key populations in coastal Kenya

Acute HIV infection and the care continuum of key populations in coastal Kenya

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Previously, it was found that Key Populations (KP) lack information on the benefits of HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment (ART), or on signs and symptoms of acute HIV infection (AHI). “Test and Treat” (TaT) is a strategy to prevent HIV transmission by providing immediate ART at the time of HIV diagnosis. Current HIV testing programmes often miss AHI, because diagnostic testing relies heavily on an antibody response.

Kimani’s work is based at two research facilities that provide services specifically to KP. They are in the towns of Malindi and Mtwapa, Kilifi County along the Northern coast of Kenya. He is working specifically with female sex workers (FSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM). The project evaluates two outcomes i.e. viral suppression of patients on ART at 6 and 12 months, post-initiation, and assessing the factors associated with ART adherence. It will assess the care continuum through a Respondent Driven Survey (RDS) to be conducted in 2017. It will also assess strategies to identify AHI among KP, including self-testing and referral of at-risk partners, and evaluation of the yield of AHI screening.

The objectives Kimani hopes his study hope will achieve are:

  1. to characterise the care continuum for KP (MSM) in Malindi through an RDS survey;
  2. to assess predictors of ART adherence in MSM and FSW initiated in the test and treat (TaT) programme in Malindi;
  3. to evaluate outcomes of AHI screening at the OPD of Malindi sub-County Hospital; and
  4. to develop innovative strategies to initiate AHI screening in KP in Mtwapa and Malindi.