HIV prevalence in rural Amazonia
R Orenstein1, M Stewart2, N Tsogas3
1Mayo Clinic, Rochester, United States; 2McGuire Veterans Hospital, Richmond, United States; 3Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, United States
Background: 48,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV in Peru. Little information exists on the prevalence of HIV in rural populations in the Peruvian Amazon. Most data in Peru is obtained from high risk and city populations. The prevalence of HIV in rural villages is not known and data has been difficult to obtain due to environmental, societal and technical considerations. Thus little is known about the breadth of the epidemic in remote areas.
Methods: We conducted a study of HIV prevalence in 7 remote rural villages in the Peruvian Amazon region using a simple, sensitive and specific saliva-based collection kit (Orapette) and assay for HIV-1,2 antibodies (SalivaCard, Trinity Biotech, Dublin). Tests were done anonymously during medical clinics held in these remote villages. Testing was done for the purpose of obtaining baseline prevalence data and developing educational strategies for prevention.
Results: 469 saliva samples from villagers age 9 months-89 years were obtained from Jan 13-22, 1999 . 17 samples tested positive for an overall prevalence of 3.6%. 9/169 (5%) were men and 8/300 (3%) were women. Prevalence rates ran from 0% in more remote villages to 9 and 11% in the two villages with the greatest river access to the thriving port city of Iquitos.
Conclusions: Saliva based testing is a feasible method of obtaining HIV prevalence data in the remote jungle regions of Peru. it is well accepted by the native population and carries minimal risk to the healthcare research team. The data obtained in this study if confirmed would indicate that HIV has spread from the city into the rural villages in the Peruvian Amazon, likely along frequently traveled river routes. These data if confirmed suggest greater educational efforts need to be focused on HIV prevention in both the cities and even in these remote villages.
The XIV International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. WePeC6225
” R Orenstein , , et al. HIV prevalence in rural Amazonia . Poster Exhibition: The XIV International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. WePeC6225″