Background The HIV Modes of Transmission model (MOT) estimates the annual percentage distribution of new HIV infections (PNI) by key risk groups. It was designed to guide country-specific HIV prevention policies. To determine if the MOT produced context-specific recommendations, we analysed the MOT results by regions and epidemic types and explored the factors (e.g. data inputs, adherence to guidelines) influencing the differences.
Methods We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, UNAIDS reports, and contacted UNAIDS country directors for published MOT results from 2003 (1st published MOT).
Results We included 4 journal articles and 20 UNAIDS reports covering 29 countries. The largest PNI was among the low-risk group (one heterosexual partner) in 13 countries [range 26–63%], and increased with low-risk population size. The estimated PNI among female sex workers (FSWs) was universally low [median 1.3%, range 0.04–14.4%], and showed little variability by region and epidemic type despite variation in sexual behaviour e.g. number of partners. In India and Thailand, where FSWs play an important role in transmission, the PNI among FSWs was 2% and 4% respectively. In contrast, the PNI among men who have sex with men (MSM) varied across regions [MSM, range 0.1–89%] and increased with MSM population sizes. The PNI among people who inject drugs [PWID, range 0–82%] was largest in ‘early-phase’ epidemics with low overall HIV prevalence. Most MOT studies are being conducted and reported as per guidelines. However, many countries (n = 23) reported data limitations - especially on high-risk groups - when parameterising the MOT.
Conclusion Although countries are generally performing the MOT as per guidelines, results showed little variation in MOT outputs (except MSM and PWID) by regions and epidemic types. Homogeneity in MOT outputs for FSWs, clients and low-risk population may limit the utility of MOT for guiding country-specific interventions in heterosexual HIV epidemics.
- epidemic appraisal
- HIV Prevention
- Modes of Transmission Model
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