Feasibility of conducting HIV combination prevention interventions in fishing communities in Uganda: A pilot cluster randomised trial

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Kuteesa MO, Weiss HA, Abaasa A, Nash S, Nsubuga RN, Newton R, Seeley J, Kamali A

We assessed feasibility of an HIV-combination-prevention trial among fishing communities in Uganda.

Cluster randomised trial in four fishing communities on Lake Victoria, Uganda. Two intervention communities received a combination-prevention-package (behaviour change communication, condom promotion, HIV testing, voluntary male medical circumcision and referral for anti-retroviral therapy if HIV-positive). All four communities received routine government HIV care services.

Using household census data we randomly selected a cohort of consenting residents aged ≥18 years. A baseline sero-survey in July 2014 was followed by two repeat surveys in March and December 2015. We measured uptake of HIV prevention methods, loss-to-follow-up and HIV incidence, accounting for multistage survey design.

A total of 862 participants were enrolled and followed for 15 months. Participation was 62% and 74% in the control and intervention arms respectively; Overall loss to follow up (LTFU) was 21.6% and was similar by arm. Self-reported abstinence/faithfulness increased between baseline and endline in both arms from 53% to 73% in the control arm, and 55% to 67% in the intervention arm. Reported condom use throughout the study period was 36% in the intervention arm vs 28% in the control arm; number of male participants reporting circumsicion in both arms from 58% to 79% in the intervention arm, and 39% to 46% in the control arm. Independent baseline predictors of loss-to-follow-up were: being HIV positive, residence in the community for <1 year, younger age, living in an urban area, and being away from the area for >1 month/year.

Recruitment and retention of participants in longitudinal trials in highly mobile HIV fishing communities is challenging. Future research should investigate modes for locating and retaining participants, and delivery of HIV-combination prevention.