The effect of changes in condom usage and antiretroviral treatment coverage on human immunodeficiency virus incidence in South Africa: a model-based analysis

Leigh F. Johnson, Timothy B. Hallett, Thomas M. Rehle, Rob E. Dorrington


This study aims to assess trends in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) incidence in South Africa, and to assess the extent to which prevention and treatment programmes have reduced HIV incidence. Two models of the South African HIV epidemic, the STI (sexually transmitted infection)–HIV Interaction model and the ASSA2003 AIDS and Demographic model, were adapted. Both models were fitted to age-specific HIV prevalence data from antenatal clinic surveys and household surveys, using a Bayesian approach. Both models suggest that HIV incidence in 15–49 year olds declined significantly between the start of 2000 and the start of 2008: by 27 per cent (95% CI: 21–32%) in the STI–HIV model and by 31 per cent (95% CI: 23–39%) in the ASSA2003 model, when expressed as a percentage of incidence rates in 2000. By 2008, the percentage reduction in incidence owing to increased condom use was 37 per cent (95% CI: 34–41%) in the STI–HIV model and 23 per cent (95% CI: 14–34%) in the ASSA2003 model. Both models also estimated a small reduction in incidence owing to antiretroviral treatment by 2008. Increased condom use therefore appears to be the most significant factor explaining the recent South African HIV incidence decline.

  • Received November 26, 2011.
  • Accepted December 19, 2011.
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