Acute and Early HIV Infection: A Missed Opportunity for Behavioral and Biomedical Combination Strategies for HIV Prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa

Acute HIV Infection impacts on both patient management and public health interventions targeting HIV/AIDS epidemic. The ongoing unchanged HIV incidence in the era of treatment as a prevention intervention may be attributable in part, to current programs failing to diagnose and treat AHI. This review maps the current knowledge of AHI in SSA where 5% to 38% of new HIV infections originate from individuals being in the acute stage of the infection. The amount of infection attributable to AHI depends on the individual risk-level behavior. The unavailability of POC appropriate diagnostic tool in SSA results in many cases of AHI being missed by HIV prevention, care and treatment programs. Clinicians should be aware of common signs and symptoms and how to screen for AHI especially in high-risk group population. Patients screening positive for AHI should have their risk-level behavior assessed followed by risk behavior reduction interventions with appropriate follow-ups in order to diagnose HIV at the earlier stage, and ensure linkage into care, which results in immune preservation, prevention of morbidity and mortality in addition to the prevention of further transmission of HIV infection to other sexual partners.


Nkokesha Kabongo

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