Objectives: Although the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among girls infected with HIV has been reported, the incidence of STI diagnoses has not been well documented. The objectives of this study were to examine (1) incident STI diagnoses and (2) the association between viral load (VL) and incident STI diagnosis among HIV-infected adolescent girls in care.
Methods: This was a prospective longitudinal 18-month study of girls enrolled in the Adolescent HIV trials network. Cox proportional hazard modelling was performed to evaluate the incidence of STI by baseline viral load.
Results: The mean (SD) age of participants was 20.6 (2.0) years, viral load of participants was 66,917 (165,942) copies/ml and median viral load was 7,096 copies/ml. The incidence of STIs for the entire cohort was 1.4 per 100 person-months. During the 18-month follow-up period, there were no significant differences in the STI incidence between the high and low viral load groups (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.86, 95% CI 0.37 to 1.95) There was also no significant association between STI incidence and log-transformed viral load (HR = 1.10, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.3).
Conclusions: Adolescent girls with HIV infection continue to acquire sexually transmitted infections after diagnosis. This analysis does not suggest that VL is a critical factor in STI acquisition over time. Additional work exploring the role of other contextual factors on STI acquisition among HIV-infected adolescent girls is warranted.