Background: Since 1989 when the first 146 HIV positives in China were identified, Dehong Prefecture had been one of the areas hardest-hit by HIV in China. The local and national governments have put substantial financial resources into tackling the HIV epidemic in Dehong from 2004. The objective of this study was to track dynamic changes in HIV-1 prevalence and incidence among five focal populations in Dehong and to assess the impact of HIV prevention and control efforts.
Methods: Consecutive cross-sectional surveys conducted in five focal populations between 2004 and 2008. Specimens seropositive for HIV were tested with the BED IgG capture enzyme immunoassay to identify recent seroconversions (median, 155 days) using normalized optical density of 0.8 and adjustments.
Results: From 2004 to 2008, estimated annual HIV incidence among injecting drug users (IDUs) decreased significantly [from 15.0% (95% CI = 11.4%-18.5%) in 2004 to 4.3% (95% CI = 2.4%-6.2%) in 2008; trend test P < 0.0001]. The incidence among other focal populations, such as HIV discordant couples (varying from 5.5% to 4.7%), female sex workers (varying from 1.4% to 1.3%), pregnant women (0.1%), and pre-marital couples (0.2 to 0.1%) remained stable. Overall, the proportion of recent HIV-1 infections was higher among females than males (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: The HIV epidemic in Dehong continued to expand during a five-year period but at a slowing rate among IDUs, and HIV incidence remains high among IDUs and discordant couples. Intensive prevention measures should target sub-groups at highest risk to further slow the epidemic and control the migration of HIV to other areas of China, and multivariate analysis is needed to explore which measures are more effective for different populations.