Background: Despite young people being a key population for HIV prevention, the HIV epidemic amongst young Brazilians is perceived to be growing. We therefore reviewed all published literature on HIV prevalence and risk factors for HIV infection amongst 10-25 year olds in Brazil.
Methods: We searched Embase, LILACS, Proquest, PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science for studies published up to March 2017 and analyzed reference lists of relevant studies. We included published studies from any time in the HIV epidemic which provided estimates specific to ages 10-25 (or some subset of this age range) for Brazilians on either: (a) HIV prevalence or incidence; or (b) the association between HIV and socio-demographic or behavioral risk factors.
Results: Forty eight publications met the inclusion criteria: 44 cross-sectional, two case-control, two cohort. Four studies analysed national data. Forty seven studies provided HIV prevalence estimates, largely for six population subgroups: Counselling and Testing Center attendees; blood donors; pregnant women; institutional individuals; men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) and female sex workers (FSW); four provided HIV incidence estimates. Twelve studies showed HIV status to be associated with a wide range of risk factors, including age, sexual and reproductive history, infection history, substance use, geography, marital status, mental health and socioeconomic status.
Conclusions: Few published studies have examined HIV amongst young people in Brazil, and those published have been largely cross-sectional and focused on traditional risk groups and the south of the country. Despite these limitations, the literature shows raised HIV prevalence amongst MSM and FSW, as well as amongst those using drugs. Time trends are harder to identify, although rates appear to be falling for pregnant women, possibly reversing an earlier de-masculinization of the epidemic. Improved surveillance of HIV incidence, prevalence and risk factors is a key component of efforts to eliminate HIV in Brazil.
Keywords: Adolescents; Brazil; HIV; Review; Young adults.