USAID – Supported HIV Research Featured in International Journal

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Accra, Ghana – The U.S. Government, acting through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Center for AIDS Research, the Foundation for AIDS Research, and the National Institutes of Health, announces the release of a special issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) titled “HIV Risks and Vulnerabilities among Key Populations in West and Central Africa—Evidence to Inform HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Care.

Over 6.5 million people live with HIV in West and Central Africa, a region that spans 24 countries and has a population of over 350 million people. This amounts to an average HIV prevalence rate of 4.9 percent in the general population. However, in West Africa the prevalence is 19 to 30 times higher among  key populations—a term for populations known to be at greater risk of infection—including female sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs. Until now, limited data has been an obstacle to fully understanding the dynamics of HIV transmission related to these high-risk populations in the region and the kind of programming needed to address this.

To fill this gap, USAID, with funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), provided technical and financial assistance for this special JAIDS issue, which features 23 articles characterizing risks, vulnerabilities, and HIV prevention and treatment opportunities among the key populations. The articles present data from 11 different countries in the region, and include a wide range of analyses that use mathematical modeling, epidemiologic studies, qualitative studies, cost-effectiveness assessments and policy assessments. The special JAIDS issue will be available free online as of March 3, 2015 at the following link:  ttp://


This special issue of JAIDS was guest-edited by Tisha Wheeler, Laurent Kapesa, Alison Surdo Cheng, and R. Cameron Wolf, all USAID staff working in the Office of HIV/AIDS in Washington D.C and in the West Africa Regional Health Office based in Accra, with the technical support of Dr. Stefan Baral from Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. Government initiative to help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world. This historic commitment is the largest by any nation to combat a single disease internationally, and PEPFAR investments also help alleviate suffering from other diseases across the global health spectrum. PEPFAR is driven by a shared responsibility among donor and partner nations and others to make smart investments to save lives.

This activity is supported through the USAID West Africa Regional Office, whose goal is to promote social and economic well-being advanced by West Africans.  Spanning 21 countries, USAID/West Africa designs and implements programs with West African partners to strengthen systems of non-violent conflict management, support economic growth, and expand quality health services. The American people, through USAID, provide economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries worldwide. For more information please visit

Articles included in the special issue:

First Author Title Country
Tisha Wheeler
Scaling up the HIV response with key populations in West and Central Africa: Identifying needs and promising approaches Regional
Marie-Claude Boily
Imperial College
What really is a concentrated HIV epidemic and what does it mean for West and Central Africa? Insights from mathematical modeling Regional
Jack MacAllister
A comprehensive review of available epidemiologic and HIV service data for female sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs in select West and Central African countries Regional
Sheree Schwartz
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
An urgent need for integration of family planning services into HIV care: The high burden of unplanned pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, and limited contraception use among female sex workers in Côte d’Ivoire Côte d’Ivoire
Bea Vuylsteke
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
Retention and risk factors for loss to follow-up of female and male sex workers on antiretroviral treatment in Ivory Coast: a retrospective cohort analysis Côte d’Ivoire