HIV Seroincidence Estimates Among At-Risk Populations in Buenos Aires and Montevideo: Use of the Serologic Testing Algorithm for Recent HIV Seroconversion

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Using the serological testing algorithm for recent HIV seroconversion, we estimated annualized incidences (per 100 person-years) of HIV-1 infection in different at-risk groups in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, during a 5-year period between 1998 and 2003. HIV-positive serum samples from 9 serosurveys conducted among men who have sex with men, patients attending clinics for a sexually transmitted infections consult (STIs), female commercial sex workers, injecting drug users (IDUs), noninjecting cocaine users (NICUs), asymptomatic women screened for HIV infection, and patients with tuberculosis were used. HIV incidences were as follows: 6.7 for men who have sex with men, 2.0 for STIs, 1.3 for female commercial sex workers, 0.0 for Argentinean IDUs, 10.3 for Uruguayan IDUs, 3.1 for Argentinean NICUs, 4.4 for Uruguayan NICUs, and 2.4 for patients with tuberculosis. Among asymptomatic women screened for HIV infection, incidence rose from 0.4 in 1998 to 4.6 in 1999 and to a high of 10.2 in the year 2000. Unexpectedly, high HIV incidences were detected among at-risk groups in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. This pattern shows an emerging HIV epidemic among heterosexuals stemming from core HIV-infected at-risk groups. There is an urgent need for development and implementation of specific prevention strategies to address this burgeoning epidemic.

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