Surveys in the United States and Europe have shown a plateau of new HIV cases, with certain regions and populations disproportionately affected by the disease. Ethnic minority women and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups are disproportionately affected by HIV. Previous reviews have focused on prevention interventions targeting ethnic minority men who have sex with men, have not accounted for socioeconomic status, or have included only interventions carried out in clinical settings.Objectives
To review and assess the effectiveness of HIV prevention interventions targeting socioeconomically disadvantaged ethnic minority women in member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).Search Methods
On March 31, 2014, we executed a search using a strategy designed for the MEDLINE (Ovid), CINAHL, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Knowledge databases. Additional searches were conducted through the Cochrane Library, CRD Databases, metaRegister of Controlled Trials, EURONHEED, CEA Registry, and the European Action Program for Health Inequities as well as in gray literature sources. No language or date restrictions were applied.Selection Criteria
We selected studies assessing the effectiveness of interventions to prevent HIV among ethnic minority women of low socioeconomic status in which at least 80% of participants were reported to belong to an ethnic minority group and to have a low income or be unemployed. We included only studies that were conducted in OECD member states and were randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental investigations with a comparison group.Data Collection and Analysis
A data extraction form was developed for the review and used to collect relevant information from each study. We summarized results both qualitatively and quantitatively. The main outcomes were categorized into 3 groups: improved knowledge regarding transmission of HIV, behavior changes related to HIV transmission, and reductions in the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We then performed meta-analyses to assess the effectiveness of the prevention interventions in terms of the 3 outcome categories.Main Results
A total of 43 interventions were included, and 31 were judged to be effective, 7 were partially effective, and 5 were ineffective. The most frequently recurring characteristics of these interventions were cultural adaptation, a cognitive-behavioral approach, the use of small groups and trained facilitators, and a program duration of between 1 and 6 weeks. Our meta-analyses showed that the interventions improved knowledge of HIV transmission (odds ratio [OR] = 0.59; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.43, 0.75), increased the frequency of condom use (OR = 1.60; 95% CI = 1.16, 2.19), and significantly reduced the risk of STI transmission by 41% (relative risk = 0.59; 95% CI = 0.46, 0.75).Conclusions
Our study demonstrates the feasibility and effectiveness of HIV prevention interventions targeting socioeconomically deprived ethnic minority women.Public Health Implications
This is one of the first studies to include a meta-analysis assessing reductions in STI incidence among at-risk women who have participated in HIV prevention programs. The fact that our meta-analyses showed a statistically significant reduction in STI transmission provides important evidence supporting the overall effectiveness of directing prevention programming toward this vulnerable population. For policymakers, this review demonstrates the feasibility of working with multiple intervention components while at the same time facilitating more effective interventions that take into account the principal outcome measures of knowledge, behavior change, and STI transmission rates. The review also underscores the need for additional research outside the United States on the effectiveness of prevention interventions in this vulnerable group.