To assess the performance of BED-CEIA (BED) and AxSYM Avidity Index (Ax-AI) assays in estimating HIV incidence among female sex workers (FSW) in Kigali, Rwanda.
Methodology and Findings
Eight hundred FSW of unknown HIV status were HIV tested; HIV-positive women had BED and Ax-AI testing at baseline and ≥12 months later to estimate assay false-recent rates (FRR). STARHS-based HIV incidence was estimated using the McWalter/Welte formula, and adjusted with locally derived FRR and CD4 results. HIV incidence and local assay window periods were estimated from a prospective cohort of FSW. At baseline, 190 HIV-positive women were BED and Ax-AI tested; 23 were classified as recent infection (RI). Assay FRR with 95% confidence intervals were: 3.6% (1.2–8.1) (BED); 10.6% (6.1–17.0) (Ax-AI); and 2.1% (0.4–6.1) (BED/Ax-AI combined). After FRR-adjustment, incidence estimates by BED, Ax-AI, and BED/Ax-AI were: 5.5/100 person-years (95% CI 2.2–8.7); 7.7 (3.2–12.3); and 4.4 (1.4–7.3). After CD4-adjustment, BED, Ax-AI, and BED/Ax-AI incidence estimates were: 5.6 (2.6–8.6); 9.7 (5.0–14.4); and 4.7 (2.0–7.5). HIV incidence rates in the first and second 6 months of the cohort were 4.6 (1.6–7.7) and 2.2 (0.1–4.4).
Adjusted incidence estimates by BED/Ax-AI combined were similar to incidence in the first 6 months of the cohort. Furthermore, false-recent rate on the combined BED/Ax-AI algorithm was low and substantially lower than for either assay alone. Improved assay specificity with time since seroconversion suggests that specificity would be higher in population-based testing where more individuals have long-term infection.