Sentinel surveillance for HIV-1 infection: how representative are blood donors, outpatients with fever, anaemia, or sexually transmitted diseases, and antenatal clinic attenders in Mwanza Region, Tanzania?AIDS. 1993 Apr; 7(4):567-72.AIDS
To assess the validity of extrapolation from sentinel data by comparing the HIV-1 prevalence of various sentinel groups with that of the general population in Mwanza Region, Tanzania.
In a population survey, 4161 individuals were selected in a stratified random cluster sample. Sentinel groups (all in the age group 15-54 years) included blood donors (n = 1090); patients examined at district hospitals for the presence of malaria parasites (n = 1488), anaemia (n = 1339), or syphilis (n = 33); and antenatal clinic attenders (n = 1193). The HIV-1 serostatus of individuals selected from the population survey was tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blot; 51% of the blood donors were tested using HIVCHEK, and all others using ELISA. HIV-1 prevalence was standardized for age, sex, and urban/non-urban location.
HIV-1 prevalence (standardized by age, sex, and residence) in Mwanza Region was 4.0% (3.0% in non-urban areas and 11.3% in town). The standardized HIV-1 prevalences in the sentinel groups were: blood donors, 4.5%; patients with fever, 11.6%; patients with anaemia, 8.9%; urban sexually transmitted disease patients, 27.1%; urban antenatal clinic attenders, 11.8%. The crude prevalence in blood donors was 6.0%.
Blood donors who are related to blood recipients appear to be a representative sentinel group in this region, provided that data are standardized for age, sex, and urban/non-urban location. Patients with fever and antenatal clinic attenders may reflect trends, but data from patients with fever markedly overestimate, and data from antenatal clinic attenders underestimate, population HIV-1 prevalence. Because self-selection of blood donors may become more pronounced, this comparison should be repeated later or elsewhere, should the opportunity arise.