Assessing the Potential Impact of Disruptions Due to COVID-19 on HIV among Key and Lower-Risk Populations in the Largest Cities of Cameroon and Benin

Romain Silhol, Lily Geidelberg, Kate M. Mitchell, Sharmistha Mishra, Dobromir Dimitrov, Anna Bowring, Luc Béhanzin, Fernand Guédou, Souleymane Diabaté, Sheree Schwartz, Serge C. Billong, Iliassou Mfochive Njindam, Daniel Levitt, Christinah Mukandavire, Mathieu Maheu-Giroux, Minttu M. Rönn, Shona Dalal, Peter Vickerman, Stefan Baral, Michel AlaryMarie Claude Boily

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic indirectly impacts HIV epidemiology in Central/West Africa. We estimated the potential impact of COVID-19-related disruptions to HIV prevention/treatment services and sexual partnerships on HIV incidence and HIV-related deaths among key populations including female sex workers (FSW), their clients, men who have sex with men, and overall.Setting: Yaoundé (Cameroon) and Cotonou (Benin).Methods: We used mathematical models of HIV calibrated to city population-specific and risk population-specific demographic/behavioral/epidemic data. We estimated the relative change in 1-year HIV incidence and HIV-related deaths for various disruption scenarios of HIV prevention/treatment services and decreased casual/commercial partnerships, compared with a scenario without COVID-19.Results: A 50% reduction in condom use in all partnerships over 6 months would increase 1-year HIV incidence by 39%, 42%, 31%, and 23% among men who have sex with men, FSW, clients, and overall in Yaoundé, respectively, and 69%, 49%, and 23% among FSW, clients, and overall, respectively, in Cotonou. Combining a 6-month interruption of ART initiation and 50% reduction in HIV prevention/treatment use would increase HIV incidence by 50% and HIV-related deaths by 20%. This increase in HIV infections would be halved by a simultaneous 50% reduction in casual and commercial partnerships.Conclusions: Reductions in condom use after COVID-19 would increase infections among key populations disproportionately, particularly FSW in Cotonou, who need uninterrupted condom provision. Disruptions in HIV prevention/treatment services have the biggest impacts on HIV infections and deaths overall, only partially mitigated by equal reductions in casual/commercial sexual partnerships. Maintaining ART provision must be prioritized to minimize short-term excess HIV-related deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-911
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Benin
  • COVID-19
  • Cameroon
  • HIV
  • key populations
  • mathematical model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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