Increases in HIV Incidence Following Receptive Anal Intercourse Among Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

James Stannah, Romain Silhol, Jocelyn Elmes, Branwen Owen, Barbara Shacklett, Peter Anton, Ian McGowan, Ariane van der Straten, Dobromir Dimitrov, Rebecca F. Baggaley, Marie Claude Boily

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Receptive anal intercourse (RAI) carries a greater per-act risk of HIV acquisition than receptive vaginal intercourse (RVI) and may influence HIV epidemics driven by heterosexual sex. This systematic review explores the association between RAI and incident HIV among women, globally. We searched Embase and Medline through September 2018 for longitudinal studies reporting crude (cRR) or adjusted (aRR) relative risks of HIV acquisition by RAI practice among women. Of 27,563 articles identified, 17 eligible studies were included. We pooled independent study estimates using random-effects models. Women reporting RAI were more likely to acquire HIV than women not reporting RAI (pooled cRR = 1.56 95% CI 1.03–2.38, N = 18, I2 = 72%; pooled aRR = 2.23, 1.01–4.92, N = 5, I2 = 70%). In subgroup analyses the association was lower for women in Africa (pooled cRR = 1.16, N = 13, I2 = 21%) than outside Africa (pooled cRR = 4.10, N = 5, I2 = 79%) and for high-risk (pooled aRR = 1.69, N = 4, I2 = 63%) than general-risk women (pooled aRR = 8.50, N = 1). Interview method slightly influenced cRR estimates (p value = 0.04). In leave-one-out sensitivity analyses pooled estimates were generally robust to removing individual study estimates. Main limitations included poor exposure definition, incomplete adjustment for confounders, particularly condom use, and use of non-confidential interview methods. More and better data are needed to explain differences in risk by world region and risk population. Women require better counselling and greater choice in prevention modalities that are effective during RVI and RAI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAIDS and Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • Anal intercourse
  • Heterosexual
  • HIV
  • Meta-analysis
  • Sexual behaviour
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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