This study described the epidemiology and geographical distribution of people diagnosed with HIV in Kerman, Iran, between 1997 and 2020.
We used case-based HIV surveillance data of all people diagnosed with HIV in Kerman between 1997 and 2020. We compared the age, gender, modes of transmission and spatial distribution of newly diagnosed HIV-infected people in three time periods (1997–2004, 2005–2012 and 2013–2020). The 2 test for trend, one-sample t-test and Kruskal-Wallis H test were used to compare the differences between the three time periods. We also used ArcGIS to map both HIV services and people living with HIV (PLWH) in 2020. The nearest neighbour index and kernel density were used to identify the spatial distribution of PLWH.
A total of 459 (27.5% women) people were diagnosed with HIV during 1997–2020. The proportion of women (9.3% in 1997–2004 and 48.3% in 2013–2020, p<0.001), HIV infection through sexual contacts (11.6% in 1997–2004 and 50.3% in 2013–2020, p<0.001), HIV infection under the age of 5 years (0.8% in 1997–2004 and 5.4% in 2013–2020, p=0.01) and mean age at diagnosis among men (34.9 in 1997–2004 and 39.8 years in 2013–2020, p=0.004) significantly increased over time. 36.2% of diagnosed cases had CD4 counts under 200 x 16/L between 2013 and 2020, with no significant improvement over time. Most newly diagnosed cases of HIV were from the eastern parts of the city. The clusters of PLWH in 2020 matched with the locations of HIV services.
We observed important changes in HIV epidemiology regarding gender, modes of transmission, number of paediatric cases and density maps over time in Kerman. These changes should be considered for precise targeting of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.