Critical EPICOT items were absent in Cochrane human immunodeficiency virus systematic reviews: a bibliometric analysis
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OBJECTIVES: To summarize the current gaps in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) research evidence, describe the adequacy of reporting "implications for research," and map the number of studies that inform reviews with the prevalence of HIV for each country. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: A bibliometric analyses of HIV reviews in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews with content analysis of the "implications for research" section. RESULTS: We analyzed 103 high-quality reviews published as of March 2014. They included a median of five studies (min 0 and max 44). Almost all the reviews recommended more trials (89.3%). Limitations in trial design, duration, setting, sample size, and choice of participants were also noted. Reporting of EPICOT+ items was as follows: evidence (35.9%), population (57.3%), intervention (71.8%), comparison (20.4%), outcomes (57.3%), time stamp (34.0%), and disease burden (13.6%). The primary studies were conducted in 67 countries. Six of the top 10 countries in which primary studies were conducted had a high HIV prevalence. CONCLUSION: Knowledge gaps were identified for research in younger participants, over longer periods, using more pragmatic interventions, conducted in resource-limited settings and incorporating economic evaluations. Implications for research are not always reported according to the EPICOT+ format. Not all countries with a high prevalence of HIV are contributing sufficiently to HIV research.
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