How does the quality of Cochrane Systematic Reviews compare with non-Cochrane Systematic Reviews in HIV prevention?

Abstract text
Systematic reviews (SRs), including Cochrane reviews, are an important resource for clinicians in the practice of evidence-based health care. In a 2001 BMJ article Olsen et al1 found that Cochrane reviews were rated of higher quality than non-Cochrane reviews, but this study was limited to a sample from 1998. A pilot study of HIV behavioral reviews was done in 2008 which found quality was variable. The current study describes the quality of HIV prevention reviews.
To identify and describe characteristics of published HIV/AIDS prevention SRs; and to compare Cochrane with non-Cochrane reviews.
The HIV/AIDS sensitive search strategy was combined with the search filter developed by Montori et al2 in PubMED and The Cochrane Library to identify systematic reviews from 1998 to February 2012. SRs evaluating prevention of HIV/AIDS were included. Two researchers independently assessed eligibility looking at titles and abstracts. Records were classified by publication year, and whether Cochrane or non-Cochrane. Methodological quality was assessed using a critical appraisal form developed by the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group. It included items such as whether the review had a clearly focused question, comprehensive search strategy, and used a quality assessment tool.
Searching PubMED yielded 2 756 records, of which 34 were Cochrane reviews and 108 records were non-Cochrane reviews. Data was extracted from a sample of 29 non-Cochrane reviews: 27 (93%) asked a focused question; 16 (55%) investigated quality of included studies; 11 (38%) included all languages in the search strategy. In comparison, all Cochrane reviews asked a focused question; 30/34 (88%) investigated quality of included studies; 29/34 (85%) included all languages in the search strategy.
This study provides valuable insight into the quality and methodology used in the evidence for the prevention and HIV. Cochrane reviews met more of the quality criteria than non-Cochrane reviews.
Pienaar E1, Kredo T1
1 South African Cochrane Centre, South Africa
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Elizabeth Pienaar
Contact person Affiliation Country
Elizabeth Pienaar (Contact this person) South African Cochrane Centre Medical Research Council South Africa
Date and Location
Oral session B7O3
Tuesday 2 October 2012 - 11:40 - 12:00