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1.  Integration of Antiretroviral Therapy Services into Antenatal Care Increases Treatment Initiation during Pregnancy: A Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63328.
Objectives
Initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) during pregnancy is critical to promote maternal health and prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT). The separation of services for antenatal care (ANC) and ART may hinder antenatal ART initiation. We evaluated ART initiation during pregnancy under different service delivery models in Cape Town, South Africa.
Methods
A retrospective cohort study was conducted using routinely collected clinic data. Three models for ART initiation in pregnancy were evaluated ART ‘integrated’ into ANC, ART located ‘proximal’ to ANC, and ART located some distance away from ANC (‘distal’). Kaplan-Meier methods and Poisson regression were used to examine the association between service delivery model and antenatal ART initiation.
Results
Among 14 617 women seeking antenatal care in the three services, 30% were HIV-infected and 17% were eligible for ART based on CD4 cell count <200 cells/µL. A higher proportion of women started ART antenatally in the integrated model compared to the proximal or distal models (55% vs 38% vs 45%, respectively, global p = 0.003). After adjusting for age and gestation at first ANC visit, women who at the integrated service were significantly more likely to initiate ART antenatally (rate ratio 1.33; 95% confidence interval: 1.09–1.64) compared to women attending the distal model; there was no difference between the proximal and distal models in antenatal ART initiation however (p = 0.704).
Conclusions
Integration of ART initiation into ANC is associated with higher levels of ART initiation in pregnancy. This and other forms of service integration may represent a valuable intervention to enhance PMTCT and maternal health.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063328
PMCID: PMC3656005  PMID: 23696814
2.  The Tingathe programme: a pilot intervention using community health workers to create a continuum of care in the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) cascade of services in Malawi 
Introduction
Loss to follow-up is a major challenge in the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme in Malawi with reported loss to follow-up of greater than 70%. Tingathe-PMTCT is a pilot intervention that utilizes dedicated community health workers (CHWs) to create a complete continuum of care within the PMTCT cascade, improving service utilization and retention of mothers and infants. We describe the impact of the intervention on longitudinal care starting with diagnosis of the mother at antenatal care (ANC) through final diagnosis of the infant.
Methods
PMTCT service utilization, programme retention and outcomes were evaluated for pregnant women living with HIV and their exposed infants enrolled in the Tingathe-PMTCT programme between March 2009 and March 2011. Multivariate logistic regression was done to evaluate maternal factors associated with failure to complete the cascade.
Results
Over 24 months, 1688 pregnant women living with HIV were enrolled. Median maternal age was 27 years (IQR, 23.8 to 30.8); 333 (19.7%) were already on ART. Among the remaining women, 1328/1355 (98%) received a CD4 test, with 1243/1328 (93.6%) receiving results. Of the 499 eligible for ART, 363 (72.8%) were successfully initiated. Prior to, delivery there were 93 (5.7%) maternal/foetal deaths, 137 (8.1%) women transferred/moved, 51 (3.0%) were lost and 58 (3.4%) refused ongoing PMTCT services. Of the 1318 live births to date, 1264 (95.9%) of the mothers and 1285 (97.5%) of the infants received ARV prophylaxis; 1064 (80.7%) infants were tested for HIV by PCR and started on cotrimoxazole. Median age at PCR was 1.7 months (IQR, 1.5 to 2.5). Overall transmission at first PCR was 43/1047 (4.1%). Of the 43 infants with positive PCR results, 36 (83.7%) were enrolled in ART clinic and 33 (76.7%) were initiated on ART.
Conclusions
Case management and support by dedicated CHWs can create a continuum of longitudinal care in the PMTCT cascade and result in improved outcomes.
doi:10.7448/IAS.15.4.17389
PMCID: PMC3499848  PMID: 22789644
prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT); early infant diagnosis (EID); paediatric HIV; HIV; task shifting; community engagement; community health workers; retention; loss to follow up
3.  Comparison of point-of-care versus laboratory-based CD4 cell enumeration in HIV-positive pregnant women 
Introduction
Early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in eligible pregnant women is a key intervention for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. However, in many settings in sub-Saharan Africa where ART-eligibility is determined by CD4 cell counts, limited access to laboratories presents a significant barrier to rapid ART initiation. Point-of-care (POC) CD4 cell count testing has been suggested as one approach to overcome this challenge, but there are few data on the agreement between POC CD4 cell enumeration and standard laboratory-based testing.
Methods
Working in a large antenatal clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, we compared POC CD4 cell enumeration (using the Alere PimaTM Analyzer) to laboratory-based flow cytometry in consecutive HIV-positive pregnant women. Bland–Altman methods were used to compare the two methods, including analyses by subgroups of participant gestational age.
Results
Among the 521 women participating, the median gestational age was 23 weeks, and the median CD4 cell count according to POC and laboratory-based methods was 388 and 402 cells/µL, respectively. On average, the Pima POC test underestimated CD4 cell count relative to flow cytometry: the mean difference (laboratory test minus Pima POC) was 22.7 cells/µL (95% CI, 16.1 to 29.2), and the limits of agreement were −129.2 to 174.6 cells/µL. When analysed by gestational age categories, there was a trend towards increasing differences between laboratory and POC testing with increasing gestational age; in women more than 36 weeks’ gestation, the mean difference was 45.0 cells/µL (p=0.04).
Discussion
These data suggest reasonable overall agreement between Pima POC CD4 testing and laboratory-based flow cytometry among HIV-positive pregnant women. The finding for decreasing agreement with increasing gestational age requires further investigation, as does the operational role of POC CD4 testing to increase access to ART within PMTCT programmes.
doi:10.7448/IAS.16.1.18649
PMCID: PMC3776301  PMID: 24044627
point-of-care test; CD4 cell count; reliability; pregnancy; HIV; antiretroviral therapy; South Africa
4.  Missed Opportunities: Poor Linkage into Ongoing Care for HIV-Positive Pregnant Women in Mwanza, Tanzania 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40091.
Background
Global coverage of prevention of mother-to-child (PMTCT) services reached 53% in 2009. However the number of pregnant women who test positive for HIV in antenatal clinics and who link into long-term HIV care is not known in many resource-poor countries. We measured the proportion of HIV-positive pregnant women in Mwanza city, Tanzania, who completed the cascade of care from antenatal HIV diagnosis to assessment and engagement in care in adult HIV clinics.
Methods
Thirty antenatal and maternity ward health workers were interviewed about PMTCT activities. Nine antenatal HIV education sessions were observed. A prospective cohort of 403 HIV-positive women was enrolled by specially-trained clinicians and nurses on admission to delivery and followed for four months post-partum. Information was collected on referral and attendance at adult HIV clinics, eligibility for highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and reasons for lack of attendance.
Results
Overall, 70% of PMTCT health workers referred HIV-positive pregnant women to the HIV clinic for assessment and care. Antenatal HIV education sessions did not cover on-going care for HIV-infected women. Of 310 cohort participants tested in pregnancy, 51% had received an HIV clinic referral pre-delivery. Only 32% of 244 women followed to four months post-partum had attended an HIV clinic and been assessed for HAART eligibility. Non-attendance for HIV care was independently associated with fewer antenatal visits, poor PMTCT prophylaxis compliance, non-disclosure of HIV status, and non-Sukuma ethnicity.
Conclusion
Most women identified as HIV-positive during pregnancy were not assessed for HAART eligibility during pregnancy or in the first four months post-partum. Initiating HAART at the antenatal clinic, improved counselling and linkages to care between PMTCT and adult HIV treatment services and reducing stigma surrounding disclosure of HIV results would benefit on-going care of HIV-positive pregnant women.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040091
PMCID: PMC3392272  PMID: 22808096
5.  Improving a Mother to Child HIV Transmission Programme through Health System Redesign: Quality Improvement, Protocol Adjustment and Resource Addition 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e13891.
Background
Health systems that deliver prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services in low and middle income countries continue to underperform, resulting in thousands of unnecessary HIV infections of newborns each year. We used a combination of approaches to health systems strengthening to reduce transmission of HIV from mother to infant in a multi-facility public health system in South Africa.
Methodology/Principal Findings
All primary care sites and specialized birthing centers in a resource constrained sub-district of Cape Metro District, South Africa, were enrolled in a quality improvement (QI) programme. All pregnant women receiving antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal infant care in the sub-district between January 2006 and March 2009 were included in the intervention that had a prototype-innovation phase and a rapid spread phase. System changes were introduced to help frontline healthcare workers to identify and improve performance gaps at each step of the PMTCT pathway. Improvement was facilitated and spread through the use of a Breakthrough Series Collaborative that accelerated learning and the spread of successful changes. Protocol changes and additional resources were introduced by provincial and municipal government. The proportion of HIV-exposed infants testing positive declined from 7.6% to 5%. Key intermediate PMTCT processes improved (antenatal AZT increased from 74% to 86%, PMTCT clients on HAART at the time of labour increased from 10% to 25%, intrapartum AZT increased from 43% to 84%, and postnatal HIV testing from 79% to 95%) compared to baseline.
Conclusions/Significance
System improvement methods, protocol changes and addition/reallocation of resources contributed to improved PMTCT processes and outcomes in a resource constrained setting. The intervention requires a clear design, leadership buy-in, building local capacity to use systems improvement methods, and a reliable data system. A systems improvement approach offers a much needed approach to rapidly improve under-performing PMTCT implementation programmes at scale in sub-Saharan Africa.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013891
PMCID: PMC2976693  PMID: 21085479
6.  Pregnant women’s experiences of routine counselling and testing for HIV in Eastern Uganda: a qualitative study 
Background
Routine HIV counselling and testing as part of antenatal care has been institutionalized in Uganda as an entry point for pregnant women into the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme. Understanding how women experience this mode of HIV testing is important to generate ideas on how to strengthen the PMTCT programme. We explored pregnant HIV positive and negative women’s experiences of routine counselling and testing in Mbale District, Eastern Uganda and formulated suggestions for improving service delivery.
Methods
This was a qualitative study conducted at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in Eastern Uganda between January and May 2010. Data were collected using in-depth interviews with 30 pregnant women (15 HIV positive and 15 HIV negative) attending an antenatal clinic, six key informant interviews with health workers providing antenatal care and observations. Data were analyzed using a content thematic approach.
Results
Prior to attending their current ANC visit, most women knew that the hospital provided HIV counselling and testing services as part of antenatal care (ANC). HIV testing was perceived as compulsory for all women attending ANC at the hospital but beneficial, for mothers, especially those who test HIV positive and their unborn babies. Most HIV positive women were satisfied with the immediate counselling they received from health workers, but identified the need to provide follow up counselling and support after the test, as areas for improvement. However, most HIV negative women mentioned that they were given inadequate attention during post-test counselling. This left them with unanswered questions and, for some, doubts about the negative test results.
Conclusions
In this setting, routine HIV counselling and testing services are known and acceptable to mothers. There is need to strengthen post-test and follow up counselling for both HIV positive and negative women in order to maximize opportunities for primary and post exposure HIV prevention. Partnerships and linkages with people living with HIV, especially those in existing support groups such as those at The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), may help to strengthen counselling and support for pregnant women. For effective HIV prevention, women who test HIV negative should be supported to remain negative.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-189
PMCID: PMC3665685  PMID: 23705793
7.  Assessment of Effective Coverage of HIV Prevention of Pregnant Mother to Child Transimission Services in Jimma Zone, South West Ethiopia 
Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences  2011;21(Suppl 1):1-7.
Background
Coverage assessment of prevention of Pregnant Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV service is useful to measure the health system effort or performance of health service delivery function and to influence decisions. The objective of this study was to assess effective coverage level for prevention of Pregnant Mother to Child Transmission services in Jimma University Hospital.
Methods
Health institution based cross-sectional quantitative and qualitative study was conducted on prevention of Pregnant Mother to Child Transmission of HIV services.
Results
Out of total 1904 pregnant women who received at least one antenatal care service, 1472 (77.3%) were covered with PMTCT service in 2005 in Jimma University Hospital. The overall PMTCT service coverage for the target group in the Jimma Zone was 1.1 %. The prevalence of positive HIV blood test among pre counseled women was 101 (6.9%). Of all HIV positive pregnant women 62(61.3%) were taking Neverapine at home.
Conclusion
From the data obtained, it was observed that PMTCT service coverage was low. Thus, we recommended that the services to be strengthened, for a better achievement and optimizing coverage
PMCID: PMC3275881  PMID: 22435003
Effective coverage; availability; utilization; continuity; quality; PMTCT; services
8.  Prophylactic antiretroviral regimens for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in resource-limited settings 
Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS  2008;3(2):161-165.
Purpose of review
With the large international mobilization against HIV/AIDS, more HIV-infected people in resource-limited settings have access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), including pregnant women. The relevance of simplified prophylactic antiretroviral (ARV) regimens for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV may become questionable due to their lower efficacy and their higher risk of inducing viral resistance than fully suppressive ART.
Recent findings
Field implementation of current recommendations, impact of prophylactic regimens on subsequent ART response and possible new indications of ART in pregnant women will be reviewed in this paper.
Summary
Prophylactic ARV PMTCT regimens reached only 10 % of the HIV-infected pregnant women in 2006, who were usually offered single-dose nevirapine only. The operational links between antenatal care and ART programmes can now be documented and demonstrate good results in terms of safety and efficacy. The negative impact of single-dose nevirapine exposure on subsequent first-line ART appears worse for mothers with advanced HIV disease at the time of delivery and short interval before ART initiation. Strengthening the links between antenatal care and ART programmes is critical for ART-eligible HIV-infected pregnant women in terms of PMTCT and subsequent ART response. The breastfeeding period could be a new indication for ART in this population.
doi:10.1097/COH.0b013e3282f51b89
PMCID: PMC2683174  PMID: 19372960
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1; Resource-limited settings; Prophylactic antiretroviral regimens; Single-dose nevirapine; Breastfeeding
9.  Missed Opportunities: Barriers to HIV Testing during Pregnancy from a Population Based Cohort Study in Rural Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e37590.
The aim was to assess population-level HIV-testing uptake among pregnant women, key for access to prevention-of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services, and to identify risk factors for not being HIV tested,
The study was conducted May 2008–May 2010 in the Iganga/Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS), Eastern Uganda, during regular surveillance of 68,000 individuals. All women identified to be pregnant May–July 2008 (n = 881) were interviewed about pregnancy-related issues and linked to the HDSS database for socio-demographic data. Women were followed-up via antenatal care (ANC) register reviews at the health facilities to collect data related to ANC services received, including HIV testing. Adjusted relative risk (aRR), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for not being HIV tested were calculated using multivariable binomial regression among the 544 women who remained after record review.
Despite high ANC attendance (96%), the coverage of HIV testing was 64%. Only 6% of pregnant women who sought ANC at a facility without HIV testing services were referred for testing and only 20% received counseling regarding HIV. At ANC facilities with HIV testing services, 85% were tested. Only 4% of the women tested had been couple tested for HIV. Living more than three kilometers away from a health facility with HIV testing services was associated with not being tested both among the poorest (aRR,CI; 1.44,1.02–2.04) and the least poor women (aRR,CI;1.72,1.12–2.63).
The lack of onsite HIV testing services and distant ANC facilities lead to missed opportunities for PMTCT, especially for the poorest women. Referral systems for HIV testing need to be improved and testing should be expanded to lower level health facilities. This is in order to ensure that the policy of HIV testing during pregnancy is implemented more effectively and that testing is accessible for all.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037590
PMCID: PMC3420922  PMID: 22916089
10.  Pregnant Women's Access to PMTCT and ART Services in South Africa and Implications for Universal Antiretroviral Treatment 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e27907.
Objectives
We describe pregnant womens' access to PMTCT and HAART services and associated birth outcomes in South Africa.
Methods
Women recuperating in postnatal wards of a referral hospital participated in an evaluation during February–May 2010 during which their maternity records were examined to describe their access to VCT, CD4 Counts, dual ART or HAART during pregnancy.
Results
Of the 1609 women who participated in this evaluation, 39% (95%CI36.7–41.5%) tested HIV-positive during their pregnancy. Of the HIV-positive women 2.9% did not have a CD4 count done and an additional 31.3% did not receive their CD4 results. The majority (96.8%) of the HIV-positive women commenced dual ART at their first antenatal visit independent of their CD4 result. During February–May 2010, 48.0% of the women who had a CD4 result were eligible for HAART (CD4<200 cells/mm3) and 29.1% of these initiated HAART during pregnancy. Under the current South African PMTCT guidelines 71.1% (95%CI66.4–75.4%) of HIV positive pregnant women could be eligible for HAART (CD4<350 cells/mm3). There were significantly more preterm births among HIV-positive women (p = 0.01) and women who received HAART were no more at risk of preterm deliveries (AOR 0.73;95%CI0.39–1.36;p = 0.2) as compared to women who received dual ART. Nine (2.4%; 95%CI1.1–4.5%) HIV exposed infants were confirmed HIV infected at birth. The in-utero transmission rate was highest among women who required HAART but did not initiate treatment (8.5%) compared to 2.7% and 0.4% among women who received HAART and women who were not eligible for HAART and received PMTCT prophylaxis respectively.
Conclusion
In this urban South African community the antenatal HIV prevalence remains high (39%) and timeous access to CD4 results during pregnancy is limited. Under the current South African guidelines, and assuming that access to CD4 results has improved, more than 70% of HIV-positive pregnant women in this community would be requiring HAART.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027907
PMCID: PMC3230616  PMID: 22162993
11.  Mamekhaya: A pilot study combining a cognitive behavioral intervention and mentor mothers with PMTCT services in South Africa 
AIDS care  2010;22(9):1093-1100.
Nearly 30% of pregnant women in South Africa are estimated to be HIV seropositive, yet adherence to guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) is often low. A pilot study was developed to see whether PMTCT services provided by the South African government could be enhanced by the Mamekhaya program, a combination of the mothers2mothers (M2M) peer-mentoring program and a culturally adapted cognitive-behavioral intervention (CBI) from the United States. Pregnant women attending two maternity clinics offering PMTCT in Gugulethu and Vanguard Townships, Cape Town, South Africa, were invited to participate in the study. Women at the intervention site (Gugulethu) received the support of a mentor mother and also attended an eight-session Mamekhaya CBI. At the control site (Vanguard), women received standard services provided by midwives and counselors. Baseline assessments were completed by all participants at enrollment (n = 160), and follow-ups were completed six months later by 44% of participants. Self-reports of adherence to PMTCT practices were high across both sites (90% or more engaging in the core practices). Women at the Mamekhaya site showed significantly greater improvement in establishing social support and reducing depression scores than women at the control site. Mamekhaya participants also showed trends for better attendance at follow-up medical visits, and greater improvements in positive coping. The greatest effect of the Mamekhaya program was to increase HIV knowledge scores, particularly with regard to understanding the meaning and importance of viral load and CD4 test results. Results from this pilot study show promise that augmenting basic PMTCT services with mentor mothers and a culturally adapted CBI can be effective in conveying information and in improving the emotional outlook and hopefulness of HIV-positive pregnant women in South Africa.
doi:10.1080/09540121003600352
PMCID: PMC4019405  PMID: 20824562
HIV; South Africa; intervention; mentor mothers; mother-to-child transmission
12.  “Telling my husband I have HIV is too heavy to come out of my mouth”: pregnant women's disclosure experiences and support needs following antenatal HIV testing in eastern Uganda 
Introduction
Disclosure of HIV serostatus by women to their sexual partners is critical for the success of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme as an integrated service in antenatal care. We explored pregnant HIV-positive and HIV-negative women's partner disclosure experiences and support needs in eastern Uganda.
Methods
This was a qualitative study conducted at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in eastern Uganda between January and May 2010. Data collection was through in-depth interviews with 15 HIV-positive and 15 HIV-negative pregnant women attending a follow up antenatal clinic (ANC) at Mbale Hospital, and six key informant interviews with health workers at the clinic. Data management was done using NVivo version 9, and a content thematic approach was used for analysis.
Results
All HIV-negative women had disclosed their HIV status to their sexual partners but expressed need for support to convince their partners to also undergo HIV testing. Women reported that their partners often assumed that they were equally HIV-negative and generally perceived HIV testing in the ANC as a preserve for women. Most of the HIV-positive women had not disclosed their HIV status to sexual partners for fear of abandonment, violence and accusation of bringing HIV infection into the family. Most HIV-positive women deferred disclosure and requested health workers’ support in disclosure. Those who disclosed their positive status generally experienced positive responses from their partners.
Conclusions
Within the context of routine HIV testing as part of the PMTCT programme, most women who test HIV-positive find disclosure of their status to partners extremely difficult. Their fear of disclosure was influenced by the intersection of gender norms, economic dependency, women's roles as mothers and young age. Pregnant HIV-negative women and their unborn babies remained at risk of HIV infection owing to the resistance of their partners to go for HIV testing. These findings depict a glaring need to strengthen support for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative women to maximize opportunities for HIV prevention.
doi:10.7448/IAS.15.2.17429
PMCID: PMC3494159  PMID: 22905360
pregnant women; HIV disclosure to partner; HIV testing by proxy; support needs; intersectionality
13.  Expanding contraceptive options for PMTCT clients: a mixed methods implementation study in Cape Town, South Africa 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:3.
Background
Clients of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services in South Africa who use contraception following childbirth rely primarily on short-acting methods like condoms, pills, and injectables, even when they desire no future pregnancies. Evidence is needed on strategies for expanding contraceptive options for postpartum PMTCT clients to include long-acting and permanent methods.
Methods
We examined the process of expanding contraceptive options in five health centers in Cape Town providing services to HIV-positive women. Maternal/child health service providers received training and coaching to strengthen contraceptive counseling for postpartum women, including PMTCT clients. Training and supplies were introduced to strengthen intrauterine device (IUD) services, and referral mechanisms for female sterilization were reinforced. We conducted interviews with separate samples of postpartum PMTCT clients (265 pre-intervention and 266 post-intervention) to assess knowledge and behaviors regarding postpartum contraception. The process of implementing the intervention was evaluated through systematic documentation and interpretation using an intervention tracking tool. In-depth interviews with providers who participated in study-sponsored training were conducted to assess their attitudes toward and experiences with promoting voluntary contraceptive services to HIV-positive clients.
Results
Following the intervention, 6% of interviewed PMTCT clients had the desired knowledge about the IUD and 23% had the desired knowledge about female sterilization. At both pre- and post-intervention, 7% of clients were sterilized and IUD use was negligible; by comparison, 75% of clients used injectables. Intervention tracking and in-depth interviews with providers revealed intervention shortcomings and health system constraints explaining the failure to produce intended effects.
Conclusions
The intervention failed to improve PMTCT clients’ knowledge about the IUD and sterilization or to increase use of those methods. To address the family planning needs of postpartum PMTCT clients in a way that is consistent with their fertility desires, services must expand the range of contraceptive options to include long-acting and permanent methods. In turn, to ensure consistent access to high quality family planning services that are effectively linked to HIV services, attention must also be focused on resolving underlying health system constraints weakening health service delivery more generally.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-11-3
PMCID: PMC3895666  PMID: 24410922
PMTCT; Family planning; Intrauterine device; Female sterilization; Implementation; South Africa
14.  Reducing the risk of HIV infection during pregnancy among South African women: A randomized controlled trial 
AIDS care  2013;25(6):702-709.
Mpumalanga Province, South Africa has one of the highest HIV/AIDS diagnosis rates among pregnant women (~29.4%). This study sought to enhance male involvement in pregnancy to increase HIV disclosure, sexual communication, HIV knowledge and reduce unprotected sex. Participants attending Antenatal Clinics (ANC) completed HIV counselling and testing and were enrolled with male partners (n = 239 couples, 478 individuals). Twelve ANCs were randomly assigned to provide a prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) intervention or the standard of care, health education sessions plus PMTCT. Participants were assessed at baseline and post-intervention (approximately 6–8 weeks post-baseline) on demographics, sexual behaviour, HIV-related knowledge, and conflict resolution strategies. Experimental participants increased HIV knowledge, use of negotiation, and decreased intimate partner violence. Additionally, they were more likely to have increased condom use from baseline to post-intervention (OR = 5.1, 95% CI = (2.0, 13.3)). Seroconversions in the control condition exceeded experimental (6 vs. 0). HIV serostatus disclosure to partner did not increase over time for men or women within the experimental or control condition. Male involvement in pregnancy may be an important strategy to reduce sexual risk behavior and HIV transmission. Results support the utility of group interventions to enhance communication and HIV knowledge among pregnant couples.
doi:10.1080/09540121.2013.772280
PMCID: PMC3665743  PMID: 23438041
HIV; PMTCT; male involvement; pregnancy; sexual risk reduction
15.  What Will It Take to Eliminate Pediatric HIV? Reaching WHO Target Rates of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in Zimbabwe: A Model-Based Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(1):e1001156.
Using a simulation model, Andrea Ciaranello and colleagues find that the latest WHO PMTCT (prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV) guidelines plus better access to PMTCT programs, better retention of women in care, and better adherence to drugs are needed to eliminate pediatric HIV in Zimbabwe.
Background
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the “virtual elimination” of pediatric HIV: a mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) risk of less than 5%. We investigated uptake of prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) services, infant feeding recommendations, and specific drug regimens necessary to achieve this goal in Zimbabwe.
Methods and Findings
We used a computer model to simulate a cohort of HIV-infected, pregnant/breastfeeding women (mean age, 24 y; mean CD4, 451/µl; breastfeeding duration, 12 mo). Three PMTCT regimens were evaluated: (1) single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP), (2) WHO 2010 guidelines' “Option A” (zidovudine in pregnancy, infant nevirapine throughout breastfeeding for women without advanced disease, lifelong combination antiretroviral therapy for women with advanced disease), and (3) WHO “Option B” (pregnancy/breastfeeding-limited combination antiretroviral drug regimens without advanced disease; lifelong antiretroviral therapy with advanced disease). We examined four levels of PMTCT uptake (proportion of pregnant women accessing and adhering to PMTCT services): reported rates in 2008 and 2009 (36% and 56%, respectively) and target goals in 2008 and 2009 (80% and 95%, respectively). The primary model outcome was MTCT risk at weaning.
The 2008 sdNVP-based National PMTCT Program led to a projected 12-mo MTCT risk of 20.3%. Improved uptake in 2009 reduced projected risk to 18.0%. If sdNVP were replaced by more effective regimens, with 2009 (56%) uptake, estimated MTCT risk would be 14.4% (Option A) or 13.4% (Option B). Even with 95% uptake of Option A or B, projected transmission risks (6.1%–7.7%) would exceed the WHO goal of less than 5%. Only if the lowest published transmission risks were used for each drug regimen, or breastfeeding duration were shortened, would MTCT risks at 95% uptake fall below 5%.
Conclusions
Implementation of the WHO PMTCT guidelines must be accompanied by efforts to improve access to PMTCT services, retain women in care, and support medication adherence throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, to approach the “virtual elimination” of pediatric HIV in Zimbabwe.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
A woman who is infected with HIV can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or breastfeeding—mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT). Without treatment, up to 30% of babies born to HIV-infected women will become infected with HIV during pregnancy or at delivery, and a further 5%–20% will become infected through breastfeeding. In 2009, around 400,000 children under 15 years of age became infected with HIV, mainly through MTCT—90% of these MTCT infections occurred in Africa.
In addition to preventing HIV infection among prospective parents and avoiding unwanted pregnancies among HIV-positive women, effective prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) requires preventing the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their infants during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and breastfeeding.
In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) published new guidelines for PMTCT based on combination antiretroviral therapy for women with advanced HIV disease, and two options for countries to select for women with less advanced disease. Option A includes zidovudine (ZDV) during pregnancy and single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) at delivery, followed by daily nevirapine syrup for infants throughout the duration of breastfeeding; Option B includes maternal triple-drug ARV regimens throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, WHO estimates that only 53% of pregnant women worldwide received any antiretroviral medicines for PMTCT in 2009.
Why Was This Study Done?
As in many sub-Saharan African countries where prolonged breastfeeding is common, and necessary to improve child health, Zimbabwe is implementing the 2010 WHO guidelines with Option A. However, because of the challenges of enrolling and retaining women in PMTCT programs, the effectiveness of this strategy is unknown. Therefore in this study, the researchers used a model to calculate the level of PMTCT uptake in Zimbabwe, the PMTCT drug regimens, and the duration of breastfeeding that would be necessary to reach the WHO goal of an MTCT risk below 5%.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a validated computer simulation model developed for analyzing the cost-effectiveness of preventing AIDS complications to measure risk of infant HIV transmission at the time of weaning, the HIV infection risk at 4–6 weeks of age, infant survival at two years of age, and 2-year HIV-free survival. The researchers used four scenarios of PMTCT uptake and linked the models to two populations of pregnant and breastfeeding women (mean age, 24 years) in Zimbabwe, and then analyzed the combinations of the factors necessary to reach MTCT risks less than 5%.
At baseline, the researchers found that the 2008 National PMTCT Program in Zimbabwe led to a projected 12-month MTCT risk of 20.3%. The projected risk in 2009 was 18.0% because of improved uptake. The estimated MTCT risk with Option A at 56% uptake (2009 levels) was 14.4% and with Option B was 13.4%. However, even with greatly increased uptake, such as 95% levels, the researchers found that projected transmission risks would exceed the WHO goal of less than 5% MTCT, and that the MTCT risk would fall below 5% at the 95% uptake level only if the lowest transmission risks were used for each drug regimen, or if breastfeeding duration were shortened.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the planned implementation of the 2010 WHO PMTCT guidelines with Option A in Zimbabwe could substantially reduce infant HIV infection risk compared to the 2009 national program with sdNVP. Furthermore, in order to reach a MTCT risk of less than 5%, a national program based on either Option A or Option B will also need to include strategies to improve access to PMTCT services (to almost 100% uptake), retain women in care, and support medication adherence throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. These findings from a resource-limited country with high HIV prevalence and prolonged breastfeeding may be useful for other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001156.
Avert gives some more information on MTCT and PMTCT.
The United Nations Children's Fund has factsheets on national PMTCT responses in the most affected countries.
WHO's strategic vision for PMTCT for 2010–2015 is also available.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001156
PMCID: PMC3254654  PMID: 22253579
16.  Assessment of strategies for male involvement in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services in Blantyre, Malawi 
Global Health Action  2013;6:10.3402/gha.v6i0.22780.
Background
Despite the documented benefits of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services, the uptake remains low in sub-Saharan Africa. The lack of male involvement (MI) may be one of the reasons for this. However, there are limited data on strategies for MI in PMTCT.
Objective
The objective of this study was to identify strategies that may promote MI in PMTCT services in antenatal care (ANC) services in Blantyre, Malawi.
Study design
An exploratory qualitative study was conducted from December 2012 to January 2013 at South Lunzu Health Centre (SLHC) in Blantyre, Malawi. It consisted of six face-to-face key informant interviews (KIIs) with healthcare workers and four focus group discussions (FGDs) with 18 men and 17 pregnant women attending ANC at SLHC. The FGDs were divided according to sex and age. All FGDs and KIIs were digitally recorded and simultaneously transcribed and translated verbatim into English. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis.
Results
Three major themes with several subcategories emerged. Theme 1 was a gatekeeping strategy with two subcategories: (1) healthcare workers refusing service provision to women accessing antenatal clinic without their partners and (2) women refusing ANC attention in the absence of a partner. Theme 2 comprised extending invitations and had six subcategories: (1) word of mouth, (2) card invites, (3) woman's health passport book invites, (4) telephonic invites, (5) use of influential people, and (6) home visits. Theme 3 was information education and communication, such as health education forums and advertisements. Of all the strategies, an invitation card addressed to the male partner was most preferred by study participants.
Conclusions
There are several strategies by which men may be involved in PMTCT. Healthcare workers should offer a pregnant woman all strategies available for MI for her to select the appropriate one. Further research and consultations with men should continue to achieve higher levels of MI.
doi:10.3402/gha.v6i0.22780
PMCID: PMC3866839  PMID: 24345635
male involvement; HIV and AIDS; PMTCT
17.  Systemic delays in the initiation of antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy do not improve outcomes of HIV-positive mothers: a cohort study 
Background
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation in eligible HIV-infected pregnant women is an important intervention to promote maternal and child health. Increasing the duration of ART received before delivery plays a major role in preventing vertical HIV transmission, but pregnant women across Africa experience significant delays in starting ART, partly due the perceived need to deliver ART counseling and patient education before ART initiation. We examined whether delaying ART to provide pre-ART counseling was associated with improved outcomes among HIV-infected women in Cape Town, South Africa.
Methods
We undertook a retrospective cohort study of 490 HIV-infected pregnant women referred to initiate treatment at an urban ART clinic. At this clinic all patients including pregnant women are screened by a clinician and then undergo three sessions of counseling and patient education prior to starting treatment, commonly introducing delays of 2–4 weeks before ART initiation. Data on viral suppression and retention in care after ART initiation were taken from routine clinic records.
Results
A total of 382 women initiated ART before delivery (78%); ART initiation before delivery was associated with earlier gestational age at presentation to the ART service (p < 0.001). The median delay between screening and ART initiation was 21 days (IQR, 14–29 days). Overall, 84.7%, 79.6% and 75.0% of women who were pregnant at the time of ART initiation were retained in care at 4, 8 and 12 months after ART initiation, respectively. Among those retained, 91% were virally suppressed at each follow-up visit. However the delay from screening to ART initiation was not associated with retention in care and/or viral suppression throughout the first year on ART in unadjusted or adjusted analyses.
Conclusions
A substantial proportion of eligible pregnant women referred for ART do not begin treatment before delivery in this setting. Among women who do initiate ART, delaying initiation for patient preparation is not associated with improved maternal outcomes. Given the need to maximize the duration of ART before delivery for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, there is an urgent need for new strategies to help expedite ART initiation in eligible pregnant women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-94
PMCID: PMC3490939  PMID: 22963318
Antiretroviral therapy; Pregnancy; Patient preparation; Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT); HIV/AIDS; South Africa
18.  The Study of HIV and Antenatal Care Integration in Pregnancy in Kenya: Design, Methods, and Baseline Results of a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44181.
Background
Despite strong evidence for the effectiveness of anti-retroviral therapy for improving the health of women living with HIV and for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), HIV persists as a major maternal and child health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. In most settings antenatal care (ANC) services and HIV treatment services are offered in separate clinics. Integrating these services may result in better uptake of services, reduction of the time to treatment initiation, better adherence, and reduction of stigma.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A prospective cluster randomized controlled trial design was used to evaluate the effects of integrating HIV treatment into ANC clinics at government health facilities in rural Kenya. Twelve facilities were randomized to provide either fully integrated services (ANC, PMTCT, and HIV treatment services all delivered in the ANC clinic) or non-integrated services (ANC clinics provided ANC and basic PMTCT services and referred clients to a separate HIV clinic for HIV treatment). During June 2009– March 2011, 1,172 HIV-positive pregnant women were enrolled in the study. The main study outcomes are rates of maternal enrollment in HIV care and treatment, infant HIV testing uptake, and HIV-free infant survival. Baseline results revealed that the intervention and control cohorts were similar with respect to socio-demographics, male partner HIV testing, sero-discordance of the couple, obstetric history, baseline CD4 count, and WHO Stage. Challenges faced while conducting this trial at low-resource rural health facilities included frequent staff turnover, stock-outs of essential supplies, transportation challenges, and changes in national guidelines.
Conclusions/Significance
This is the first randomized trial of ANC and HIV service integration to be conducted in rural Africa. It is expected that the study will provide critical evidence regarding the implementation and effectiveness of this service delivery strategy, with important implications for programs striving to eliminate vertical transmission of HIV and improve maternal health.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00931216 NCT00931216.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044181
PMCID: PMC3435393  PMID: 22970177
19.  Evaluation of the proficiency of trained non-laboratory health staffs and laboratory technicians using a rapid and simple HIV antibody test 
In Cambodia, nearly half of pregnant women attend antenatal care (ANC), which is an entry point of services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). However, most of ANC services are provided in health centres or fields, where laboratory services by technicians are not available. In this study, those voluntary confidential counselling and testing (VCCT) counsellors involved in PMTCT were trained by experienced laboratory technicians in our centre on HIV testing using Determine (Abbot Laboratories) HIV1/2 test kits through a half-day training course, which consisted of use of a pipette, how to process whole blood samples, and how to read test result. The trained counsellors were midwives working for ANC and delivery ward in our centre without any experience on laboratory works. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of the training by evaluating the proficiency of the trained non-laboratory staffs. The trained counsellors withdrew blood sample after pre-test counselling following ANC, and performed the rapid test. Laboratory technicians routinely did the same test and returned reports of the test results to counsellors. Reports by the counsellors and the laboratory technicians were compared, and discordant reports in two groups were re-tested with the same rapid test kit using the same blood sample. Cause of discordance was detected in discussion with both groups. Of 563 blood samples tested by six trained VCCT counsellors and three laboratory technicians, 11 samples (2.0%) were reported positive in each group, however four discordant reports (0.7%) between the groups were observed, in which two positive reports and two negative reports by the counsellors were negative and positive by the laboratory technicians, respectively. Further investigation confirmed that all the reports by the counsellors were correct, and that human error in writing reports in the laboratory was a cause of these discordant reports. These findings lead us the conclusion that the half-day training using the rapid and simple test was feasible for non-laboratory staffs to attain enough proficiency to implement VCCT services for PMTCT in resource-limited settings, and that human error was more likely to occur in laboratory before giving reports to counsellors.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-2-5
PMCID: PMC1156864  PMID: 15907202
20.  Mother-to-child transmission of HIV in a community-based antiretroviral clinic in South Africa 
Objective
To examine the uptake of ART among pregnant women referred to an ART service and the associated rates and risk factors for vertical HIV transmission.
Method
Retrospective analysis of an observational cohort at a community ART clinic in Cape Town.
Results
Between 2002 and 2008, 367 treatment-naïve pregnant women accessed the clinic. The median age was 27.5 years, and median gestation at presentation was 28 weeks. The median baseline CD4 count and viral load were 134 cells/µl and 28 282 copies/ml. Two hundred and sixty-five women (72%) commenced ART before giving birth, 73 women (20%) were referred for prevention of mother-to-child transmission therapy (PMTCT), and 29 (8%) received no intervention. Among ART-eligible women, 13% were lost to follow-up. Of those starting ART, median duration of therapy prior to birth was 7.6 weeks (interquartile range (IQR) 4 – 11.9). The HIV transmission rate was 5.1% (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.8 – 9.0%). Factors associated with transmission were advanced maternal WHO disease stage (odds ratio (OR) 9.57, p=0.02), and follow-up viral load above 50 copies/ml (OR 3.64, p=0.03). Each additional week on ART reduced transmission by 20% (p=0.05). There was no HIV transmission among women who received more than 8 weeks’ therapy.
Conclusions
The rate of HIV transmission in this study was higher than reported in high-income countries. Prevention of vertical transmission with ART was hindered by women presenting late in pregnancy and with advanced stage of HIV disease. Interventions that facilitate earlier ART commencement and improve programmatic retention of pregnant women are required.
PMCID: PMC3954611  PMID: 21414276
21.  Impact of Round-the-Clock, Rapid Oral Fluid HIV Testing of Women in Labor in Rural India 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(5):e92.
Background
Testing pregnant women for HIV at the time of labor and delivery is the last opportunity for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) measures, particularly in settings where women do not receive adequate antenatal care. However, HIV testing and counseling of pregnant women in labor is a challenge, especially in resource-constrained settings. In India, many rural women present for delivery without any prior antenatal care. Those who do get antenatal care are not always tested for HIV, because of deficiencies in the provision of HIV testing and counseling services. In this context, we investigated the impact of introducing round-the-clock, rapid, point-of-care HIV testing and counseling in a busy labor ward at a tertiary care hospital in rural India.
Methods and Findings
After they provided written informed consent, women admitted to the labor ward of a rural teaching hospital in India were offered two rapid tests on oral fluid and finger-stick specimens (OraQuick Rapid HIV-1/HIV-2 tests, OraSure Technologies). Simultaneously, venous blood was drawn for conventional HIV ELISA testing. Western blot tests were performed for confirmatory testing if women were positive by both rapid tests and dual ELISA, or where test results were discordant. Round-the-clock (24 h, 7 d/wk) abbreviated prepartum and extended postpartum counseling sessions were offered as part of the testing strategy. HIV-positive women were administered PMTCT interventions. Of 1,252 eligible women (age range 18 y to 38 y) approached for consent over a 9 mo period in 2006, 1,222 (98%) accepted HIV testing in the labor ward. Of these, 1,003 (82%) women presented with either no reports or incomplete reports of prior HIV testing results at the time of admission to the labor ward. Of 1,222 women, 15 were diagnosed as HIV-positive (on the basis of two rapid tests, dual ELISA and Western blot), yielding a seroprevalence of 1.23% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.61%–1.8%). Of the 15 HIV test–positive women, four (27%) had presented with reported HIV status, and 11 (73%) new cases of HIV infection were detected due to rapid testing in the labor room. Thus, 11 HIV-positive women received PMTCT interventions on account of round-the-clock rapid HIV testing and counseling in the labor room. While both OraQuick tests (oral and finger-stick) were 100% specific, one false-negative result was documented (with both oral fluid and finger-stick specimens). Of the 15 HIV-infected women who delivered, 13 infants were HIV seronegative at birth and at 1 and 4 mo after delivery; two HIV-positive infants died within a month of delivery.
Conclusions
In a busy rural labor ward setting in India, we demonstrated that it is feasible to introduce a program of round-the-clock rapid HIV testing, including prepartum and extended postpartum counseling sessions. Our data suggest that the availability of round-the-clock rapid HIV testing resulted in successful documentation of HIV serostatus in a large proportion (82%) of rural women who were unaware of their HIV status when admitted to the labor room. In addition, 11 (73%) of a total of 15 HIV-positive women received PMTCT interventions because of round-the-clock rapid testing in the labor ward. These findings are relevant for PMTCT programs in developing countries.
Nitika Pant Pai and colleagues report the results of offering a round-the-clock rapid HIV testing program in a rural labor ward setting in India.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Since the first reported case of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) in 1981, the number of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, has risen steadily. Now, more than 33 million people are infected, almost half of them women. HIV is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, but mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV is also an important transmission route. HIV-positive women often pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding, if nothing is done to prevent viral transmission. In developed countries, interventions such as voluntary testing and counseling, safe delivery practices (for example, offering cesarean delivery to HIV-positive women), and antiretroviral treatment of the mother during pregnancy and labor and of her newborn baby have minimized the risk of MTCT. In developing countries, the prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) is much less effective, in part because pregnant women often do not know their HIV status. Consequently, in 2007, nearly half a million children became infected with HIV mainly through MTCT.
Why Was This Study Done?
In many developing countries, women do not receive adequate antenatal care. In India, for example, nearly half the women living in rural areas do not receive any antenatal care until they are in labor. This gives health care providers very little time in which to counsel women about HIV infection, test them for the virus, and start interventions to prevent MTCT. Furthermore, testing pregnant women in labor for HIV and counseling them is a challenge, particularly where resources are limited. In this study, therefore, the researchers investigate the feasibility and impact of introducing round-the-clock, rapid HIV testing and counseling in a busy labor ward in a rural teaching hospital in Sevagram, India.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Women admitted to the labor ward between January and September 2006 were offered two rapid HIV tests—one that used a saliva sample and the other that used blood taken from a finger prick. Blood was also taken from a vein for conventional HIV testing. All the women were given a 15-minute counseling session about how HIV is transmitted, the importance of HIV testing, and information on PMTCT before their child was born (prepartum counseling), and a longer postpartum counseling session. HIV-positive women were given a cesarean delivery where possible and antiretroviral drug treatment to reduce MTCT. 1,222 women admitted to the labor ward during the study period (1,003 of whom did not know their HIV status) accepted HIV testing. Of 15 study participants who were HIV positive, 11 learnt of their HIV status in the labor room. Two babies born to these HIV-positive women were HIV positive and died within a month of delivery; the other 13 babies were HIV negative at birth and at 1 and 4 months after delivery. Finally, the rapid HIV tests missed only one HIV-positive woman (no false-positive results were given), and the time from enrolling a woman into the study through referring her for PMTCT intervention where necessary averaged 40–60 minutes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show the feasibility and positive impact of the introduction of round-the-clock pre- and postpartum HIV counseling and rapid HIV testing into a busy rural Indian labor ward. Few of the women entering this ward knew their HIV status previously but the introduction of these facilities in this setting successfully informed these women of their HIV status. In addition, the round-the-clock counseling and testing led to 11 women and their babies receiving PMTCT interventions who would otherwise have been missed. These findings need to be confirmed in other settings and the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of this approach for the improvement of PMTCT in developing countries needs to be investigated. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that round-the-clock rapid HIV testing might be an effective and acceptable way to reduce MTCT of HIV in many developing countries.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050092.
Read a related PLoS Medicine Perspective article
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS and on HIV infection in women
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Women, Children, and HIV provides extensive information on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in developing countries
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on HIV and AIDS in India, on women, HIV, and AIDS, and on HIV and AIDS prevention, including the prevention of mother-to-child transmission
AIDSinfo, a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services provides health information for HIV-positive pregnant women (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050092
PMCID: PMC2365974  PMID: 18462011
22.  Applying the theory of planned behaviour to explain HIV testing in antenatal settings in Addis Ababa - a cohort study 
Background
To facilitate access to the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services, HIV counselling and testing are offered routinely in antenatal care settings. Focusing a cohort of pregnant women attending public and private antenatal care facilities, this study applied an extended version of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to explain intended- and actual HIV testing.
Methods
A sequential exploratory mixed methods study was conducted in Addis Ababa in 2009. The study involved first time antenatal attendees from public- and private health care facilities. Three Focus Group Discussions were conducted to inform the TPB questionnaire. A total of 3033 women completed the baseline TPB interviews, including attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control and intention with respect to HIV testing, whereas 2928 completed actual HIV testing at follow up. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square tests, Fisher's Exact tests, Internal consistency reliability, Pearson's correlation, Linear regression, Logistic regression and using Epidemiological indices. P-values < 0.05 was considered significant and 95% Confidence Interval (CI) was used for the odds ratio.
Results
The TPB explained 9.2% and 16.4% of the variance in intention among public- and private health facility attendees. Intention and perceived barriers explained 2.4% and external variables explained 7% of the total variance in HIV testing. Positive and negative predictive values of intention were 96% and 6% respectively. Across both groups, subjective norm explained a substantial amount of variance in intention, followed by attitudes. Women intended to test for HIV if they perceived social support and anticipated positive consequences following test performance. Type of counselling did not modify the link between intended and actual HIV testing.
Conclusion
The TPB explained substantial amount of variance in intention to test but was less sufficient in explaining actual HIV testing. This low explanatory power of TPB was mainly due to the large proportion of low intenders that ended up being tested contrary to their intention before entering the antenatal clinic. PMTCT programs should strengthen women's intention through social approval and information that testing will provide positive consequences for them. However, women's rights to opt-out should be emphasized in any attempt to improve the PMTCT programs.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-196
PMCID: PMC3169463  PMID: 21851613
23.  Field effectiveness of combination antiretroviral prophylaxis for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission in rural Zambia 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(8):10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835e3937.
Objective
To evaluate the effectiveness of maternal combination antiretroviral prophylaxis for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in a program setting
Design
Prospective cohort study
Setting
Nine primary care clinics in rural Zambia
Participants
284 HIV-infected pregnant women at ≥28 weeks gestation initiating PMTCT services between April 2009 and January 2011 and their newborn infants
Intervention
In four “intervention” sites, PMTCT comprised universal combination antiretroviral prophylaxis (i.e., irrespective of CD4 count) from pregnancy until the cessation of breastfeeding. In five “control” sites, women received antenatal zidovudine and peripartum nevirapine, the standard of care at the time. Prophylaxis during breastfeeding was not available in control sites.
Main outcome measure
Cumulative infant HIV infection and death at 12 months postpartum
Results
At 12 month postpartum, 1 of 104 (1.0%) infants born to mothers at the intervention sites were HIV-infected, compared to 14 of 116 (12.1%) receiving care in the control sites (relative risk [RR]: 12.6, 95%CI: 2.2-73.1; P=0.005). When we considered the composite outcome of HIV infection or death, similar trends were observed in the overall study population (RR: 3.4, 95%CI: 1.6-7.6; P=0.002) and in a sub-analysis of women with CD4 >350 cells/μL (RR: 3.2; 95%CI: 1.1-9.6; P=0.04).
Conclusions
When compared to PMTCT services based on antenatal zidovudine and peripartum nevirapine, the provision of maternal combination prophylaxis imparted measurable health benefits to HIV-exposed infants. Implementation research is needed to further tailor and optimize these strategies for similar field settings.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835e3937
PMCID: PMC3836017  PMID: 23324656
HIV; prevention of mother to child transmission; antiretroviral therapy; breastfeeding; Zambia
24.  Male partner involvements in PMTCT: a cross sectional study, Mekelle, Northern Ethiopia 
Background
Male partner participation is a crucial component to optimize antenatal care/prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV(ANC/PMTCT) service. It creates an opportunity to capture pregnant mothers and their male partners to reverse the transmission of HIV during pregnancy, labour and breast feeding. Thus involving male partners during HIV screening of pregnant mothers at ANC is key in the fight against mother to child transmission of HIV(MTCT). So, the aim of this study is to determine the level of male partner involvement in PMTCT and factors that affecting it.
Methods
A Cross-sectional study was conducted among 473 pregnant mothers attending ANC/PMTCT in Mekelle town health facilities in January 2011. Systematic sampling was used to select pregnant mothers attending ANC/PMTCT service after determination of the client load at each health facility. Clinic exit structured interviews were used to collect the data. Finally multiple logistic regression was used to identify factors that affect male involvement in ANC/PMTCT.
Results
Twenty percent of pregnant mothers have been accompanied by their male partner to the ANC/PMTCT service. Knowledge of HIV sero status [Adj.OR (95% CI) = 0.43 (0.18- 0.66)], maternal willingness to inform their husband about the availability of voluntary counselling and testing services in ANC/PMTCT [Adj.OR (95% CI) =3.74(1.38-10.17)] and previous history of couple counselling [Adj.OR (95% CI) =4.68 (2.32-9.44)] were found to be the independent predictors of male involvement in ANC/PMTCT service.
Conclusion
Male partner involvement in ANC/PMTCT is low. Thus, comprehensive strategy should be put in place to sensitize and advocate the importance of male partner involvement in ANC/PMTCT in order to reach out male partners.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-65
PMCID: PMC3923985  PMID: 24521216
Male and PMTCT; Male and ANC; Male and HIV; HIV and ANC
25.  Realities and Challenges of a Five Year Follow Up of Mother and Child Pairs on a PMTCT Program in Zimbabwe 
The Open AIDS Journal  2011;5:51-58.
Background:
Complete follow up is an essential component of observational cohorts irrespective of the type of disease.
Objectives:
To describe five years follow up of mother and child pairs on a PMTCT program, highlighting loss to follow up (LTFU) and mortality (attrition).
Study Design:
A cohort of pregnant women was enrolled from the national PMTCT program at 36 weeks gestational age attending three peri urban clinics around Harare offering maternal and child health services. Mother-infant pairs were followed up from birth and twice yearly for five years.
Results:
A total of 479 HIV infected and 571 HIV negative pregnant women were enrolled, 445(92.9%) and 495(86.6%) were followed up whereas 14(3.0%) and 3(0.5%) died in the 1st year respectively; RR (95%CI) 5.3(1.5-18.7). At five years 227(56.7%) HIV infected and 239(41.0%) HIV negative mothers turned up, whereas mortality rates were 34 and 7 per 100 person years respectively. Birth information was recorded for 401(83.7%) HIV exposed and 441(77.2%) unexposed infants, 247(51.6%) and 232(40.6) turned up in the first year whilst mortality was 58(12.9%) and 22(4.4%) respectively, RR (95%CI) 3.2(2.0-5.4). At five years 210(57.5%) HIV exposed and 239(44.3%) unexposed infants were seen, whilst mortality rates were 53 per 1000 and 15 per 1 000 person years respectively. Mortality rate for HIV infected children was 112 compared to 21 per 1 000 person years for the exposed but uninfected.
Conclusion:
HIV infected mothers and their children succumbed to mortality whereas the HIV negatives were LTFU. Mortality rates and LTFU are high within PMTCT program.
doi:10.2174/1874613601105010051
PMCID: PMC3134989  PMID: 21760874
HIV; Follow up; Mortality; PMTCT.

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