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1.  Reproductive Decision-Making and Periconception Practices Among HIV-Positive Men and Women Attending HIV Services in Durban, South Africa 
AIDS and Behavior  2011;17(2):461-470.
Understanding reproductive decisions and periconception behavior among HIV-discordant couples is important for designing risk reduction interventions for couples who choose to conceive. In-depth interviews were conducted to explore reproductive decision-making and periconception practices among HIV-positive women with recent pregnancy (n = 30), and HIV-positive men (n = 20), all reporting partners of negative or unknown HIV-status, and attending HIV services in Durban, South Africa. Transcripts were coded for categories and emergent themes. Participants expressed strong reasons for having children, but rarely knew how to reduce periconception HIV transmission. Pregnancy planning occurred on a spectrum ranging from explicitly intended to explicitly unintended, with many falling in between the two extremes. Male fertility desire and misunderstanding serodiscordance contributed to HIV risk behavior. Participants expressed openness to healthcare worker advice for safer conception and modified risk behavior post-conception, suggesting the feasibility of safer conception interventions which may target both men and women and include serodiscordance counseling and promotion of contraception.
PMCID: PMC3560938  PMID: 22038045
HIV-serodiscordant couples; HIV prevention; Safer conception; Family planning; South Africa
2.  Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Health Care Workers in HIV and AIDS Clinics in Durban Hospitals 
Traditional complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM) has been reported to be commonly used among individuals with HIV and AIDS disease. However a lack of communication between health care workers (HCWs) and patients as well as between HCWs and TCAM practitioners has been identified as one of the challenges that may adversely affect treatment of HIV and AIDS patients. With improved and sustained communication HCWs, patients and TCAM practitioners would be able to make informed decisions with regards to best treatment practices based on the knowledge of what is safe, effective and what is not. In order to establish a baseline understanding of the current status of interaction and communication between HCWs and TCAM profession in Durban, South Africa, the purpose of the study was to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and practices of HCWs in the HIV and AIDS clinics towards TCAM professions. Data was collected by means of anonymous self-administered questionnaire which was distributed to HCWs in the HIV and AIDS clinics. Out of 161 HCWs in the HIV and AIDS clinics 81 HCWs returned the questionnaires resulting in 50% response rate. The results showed that participants did not possess a basic knowledge of TCAM. Out of 81 participants 23 (28%) scored zero in a true or false knowledge assessment question.
PMCID: PMC3746618  PMID: 23983356
Traditional Complementary and Alternative medicine; Health care workers; knowledge attitude and practices; HIV and AIDS
3.  A conceptual framework for understanding HIV risk behavior in the context of supporting fertility goals among HIV-serodiscordant couples 
Reproductive health matters  2012;20(39 Suppl):50-60.
Integrated reproductive health services for people living with HIV must address their fertility intentions. For HIV-serodiscordant couples who want to conceive, attempted conception confers a substantial risk of HIV transmission to the uninfected partner. Behavioral and pharmacologic strategies may reduce HIV transmission risk among HIV-serodiscordant couples who seek to conceive. In order to develop effective pharmaco-behavioral programs, it is important to understand and address the contexts surrounding reproductive decision-making; perceived periconception HIV transmission risk; and periconception risk behaviors. We present a conceptual framework to describe the dynamics involved in periconception HIV risk behaviors in a South African setting. We adapt the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skill Model of HIV Preventative Behavior to address the structural, individual and couple-level determinants of safer conception behavior. The framework is intended to identify factors that influence periconception HIV risk behavior among serodiscordant couples, and therefore to guide design and implementation of integrated and effective HIV, reproductive health and family planning services that support reproductive decision-making.
PMCID: PMC3608509  PMID: 23177680
conceptual framework; HIV; serodiscordant couples; pregnancy; safer conception
4.  Antiretrovirals and safer conception for HIV-serodiscordant couples 
Current opinion in HIV and AIDS  2012;7(6):569-578.
Purpose of review
Many men and women living with HIV and their uninfected partners attempt to conceive children. HIV-prevention science can be applied to reduce sexual transmission risk while respecting couples’ reproductive goals. Here we discuss antiretrovirals as prevention in the context of safer conception for HIV-serodiscordant couples.
Recent findings
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the infected partner and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for the uninfected partner reduce the risk of heterosexual HIV transmission. Several demonstration projects suggest the feasibility and acceptability of antiretroviral (ARV)s as periconception HIV-prevention for HIV-serodiscordant couples. The application of ARVs to periconception risk reduction may be limited by adherence.
For male-infected (M+F−) couples who cannot access sperm processing and female-infected (F+M−) couples unwilling to carry out insemination without intercourse, ART for the infected partner, PrEP for the uninfected partner, combined with treatment for sexually transmitted infections, sex limited to peak fertility, and medical male circumcision (for F+M couples) provide excellent, well tolerated options for reducing the risk of periconception HIV sexual transmission.
PMCID: PMC3695736  PMID: 23032734
antiretrovirals as prevention; conception; fertility; HIV prevention; HIV-serodiscordance; perinatal HIV transmission; sexual HIV transmission
5.  HIV-1 Prevention for HIV-1 Serodiscordant Couples 
Current HIV/AIDS reports  2012;9(2):160-170.
A substantial proportion of HIV-1-infected individuals in sub-Saharan Africa are in stable relationships with HIV-1-uninfected partners, and HIV-1 serodiscordant couples thus represent an important target population for HIV-1 prevention. Couple-based HIV-1 testing and counseling facilitates identification of HIV-1 serodiscordant couples, counseling about risk reduction, and referrals to HIV-1 treatment, reproductive health services, and support services. Maximizing HIV-1 prevention for HIV-1 serodiscordant couples requires a combination of strategies, including counseling about condoms, sexual risk, fertility, contraception, and the clinical and prevention benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the HIV-1-infected partner; provision of clinical care and ART for the HIV-1-infected partner; antenatal care and services to prevent mother to child transmission for HIV-1- infected pregnant women; male circumcision for HIV-1-uninfected men; and, pending guidelines and demonstration projects, oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV-1-uninfected partners.
PMCID: PMC3570050  PMID: 22415473
HIV-1 serodiscordant couples; HIV-1 prevention; Africa; antiretroviral; ART; PrEP
6.  Defining Male Support During and After Pregnancy from the Perspective of HIV-positive and HIV-negative Women in Durban, South Africa 
Greater male support during pregnancy and in the postpartum period may improve health outcomes for mothers and children. To develop effective strategies to engage men we need to first understand the ways that men are currently engaged and the barriers to their greater involvement. We conducted in-depth interviews in isiZulu with 30 HIV-positive women and 16 HIV-negative women who received prenatal care from a public clinic in Durban, South Africa. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, translated, and coded for analysis. While less than a quarter of women reported that their partners accompanied them to the clinic, they described receiving other material and psychosocial support from partners. More HIV-positive women reported that their partners were not involved or not supportive, and in some cases direct threats and experiences with violence caused them to fear partner involvement. We need to broaden the lens through which we consider male support during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, and acknowledge that male involvement may not always be in the best interest of women. Engaging supportive partners outside of the clinic setting and incorporating other important social network members are important next steps in the effort to increase support for women.
PMCID: PMC3137135  PMID: 21733102
Male support; HIV prenatal; postpartum; South Africa
7.  “They see you as a different thing”: The Experiences of Men Who Have Sex with Men with Health Care Workers in South African Township Communities 
Sexually transmitted infections  2008;84(6):430-433.
To describe interactions between men who have sex with men (MSM) and health care workers (HCWs) in peri-urban township communities in South Africa.
Qualitative study using semistructured in-depth interviews and focus group discussions in the Gauteng province townships of Soweto and Mamelodi. We purposively sampled 32 MSM for in-depth interviews and 15 for focus group discussions. Topics explored included identity, sexuality, community life, use of health services, and experiences of stigma and discrimination.
MSM felt their options for non-stigmatizing sexual health care services were limited by homophobic verbal harassment by HCWs. Gay-identified men sought out clinics with reputations for employing HCWs who respected their privacy and their sexuality, and challenged those HCWs who mistreated them. Non-gay identified MSM presented masculine, heterosexual identities when presenting for sexual health problems, and avoided discussing their sexuality with HCWs.
The strategies MSM employ to confront or avoid homophobia from HCWs may not be conducive to sexual health promotion in this population. Interventions that increase the capacity of public sector HCWs to provide appropriate sexual health services to MSM are urgently needed.
PMCID: PMC2780345  PMID: 19028941
Africa; HIV; homosexual men; health care seeking; sexually transmitted diseases
8.  A randomized trial to optimize HIV/TB care in South Africa: design of the Sizanani trial 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:390.
Despite increases in HIV testing, only a fraction of people newly diagnosed with HIV infection enter the care system and initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) in South Africa. We report on the design and initial enrollment of a randomized trial of a health system navigator intervention to improve linkage to HIV care and TB treatment completion in Durban, South Africa.
We employed a multi-site randomized controlled trial design. Patients at 4 outpatient sites were enrolled prior to HIV testing. For all HIV-infected participants, routine TB screening with sputum for mycobacterial smear and culture were collected. HIV-infected participants were randomized to receive the health system navigator intervention or usual care. Participants in the navigator arm underwent a baseline interview using a strengths-based case management approach to assist in identifying barriers to entering care and devising solutions to best cope with perceived barriers. Over 4 months, participants in the navigator arm received scheduled phone and text messages. The primary outcome of the study is linkage and retention in care, assessed 9 months after enrollment. For ART-eligible participants without TB, the primary outcome is 3 months on ART as documented in the medical record; participants co-infected with TB are also eligible to meet the primary outcome of completion of 6 months of TB treatment, as documented by the TB clinic. Secondary outcomes include mortality, receipt of CD4 count and TB test results, and repeat CD4 counts for those not ART-eligible at baseline. We hypothesize that a health system navigator can help identify and positively affect modifiable patient factors, including self-efficacy and social support, that in turn can improve linkage to and retention in HIV and TB care.
We are currently evaluating the clinical impact of a novel health system navigator intervention to promote entry to and retention in HIV and TB care for people newly diagnosed with HIV. The details of this study protocol will inform clinicians, investigators, and policy makers of strategies to best support HIV-infected patients in resource-limited settings.
Trial registration unique identifier: NCT01188941.
PMCID: PMC3765953  PMID: 23972276
(3-10): HIV/AIDS; Tuberculosis; South Africa; Linkage to care; SMS reminders; Randomized controlled trial; Counseling/Support
9.  Periconception pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV transmission: benefits, risks, and challenges to implementation 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(13):1975-1982.
HIV-serodiscordant couples face complicated choices between fulfilling reproductive desire and risking HIV transmission to their partners and children. Sexual HIV transmission can be dramatically reduced through artificial insemination and sperm washing, however most couples cannot access these resources. We propose that periconception pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) could offer an important, complementary therapy to harm reduction counseling programs that aim to decrease HIV transmission for couples who choose to conceive.
In this paper we describe the potential benefits of periconception PrEP and define critical points of clarification prior to implementation of PrEP as part of a reproductive health program. We consider sexual transmission risk, current risk reduction options, PrEP efficacy, cost, adherence, resistance, fetal toxicity, and impact of PrEP counseling on entry into health services. We address PrEP in the context of other periconception HIV prevention strategies, including antiretroviral treatment of the HIV-infected partner. We conclude that, should PrEP prove safe and efficacious in ongoing trials, periconception PrEP may offer a useful approach to minimize risk of HIV transmission for individuals of reproductive age in HIV-endemic countries.
PMCID: PMC3773599  PMID: 20679759
HIV; reproduction; fertility; serodiscordant couples; HIV prevention; HIV transmission; antiretroviral prophylaxis
10.  High Incidence of Hospital Admissions with Multidrug Resistant and Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis among South African Health Care Workers 
Annals of internal medicine  2010;153(8):516-522.
Nosocomial transmission has been described in extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) and HIV co-infected patients in South Africa. However, little is known about rates of drug-resistant TB among healthcare workers (HCWs) in TB and HIV endemic settings.
To estimate rates of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and XDR-TB hospitalizations among HCWs in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa.
Retrospective study of drug-resistant TB patients admitted for the initiation of drug-resistant TB therapy between 2003 and 2008.
A public TB referral hospital in KZN, South Africa.
HCWs admitted with MDR-TB (N=203) or XDR-TB (N=28) were compared with non-HCWs admitted with MDR-TB (N=3807) or XDR-TB (N=344).
Hospital admission rates, hospital admission incidence rate ratios.
Estimated incidence of MDR-TB hospitalization was 64.8/100,000 for HCWs versus 11.9/100,000 for non-HCWs (I.R.R. 5.56 95% C.I. 4.87–6.35). Estimated incidence of XDR-TB hospitalizations was 7.2/100,000 among HCWs versus 1.1/100,000 in non-HCWs (I.R.R. 6.69 95% C.I. 4.38–10.20). A higher percentage of HCWs than non-HCWs with MDR-TB or XDR-TB were female (78% vs. 47%, p<0.001) and fewer HCWs reported previous TB treatment (41% vs. 92%, p<0.001). Prevalence of HIV infection did not differ between HCW and non-HCW (55% vs. 57%, p=0.71), but a higher percentage of HIV infected HCWs were on antiretroviral medications (63% vs. 47%, p<0.001).
HCWs in this HIV-endemic area were substantially more likely to be hospitalized with either MDR-TB or XDR-TB compared to non-HCWs. The increased risk may be explained by occupational exposure and not by other risk factors, underlining the urgent need for TB infection control programs.
Primary Funding Source
No funding was received for this study
PMCID: PMC3074259  PMID: 20956708
11.  Providers' Perspectives on Provision of Family Planning to HIV-Positive Individuals in HIV Care in Nyanza Province, Kenya 
AIDS Research and Treatment  2013;2013:915923.
Objective. To inform an intervention integrating family planning into HIV care, family planning (FP) knowledge, attitudes and practices, and perspectives on integrating FP into HIV care were assessed among healthcare providers in Nyanza Province, Kenya. Methods. Thirty-one mixed-method, structured interviews were conducted among a purposive sample of healthcare workers (HCWs) from 13 government HIV care facilities in Nyanza Province. Structured questions and case scenarios assessed contraceptive knowledge, training, and FP provision experience. Open-ended questions explored perspectives on integration. Data were analyzed descriptively and qualitatively. Results. Of the 31 HCWs interviewed, 45% reported previous FP training. Few providers thought long-acting methods were safe for HIV-positive women (19% viewed depot medroxyprogesterone acetate as safe and 36% viewed implants and intrauterine contraceptives as safe); fewer felt comfortable recommending them to HIV-positive women. Overall, providers supported HIV and family planning integration, yet several potential barriers were identified including misunderstandings about contraceptive safety, gendered power differentials relating to fertility decisions, staff shortages, lack of FP training, and contraceptive shortages. Conclusions. These findings suggest the importance of considering issues such as patient flow, provider burden, commodity supply, gender and cultural issues affecting FP use, and provider training in FP/HIV when designing integrated FP/HIV services in high HIV prevalence areas.
PMCID: PMC3659431  PMID: 23738058
12.  The impact of the National HIV Health Care Worker Hotline on patient care in South Africa 
South Africa has a huge burden of illness due to HIV infection. Many health care workers managing HIV infected patients, particularly those in rural areas and primary care health facilities, have minimal access to information resources and to advice and support from experienced clinicians. The Medicines Information Centre, based in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Cape Town, has been running the National HIV Health Care Worker (HCW) Hotline since 2008, providing free information for HIV treatment-related queries via telephone, fax and e-mail.
A questionnaire-based study showed that 224 (44%) of the 511 calls that were received by the hotline during the 2-month study period were patient-specific. Ninety-four completed questionnaires were included in the analysis. Of these, 72 (77%) were from doctors, 13 (14%) from pharmacists and 9 (10%) from nurses. 96% of the callers surveyed took an action based on the advice received from the National HIV HCW Hotline. The majority of actions concerned the start, dose adaption, change, or discontinuation of medicines. Less frequent actions taken were adherence and lifestyle counselling, further investigations, referring or admission of patients.
The information provided by the National HIV HCW Hotline on patient-specific requests has a direct impact on the management of patients.
PMCID: PMC3038878  PMID: 21269430
13.  Disclosure of HIV status: Experiences of Patients Enrolled in an Integrated TB and HAART Pilot Programme in South Africa 
The convergence between the tuberculosis (TB) and HIV epidemics has led to studies investigating strategies for integrated HIV and TB care. We present the experiences of a cohort of 17 patients enrolled in the first integrated TB and HIV treatment pilot programme, conducted in Durban, South Africa, as a precursor to a pivotal trial to answer the question of when to start antiretroviral treatment (ART) in patients co-infected with HIV and TB. Patients’ experiences with integrated TB and HIV care can provide insight about the problems or benefits of introducing HIV treatment into existing TB care in resource-constrained settings, where stigma and discrimination are often pervasive and determining factors influencing treatment uptake and coverage. Individual interviews, focus group discussions, and observations were used to understand patients’ experiences with integrated TB and HIV treatment. The patients described incorporating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) into their daily routine as ‘easy’; however, the patients experienced difficulties with disclosing their HIV status. Non-disclosure to sexual partners may jeopardise safer-sex practices and enhance HIV transmission. Being on TB treatment created a safe space for all patients to conceal their HIV status from those to whom they did not wish to disclose. The data suggest that the context of directly observed therapy (DOT) for TB may have the added benefit of creating a safe space for introducing ART to patients who would benefit most from treatment initiation but who are not ready or prepared to disclose their HIV status to others.
PMCID: PMC2856961  PMID: 20411037
antiretroviral therapy; co-infection; directly observed therapy; qualitative research; resource-poor settings; sexual behaviour; South Africa; treatment issues; tuberculosis
14.  Perceptions of vaginal microbicides as an HIV prevention method among health care providers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 
The promise of microbicides as an HIV prevention method will not be realized if not supported by health care providers. They are the primary source of sexual health information for potential users, in both the public and private health sectors. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine perceptions of vaginal microbicides as a potential HIV prevention method among health care providers in Durban and Hlabisa, South Africa, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.
During 2004, semi structured interviews with 149 health care providers were conducted. Fifty seven percent of hospital managers, 40% of pharmacists and 35% of nurses possessed some basic knowledge of microbicides, such as the product being used intra-vaginally before sex to prevent HIV infection. The majority of them were positive about microbicides and were willing to counsel users regarding potential use. Providers from both public and private sectors felt that an effective microbicide should be available to all people, regardless of HIV status. Providers felt that the product should be accessed over-the-counter in pharmacies and in retail stores. They also felt a need for potential microbicides to be available free of charge, and packaged with clear instructions. The media was seen by health care providers as being an effective strategy for promoting microbicides.
Overall, health care providers were very positive about the possible introduction of an effective microbicide for HIV prevention. The findings generated by this study illustrated the need for training health care providers prior to making the product accessible, as well as the importance of addressing the potential barriers to use of the product by women. These are important concerns in the health care community, and this study also served to educate them for the day when research becomes reality.
PMCID: PMC1832204  PMID: 17359528
15.  Training health care workers to promote HIV services for patients with tuberculosis in the Democratic Republic of Congo 
HIV counseling and testing, HIV prevention and provision of HIV care and support are essential activities to reduce the burden of HIV among patients with TB, and should be integrated into routine TB care.
The development of training materials to promote HIV services for TB patients involved the definition of target health care workers (HCWs); identification of required tasks, skills and knowledge; review of international guidelines; and adaptation of existing training materials for voluntary counseling and testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and management of opportunistic infections (OIs). Training effectiveness was assessed by means of questionnaires administered pre- and post-training, by correlating post-training results of HCWs with the centre's HIV testing acceptance rates, and through participatory observations at the time of on-site supervisory visits and monthly meetings.
Pre-training assessment identified gaps in basic knowledge of HIV epidemiology, the link between TB and HIV, interpretation of CD4 counts, prevention and management of OIs, and occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Opinions on patients' rights and confidentiality varied. Mean test results increased from 72% pre-training to 87% post-training (p < 0.001). Important issues regarding HIV epidemiology and PEP remained poorly understood post-training. Mean post-training scores of clinic's HCWs were significantly correlated with the centre's HIV testing acceptance rates (p = 0.01). On-site supervisory visits and monthly meetings promoted staff motivation, participatory problem solving and continuing education. Training was also used as an opportunity to improve patient-centred care and HCWs' communication skills.
Many HCWs did not possess the knowledge or skills necessary to integrate HIV activities into routine care for patients with TB. A participatory approach resulted in training materials that fulfilled local needs.
PMCID: PMC2664786  PMID: 19291327
16.  Stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS by healthcare workers at a tertiary hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a cross-sectional descriptive study 
BMC Medical Ethics  2013;14(Suppl 1):S6.
The issue of stigma is very important in the battle against HIV/AIDS in Africa since it may affect patient attendance at healthcare centres for obtaining antiretroviral (ARV) medications and regular medical check-ups. Stigmatization creates an unnecessary culture of secrecy and silence based on ignorance and fear of victimization. This study was designed to determine if there is external stigmatization of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) by health care workers (HCWs) at a tertiary hospital in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, South Africa. The study investigated the impact of knowledge of HIV/AIDS by HCWs on treatment of patients, as well as the comfort level and attitude of HCWs when rendering care to PLWHA.
A descriptive cross sectional study was designed to collect data using an anonymous self-administered structured questionnaire from 334 HCWs. The study was conducted in clinical departments of a large multidisciplinary 922-bed tertiary care teaching hospital in Durban, KZN.
Overall HCWs had an above average knowledge about HIV/AIDS although some gaps in knowledge were identified. Tests of statistical significance showed that there was association between level of education and knowledge of HIV/AIDs (p ≤ 0.001); occupation and knowledge of HIV/AIDS (p ≤ 0.001); and gender and knowledge of HIV/AIDS (p = 0.004). Test for comfort level was only significant for gender, with males showing more comfort and empathy when dealing with PLWHA (p = 0.003). The study also revealed that patients were sometimes tested for HIV without informed consent before surgery, due to fear of being infected, and there was some gossiping about patients' HIV status by HCWs, thereby compromising patient confidentiality. The majority of HCWs showed a willingness to report incidents of stigmatization and discrimination to higher authorities, for better monitoring and control.
Although knowledge, attitude and comfort level of HCWs taking care of PLWHA was above average, enforcement of existing antidiscrimination laws and continuing education in medical ethics and healthcare law, would greatly improve the performance of HCWs taking care of PLWHAs. More psychological support and counselling should be provided to HCWs, to further reduce the impact of stigmatization and discrimination against PLWHA.
PMCID: PMC3878339  PMID: 24564982
HIV/AIDS; Africa; Attitude; Comfort; Discrimination; Healthcare workers; PLWHA; Stigmatization
17.  A national infection control evaluation of drug-resistant tuberculosis hospitals in South Africa 
The importance of infection control (IC) in health care settings with tuberculosis (TB) patients has been highlighted by recent health care-associated outbreaks in South Africa.
To conduct operational evaluations of IC in drug-resistant TB settings at a national level.
A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted from June to September 2009 in all multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) facilities in South Africa. Structured interviews with key informants were completed, along with observation of IC practices. Health care workers (HCWs) were asked to complete an anonymous knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) questionnaire. Multilevel modeling was used to take into consideration the relationship between center and HCW level variables.
Twenty-four M(X)DR-TB facilities (100%) were enrolled. Facility infrastructure and staff adherence to IC recommendations were highly varied between facilities. Key informant interviews were incongruent with direct observation of practices in all settings. A total of 499 HCWs were enrolled in the KAP evaluation. Higher level of clinical training was associated with greater IC knowledge (P < 0.001), more appropriate attitudes (P < 0.001) and less time spent with coughing patients (P < 0.001). IC practices were poor across all disciplines.
These findings demonstrate a clear need to improve and standardize IC infrastructure in drug-resistant TB settings in South Africa.
PMCID: PMC3875139  PMID: 22236851
MDR-TB; XDR-TB; infection control; South Africa
18.  Couple-oriented prenatal HIV counseling for HIV primary prevention: an acceptability study 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:197.
A large proportion of the 2.5 million new adult HIV infections that occurred worldwide in 2007 were in stable couples. Feasible and acceptable strategies to improve HIV prevention in a conjugal context are scarce. In the preparatory phase of the ANRS 12127 Prenahtest multi-site HIV prevention trial, we assessed the acceptability of couple-oriented post-test HIV counseling (COC) and men's involvement within prenatal care services, among pregnant women, male partners and health care workers in Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Georgia and India.
Quantitative and qualitative research methods were used: direct observations of health services; in-depth interviews with women, men and health care workers; monitoring of the COC intervention and exit interviews with COC participants.
In-depth interviews conducted with 92 key informants across the four sites indicated that men rarely participated in antenatal care (ANC) services, mainly because these are traditionally and programmatically a woman's domain. However men's involvement was reported to be acceptable and needed in order to improve ANC and HIV prevention services. COC was considered by the respondents to be a feasible and acceptable strategy to actively encourage men to participate in prenatal HIV counseling and testing and overall in reproductive health services.
One of the keys to men's involvement within prenatal HIV counseling and testing is the better understanding of couple relationships, attitudes and communication patterns between men and women, in terms of HIV and sexual and reproductive health; this conjugal context should be taken into account in the provision of quality prenatal HIV counseling, which aims at integrated PMTCT and primary prevention of HIV.
PMCID: PMC2873579  PMID: 20403152
19.  From PALSA PLUS to PALM PLUS: adapting and developing a South African guideline and training intervention to better integrate HIV/AIDS care with primary care in rural health centers in Malawi 
Only about one-third of eligible HIV/AIDS patients receive anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Decentralizing treatment is crucial to wider and more equitable access, but key obstacles are a shortage of trained healthcare workers (HCW) and challenges integrating HIV/AIDS care with other primary care. This report describes the development of a guideline and training program (PALM PLUS) designed to integrate HIV/AIDS care with other primary care in Malawi. PALM PLUS was adapted from PALSA PLUS, developed in South Africa, and targets middle-cadre HCWs (clinical officers, nurses, and medical assistants). We adapted it to align with Malawi's national treatment protocols, more varied healthcare workforce, and weaker health system infrastructure.
The international research team included the developers of the PALSA PLUS program, key Malawi-based team members and personnel from national and district level Ministry of Health (MoH), professional associations, and an international non-governmental organization. The PALSA PLUS guideline was extensively revised based on Malawi national disease-specific guidelines. Advice and input was sought from local clinical experts, including middle-cadre personnel, as well as Malawi MoH personnel and representatives of Malawian professional associations.
An integrated guideline adapted to Malawian protocols for adults with respiratory conditions, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other primary care conditions was developed. The training program was adapted to Malawi's health system and district-level supervision structure. PALM PLUS is currently being piloted in a cluster-randomized trial in health centers in Malawi (ISRCTN47805230).
The PALM PLUS guideline and training intervention targets primary care middle-cadre HCWs with the objective of improving HCW satisfaction and retention, and the quality of patient care. Successful adaptations are feasible, even across health systems as different as those of South Africa and Malawi.
PMCID: PMC3162564  PMID: 21791048
20.  Healthcare workers and health care-associated infections: knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in emergency departments in Italy 
This survey assessed knowledge, attitudes, and compliance regarding standard precautions about health care-associated infections (HAIs) and the associated determinants among healthcare workers (HCWs) in emergency departments in Italy.
An anonymous questionnaire, self-administered by all HCWs in eight randomly selected non-academic acute general public hospitals, comprised questions on demographic and occupational characteristics; knowledge about the risks of acquiring and/or transmitting HAIs from/to a patient and standard precautions; attitudes toward guidelines and risk perceived of acquiring a HAI; practice of standard precautions; and sources of information.
HCWs who know the risk of acquiring Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from a patient were in practice from less years, worked fewer hours per week, knew that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, knew that HCV and HIV infections can be serious, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Those who know that gloves, mask, protective eyewear, and hands hygiene after removing gloves are control measures were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, knew that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, did not know that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Being a nurse, knowing that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, obtaining information from educational courses and scientific journals, and needing information were associated with a higher perceived risk of acquiring a HAI. HCWs who often or always used gloves and performed hands hygiene measures after removing gloves were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, and knew that hands hygiene after removing gloves was a control measure.
HCWs have high knowledge, positive attitudes, but low compliance concerning standard precautions. Nurses had higher knowledge, perceived risk, and appropriate HAIs' control measures than physicians and HCWs answered correctly and used appropriately control measures if have received information from educational courses and scientific journals.
PMCID: PMC2848042  PMID: 20178573
21.  Utilization of HIV and Tuberculosis Services by Health Care Workers in Uganda: Implications for Occupational Health Policies and Implementation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46069.
Access to HIV testing and subsequent care among health care workers (HCWs) form a critical component of TB infection control measures for HCWs. Challenges to and gaps in access to HIV services among HCWs may thus compromise TB infection control. This study assessed HCWs HIV and TB screening uptake and explored their preferences for provision of HIV and TB care.
A cross-sectional mixed-methods study involving 499 HCWs and 8 focus group discussions was conducted in Mukono and Wakiso districts in Uganda between October 2010 and February 2011.
Overall, 5% of the HCWs reported a history of TB in the past five years. None reported routine screening for TB disease or infection, although 89% were willing to participate in a TB screening program, 77% at the workplace. By contrast, 95% had previously tested for HIV; 34% outside their workplace, and 27% self-tested. Nearly half (45%) would prefer to receive HIV care outside their workplace. Hypothetical willingness to disclose HIV positive status to supervisors was moderate (63%) compared to willingness to disclose to sexual partners (94%). Older workers were more willing to disclose to a supervisor (adjusted prevalence ratio [APR] = 1.51, CI = 1.16–1.95). Being female (APR = 0.78, CI = 0.68–0.91), and working in the private sector (APR = 0.81, CI = 0.65–1.00) were independent predictors of unwillingness to disclose a positive HIV status to a supervisor. HCWs preferred having integrated occupational services, versus stand-alone HIV care.
Discomfort with disclosure of HIV status to supervisors suggests that universal TB infection control measures that benefit all HCWs are more feasible than distinctions by HIVstatus, particularly for women, private sector, and younger HCWs. However, interventions to reduce stigma and ensuring confidentiality are also essential to ensure uptake of comprehensive HIV care including Isoniazid Preventive Therapy among HCWs.
PMCID: PMC3469628  PMID: 23071538
22.  Routine, voluntary HIV testing in Durban, South Africa: correlates of HIV infection* 
HIV medicine  2008;9(10):863-867.
Routine HIV testing is increasingly recommended in resource-limited settings. Our objective was to evaluate factors associated with a new diagnosis of HIV infection in a routine HIV testing programme in South Africa.
We established a routine HIV testing programme in an out-patient department in Durban, South Africa. All registered adults were offered a rapid HIV test; we surveyed a sample of tested patients.
During the 12-week study, 1414 adults accepted HIV testing. Of those, 463 (32.7%) were HIV-infected. Seven hundred and twenty (50.9%) were surveyed. Compared with married women, unmarried men were at the highest risk of HIV [odds ratio (OR) 6.84; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.45–23.55], followed by unmarried women (OR 5.90; 95% CI 3.25–10.70) and married men (OR 4.00; 95% CI 2.04–7.83). Age 30–39 years (compared with ≥50 years; OR 5.10; 95% CI 2.86–9.09), no prior HIV test (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.07–2.27) and an imperfect HIV knowledge score (OR 2.32; 95% CI 1.24–4.35) were also associated with HIV infection.
In a routine HIV testing programme in South Africa, rates of previously undiagnosed HIV were highest among men, young and unmarried patients, and those with poorer HIV knowledge. Better interventions are needed to improve HIV knowledge and decrease HIV risk behaviour.
PMCID: PMC2602807  PMID: 18754802
correlates of HIV infection; HIV testing; routine HIV testing; South Africa
23.  Experiences of Kenyan healthcare workers providing services to men who have sex with men: qualitative findings from a sensitivity training programme 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2013;16(4Suppl 3):18741.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kenya are at high risk for HIV and may experience prejudiced treatment in health settings due to stigma. An on-line computer-facilitated MSM sensitivity programme was conducted to educate healthcare workers (HCWs) about the health issues and needs of MSM patients.
Seventy-four HCWs from 49 ART-providing health facilities in the Kenyan Coast were recruited through purposive sampling to undergo a two-day MSM sensitivity training. We conducted eight focus group discussions (FGDs) with programme participants prior to and three months after completing the training programme. Discussions aimed to characterize HCWs’ challenges in serving MSM patients and impacts of programme participation on HCWs’ personal attitudes and professional capacities.
Before participating in the training programme, HCWs described secondary stigma, lack of professional education about MSM, and personal and social prejudices as barriers to serving MSM clients. After completing the programme, HCWs expressed greater acknowledgement of MSM patients in their clinics, endorsed the need to treat MSM patients with high professional standards and demonstrated sophisticated awareness of the social and behavioural risks for HIV among MSM.
Findings provide support for this approach to improving health services for MSM patients. Further efforts are needed to broaden the reach of this training in other areas, address identified barriers to HCW participation and evaluate programme effects on patient and HCW outcomes using rigorous methodology.
PMCID: PMC3852126  PMID: 24321109
on-line computer facilitated MSM sensitivity programme; healthcare worker; stigma; MSM; Kenya; HIV
Shortages of health care workers (HCWs) represents a serious challenge to ensuring effective HIV care in resource-limited settings (RLS). Stress, motivation, and job satisfaction have been linked with HCW retention and are important in addressing HCW shortages. In this cross-sectional study HCW stress, motivation, and perceived ability to meet patient needs were assessed in PEPFAR-supported urban HIV care and treatment clinics (CTCs) in Tanzania.
A self-administered questionnaire measuring motivation, stress, and perceived ability to meet patient needs was given to HCWs at 16 CTCs. Scales measuring HCW satisfaction, motivation, and stress were developed using principle components analysis. Hierarchical linear models were used to explore the association of HCW and site characteristics with reported satisfaction, stress, motivation, and ability to meet patient needs.
Seventy-three percent (279) of HCWs completed the questionnaire. Most (73%) HCWs reported minimal/no work-related stress, with 48% reporting good/excellent motivation, but 41% also reporting feeling emotionally drained. Almost all (98%) reported feeling able to help their patients, with 68% reporting work as rewarding. Most reported receipt of training and supervision, with good availability of resources. In the multivariate model, direct clinical providers reported lower motivation than management (p<0.05) and HCWs at medium-sized sites reported higher motivation than HCWs at larger sites (p<0.05). HCWs at small and medium sites were more likely to feel able to help patients than those from larger sites (p<0.05 and p<0.001 respectively).
Despite significant patient loads, HCWs in these PEPFAR-supported CTCs reported high levels of motivation, job satisfaction, ability to meet patient needs, low levels of stress but significant emotional toll. Understanding the relationship between support systems such as strong supervision and training and these outcomes is critical in designing interventions to improve motivation, reduce stress and increase retention of HCWs.
PMCID: PMC3580277  PMID: 22066277
HIV; motivation; stress; health care workers; resource limited settings
25.  Occupational exposure to body fluids among health care workers in Georgia 
Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of being infected with blood-borne pathogens.
To evaluate risk of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses and determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HCWs in Georgia.
The sample included HCWs from seven medical institutions in five cities in Georgia. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on demographic, occupational and personal risk factors for blood-borne viruses. After obtaining informed consent, blood was drawn from the study participants for a seroprevalence study of HBV, HCV and HIV infections.
There were 1386 participating HCWs from a number of departments, including surgery (29%), internal medicine (19%) and intensive care (19%). Nosocomial risk events were reported by the majority of HCWs, including accidental needlestick injury (45%), cuts with contaminated instruments (38%) and blood splashes (46%). The most frequent risk for receiving a cut was related to a false move during a procedure, reassembling devices and handing devices to a colleague. The highest proportion of needlestick injuries among physicians (22%) and nurses (39%) was related to recapping of used needles. No HIV-infected HCW was identified. Prevalence of HCV infection was 5%, anti-HBc was present among 29% with 2% being HBsAg carriers.
Data from this study can be utilized in educational programs and implementation of universal safety precautions for HCWs in Georgia to help achieve similar reductions in blood-borne infection transmission to those achieved in developed countries.
PMCID: PMC3612004  PMID: 22869786
Blood-borne virus; contamination injury; developing country; needlestick

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