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1.  High Rates of HIV Seroconversion in Pregnant Women and Low Reported Levels of HIV Testing among Male Partners in Southern Mozambique: Results from a Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115014.
Prevention of acute HIV infections in pregnancy is required to achieve elimination of pediatric HIV. Identification and support for HIV negative pregnant women and their partners, particularly serodiscordant couples, are critical. A mixed method study done in Southern Mozambique estimated HIV incidence during pregnancy, associated risk factors and factors influencing partner's HIV testing.
Between April 2008 and November 2011, a prospective cohort of 1230 HIV negative pregnant women was followed during pregnancy. A structured questionnaire, HIV testing, and collection of dried blood spots were done at 2–3 scheduled visits. HIV incidence rates were calculated by repeat HIV testing and risk factors assessed by Poisson regression. A qualitative study including 37 individual interviews with men, women, and nurses and 11 focus group discussions (n = 94) with men, women and grandmothers explored motivators and barriers to uptake of male HIV testing.
HIV incidence rate was estimated at 4.28/100 women-years (95%CI: 2.33–7.16). Significant risk factors for HIV acquisition were early sexual debut (RR 3.79, 95%CI: 1.04–13.78, p = 0.04) and living in Maputo Province (RR 4.35, 95%CI: 0.97–19.45, p = 0.05). Nineteen percent of women reported that their partner had tested for HIV (93% knew the result with 8/213 indicating an HIV positive partner), 56% said their partner had not tested and 19% did not know their partner test status. Of the 14 seroconversions, only one reported being in a serodiscordant relationship. Fear of discrimination or stigma was reported as a key barrier to male HIV testing, while knowing the importance of getting tested and receiving care was the main motivator.
HIV incidence during pregnancy is high in Southern Mozambique, but knowledge of partners' HIV status remains low. Knowledge of both partners' HIV status is critical for maximal effectiveness of prevention and treatment services to reach elimination of pediatric HIV/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC4277288  PMID: 25542035
2.  Access to HIV prevention and care for HIV-exposed and HIV-infected children: a qualitative study in rural and urban Mozambique 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):1240.
Follow-up of HIV-exposed children for the delivery of prevention of mother-to-child transmission services and for early diagnosis and treatment of HIV infection is critical to their survival. Despite efforts, uptake of postnatal care for these children remains low in many sub-Saharan African countries.
A qualitative study was conducted in three provinces in Mozambique to identify motivators and barriers to improve uptake of and retention in HIV prevention, care and treatment services for HIV-exposed and HIV-infected children. Participant recommendations were also gathered. Individual interviews (n = 79) and focus group discussions (n = 32) were conducted with parents/caregivers, grandmothers, community leaders and health care workers. Using a socioecological framework, the main themes identified were organized into multiple spheres of influence, specifically at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, community and policy levels.
Study participants reported factors such as seeking care outside of the conventional health system and disbelief in test results as barriers to use of HIV services. Other key barriers included fear of disclosure at the interpersonal level and poor patient flow and long waiting time at the institutional level. Key facilitators for accessing care included having hope for children’s future, symptomatic illness in children, and the belief that health facilities were the appropriate places to get care.
The results suggest that individual-level factors are critical drivers that influence the health-seeking behavior of caregivers of HIV-exposed and HIV-infected children in Mozambique. Noted strategies are to provide more information and awareness on the benefits of early pediatric testing and treatment with positive messages that incorporate success stories, to reach more pregnant women and mother-child pairs postpartum, and to provide counseling during tracing visits. Increasing uptake and retention may be achieved by improving patient flow at the institutional level at health facilities, by addressing concerns with family decision makers, and by working with community leaders to support the uptake of services for HIV-exposed children for essential preventive care.
PMCID: PMC4265432  PMID: 25467030
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission; Barriers; Motivators; Pediatric HIV; Mozambique; HIV-exposed children; Infant HIV testing; Early infant diagnosis
3.  High HIV incidence in the postpartum period sustains vertical transmission in settings with generalized epidemics: a cohort study in Southern Mozambique 
Acute infection with HIV in the postpartum period results in a high risk of vertical transmission through breastfeeding. A study was done to determine the HIV incidence rate and associated risk factors among postpartum women in Southern Mozambique, where HIV prevalence among pregnant women is 21%.
A prospective cohort study was conducted in six rural health facilities in Gaza and Maputo provinces from March 2008 to July 2011. A total of 1221 women who were HIV-negative on testing at delivery or within two months postpartum were recruited and followed until 18 months postpartum. HIV testing, collection of dried blood spot samples and administration of a structured questionnaire to women were performed every three months. Infant testing by DNA-PCR was done as soon as possible after identification of a new infection in women. HIV incidence was estimated, and potential risk factors at baseline were compared using Poisson regression.
Data from 957 women were analyzed with follow-up after the enrolment visit, with a median follow-up of 18.2 months. The HIV incidence in postpartum women is estimated at 3.20/100 women-years (95% CI: 2.30–4.46), with the highest rate among 18- to 19-year-olds (4.92 per 100 women-years; 95% CI: 2.65–9.15). Of the new infections, 14 (34%) were identified during the first six months postpartum, 11 (27%) between 6 and 12 months and 16 (39%) between 12 and 18 months postpartum. Risk factors for incident HIV infection include young age, low number of children, higher education level of the woman's partner and having had sex with someone other than one's partner. The vertical transmission was 21% (95% CI: 5–36) among newly infected women.
Incidence of HIV is high among breastfeeding women in Southern Mozambique, contributing to increasing numbers of HIV-infected infants. Comprehensive primary prevention strategies targeting women of reproductive age, particularly pregnant and postpartum women and their partners, will be crucial for the elimination of paediatric AIDS in Africa.
PMCID: PMC3946505  PMID: 24629842
PMTCT; breastfeeding; incidence; HIV; elimination paediatric HIV; Mozambique
4.  Risk factors for incomplete vaccination and missed opportunity for immunization in rural Mozambique 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:161.
Inadequate levels of immunization against childhood diseases remain a significant public health problem in resource-poor areas of the globe. Nonetheless, the reasons for incomplete vaccination and non-uptake of immunization services are poorly understood. This study aimed at finding out the reasons for non-vaccination and the magnitude of missed opportunities for vaccination in children less than two years of age in a rural area in southern Mozambique.
Mothers of children under two years of age (N = 668) were interviewed in a cross-sectional study. The Road-to-Health card was utilized to check for completeness and correctness of vaccination schedule as well as for identifying the appropriate use of all available opportunities for vaccination. The chi-square test and the logistic regression were used for statistical analysis.
We found that 28.2% of the children had not completed the vaccination program by two years of age, 25.7% had experienced a missed opportunity for vaccination and 14.9% were incorrectly vaccinated. Reasons for incomplete vaccination were associated with accessibility to the vaccination sites, no schooling of mothers and children born at home or outside Mozambique.
Efforts to increase vaccination coverage should take into account factors that contribute to the incomplete vaccination status of children. Missed opportunities for vaccination and incorrect vaccination need to be avoided in order to increase the vaccine coverage for those clients that reach the health facility, specially in those countries where health services do not have 100% of coverage.
PMCID: PMC2405792  PMID: 18485194

Results 1-4 (4)