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Midwifery. 2010 Feb;26(1):27-37. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2008.04.007. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

HIV-positive women's experiences of a PMTCT programme in rural Malawi.

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  • 1Malamulo Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, Makwasa, Malawi.



to explore women's experiences of a prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme in rural Malawi.


an exploratory, qualitative study using in-depth interviews with 24 purposively selected women infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The women were in three groups of eight: (1) those who delivered at the hospital and took nevirapine (NVP) before birth and whose babies received NVP within 72 hours of birth; (2) those who birthed at home and took NVP before birth but their babies never received NVP; and (3) those who birthed at home and did not take NVP and whose babies did not receive NVP. Data were analysed using content analysis.


four themes emerged: (1) 'a wish to confirm and protect' refers to women's decisions to take the HIV test, (2) 'a revelation for action' is an illustration of how the testing may be part of an empowering process, (3) 'a dilemma between silence and openness' points to the dilemma that women are facing in their decision to share or not to share their HIV status with spouse, family, friends and community, and (4) 'a desire challenged by circumstances, chance and tradition' refers to the circumstances and actions which prevent these women from actually delivering at the hospital to protect their babies from HIV infection.


the PMTCT programme influences women's lives profoundly, and the importance of quality counselling and strengthening male involvement is stressed as the programme is implemented by an increasing number of service providers.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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