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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40091. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040091. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Missed opportunities: poor linkage into ongoing care for HIV-positive pregnant women in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom. Deborah.Watson-Jones@lshtm.ac.uk

Abstract

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.

PMID:
22808096
PMCID:
PMC3392272
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0040091
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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