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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015 Jun;69(2):e57-e65. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000584. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

Evolution of antiretroviral therapy services for HIV-infected pregnant women in Cape Town, South Africa.

Author information

1
1Division of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa, Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, Institute of Infectious Diseases & Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa 2Division of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa 3Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, USA 4Anova Health Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa, School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa 5Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, Institute of Infectious Diseases & Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa 6ICAP at Columbia University and Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Approaches to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV-infected pregnant women have changed considerably in recent years, but there are few comparative data on the implementation of different models of service delivery.

METHODS:

Using routine clinic records we examined ART initiation in pregnant women attending a large antenatal care (ANC) facility between January 2010 and December 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. Over this time six different service delivery models were implemented sequentially to provide ART in pregnancy, including the integration of ART into ANC, use of point-of-care CD4 cell count testing, and universal ART initiation for all HIV-infected pregnant women.

RESULTS:

During the study period 19,432 women sought ANC, levels of HIV testing were high (98%) and 30% of pregnant women tested HIV-positive. Integration of ART into ANC was associated with significant increases in the proportion of eligible women initiating treatment before delivery compared to referral to a separate ART clinic (p<0.001). When CD4 cell counts were used to determine ART eligibility, point-of-care testing was associated with decreased delays to ART initiation compared to laboratory-based testing (p<0.001). The strategy of universal ART led to the highest levels of ART initiation (with 92% of women starting before delivery) and the shortest delays, with 82% of women starting ART on the day of the first ANC visit.

CONCLUSION:

Developments in service delivery models, most notably service integration and universal ART for pregnant women, have improved antenatal ART initiation dramatically in this setting. Further research is needed into how strategies for antenatal ART initiation impact maternal and child health over the long-term.

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