Awareness of HIV-positive status and linkage to treatment prior to pregnancy in the "test and treat" era: A national antenatal sentinel survey, 2017, South Africa

Document Type


Publication Title



Introduction Knowledge of HIV status in South Africa (SA) is reported to be 90% among people living with HIV. National level estimates could mask population-specific levels, which are critical to monitor program coverage and potential impact. Using data from the 2017 national antenatal sentinel survey, we assessed knowledge of HIV-positive status, initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and socio-demographic characteristics associated with knowledge of HIVpositive status prior to the current pregnancy among women attending antenatal care. Methods Between 1 October and 15 November 2017, a nationally representative sample of 32,716 pregnant women were enrolled from 1,595 public health facilities selected from all districts of SA. Data on age, gravidity, knowledge of HIV-positive status and ART initiation prior to pregnancy were extracted from medical records. A blood sample was collected from each woman regardless of prior knowledge of HIV status or ART history, and tested for HIV in the laboratory. All HIV-positive pregnant women enrolled in the survey were eligible for inclusion in the analysis. Multivariable survey logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with knowledge of HIV-positive status prior to the current pregnancy. Results Of 10,065 eligible HIV-positive women, 60.8% (95% confidence interval (CI):59.9%-61.7%) knew their HIV status prior to the current pregnancy, of whom 91.1% (95% CI: 90.4%-91.7%) initiated ART prior to the current pregnancy. Knowledge of HIV-positive status was lower among adolescent girls and young women (15-24 years) (38.9%) and primigravid women (40.5%) compared with older women (35-49 years) (75.5%) and multigravid women (64.7%). In a multivariable analysis, significant effect modification was found between gravidity and age (P value = 0.047). Being in the age group 15-24 years compared to the age group 35-49 years decreased the odds of knowing HIV-positive status by 80% (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 0.2, 95% CI:0.1-0.4) among primigravid women and by 60%(AOR: 0.4, 95% CI:0.3-0.4) among multigravid women. Conclusion Knowledge of HIV-positive status prior to the current pregnancy fell short of the target of 90% among pregnant women living with HIV. This was especially low among adolescent girls and young women, highlighting the gap in youth friendly reproductive health and HIV testing services.



Publication Date


This document is currently not available here.