Missed opportunities for early infant HIV diagnosis: Results of a national study in South Africa
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Background: Services to diagnose early infant HIV infection should be offered at the 6-week immunization visit. Despite high 6-week immunization attendance, the coverage of early infant diagnosis (EID) is low in many sub-Saharan countries. We explored reasons for such missed opportunities at 6-week immunization visits. Methods: We used data from 2 cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2010 in South Africa. A national assessment was undertaken among randomly selected public facilities (n 625) to ascertain procedures for EID. A subsample of these facilities (n 565) was revisited to assess the HIV status of 4- to 8-week-old infants receiving 6-week immunization. We examined potential missed opportunities for EID. We used logistic regression to assess factors influencing maternal intention to report for EID at 6-week immunization visits. Results: EID services were available in >95% of facilities and 72% of immunization service points (ISPs). The majority (68%) of ISPs provide EID for infants with reported or documented (on infant's Road-to-Health Chart/booklet - iRtHC) HIV exposure. Only 9% of ISPs offered provider-initiated counseling and testing for infants of undocumented/unknown HIV exposure. Interviews with self-reported HIV-positive mothers at ISPs revealed that only 55% had their HIV status documented on their iRtHC and 35% intended to request EID during 6-week immunization. Maternal nonreporting for EID was associated with fear of discrimination, poor adherence to antiretrovirals, and inadequate knowledge about mother-to-child HIV transmission. Conclusions: Missed opportunities for EID were attributed to poor documentation of HIV status on iRtHC, inadequate maternal knowledge about mother-to-child HIV transmission, fear of discrimination, and the lack of provider-initiated counseling and testing service for undocumented, unknown, or undeclared HIV-exposed infants.
Woldesenbet, S., Jackson, D., Goga, A., Crowley, S., Doherty, T., Mogashoa, M., Dinh, T., & Sherman, G. (2015). Missed opportunities for early infant HIV diagnosis: Results of a national study in South Africa. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 68 (3), e26-e32. https://doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000000460