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I beg you...breastfeed the baby, things changed: infant feeding experiences among Ugandan mothers living with HIV in the context of evolving guidelines to prevent postnatal transmission.
BMC Public Health. 2018 Jan 29; 18(1):188.BACKGROUND: For women living with HIV (WLWH) in low- and middle-income countries, World Health Organization (WHO) infant feeding guidelines now recommend exclusive breastfeeding until six months followed by mixed feeding until 24 months, alongside lifelong maternal antiretroviral therapy (ART). These recommendations represent the sixth major revision to WHO infant feeding guidelines since 1992. We explored how WLWH in rural Uganda make infant feeding decisions in light of evolving recommendations. METHODS: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 postpartum Ugandan WLWH accessing ART, who reported pregnancy < 2 years prior to recruitment. Interviews were conducted between February-August 2014 with babies born between March 2012-October 2013, over which time, the regional HIV treatment clinic recommended lifelong ART for all pregnant and breastfeeding women (Option B+). Content analysis was used to identify major themes. Infant feeding experiences was an emergent theme. NVivo 10 software was used to organize analyses. RESULTS: Among 20 women, median age was 33 years [IQR: 28-35], number of livebirths was 3 [IQR: 2-5], years on ART was 2.3 [IQR: 1.5-5.1], and 95% were virally suppressed. Data revealed that women valued opportunities to reduce postnatal transmission. However, women made infant feeding choices that differed from recommendations due to: (1) perception of conflicting recommendations regarding infant feeding; (2) fear of prolonged infant HIV exposure through breastfeeding; and (3) social and structural constraints shaping infant feeding decision-making. CONCLUSIONS: WLWH face layered challenges navigating evolving infant feeding recommendations. Further research is needed to examine guidance and decision-making on infant feeding choices to improve postpartum experiences and outcomes. Improved communication about changes to recommendations is needed for WLWH, their partners, community members, and healthcare providers.
The impact of "Option B" on HIV transmission from mother to child in Rwanda: An interrupted time series analysis.
PloS One. 2018; 13(2):e0192910.BACKGROUND: Nearly a quarter of a million children have acquired HIV, prompting the implementation of new protocols-Option B and B+-for treating HIV+ pregnant women. While efficacy has been demonstrated in randomized trials, there is limited real-world evidence on the impact of these changes. Using longitudinal, routinely collected data we assessed the impact of the adoption of WHO Option B in Rwanda on mother to infant transmission. METHODS: We used interrupted time series analysis to evaluate the impact of Option B on mother-to-child HIV transmission in Rwanda. Our primary outcome was the proportion of HIV tests in infants with positive results at six weeks of age. We included data for 20 months before and 22 months after the 2010 policy change. RESULTS: Of the 15,830 HIV tests conducted during our study period, 392 tested positive. We found a significant decrease in both the level (-2.08 positive tests per 100 tests conducted, 95% CI: -2.71 to -1.45, p < 0.001) and trend (-0.11 positive tests per 100 tests conducted per month, 95% CI: -0.16 to -0.07, p < 0.001) of test positivity. This represents an estimated 297 fewer children born without HIV in the post-policy period or a 46% reduction in HIV transmission from mother to child. CONCLUSIONS: The adoption of Option B in Rwanda contributed to an immediate decrease in the rate of HIV transmission from mother to child. This suggests other countries may benefit from adopting these WHO guidelines.
Progress Toward Eliminating Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in Kenya: Review of Treatment Guideline Uptake and Pediatric Transmission at Four Government Hospitals Between 2010 and 2012.
AIDS and Behavior. 2016 Nov; 20(11):2602-2611.We analyzed prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) data from a retrospective cohort of n = 1365 HIV+ mothers who enrolled their HIV-exposed infants in early infant diagnosis services in four Kenyan government hospitals from 2010 to 2012. Less than 15 and 20 % of mother-infant pairs were provided with regimens that met WHO Option A and B/B+ guidelines, respectively. Annually, the gestational age at treatment initiation decreased, while uptake of Option B/B+ increased (all p's < 0.001). Pediatric HIV infection was halved (8.6-4.3 %), yet varied significantly by hospital. In multivariable analyses, HIV-exposed infants who received no PMTCT (AOR 4.6 [2.49, 8.62], p < 0.001), mixed foods (AOR 5.0 [2.77, 9.02], p < 0.001), and care at one of the four hospitals (AOR 3.0 [1.51, 5.92], p = 0.002) were more likely to be HIV-infected. While the administration and uptake of WHO PMTCT guidelines is improving, an expanded focus on retention and medication adherence will further reduce pediatric HIV transmission.
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2017. 12 p.People who use and inject drugs are among the groups at highest risk of exposure to HIV, but remain marginalized and out of reach of health and social services.
Implementation effectiveness of revised (post-2010) World Health Organization guidelines on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV using routinely collected data in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic literature review.
Medicine. 2017 Oct; 96(40):e8055.BACKGROUND: To synthesize and evaluate the impact of implementing post-2010 World Health Organization (WHO) prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) guidelines on attainment of PMTCT targets. METHODS: Retrospective and prospective cohort study designs that utilized routinely collected data with a focus on provision and utilization of the cascade of PMTCT services were included. The outcomes included the proportion of pregnant women who were tested during their antenatal clinic (ANC) visits; mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) rate; adherence; retention rate; and loss to follow-up (LTFU). RESULTS: Of the 1210 references screened, 45 met the inclusion criteria. The studies originated from 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The highest number of studies originated from Malawi (10) followed by Nigeria and South Africa with 7 studies each. More than half of the studies were on option A while the majority of option B+ studies were conducted in Malawi. These studies indicated a high uptake of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing ranging from 75% in Nigeria to over 96% in Zimbabwe and South Africa. High proportions of CD4 count testing were reported in studies only from South Africa despite that in most of the countries CD4 testing was a prerequisite to access treatment. MTCT rate ranged from 1.1% to 15.1% and it was higher in studies where data were collected in the early days of the WHO 2010 PMTCT guidelines. During the postpartum period, adherence and retention rate decreased, and LTFU increased for both HIV-positive mothers and exposed infants. CONCLUSION: Irrespective of which option was followed, uptake of antenatal HIV testing was high but there was a large drop off along later points in the PMTCT cascade. More research is needed on how to improve later components of the PMTCT cascade, especially of option B+ which is now the norm throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Population-level impact of an accelerated HIV response plan to reach the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target in Cote d'Ivoire: Insights from mathematical modeling.
PLoS Medicine. 2017 Jun; 14(6):e1002321.BACKGROUND: National responses will need to be markedly accelerated to achieve the ambitious target of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). This target aims for 90% of HIV-positive individuals to be aware of their status, for 90% of those aware to receive antiretroviral therapy (ART), and for 90% of those on treatment to have a suppressed viral load by 2020, with each individual target reaching 95% by 2030. We aimed to estimate the impact of various treatment-as-prevention scenarios in Cote d'Ivoire, one of the countries with the highest HIV incidence in West Africa, with unmet HIV prevention and treatment needs, and where key populations are important to the broader HIV epidemic. METHODS AND FINDINGS: An age-stratified dynamic model was developed and calibrated to epidemiological and programmatic data using a Bayesian framework. The model represents sexual and vertical HIV transmission in the general population, female sex workers (FSW), and men who have sex with men (MSM). We estimated the impact of scaling up interventions to reach the UNAIDS targets, as well as the impact of 8 other scenarios, on HIV transmission in adults and children, compared to our baseline scenario that maintains 2015 rates of testing, ART initiation, ART discontinuation, treatment failure, and levels of condom use. In 2015, we estimated that 52% (95% credible intervals: 46%-58%) of HIV-positive individuals were aware of their status, 72% (57%-82%) of those aware were on ART, and 77% (74%-79%) of those on ART were virologically suppressed. Reaching the UNAIDS targets on time would avert 50% (42%-60%) of new HIV infections over 2015-2030 compared to 30% (25%-36%) if the 90-90-90 target is reached in 2025. Attaining the UNAIDS targets in FSW, their clients, and MSM (but not in the rest of the population) would avert a similar fraction of new infections (30%; 21%-39%). A 25-percentage-point drop in condom use from the 2015 levels among FSW and MSM would reduce the impact of reaching the UNAIDS targets, with 38% (26%-51%) of infections averted. The study's main limitation is that homogenous spatial coverage of interventions was assumed, and future lines of inquiry should examine how geographical prioritization could affect HIV transmission. CONCLUSIONS: Maximizing the impact of the UNAIDS targets will require rapid scale-up of interventions, particularly testing, ART initiation, and limiting ART discontinuation. Reaching clients of FSW, as well as key populations, can efficiently reduce transmission. Sustaining the high condom-use levels among key populations should remain an important prevention pillar.
Uptake and performance of prevention of mother-to-child transmission and early infant diagnosis in pregnant HIV infected women and their exposed infants at seven health centres in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tropical Medicine and International Health. 2017 Jun; 22(6):765-775.Objective To assess the uptake of WHO-recommended PMTCT procedures in Ethiopia's health services. Methods Prospective observational study of HIV-positive pregnant mothers and their newborns attending PMTCT services at seven health centers in Addis Ababa. Women were recruited during antenatal care and followed-up with their newborns at delivery, day 6 and week 6 postpartum. Retention to PMCTC procedures, self-reported ART adherence, and HIV infant outcome were assessed. Turnaround times of HIV early infant diagnosis (EID) procedures were extracted from health registers. Results Of 494 women enrolled 4.9% did not complete PMTCT procedures due to active denial or loss to follow-up. HIV was first diagnosed in 223 (45.1%) and ART initiated in 321 (65.0%) women during pregnancy. ART was initiated in a median of 1.3 weeks (IQR 0-4.3) after HIV diagnosis. Poor self-reported treatment adherence was higher post-partum than during pregnancy (12.5% versus 7.0%, p=0.002), and significantly associated with divorced/separated marital status (RR 2.2, 95% CI 1.3-3.8), low family income (RR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-4.1), low CD4-count (RR 1.7, 95% CI 1.0-3.0), and ART initiation during delivery (RR 2.5, 95% CI 1.1-5.6). Of 435 infants born alive 98.6% received nevirapine prophylaxis. The mother-to-child HIV transmission rate was 0.7% after a median of 6.7 weeks (IQR 6.4-10.4), but EID results were received for only 46.6% within 3 months of birth. Conclusion High retention in PMTCT services, triple maternal ART and high infant nevirapine prophylaxis coverage were associated with low mother-to-child HIV transmission. Declining post-partum ART adherence and challenges of EID linkage require attention.
Option B+ for prevention of vertical HIV transmission has no influence on adverse birth outcomes in a cross-sectional cohort in Western Uganda.
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2017 Mar 7; 17(82):1-12.Background While most Sub-Saharan African countries are now implementing the WHO-recommended Option B+ protocol for prevention of vertical HIV transmission, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the influence of Option B+ exposure on adverse birth outcomes (ABOs). Against this background, we assessed ABOs among delivering women in Western Uganda. Methods A cross-sectional, observational study was performed within a cohort of 412 mother-newborn-pairs in Virika Hospital, Fort Portal in 2013. The occurrence of stillbirth, pre-term delivery, and small size for gestational age (SGA) was analyzed, looking for influencing factors related to HIV-status, antiretroviral drug exposure and duration, and other sociodemographic and clinical parameters. Results Among 302 HIV-negative and 110 HIV-positive women, ABOs occurred in 40.5%, with stillbirth in 6.3%, pre-term delivery in 28.6%, and SGA in 12.2% of deliveries. For Option B+ intake (n = 59), no significant association was found with stillbirth (OR 0.48, p = 0.55), pre-term delivery (OR 0.97, p = 0.92) and SGA (OR 1.5, p = 0.3) compared to seronegative women. Women enrolled on antiretroviral therapy (ART) before conception (n = 38) had no different risk for ABOs than women on Option B+ or HIV-negative women. Identified risk factors for stillbirth included lack of formal education, poor socio-economic status, long travel distance, hypertension and anemia. Pre-term delivery risk was increased with poor socio-economic status, primiparity, Malaria and anemia. The occurrence of SGA was influenced by older age and Malaria. Conclusion In our study, women on Option B+ showed no difference in ABOs compared to HIV-negative women and to women on ART. We identified several non-HIV/ART-related influencing factors, suggesting an urgent need for improving early risk assessment mechanisms in antenatal care through better screening and triage systems. Our results are encouraging with regard to continued universal scale-up of Option B+ and ART programs.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2016 Nov; 94(11):787-787A.Add to my documents.
Efficacy of WHO recommendation for continued breastfeeding and maternal cART for prevention of perinatal and postnatal HIV transmission in Zambia.
Journal of the International AIDS Society. 2015; 18:19352.INTRODUCTION: To prevent mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV in developing countries, new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend maternal combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) during pregnancy, throughout breastfeeding for 1 year and then cessation of breastfeeding (COB). The efficacy of this approach during the first six months of exclusive breastfeeding has been demonstrated, but the efficacy of this approach beyond six months is not well documented. METHODS: A prospective observational cohort study of 279 HIV-positive mothers was started on zidovudine/3TC and lopinavir/ritonavir tablets between 14 and 30 weeks gestation and continued indefinitely thereafter. Women were encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for six months, complementary feed for the next six months and then cease breastfeeding between 12 and 13 months. Infants were followed for transmission to 18 months and for survival to 24 months. Text message reminders and stipends for food and transport were utilized to encourage adherence and follow-up. RESULTS: Total MTCT was 9 of 219 live born infants (4.1%; confidence interval (CI) 2.2-7.6%). All breastfeeding transmissions that could be timed (5/5) occurred after six months of age. All mothers who transmitted after six months had a six-month plasma viral load >1,000 copies/ml (p<0.001). Poor adherence to cART as noted by missed dispensary visits was associated with transmission (p=0.04). Infant mortality was lower after six months of age than during the first six months of life (p=0.02). The cumulative rate of infant HIV infection or death at 18 months was 29/226 (12.8% 95 CI: 7.5-20.8%). CONCLUSIONS: Maternal cART may limit MTCT of HIV to the UNAIDS target of <5% for eradication of paediatric HIV within the context of a clinical study, but poor adherence to cART and follow-up can limit the benefit. Continued breastfeeding can prevent the rise in infant mortality after six months seen in previous studies, which encouraged early COB.
Individualizing the WHO HIV and infant feeding guidelines: optimal breastfeeding duration to maximize infant HIV-free survival.
AIDS. 2014 Jul; 28 Suppl 3:S287-99.OBJECTIVES: To determine how infant feeding recommendations can maximize HIV-free survival (HFS) among HIV-exposed, uninfected African infants, balancing risks of breast milk-associated HIV infection with setting-specific risks of illness and death associated with replacement feeding. DESIGN: Validated mathematical model of HIV-exposed, uninfected infants, with published data from Africa. METHODS: We projected 24-month HFS using combinations of: maternal CD4, antiretroviral drug availability, and relative risk of mortality among replacement-fed compared to breastfed infants ('RR-RF', range 1.0-6.0). For each combination, we identified the 'optimal' breastfeeding duration (0-24 months) maximizing HFS. We compared HFS under an 'individualized' approach, based on the above parameters, to the WHO 'public health approach' (12 months breastfeeding for all HIV-infected women). RESULTS: Projected HFS was 65-93%. When the value of RR-RF is 1.0, replacement feeding from birth maximized HFS. At a commonly reported RR-RF value (2.0), optimal breastfeeding duration was 3-12 months, depending on maternal CD4 and antiretroviral drug availability. As the value of RR-RF increased, optimal breastfeeding duration increased. Compared to the public health approach, an individualized approach improved absolute HFS by less than 1% if RR-RF value was 2.0-4.0, by 3% if RR-RF value was 1.0 or 6.0, and by greater amounts if access to antiretroviral drugs was limited. CONCLUSION: Tailoring breastfeeding duration to maternal CD4, antiretroviral drug availability, and local replacement feeding safety can optimize HFS among HIV-exposed infants. An individualized approach leads to moderate gains in HFS, but only when mortality risks from replacement feeding are very low or very high, or antiretroviral drug availability is limited. The WHO public health approach is beneficial in most resource-limited settings.
Health outcomes and cost impact of the new WHO 2013 guidelines on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Zambia.
PloS One. 2014; 9(3):e90991.BACKGROUND: Countries are currently progressing towards the elimination of new paediatric HIV infections by 2015. WHO published new consolidated guidelines in June 2013, which now recommend either 'Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for women living with HIV during pregnancy and breastfeeding (Option B)' or 'Lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV (Option B+)', while de facto phasing out Option A. This study examined health outcomes and cost impact of the shift to WHO 2013 recommendations in Zambia. METHODS: A decision analytic model was developed based on the national health system perspective. Estimated risk and number of cases of HIV transmission to infants and to serodiscordant partners, and proportions of HIV-infected pregnant women with CD4 count of =350 cells/mm3 to initiate ART were compared between 2010 Option A and the 2013 recommendations. Total costs of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services per annual cohort of pregnant women, incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per infection averted and quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained were examined. RESULTS: Our analysis suggested that the shift from 2010 Option A to the 2013 guidelines would result in a 33% reduction of the risk of HIV transmission among exposed infants. The risk of transmission to serodiscordant partners for a period of 24 months would be reduced by 72% with 'ARVs during pregnancy and breastfeeding' and further reduced by 15% with 'Lifelong ART'. The probability of HIV-infected pregnant women to initiate ART would increase by 80%. It was also suggested that while the shift would generate higher PMTCT costs, it would be cost-saving in the long term as it spares future treatment costs by preventing infections in infants and partners. CONCLUSION: The shift to the WHO 2013 guidelines in Zambia would positively impact health of family and save future costs related to care and treatment.
Hormonal contraceptive methods for women at high risk of HIV and living with HIV. 2014 guidance statement. Recommendations concerning the use of hormonal contraceptive methods by women at high risk of HIV and women living with HIV.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, 2014.  p. (WHO/RHR/14.24)During 9-12 March 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a meeting of the Guideline Development Group (GDG) comprising 52 individuals representing a wide range of stakeholders, for the purpose of reviewing, and where appropriate, revising its Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use, fourth edition (MEC) guidance. Recommendations concerning the use of hormonal contraceptive methods by women at high risk of HIV and women living with HIV, including women taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), were among the many topics reviewed at this meeting. Given the public health importance of this topic, and at the encouragement of the GDG, the World Health Organization is issuing its contraceptive eligibility guidance for women at high risk of HIV and women living with HIV in advance of the entire guideline revision. It is anticipated that the revised fifth edition of the MEC will be completed in 2015. Recommendations for hormonal contraceptive use are provided for: women at high risk of HIV infection; women living with asymptomatic or mild HIV clinical disease (WHO stage 1 or 2); women living with severe or advanced HIV clinical disease (WHO stage 3 or 4); women living with HIV using antiretroviral therapy (ART). In addition to the recommendations themselves, this publication provides a description of the background and methods used in their development. An executive summary and information on dissemination and evaluation are also included. (Excerpts)
Can the UNAIDS modes of transmission model be improved? A comparison of the original and revised model projections using data from a setting in west Africa.
AIDS. 2013 Oct 23; 27(16):2623-35.OBJECTIVE: The UNAIDS modes of transmission model (MoT) is a user-friendly model, developed to predict the distribution of new HIV infections among different subgroups. The model has been used in 29 countries to guide interventions. However, there is the risk that the simplifications inherent in the MoT produce misleading findings. Using input data from Nigeria, we compare projections from the MoT with those from a revised model that incorporates additional heterogeneity. METHODS: We revised the MoT to explicitly incorporate brothel and street-based sex-work, transactional sex, and HIV-discordant couples. Both models were parameterized using behavioural and epidemiological data from Cross River State, Nigeria. Model projections were compared, and the robustness of the revised model projections to different model assumptions, was investigated. RESULTS: The original MoT predicts 21% of new infections occur in most-at-risk-populations (MARPs), compared with 45% (40-75%, 95% Crl) once additional heterogeneity and updated parameterization is incorporated. Discordant couples, a subgroup previously not explicitly modelled, are predicted to contribute a third of new HIV infections. In addition, the new findings suggest that women engaging in transactional sex may be an important but previously less recognized risk group, with 16% of infections occurring in this subgroup. CONCLUSION: The MoT is an accessible model that can inform intervention priorities. However, the current model may be potentially misleading, with our comparisons in Nigeria suggesting that the model lacks resolution, making it challenging for the user to correctly interpret the nature of the epidemic. Our findings highlight the need for a formal review of the MoT.
Country adaptation of the 2010 World Health Organization recommendations for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2012 Dec 1; 90(12):921-31.The World Health Organization (WHO) revised its global recommendations on treating pregnant women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) with antiretrovirals and preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. Initial draft recommendations issued in November 2009 were followed by a full revised guideline in July 2010. The 2010 recommendations on PMTCT have important implications in terms of planning, human capacity and resources. Ministries of health therefore had to adapt their national guidelines to reflect the 2010 PMTCT recommendations, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation tracked the adaptation process in the 14 countries where it provides technical support. In doing so it sought to understand common issues, challenges, and the decisions reached and to properly target its technical assistance.In 2010, countries revised their national guidelines in accordance with WHO's most recent PMTCT recommendations faster than in 2006; all 14 countries included in this analysis formally conducted the revision within 15 months of the 2010 PMTCT recommendations' release. Governments used various processes and fora to make decisions throughout the adaptation process; they considered factors such as feasibility, health delivery infrastructure, compatibility with 2006 WHO guidelines, equity and cost. Challenges arose; in some cases the new recommendations were implemented before being formally adapted into national guidelines and no direct guidance was available in various technical areas. As future PMTCT guidelines are developed, WHO, implementing partners and other stakeholders can use the information in this paper to plan their support to ministries of health.
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2013.  p.The 2013 report on the global AIDS epidemic contains the latest data on numbers of new HIV infections, numbers of people receiving antiretroviral treatment, AIDS-related deaths and HIV among children. This report, which follows the endorsement of the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS outlining global targets to achieve by 2015, summarizes progress towards 10 key targets and reviews commitments and future steps. While recognizing significant achievements, UNAIDS warns of slowing progress in meeting some targets. In 2012, there were 35 million people living with HIV (PLHIV), and 2.3 million new infections-a 33 percent decrease from 2001, including significant reductions in new infections among children. More people than ever are on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Twenty-six countries have achieved the global target of halving sexual HIV transmission by 2015, but other countries are not on track to meet this target, hence the need to enhance prevention efforts. Globally, countries have made limited progress in reducing HIV transmission by 50 percent among people who inject drugs. While ART coverage is high, and approaching the target of 15 million PLHIV on treatment, coverage in low- and middle-income countries represented only 34 percent of 28 million eligible PLHIV in 2013. Stigma, discrimination and criminalization towards PLHIV continue; specifically, 60 percent of countries report laws that inhibit access to HIV services by key populations. The results of this report should be used by countries to refocus and maintain their commitments. The authors urged strengthened global commitment to achieve the goal of zero new HIV infections, discrimination, and AIDS-related deaths.
The uptake of integrated perinatal prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission programs in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review.
PloS One. 2013; 8(3):e56550.BACKGROUND: The objective of this review was to assess the uptake of WHO recommended integrated perinatal prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV interventions in low- and middle-income countries. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We searched 21 databases for observational studies presenting uptake of integrated PMTCT programs in low- and middle-income countries. Forty-one studies on programs implemented between 1997 and 2006, met inclusion criteria. The proportion of women attending antenatal care who were counseled and who were tested was high; 96% (range 30-100%) and 81% (range 26-100%), respectively. However, the overall median proportion of HIV positive women provided with antiretroviral prophylaxis in antenatal care and attending labor ward was 55% (range 22-99%) and 60% (range 19-100%), respectively. The proportion of women with unknown HIV status, tested for HIV at labor ward was 70%. Overall, 79% (range 44-100%) of infants were tested for HIV and 11% (range 3-18%) of them were HIV positive. We designed two PMTCT cascades using studies with outcomes for all perinatal PMTCT interventions which showed that an estimated 22% of all HIV positive women attending antenatal care and 11% of all HIV positive women delivering at labor ward were not notified about their HIV status and did not participate in PMTCT program. Only 17% of HIV positive antenatal care attendees and their infants are known to have taken antiretroviral prophylaxis. CONCLUSION: The existing evidence provides information only about the initial PMTCT programs which were based on the old WHO PMTCT guidelines. The uptake of counseling and HIV testing among pregnant women attending antenatal care was high, but their retention in PMTCT programs was low. The majority of women in the included studies did not receive ARV prophylaxis in antenatal care; nor did they attend labor ward. More studies evaluating the uptake in current PMTCT programs are urgently needed.
Criminal prosecution of a male partner for sexual transmission of infectious diseases: the views of educated people living in Togo.
Sexually Transmitted Infections. 2013 Jun; 89(4):290-4.OBJECTIVE: To examine the views of educated people in Togo on the acceptability of criminal prosecution of a male partner for sexual transmission of infectious diseases (STIDs) to his female partner. METHODS: 199 adults living in Kara, Togo judged acceptability of criminal prosecution for STID in 45 scenarios composed of combinations of five factors: (a) severity of disease; (b) awareness and communication of one's serological status; (c) partners' marital status; (d) number of sexual partners the female partner has and (e) male partner's subsequent attitude (supportive or not). RESULTS: Acceptability was lower (a) when the male partner decided to take care of his female partner he had infected than when he decided to leave, (b) when both partners were informed but decided not to take precautions than when none of them was informed or when only the male partner was informed and (c) when the female partner has had several male sexual partners than when she has had only one. Two qualitatively different views were identified. For 66% of participants, when the male partner accepts to take care of his partner, he should not be sued, except when he did not disclose his serological status. For 34%, when both partners were informed, the male partner should not be sued, irrespective of other circumstances. CONCLUSIONS: Regarding criminal prosecution for STID, most people in the sample endorsed the position of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS that urges governments not to apply criminal law to cases where sexual partners disclosed their status or were not informed of it.
Ending overly broad criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission: Critical scientific, medical and legal considerations.
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2013 May.  p. (Guidance Note 2013; UNAIDS / JC2351E)The overly broad application of criminal law to HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission raises serious human rights and public health concerns. Because of these concerns, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) urges States to (i) concentrate their efforts on expanding the use of proven and successful evidence-informed and rights-based public health approaches to HIV prevention, treatment and care, and (ii) limit any application of criminal law to truly blameworthy cases where it is needed to achieve justice. States should strengthen HIV programmes that enable people to know how to protect themselves from HIV and to avoid transmitting it, and they should help people access the services and commodities they need for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. (Excerpt)
Comparative effectiveness of congregation- versus clinic-based approach to prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission: Study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial.
Implementation Science. 2013 Jun 8; 8(62):p.Background: A total of 22 priority countries have been identified by the WHO that account for 90% of pregnant women living with HIV. Nigeria is one of only 4 countries among the 22 with an HIV testing rate for pregnant women of less than 20%. Currently, most pregnant women must access a healthcare facility (HF) to be screened and receive available prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) interventions. Finding new approaches to increase HIV testing among pregnant women is necessary to realize the WHO/ President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) goal of eliminating new pediatric infections by 2015. Methods: This cluster randomized trial tests the comparative effectiveness of a congregation-based Healthy Beginning Initiative (HBI) versus a clinic-based approach on the rates of HIV testing and PMTCT completion among a cohort of church attending pregnant women. Recruitment occurs at the level of the churches and participants (in that order), while randomization occurs only at the church level. The trial is unblinded, and the churches are informed of their randomization group. Eligible participants, pregnant women attending study churches, are recruited during prayer sessions. HBI is delivered by trained community health nurses and church-based health advisors and provides free, integrated on-site laboratory tests (HIV plus hemoglobin, malaria, hepatitis B, sickle cell gene, syphilis) during a church-organized 'baby shower.' The baby shower includes refreshments, gifts exchange, and an educational game show testing participants' knowledge of healthy pregnancy habits in addition to HIV acquisition modes, and effective PMTCT interventions. Baby receptions provide a contact point for follow-up after delivery. This approach was designed to reduce barriers to screening including knowledge, access, cost and stigma. The primary aim is to evaluate the effect of HBI on the HIV testing rate among pregnant women. The secondary aims are to evaluate the effect of HBI on the rate of HIV testing among male partners of pregnant women and the rate of PMTCT completion among HIV-infected pregnant women. Discussion: Results of this study will provide further understanding of the most effective strategies for increasing HIV testing among pregnant women in hard-to-reach communities.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2012. 8 p. (FWC/MCA/12.1)The purpose of this Framework is to provide guidance to governments on key priority actions, related to infant and young child feeding, that cover the special circumstances associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The aim of this guidance is to create and sustain an environment that encourages appropriate feeding practices for all infants and young children, while scalingup interventions to reduce HIV transmission. This Framework aims to build on the links and synergies between maternal and child health and investments, economic and human, in HIV prevention and control. This will bring additional benefits for all children, The Framework’s purpose and target audience not just for those who are HIV-exposed. The audience for this Framework includes national policy-makers, programme managers, regional advisory bodies, public health authorities, Country Coordinating Mechanisms, United Nations staff, professional bodies, nongovernmental organizations and other interested stakeholders, including the community. The current document is an update of the previous Framework, published in 2003, and has been developed in response to both evolving knowledge and requests for clarification from these key sectors. It is based on the latest HIV and infant feeding recommendations; the previous Framework no longer applies.
HIV treatment as prevention: how scientific discovery occurred and translated rapidly into policy for the global response.
Health Affairs. 2012 Jul; 31(7):1439-49.In 2011 interim results of HIV Prevention Trials Network study 052, a National Institutes of Health study designed to test the effectiveness of antiretroviral treatment against the spread of HIV, were reported. These results showed that in a stable relationship in which one member of the couple was infected with HIV, treatment of the infected partner with antiretroviral drugs, combined with couples counseling and condom use, resulted in a 96 percent reduction in sexual transmission of HIV-1. This finding led to the use of antiretroviral treatment as a cornerstone of HIV prevention. Independent advisory committees of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have since issued analyses that set the stage for broader use of antiretroviral agents in treatment and prevention. This article describes the separate PEPFAR and WHO recommendations and outlines the design of prospective new trials to test how best to maximize the benefits of early treatment for prevention.
Journal of the European Economic Association. 2012 Oct; 10(5):1025-1058.This paper estimates whether exports affect the incidence of HIV in Africa. This relationship has implications for HIV prevention policy as well as for the consequences of trade increases in Africa. I estimate this impact using two sources of data on HIV incidence, one generated based on UNAIDS estimates and the other based on observed HIV mortality. These data are combined with data on export value and volume. I find a fairly consistent positive relationship between exports and new HIV infections: doubling exports leads to a 10%-70% increase in new HIV infections. Consistent with theory, this relationship is larger in areas with higher baseline HIV prevalence. I interpret the result as suggesting that increased exports increase the movement of people (trucking), which increases sexual contacts. Consistent with this interpretation, the effect is larger for export growth than for income growth per se and is larger in areas with more extensive road networks.
[Prevalence of HIV infection and associated factors in the Central African Republic in 2010] Prévalence de l’infection VIH et facteurs associés en République Centrafricaine en 2010.
Calverton, Maryland, ICF International, 2012 Apr.  p.Nearly 68 percent of all HIV-positive individuals worldwide live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region remains the most severely affected in the world, even though only 12 percent of the world's population lives there. Central Africa, which is less afflicted than Southern and Eastern Africa, nevertheless has a high enough level of infection for it to be characterized as a generalized epidemic. This is the case in the Central African Republic. The Central African Republic has long lacked reliable data on the epidemic, which has slowed the national response that otherwise would have occurred with more factual data. In response to the perceived need, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), and Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have financed HIV testing in two multiple indicator cluster surveys--the 2006 MICS and 2010 MICS. This partnership has led to collection of reliable data to monitor trends in HIV prevalence and distribution among the population age 15 to 49. Also monitored are distribution of the epidemic by geographic region and population group. Because the decrease in HIV prevalence between 2006 and 2010 will be interpreted as an encouraging sign of progress, it is important to remain vigilant. The disaggregated results show that the epidemic continues to grow in scope and provokes disastrous consequences in certain groups. For the first time since 2006, the Central African Republic has reliable data to inform decision-making and intervention planning. These data have permitted the pandemic areas in the Central African Republic to emerge from the shadows. For the future, we wish to put in place systematic HIV testing similar to that of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS). The UNFPA office in the Central African Republic is committed to improving knowledge about HIV and reinforcing the availability of information for planning, implementation, and follow-up of the country's National Strategic Plan for the Fight against AIDS.
WHO 2010 guidelines for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission in Zimbabwe: modeling clinical outcomes in infants and mothers.
PloS One. 2011; 6(6):e20224.BACKGROUND: The Zimbabwean national prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) program provided primarily single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) from 2002-2009 and is currently replacing sdNVP with more effective antiretroviral (ARV) regimens. METHODS: Published HIV and PMTCT models, with local trial and programmatic data, were used to simulate a cohort of HIV-infected, pregnant/breastfeeding women in Zimbabwe (mean age 24.0 years, mean CD4 451 cells/microL). We compared five PMTCT regimens at a fixed level of PMTCT medication uptake: 1) no antenatal ARVs (comparator); 2) sdNVP; 3) WHO 2010 guidelines using "Option A" (zidovudine during pregnancy/infant NVP during breastfeeding for women without advanced HIV disease; lifelong 3-drug antiretroviral therapy (ART) for women with advanced disease); 4) WHO "Option B" (ART during pregnancy/breastfeeding without advanced disease; lifelong ART with advanced disease); and 5) "Option B+:" lifelong ART for all pregnant/breastfeeding, HIV-infected women. Pediatric (4-6 week and 18-month infection risk, 2-year survival) and maternal (2- and 5-year survival, life expectancy from delivery) outcomes were projected. RESULTS: Eighteen-month pediatric infection risks ranged from 25.8% (no antenatal ARVs) to 10.9% (Options B/B+). Although maternal short-term outcomes (2- and 5-year survival) varied only slightly by regimen, maternal life expectancy was reduced after receipt of sdNVP (13.8 years) or Option B (13.9 years) compared to no antenatal ARVs (14.0 years), Option A (14.0 years), or Option B+ (14.5 years). CONCLUSIONS: Replacement of sdNVP with currently recommended regimens for PMTCT (WHO Options A, B, or B+) is necessary to reduce infant HIV infection risk in Zimbabwe. The planned transition to Option A may also improve both pediatric and maternal outcomes.