5 March 2016
Shawn Clackett

Studies Probe Retention in HIV Care for Mothers

On 22 March 2013 in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, Posha Ndelemani, who is living with HIV, holds her infant son while seated on a cot. On 20 March, she gave birth via caesarean section after the infant was found to be in a breech position in utero. Ms. Ndelemani participates in the Option B+ programme, which provides a once-daily antiretroviral tablet to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to infant during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Option B+ was developed by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners.

aidsmap
By Carole Leach-Lemens

Engaging lay counsellors to provide a combination package of evidence-based interventions in Nyanza, Kenya and addressing partner disclosure, as well as pre-treatment education about the benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for maternal and child health in Malawi’s Option B+ programme, improved retention in care and reduced loss to follow-up of mothers with HIV and their infants, studies presented last week at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) in Boston show.

Poor retention in care of mothers with HIV and their infants across the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)/paediatric care continuum continues to undermine what is otherwise a remarkable success. If retention is not adequately addressed, programme success and maternal and infant health are threatened. In resource-poor settings, studies have shown 17% of pregnant women with HIV initiated on ART do not return after their first antenatal care visit; one third of women with HIV who give birth in a clinic are lost to follow-up three months after delivery.

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Pacific Friends operates as a program within the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales.

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Professor Janice Reid AC
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Bill Bowtell AO
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Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a high-level advocacy organisation which seeks to mobilise regional awareness of the serious threat posed by HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to societies and economies in the Pacific. In pursuing its goals Pacific Friends has a specific interest in highlighting the need to protect the rights of women and children in the Pacific.

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