Linking Women Who Test HIV-Positive in Pregnancy-Related Services to HIV Care and Treatment Services in Kenya: A Mixed Methods Prospective Cohort Study
Grant, Alison D.
Ong'ech, John O.
Ross, David A.
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Ferguson, L., Grant, A., Lewis, J., Kielmann, K., Watson-Jones, D., Vusha, S., Ong''ech, J. & Ross, D. (2014) Linking Women Who Test HIV-Positive in Pregnancy-Related Services to HIV Care and Treatment Services in Kenya: A Mixed Methods Prospective Cohort Study, PLoS ONE, vol. 9, , pp. e89764,
Introduction: There has been insufficient attention to long-term care and treatment for pregnant women diagnosed with HIV. Objective and Methods: This prospective cohort study of 100 HIV-positive women recruited within pregnancy-related services in a district hospital in Kenya employed quantitative methods to assess attrition between women testing HIV-positive in pregnancy-related services and accessing long-term HIV care and treatment services. Qualitative methods were used to explore barriers and facilitators to navigating these services. Structured questionnaires were administered to cohort participants at enrolment and 90+ days later. Participants' medical records were monitored prospectively. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were carried out with a sub-set of 19 participants. Findings: Only 53/100 (53%) women registered at an HIV clinic within 90 days of HIV diagnosis, of whom 27/53 (51%) had a CD4 count result in their file. 11/27 (41%) women were eligible for immediate antiretroviral therapy (ART); only 6/11 (55%) started ART during study follow-up. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, factors associated with registration at the HIV clinic within 90 days of HIV diagnosis were: having cared for someone with HIV (aOR:3.67(95%CI:1.22, 11.09)), not having to pay for transport to the hospital (aOR:2.73(95%CI:1.09, 6.84)), and having received enough information to decide to have an HIV test (aOR:3.61(95%CI:0.83, 15.71)). Qualitative data revealed multiple factors underlying high patient drop-out related to women's social support networks (e.g. partner's attitude to HIV status), interactions with health workers (e.g. being given unclear/incorrect HIV-related information) and health services characteristics (e.g. restricted opening hours, long waiting times). Conclusion: HIV testing within pregnancy-related services is an important entry point to HIV care and treatment services, but few women successfully completed the steps needed for assessment of their treatment needs within three months of diagnosis. Programmatic recommendations include simplified pathways to care, better-tailored counselling, integration of ART into antenatal services, and facilitation of social support. 2014 Ferguson et al.