Achievements and lessons learned from the 10-year program FREE (2002-2011) for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), will be published on the March issue of JAIDS, Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, a leading , interdisciplinary resource for HIV- and AIDS-related information.AVSI has been actively supporting Uganda's Ministry of Health (MoH) prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) program since 2002 in 4 districts of the conflict-ridden Acholi sub-region in Northern Uganda.
This paper, wrote by Bannink-Mbazzi F, Lowicki-Zucca M, Ojom L, Kabasomi SV, Esiru G, Homsy J. presents data covering 10 years of MoH/AVSI PMTCT program activities in Northern Uganda. METHODS:: The program followed Uganda MoH PMTCT guidelines and aimed to be comprehensive, emphasizing social as well as medical care and support. Data were collected from 24 health facilities from January 2002 to December 2011. Trend analyses were carried out using Predictive Analytics SoftWare (PASW) Statistics.
Of the 140,658 women who newly attended antenatal care (ANC) services from 2002 to 2011, 94.4% received HIV testing and counseling (HTC) and 6.2% tested HIV-positive. HTC of male partners of tested pregnant women steadily increased from 5.9% in 2002 to 75.8% in 2011, compared to 15.5% in 2011 nationally. Overall, 79.0% of HIV-positive women were started on antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis (69.4%) or triple antiretroviral therapy (ART) (9.6%), compared to 52% nationally in 2011. The proportion of HIV-positive women who delivered in health facilities significantly increased from 55.8% in 2004 to 81.1% in 2011 (no national data available). HIV prevalence among HIV-exposed infants tested at or below 18 months of age significantly decreased from 10.3% in 2004 to 5.0% in 2011. Results show how a comprehensive PMTCT program emphasizing social and community engagement alongside medical care and support can succeed in a remote setting with multiple challenges.
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