Inadequate Coordination of Maternal and Infant HIV Services Detrimentally Affects Early Infant Diagnosis Outcomes in Lilongwe, Malawi

University of North Carolina Project, Lilongwe, Malawi.
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (Impact Factor: 4.56). 04/2011; 56(5):e122-8. DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31820a7f2f
Source: PubMed


To assess the continuity of care and outcome of pediatric HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services, focusing on early infant diagnosis with DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
A retrospective observational cohort.
Maternal HIV antibody, infant HIV DNA PCR test results, and outcome data from HIV-infected infants from the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, early infant diagnosis, and pediatric HIV treatment programs operating in Lilongwe, Malawi, between 2004 and 2008 were collected, merged, and analyzed.
Of the 14,669 pregnant women who tested HIV antibody positive, 7875 infants (53.7%) received HIV DNA PCR testing. One thousand eighty-four infants (13.8%) were HIV infected. Three hundred twenty (29.5%) children enrolled into pediatric HIV care, with 202 (63.1%) at the Baylor Center of Excellence. Among these, antiretroviral therapy was initiated on 110 infants (54.5%) whose median age was 9.1 months (interquartile range, 5.4-13.8) and a median of 2.5 months (interquartile range, 1.4-5.2) after HIV clinic registration. Sixty-nine HIV-infected infants (34.2%) died or were lost by December 2008. Initiation of antiretroviral therapy increased the likelihood of survival 7-fold (odds ratio, 7.1; 95% confidence interval, 3.68 to 13.70).
Separate programs for maternal and infant HIV prevention and care services demonstrated high attrition rates of HIV-exposed and HIV-infected infants, elevated levels of mother-to-child transmission, late infant diagnosis, delayed pediatric antiretroviral therapy initiation, and high HIV-infected infant mortality. Antiretroviral therapy increased HIV-infected infant survival, emphasizing the urgent need for improved service coordination and strategies that increase access to infant HIV diagnosis, improve patient retention, and reduce antiretroviral therapy initiation delays.

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    • "The median age of infants starting ART in 2010 was 5.6 months which is well above the median age of <2 months in the immediate arm of the CHER Study. There are a number of barriers to early ART initiation including lack of access to HIV-DNA PCR testing for diagnosis [24], [47], [48], [49], poor integration of antenatal, PMTCT, maternal and child health (MCH) and HIV services with poor infant HIV testing even among those whose mothers enrolled in PMTCT care [50], lack of expertise, experience and confidence with initiating and maintaining infants on ART and poor availability of drugs in suitable formulations for infants [4], [51]. Strategies to improve ART access for infants such as integration of PMTCT, MCH and HIV services and provider initiated testing at vaccination and other health visits [45], [52], [53], [54] need to be developed and expanded. "
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    ABSTRACT: Since 2005, increasing numbers of children have started antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa and, in recent years, WHO and country treatment guidelines have recommended ART initiation for all infants and very young children, and at higher CD4 thresholds for older children. We examined temporal changes in patient and regimen characteristics at ART start using data from 12 cohorts in 4 countries participating in the IeDEA-SA collaboration. Data from 30,300 ART-naïve children aged <16 years at ART initiation who started therapy between 2005 and 2010 were analysed. We examined changes in median values for continuous variables using the Cuzick's test for trend over time. We also examined changes in the proportions of patients with particular disease severity characteristics (expressed as a binary variable e.g. WHO Stage III/IV vs I/II) using logistic regression. Between 2005 and 2010 the number of children starting ART each year increased and median age declined from 63 months (2006) to 56 months (2010). Both the proportion of children <1 year and ≥10 years of age increased from 12 to 19% and 18 to 22% respectively. Children had less severe disease at ART initiation in later years with significant declines in the percentage with severe immunosuppression (81 to 63%), WHO Stage III/IV disease (75 to 62%), severe anemia (12 to 7%) and weight-for-age z-score<-3 (31 to 28%). Similar results were seen when restricting to infants with significant declines in the proportion with severe immunodeficiency (98 to 82%) and Stage III/IV disease (81 to 63%). First-line regimen use followed country guidelines. Between 2005 and 2010 increasing numbers of children have initiated ART with a decline in disease severity at start of therapy. However, even in 2010, a substantial number of infants and children started ART with advanced disease. These results highlight the importance of efforts to improve access to HIV diagnostic testing and ART in children.
    PLoS ONE 12/2013; 8(12):e81037. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0081037 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "In 2008, the links between PMTCT programs, infant testing programs and pediatric care HIV programs were not effective because of poor referral systems [23], [38]. The necessity to improve them is evident. "
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    ABSTRACT: Universal HIV pediatric screening offered at postnatal points of care (PPOC) is an entry point for early infant diagnosis (EID). We assessed the parents' acceptability of this approach in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. In this cross-sectional study, trained counselors offered systematic HIV screening to all children aged 6-26 weeks attending PPOC in three community health centers with existing access to HAART during 2008, as well as their parents/caregivers. HIV-testing acceptability was measured for parents and children; rapid HIV tests were used for parents. Both parents' consent was required according to the Ivorian Ethical Committee to perform a HIV test on HIV-exposed children. Free HIV care was offered to those who were diagnosed HIV-infected. We provided 3,013 HIV tests for infants and their 2,986 mothers. While 1,731 mothers (58%) accepted the principle of EID, only 447 infants had formal parental consent 15%; 95% confidence interval (CI): [14%-16%]. Overall, 1,817 mothers (61%) accepted to test for HIV, of whom 81 were HIV-infected (4.5%; 95% CI: [3.5%-5.4%]). Among the 81 HIV-exposed children, 42 (52%) had provided parental consent and were tested: five were HIV-infected (11.9%; 95% CI: [2.1%-21.7%]). Only 46 fathers (2%) came to diagnose their child. Parental acceptance of EID was strongly correlated with prenatal self-reported HIV status: HIV-infected mothers were six times more likely to provide EID parental acceptance than mothers reporting unknown or negative prenatal HIV status (aOR: 5.9; 95% CI: [3.3-10.6], p = 0.0001). Although the principle of EID was moderately accepted by mothers, fathers' acceptance rate remained very low. Routine HIV screening of all infants was inefficient for EID at a community level in Abidjan in 2008. Our results suggest the need of focusing on increasing the PMTCT coverage, involving fathers and tracing children issued from PMTCT programs in low HIV prevalence countries.
    PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e67996. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0067996 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Several studies have reported on barriers to follow-up in these infants, highlighting the importance of factors such as knowledge, practice and motivation of healthcare providers [2-4]. Furthermore, the way in which service delivery for the follow-up of HIV-exposed infants, including early infant diagnosis, is organised is also of importance, and in that context a better integration within other maternal and child health (MCH) services has been recommended [5,6]. However, to date little is known of its effects in practice. "
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    ABSTRACT: The follow-up of HIV-exposed infants remains a public health challenge in many Sub-Saharan countries. Just as integrated antenatal and maternity services have contributed to improved care for HIV-positive pregnant women, so too could integrated care for mother and infant after birth improve follow-up of HIV-exposed infants. We present results of a study testing the viability of such integrated care, and its effects on follow-up of HIV-exposed infants, in Tete Province, Mozambique. Between April 2009 and September 2010, we conducted a mixed-method, intervention-control study in six rural public primary healthcare facilities, selected purposively for size and accessibility, with random allocation of three facilities each for intervention and control groups. The intervention consisted of a reorganization of services to provide one-stop, integrated care for mothers and their children under five years of age. We collected monthly routine facility statistics on prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), follow-up of HIV-exposed infants, and other mother and child health (MCH) activities for the six months before (January-June 2009) and 13 months after starting the intervention (July 2009-July 2010). Staff were interviewed at the start, after six months, and at the end of the study. Quantitative data were analysed using quasi-Poisson models for significant differences between the periods before and after intervention, between healthcare facilities in intervention and control groups, and for time trends. The coefficients for the effect of the period and the interaction effect of the intervention were calculated with their p-values. Thematic analysis of qualitative data was done manually. One-stop, integrated care for mother and child was feasible in all participating healthcare facilities, and staff evaluated this service organisation positively. We observed in both study groups an improvement in follow-up of HIV-exposed infants (registration, follow-up visits, serological testing), but frequent absenteeism of staff and irregular supply of consumables interfered with healthcare facility performance for both intervention and control groups. Despite improvement in various aspects of the follow-up of HIV-exposed infants, we observed no improvement attributable to one-stop, integrated MCH care. Structural healthcare system limitations, such as staff absences and irregular supply of essential commodities, appear to overshadow its potential effects. Regular technical support and adequate basic working conditions are essential for improved performance in the follow-up of HIV-exposed infants in peripheral public healthcare facilities in Mozambique.
    BMC Health Services Research 06/2013; 13(1):207. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-13-207 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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