Article

Jones SA, Sherman GG, Varga CA. Exploring socio-economic conditions and poor follow-up rates of HIV-exposed infants in Johannesburg, South Africa

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
AIDS Care (Impact Factor: 1.6). 06/2005; 17(4):466-70. DOI: 10.1080/09540120412331319723
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

In 2002, more than 280,000 HIV-exposed babies were born in South Africa. According to international PMTCT guidelines, these children require follow-up to 12 months of age. Worldwide, the high loss to follow-up rates experienced by PMTCT programs precludes them from identifying and managing HIV-infected children. Socio-economic factors have been identified as potential contributors to poor follow-up. A small descriptive study to examine socio-economic circumstances of women attending the Coronation Women and Children's Hospital PMTCT program was undertaken. Cross-sectional data from 176 women, interviewed at their infants' 12-month visit, was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire. Socio-economic factors such as poverty, geographical relocation and a lack of paternal support may affect the capacity of families to comply with the PMTCT follow-up program. Fifty-seven percent of mothers were unemployed, 25% of fathers did not support their children and only 58% of children remained resident in Johannesburg at the 12-month visit. The lack of follow-up of HIV-infected children denies them access to adequate medical care. Understanding the socio-economic factors that affect the ability of communities to comply with PMTCT programs will assist resource-poor countries in devising strategies to achieve follow-up of HIV-exposed infants.

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    • "The small sample size and purposeful sampling methodology may also limit our ability to generalize to the HIV population in Mozambique. Nonetheless, the voices and life circumstances of those who participated in our study were consistent with the findings of other studies, and provide valuable insights that allow us to better understand reasons for poor follow-up that may apply to women and children in similar contexts (Chapman, 2003Chapman, , 2006 Farmer, Leandre, et al., 2001; Jones et al., 2005; Painter et al., 2004; Painter et al., 2005). In conclusion, our study's findings suggest that the mere provision of clinical HIV care services will not necessarily engage HIV/AIDS-affected women and children into medical care. "
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