XIX International AIDS Conference


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THAC0103 - Oral Abstract

Will your partner be attending? Involving men in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in antenatal care clinics in Iringa, Tanzania

Presented by Nassor Kikumbih (United Republic of Tanzania).

N. Kikumbih1, J. Nielsen-Bobbit2, A. Mbandi1, W. Motta1, R. Killian1, F. Mwanga1

1EngenderHealth, ACQUIRE Tanzania Project, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, 2EngenderHealth, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania

Background: HIV prevalence among Tanzanian adults is 6%; with mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) accounting for one in ten infections. Men play a decisive role in women's utilization of health services, but male involvement with their partners in the prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) program is low. To address this issue, the ACQUIRE Project Tanzania (ATP) has supported the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare since 2008 to involve men in antenatal care (ANC) services in Iringa, the region with the country's highest HIV prevalence (16%). Interventions include partner invitation letters, posters encouraging male attendance, prioritizing clients accompanied by partners, improving couple counseling rooms, training providers on PMTCT couple counseling, and engaging villages to develop local strategies. This evaluation assesses uptake of PMTCT services by pregnant women and their partners before and after interventions began.
Methods: A repeated cross sectional study was conducted in 354 facilities in Iringa, Tanzania between 2008 and 2011. Facility-level data on PMTCT service uptake were collected to assess partner HIV testing before and after male involvement interventions. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: The number of ANC partners tested annually for HIV increased from 1,746 in 2007/08 to 10,559 in 2008/09, and 20,758 in 2009/10. Prior to interventions 7% of ANC partners were tested; after interventions 30% of partners tested in 2008/09, 40% in 2009/10 and 50% in 2010/11. While the number of partners tested increased the proportion testing positive decreased below the regional rate from 16% in 2007/08 to 10% in 2010/11. Male participation was higher in facilities with strong community support; for example up to 80% of ANC clients at Mtwango Dispensary were accompanied by partners consenting to test.
Conclusions: Locally initiated interventions on male involvement are crucial for the reduction of MTCT and men can be engaged to utilize and support PMTCT services.

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