Navigating the risks of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV services in Kibera, Kenya: Barriers to engaging and remaining in care
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AbstractWithin the first year of implementation, 43% of women who tested HIV positive at their first antenatal care visit were no longer retained and being followed in the free prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV program offered by the Kenyan Ministry of Health and Médecins Sans Frontières in the informal settlement of Kibera, Nairobi. This study aimed to explore barriers to enrolling and remaining engaged in PMTCT services throughout the pregnancy and postpartum periods. Qualitative data from 31 focus group discussions and 35 in-depth interviews across six stakeholder groups that included women, men, and PMTCT service providers were analyzed. Using an inductive exploratory approach, four researchers coded the data and identified key themes. Five themes emerged from the data that may influence attrition from PMTCT service in this setting: 1) HIV in the context of Kibera, 2) knowledge of HIV status, 3) knowledge of PMTCT, 4) disclosure of HIV status, and 5) male partner support for PMTCT services. A new HIV diagnosis during pregnancy immediately triggered an ongoing risk assessment of perceived hazards in the home, community, and clinic environments that could occur as a result of female participation in PMTCT services. Male partners were a major influence in this risk assessment, but were generally unaware of PMTCT services. To preserve relationships with male partners, meet community expectations of womanhood, and maintain confidentiality while following recommendations of healthcare providers, women had to continuously weigh the risks and benefits of PMTCT services and interventions. Community-based HIV testing and PMTCT education, male involvement in antenatal care, and counseling customized to assist each woman in her own unique risk assessment, may improve uptake of and retention in care and optimize the HIV prevention benefit of PMTCT interventions.
PublisherPublic Library of Science