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Linkage to Care, Early Infant Diagnosis, and Perinatal Transmission Among Infants Born to HIV-Infected Nigerian Mothers: Evidence From the Healthy Beginning Initiative
AuthorPharr, Jennifer R.
Obiefune, Michael C.
Ezeanolue, Chinenye O.
Ogidi, Amaka G.
Ehiri, John E.
Sam-Agudu, Nadia A.
Ezeanolue, Echezona E.
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In 2014, Nigeria accounted for 33% of all new childhood HIV infections that occurred among the 22 Global Plan priority countries where 80% of HIV-infected women reside. Even with a vertical HIV transmission rate of 27%, only 6% of infants born to HIV-infected women in Nigeria receive early infant diagnosis (EID). This article reports rates of antiretroviral prophylaxis, EID, and mother-to-child transmission in a congregation-based Healthy Beginning Initiative (HBI) designed to increase HIV testing among pregnant women in southeast Nigeria. Methods: This is a nested cohort study of HIV-exposed infants (HEI) within the HBI trial originally designed as a 2-arm cluster randomized trial. HIV-infected mothers and infants were followed between January 2013 and August 2014. Results: Across both arms of the study, 72 HIV-infected women delivered 69 live infants (1 set of twins) and 4 had miscarriages. Of the 69 live-born HEI, HIV status was known for 71% (49/69), 16% (11/69) died before sample collection, and 13% (9/69) were lost to follow-up. Complete information was available for 84% of HEI (58/69), of which 64% (37/58) received antiretroviral prophylaxis. Among the 49 infants tested for HIV, 88% (43/49) received EID within 2 months and 12% (6/49) received antibody testing after 18 months. The mother-to-child transmission rate was 8.2% (4/49). Conclusions: EID was higher and HIV transmission rate was lower among the HBI participants compared to reported rates in 2014. However, further progress is needed to achieve goals of elimination of infant HIV infection.