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      Male Perspectives on Incorporating Men into Antenatal HIV Counseling and Testing

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          Male partner involvement in antenatal voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT) has been shown to increase uptake of interventions to reduce the risk of HIV transmission in resource-limited settings. We aimed to identify methods for increasing male involvement in antenatal VCT and determine male correlates of accepting couple counseling in these settings.

          Methodology/Principal Findings

          We invited women presenting to a Nairobi antenatal clinic to return with their male partners for individual or couples VCT. Male attitudes towards VCT and correlates of accompanying female partners to antenatal clinic and receiving couple counseling were determined. Of 1,993 women who invited their partner, 313 (16%) returned with their partners to ANC. Men attending antenatal clinic were married (>99%), employed (98%), and unlikely to report prior HIV testing (14%). Wanting an HIV test (87%) or health information (11%) were the most commonly cited reasons for attending. Most (95%) men who came to antenatal clinic accepted HIV testing and 39% elected to receive counseling as a couple. Men who received counseling with partners were younger, had fewer children, and were less knowledgeable about prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) than those who received counseling individually (p<0.05). Only 27% of men stated they would prefer HIV testing at a site other than the ANC. There was agreement between male and female reports for sociodemographic characteristics; however, men were more likely to report HIV preventive behaviors and health communication within the partnership than their partners (p<0.05).


          Offering VCT services to men at antenatal clinic with options for couple and individual counseling is an important opportunity and acceptable strategy for increasing male involvement in PMTCT and promoting male HIV testing.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Antenatal couple counseling increases uptake of interventions to prevent HIV-1 transmission.

          To determine effect of partner involvement and couple counseling on uptake of interventions to prevent HIV-1 transmission, women attending a Nairobi antenatal clinic were encouraged to return with partners for voluntary HIV-1 counseling and testing (VCT) and offered individual or couple posttest counseling. Nevirapine was provided to HIV-1-seropositive women and condoms distributed to all participants. Among 2104 women accepting testing, 308 (15%) had partners participate in VCT, of whom 116 (38%) were couple counseled. Thirty-two (10%) of 314 HIV-1-seropositive women came with partners for VCT; these women were 3-fold more likely to return for nevirapine (P = 0.02) and to report administering nevirapine at delivery (P = 0.009). Nevirapine use was reported by 88% of HIV-infected women who were couple counseled, 67% whose partners came but were not couple counseled, and 45%whose partners did not present for VCT (P for trend = 0.006). HIV-1-seropositive women receiving couple counseling were 5-fold more likely to avoid breast-feeding (P = 0.03) compared with those counseled individually. Partner notification of HIV-1-positive results was reported by 138 women (64%) and was associated with 4-fold greater likelihood of condom use (P = 0.004). Partner participation in VCT and couple counseling increased uptake of nevirapine and formula feeding. Antenatal couple counseling may be a useful strategy to promote HIV-1 prevention interventions.
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            High acceptability of voluntary counselling and HIV-testing but unacceptable loss to follow up in a prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission programme in rural Malawi: scaling-up requires a different way of acting.

             E Bakali,  J Kazima,  M. Manzi (2005)
            Thyolo District Hospital, rural Malawi. In a prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programme, to determine: the acceptability of offering 'opt-out' voluntary counselling and HIV-testing (VCT); the progressive loss to follow up of HIV-positive mothers during the antenatal period, at delivery and to the 6-month postnatal visit; and the proportion of missed deliveries in the district. Cohort study. Review of routine antenatal, VCT and PMTCT registers. Of 3136 new antenatal mothers, 2996 [96%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 95-97] were pre-test counselled, 2965 (95%, CI: 94-96) underwent HIV-testing, all of whom were post-test counselled. Thirty-one (1%) mothers refused HIV-testing. A total of 646 (22%) individuals were HIV-positive, and were included in the PMTCT programme. Two hundred and eighty-eight (45%) mothers and 222 (34%) babies received nevirapine. The cumulative loss to follow up (n=646) was 358 (55%, CI: 51-59) by the 36-week antenatal visit, 440 (68%, CI: 64-71) by delivery, 450 (70%, CI: 66-73) by the first postnatal visit and 524 (81%, CI: 78-84) by the 6-month postnatal visit. This left just 122 (19%, CI: 16-22) of the initial cohort still in the programme. The great majority (87%) of deliveries occurred at peripheral sites where PMTCT was not available. In a rural district hospital setting, at least 9 out of every 10 mothers attending antenatal services accepted VCT, of whom approximately one-quarter were HIV-positive and included in the PMTCT programme. The progressive loss to follow up of more than three-quarters of this cohort by the 6-month postnatal visit demands a 'different way of acting' if PMTCT is to be scaled up in our setting.
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              Women in couples antenatal HIV counseling and testing are not more likely to report adverse social events.

              Couple counseling has been promoted as a strategy to improve uptake of interventions to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (pMTCT) and to minimize adverse social outcomes associated with disclosure of HIV status. We tested whether women counseled antenatally as part of a couple were more likely to accept HIV testing and nevirapine in a pMTCT program, and whether they would be less likely to experience later adverse social events than women counseled alone. A pMTCT program that included active community education and outreach to encourage couple counseling and testing was implemented in two antenatal clinics in Lusaka, Zambia. A subset of HIV-positive women was asked to report their experience of adverse social events 6 months after delivery. Couple-counseled women were compared with individual-counseled women stratified by whether or not they had disclosed their HIV status to their partners. Nine percent (868) of 9409 women counseled antenatally were counseled with their husband. Couple-counseled women were more likely to accept HIV testing (96%) than women counseled alone (79%); however uptake of nevirapine was not improved. Six months after delivery, 28% of 324 HIV-positive women reported at least one adverse social event (including physical violence, verbal abuse, divorce or separation). There were no significant differences in reported adverse social events between couple- and individual-counseled women. Couple counseling did not increase the risk of adverse social events associated with HIV disclosure. Support services and interventions to improve social situations for people living with HIV need to be further evaluated.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                2 November 2009
                : 4
                : 11
                [1 ]Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
                [2 ]Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
                [3 ]Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
                [4 ]Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
                [5 ]Department of Obstetrics/Gynaecology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
                [6 ]Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Cancer, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
                University of Cape Town, South Africa
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: JNK GJS BAR CF. Performed the experiments: JNK GJS BAR FNJ CF. Analyzed the data: DAK. Wrote the paper: DAK CF.

                Katz et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Pages: 7
                Research Article
                Infectious Diseases/Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases
                Infectious Diseases/HIV Infection and AIDS
                Public Health and Epidemiology/Epidemiology
                Public Health and Epidemiology/Global Health



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