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Determinants of male involvement in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programme in Eastern Uganda: a cross-sectional survey

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      Mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) accounts for over 95% of all paediatric HIV infections worldwide. Several studies have shown that male participation in the antenatal care of their spouses together with couple counselling and testing for HIV, increases use of the interventions for HIV prevention. The prevention programme of MTCT (PMTCT) was launched in Uganda in 2000 and Mbale in 2002. Less than 10% of the pregnant women accepted antenatal HIV testing at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in 2003; couple counselling and testing for HIV was low. Therefore, we conducted the study to determine the level of male involvement and identify its determinants in the PMTCT programme.


      A cross-sectional survey of 388 men aged 18 years or more, whose spouses were attending antenatal care at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, was conducted in Mbale district, Eastern Uganda. A male involvement index was constructed based on 6 questions. The survey was complemented by eight focus group discussions and five in-depth interviews.


      The respondents had a median age of 32 years (inter-quartile range, IQR: 28-37). The majority (74%) had a low male involvement index and only 5% of men accompanied their spouses to the antenatal clinic. Men who had attained secondary education were more likely to have a high male involvement index (OR: 1.9, 95% CI: 1.1-3.3) than those who had primary or no formal education. The respondents, whose occupation was driver (OR: 0.3, 95% CI: 0.1-0.7) or those who had fear of disclosure of their HIV sero-status results to their spouses (OR: 0.4, 95% CI: 0.2-0.8), were less likely to have a high male involvement index. Barriers to male involvement in the PMTCT programme were related to both the poor health system, to socio-economic factors and to cultural beliefs.


      Structural and cultural barriers to men's involvement in the PMTCT programme in Mbale district were complex and interrelated. Community sensitization of men about the benefits of antenatal care and PMTCT and improving client-friendliness in the clinics needs to be prioritised in order to improve low male participation and mitigate the effect of socio-economic and cultural factors.

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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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        Women's barriers to HIV-1 testing and disclosure: challenges for HIV-1 voluntary counselling and testing.

        In view of the ever-increasing HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, the expansion of HIV-1 voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) as an integral part of prevention strategies and medical research is both a reality and an urgent need. As the availability of HIV-1 VCT grows two limitations need to be addressed, namely: low rates of HIV-1 serostatus disclosure to sexual partners and negative outcomes of serostatus disclosure. Results from a study among men, women and couples at an HIV-1 VCT clinic in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania are presented. The individual, relational and environmental factors that influence the decision to test for HIV-1 and to share test results with partners are described. The most salient barriers to HIV-1 testing and serostatus disclosure described by women include fear of partners' reaction, decision-making and communication patterns between partners, and partners' attitudes towards HIV-1 testing. Perception of personal risk for HIV-1 is the major factor driving women to overcome barriers to HIV-1 testing. The implications of findings for the promotion of HIV-1 VCT programmes, the implementation of partner notification policies and the development of post-test support services are discussed.
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          Predictors of HIV-1 serostatus disclosure: a prospective study among HIV-infected pregnant women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

          To examine the socio-demographic and behavioral factors predictive of women's disclosure of an HIV-positive test result in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. From April 1995 to May 2000, 1078 HIV-positive pregnant women participated in an ongoing randomized trial on micronutrients and HIV-1 vertical transmission and progression. Disclosure to a partner or to a female relative was assessed 2 months after post-test counseling and at 6 monthly follow-up visits. Socio-demographic, health, behavioral and psychological factors were measured at baseline and during follow-up. Predictors of time to disclosure of HIV serostatus were determined using Cox proportional hazards regression models. Prevalence of disclosure to a partner ranged from 22% within 2 months to 40% after nearly 4 years. Women were less likely to disclose to their partners if they were cohabiting, had low wage employment, had previously disclosed to a female relative, or reported ever-use of a modern contraceptive method. Women reporting fewer than six lifetime sexual partners or knowing someone with HIV/AIDS were more likely to disclose to their partners. Disclosure to a female relative was predicted by knowing more than two individuals with HIV/AIDS, full economic dependency on their partner, high levels of social support, and prior attendance at a support group meeting. A substantial proportion of HIV-infected pregnant women never disclosed their result to a partner or a close female relative. Lack of disclosure may have limited their ability to engage in preventive behaviors or to obtain the necessary emotional support for coping with their serostatus or illness.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, PO Box 921, Mbale, Uganda
            [2 ]Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, PO Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda
            [3 ]Infectious Diseases Institute Ltd, Partners in Prevention, PO Box 10314, Kampala, Uganda
            [4 ]Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Arstadveien 21, N-5009 Bergen, Norway
            Reprod Health
            Reproductive Health
            BioMed Central
            23 June 2010
            : 7
            : 12
            Copyright ©2010 Byamugisha et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            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 work is properly cited.


            Obstetrics & Gynecology


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