Impact of Maternal ART on Mother-To-Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV at Six Weeks Postpartum in Rwanda

Nov 12, 2018; BMC Public Health .


Background: In 2010, Rwanda adopted ART for prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV from pregnant women living with HIV during pregnancy and breasfeeding period. This study examines rates of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV at 6-10 weeks postpartum and risk factors for mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) among HIV infected women on ART during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was conducted between July 2011-June 2012 among HIV-exposed infants aged 6-10 weeks and their mothers/caregivers. Stratified multi-stage, probability proportional to size and systematic sampling to select a national representative sample of clients. Consenting mothers/caregivers were interviewed on demographic and program interventions. Dry blood spots from HIV-exposed infants were collected for HIV testing using DNA PCR technique. Results are weighted for sample realization. Univariable analysis of socio-demographic and programmatic determinants of early mother-to-child transmission of HIV was conducted. Variables were retained for final multivariable models if they were either at least of marginal significance (p-value < 0.10) or played a confounding role (the variable had a noticeable impact > 10% change on the effect estimate).

Results: The study sample was 1639 infants with HIV test results. Twenty-six infants were diagnosed HIV-positive translating to a weighted MTCT estimate of 1.58% (95% CI 1.05-2.37%). Coverage of most elimination of MTCT (EMTCT) program interventions, was above 80, and 90.4% of mother-infant pairs received antiretroviral treatment or prophylaxis. Maternal ART and infant antiretroviral prophylaxis (OR 0.01; 95%CI 0.001-0.17) and maternal age older than 25 years were significantly protective (OR 0.33; 95%CI 0.14-0.78). No disclosure of HIV status, not testing for syphilis during pregnancy and preterm birth were significant risk factors for MTCT. Factors suggesting higher socio-demographic status (flush toilet, mother self-employed) were borderline risk factors for MTCT.

Conclusion: ART for all women during pregnancy and breastfeeding was associated with the estimated low MTCT rate of 1.58%. Mothers who did not receive a full package of anti-retroviral therapy according to the Rwanda EMTCT protocol, and young and single mothers were at higher risk of MTCT and should be targeted for support in preventing HIV infection.

Keywords: 6 weeks vertical transmission rate; EMTCT; EMTCT surveillance; MTCT; Maternal ART; Operational effectiveness; Rwanda; Sentinel survey.

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