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Evaluating the Impact of Zimbabwes Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Program: Population-Level Estimates of HIV-Free Infant Survival Pre-Option A.

  • Author(s): Buzdugan, Raluca
  • McCoy, Sandra
  • Watadzaushe, Constancia
  • Kang Dufour, Mi-Suk
  • Petersen, Maya
  • Dirawo, Jeffrey
  • Mushavi, Angela
  • Mujuru, Hilda
  • Mahomva, Agnes
  • Musarandega, Reuben
  • Hakobyan, Anna
  • Mugurungi, Owen
  • Cowan, Frances
  • Padian, Nancy
  • et al.

OBJECTIVE: We estimated HIV-free infant survival and mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) rates in Zimbabwe, some of the first community-based estimates from a UNAIDS priority country. METHODS: In 2012 we surveyed mother-infant pairs residing in the catchment areas of 157 health facilities randomly selected from 5 of 10 provinces in Zimbabwe. Enrolled infants were born 9-18 months before the survey. We collected questionnaires, blood samples for HIV testing, and verbal autopsies for deceased mothers/infants. Estimates were assessed among i) all HIV-exposed infants, as part of an impact evaluation of Option A of the 2010 WHO guidelines (rolled out in Zimbabwe in 2011), and ii) the subgroup of infants unexposed to Option A. We compared province-level MTCT rates measured among women in the community with MTCT rates measured using program monitoring data from facilities serving those communities. FINDINGS: Among 8568 women with known HIV serostatus, 1107 (12.9%) were HIV-infected. Among all HIV-exposed infants, HIV-free infant survival was 90.9% (95% confidence interval (CI): 88.7-92.7) and MTCT was 8.8% (95% CI: 6.9-11.1). Sixty-six percent of HIV-exposed infants were still breastfeeding. Among the 762 infants born before Option A was implemented, 90.5% (95% CI: 88.1-92.5) were alive and HIV-uninfected at 9-18 months of age, and 9.1% (95%CI: 7.1-11.7) were HIV-infected. In four provinces, the community-based MTCT rate was higher than the facility-based MTCT rate. In Harare, the community and facility-based rates were 6.0% and 9.1%, respectively. CONCLUSION: By 2012 Zimbabwe had made substantial progress towards the elimination of MTCT. Our HIV-free infant survival and MTCT estimates capture HIV transmissions during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding regardless of whether or not mothers accessed health services. These estimates also provide a baseline against which to measure the impact of Option A guidelines (and subsequently Option B+).

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