PMTCT Update: Latest must-read Literature
- The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation
PEPFAR (November 2012).
An “AIDS-free generation”—a goal that has finally become realizable due to the effectiveness of recent HIV prevention and treatment breakthroughs—has become a rallying cry for the international response to HIV over the past year. This strategy report released by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) describes how the U.S. Government plans to contribute to this objective. The Blueprint is based on five principles: (1) investing in evidence-based approaches to scale up core interventions, (2) working with a broad array of partner countries, donors, civil society, the private sector, and other stakeholders to mobilize and share resources, (3) improving gender equality in HIV services by focusing on women and girls, (4) ending stigma and discrimination against key populations and people living with HIV, and (5) creating benchmarks to determine whether goals are met. Four “road maps” detail the steps to be taken to achieve these goals. The Road Map for Saving Lives calls for scaling up combination HIV prevention and treatment interventions and eliminating new HIV infections among children by 2015. The Road Map for Smart Investments explains how to target funding to interventions that reach populations most at risk. The Road Map for Shared Responsibility outlines how PEPFAR will build partnerships with other countries and build support for civil society, while theRoad Map for Driving Results with Science supports implementation research and other ways to build the evidence base.
- High PMTCT Program Uptake and Coverage of Mothers, Their Partners, and Babies in Northern Uganda: Achievements and Lessons Learned Over 10 Years of Implementation (2002-2011)
Bannink-Mbazzi, F., Lowicki-Zucca, M., Ojom, L., et al. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (April 2013), Vol. 62 No. 5, pp. e138-e145.
The authors presented data from prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programs supported through the Association of Volunteers in International Service Foundation and the Ministry of Health in 24 facilities in four rural districts in northern Uganda from 2002 to 2011. Analysis showed that the comprehensive PMTCT program, including community engagement, attained continuous improvements over 10 years. Of the nearly 140,700 women in all attended antenatal care services, 94 percent were tested for HIV, with overall prevalence of 6 percent. Overall, 79 percent of HIV-positive women started antiretroviral therapy or antiretroviral prophylaxis for PMTCT by 2011--above national proportions. Overall, 49 percent (n=68,928) of clients delivered in a health facility; approximately 7 percent were HIV-positive. HIV prevalence among children decreased from 10 percent in 2004 to 5 percent by 2011. Men's uptake of HIV testing considerably increased (from 6 percent in 2002 to 76 percent in 2011). The authors believed that implementation of interventions such as family support groups, couples testing, and male-friendly clinic spaces contributed to men's engagement, and that collaboration with various stakeholders, linkages among services, and training (including on supply chain management) are essential for successful programs. The authors concluded that comprehensive PMTCT is an effective strategy for reducing HIV transmission.
- Towards an AIDS-Free Generation with Option B+: Reconceptualizing and Integrating Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) with Pediatric Antiretroviral Therapy Initiatives
Thyssen, A., Lange, J.H., Thyssen, E., et al. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (February 2013), Vol. 62 No. 2, pp. 127-128.
In this editorial, the authors discuss a study of mortality and loss to follow-up (LTFU) outcomes in HIV-positive children on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Asia and East, South, and West Africa, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) strategies. Cumulative mortality was nearly 6 percent, and LTFU was approximately 12 percent (although varying by country). Children younger than 12 months were at higher risk compared to those between the ages of 10 and 15. Further, because the majority of infections are transmitted during labor or breast feeding, strengthening PMTCT is a focus under the United States Government's goal to create an "AIDS-free generation." Improving outcomes among HIV-positive children may entail adopting PMTCT Option B+ (originally introduced in Malawi), which would place all HIV-positive pregnant women on ART for life-varying from the World Health Organization's two current options, which both recommend cessation of treatment either immediately postpartum or once the child has stopped breastfeeding. While further research and economic feasibility studies are necessary, the authors suggest that placing HIV-positive mothers on ART at the same treatment site with Option B+ may provide more treatment support for their children and ultimately result in improved health outcomes, including lower mortality and LTFU rates.