AIDS research and therapy 2017 03 2114(1) 17 doi 10.1186/s12981-017-0142-2
Early detection of pediatric HIV through uptake of infant HIV testing is critical for access to treatment and child survival. While structural barriers have been well described, a greater understanding of social and behavioral factors that may relate to maternal uptake of early infant HIV testing services is urgently needed. The aim of this study was to explore how gender power dynamics within couples affect HIV-positive women’s uptake of early infant HIV testing at a large health center in Lusaka, Zambia.
In 2014, 320 HIV-positive married postpartum women were recruited at a large public health facility in Lusaka to participate in a cross-sectional survey. Data on uptake of early infant HIV testing by 4-6 weeks of age was collected through medical records. Simple and multiple logistic regression models determined significant predictors of maternal uptake of early infant HIV testing.
In the adjusted model, uptake of early infant HIV testing was associated with female-directed emotional intimate partner violence (aOR 0.41; 95% CI 0.21-0.79; p < 0.01), HIV status disclosure to the male partner (aOR 13.73, 95% CI 3.59-52.49, p < 0.001), and maternal postpartum ART adherence (aOR 2.28, 95% CI 1.15-4.55, p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS
Domestic relationship dynamics, including emotional violence and HIV status disclosure to the male partner, may play an important role in maternal uptake of early infant HIV testing. These findings provide additional evidence for the link between intimate partner violence against women and poor HIV-related health outcomes. Programs that adequately screen for and address various forms of intimate partner violence within the context of prevention of mother-to-child transmission are recommended.