According to Eva Laker Agnes Odongpiny and colleagues, the goal of prevention of vertical transmission (PVT) programs—zero transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to infants of women living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa—is inhibited by high rates of loss to follow-up, as well as “fear of HIV status disclosure through the discovery of pill bottles at home.” The researchers assessed knowledge of, and willingness to use injectable anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in women who had been lost to follow-up in a PVT program in Uganda, and suggested that the treatment modality “could be a solution for women who have challenges with disclosure.”
Women who had been lost to follow-up were traced by nurse counsellors and surveyed on their knowledge and opinions relating to injectable ART, “including willingness to use it when it becomes available.” The study utilized generalized linear models to identify predictors of willingness to use injectable ART.
According to the report, among 1,023 women registered under a PVT program between 2017 and 2019, 385 (38%) were lost to follow-up, of which 22% were successfully traced and interviewed. The authors highlighted that only 25% of respondents had heard of injectable ART. Furthermore, 55% were “very willing” to use it, 40% were somewhat willing, and 5% were unwilling.
Overall, the authors summarized a “high willingness to use injectable ART,” especially when “associated with fears that ART tablets were a potential source of HIV status disclosure.” Widespread implementation could potentially improve the success of PVT programs for these populations.