Over 90% of
HIV infections in children are acquired through the mother-to-child transmission
route. Mother to child transmission can be prevented through use of efficacious
antiretroviral drug regimens and complete avoidance of breastfeeding. This study
evaluated the effectiveness of PMTCT program in Benue State, Nigeria.
Methods: This was a retrospective study of infants
and children perinatally exposed to HIV aged 6 weeks -18 months from Benue State,
Nigeria. 5734 consecutive sample of infants and children identified from the EID
laboratory register from January 2017-December 2017 were enrolled for this study.
The details of ARV therapy commencement for mother and baby, infant feeding choices,
and HIV PCR DNA test results were analyzed using SPSS version 20.
Result: 225 out of 5734 exposed babies tested
positive to HIV giving an overall prevalence of 3.9% (95% CI: 3.4 -4.4). When neither
mother nor baby received ARVs the prevalence was 33%; when only baby received ARVs
the prevalence was 10.8%; when only mother received ARVs the prevalence was 9.1%
and when both mother and baby received ARV for PMTCT the prevalence reduced to 1.5%.
Conclusions: This study has shown the usefulness
of ARVs as the single most important intervention in PMTCT. There was a high prevalence
of HIV among exposed children in our setting, especially if the mother and child
pairs did not receive any form of antiretroviral prophylaxis. Therefore, there is
need to expand antiretroviral coverage, ensure access of the PMTCT program, and
provide effective services to support infected children.
Keywords: prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, PMTCT,
HIV, antiretroviral prophylaxis.
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