Introduction: Numerous challenges exist in provision of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) such as linking HIV exposed infants (HEI) and their mothers to chronic cares services, and tackling loss to follow up. Limited evidence exists in Ethiopian setting that explains the persisting high HIV infection rate among HEIs and extent of linkage to chronic care. The study assessed the proportion of HIV infection; children linked to chronic care and determinants of HIV infection among HEI in Northern Ethiopia. Methods: This institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted in health centers and hospitals of Amhara Region. A total of 484 HEI-mother pairs selected by multistage random sampling were included in the study. Data were collected from PMTCT and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) clinics using pre-tested and structured questionnaires. Quantitative data were entered in Epi Info version 7.0 and exported to SPSS 20.0 for analysis. Results: A total of 484 motherinfant pairs with a response rate of 92.4% were included in the analysis. About 94.2% of infants and women were linked to chronic care follow-up sometime after the diagnosis. The proportion of HIV infection was 12.4%. Antenatal care attendance had a significant association with HIV infection among HEI (p<0.0001). Delivering in health institution (p<0.005), mode of delivery (p<0.032), and provision of both infant (p<0.0001) and maternal (p<0.0001) prophylaxis showed a highly significant association with HIV infection among HIV exposed infants. Conclusion: Health facilities shall encourage antenatal care that increased institutional delivery, leads to timely initiation and high uptake of PMTCT to reduce the vertical transmission of HIV infection and meet national targets.
Pan African Medical Journal 2016; 24