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Male involvement in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the context of partner testing in Goba town, Ethiopia: A facility-based cross-sectional study

MT Alemayehu
J Haidar


Background. Antenatal care (ANC) is an entry point for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), particularly when a man accompanies his spouse for voluntary counselling and testing (VCT), even though this seldom happens in Ethiopia. Objective. To study the role of male partners in improving PMTCT/ANC, which is essential to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission in this country. Our study focused on identifying barriers for the low involvement in PMTCT/ANC among male partners whose spouses received ANC. Methods. A total of 422 male partners in Goba town, Oromia regional state, Ethiopia, were recruited in September - October 2014 and enrolled by a systematic sampling method. A facility-based cross-sectional study and two focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted. Binary logistic regression and odds ratios were calculated to ascertain sociodemographic and other important information compared with the outcome variable and PMTCT/ANC, while the findings of the FGDs were grouped according to the emerging themes and analysed manually by means of a thematic approach. Results. The percentage of male partners (22.7%) accompanying their spouses for HIV testing and counselling at antenatal clinics improved three-fold when an invitation letter was introduced as a new initiative to increase male participation. Individuals in the age group 15 - 29 years (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 5.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.66 - 17.85), and whose duration of marriage was ˂5 years (AOR 5.6, 95% CI 1.83 - 17.30), were more likely to be tested than their referent groups. Men without a higher education (AOR 0.1, 95% CI 0.02 - 0.50), who disagreed with legal enforcement (AOR 0.1, 95% CI 0.07 - 0.32), were less likely to be tested, while those who did not notify their partners (AOR 8.4, 95% CI 1.92 - 37.12) were more likely to use the service. Being busy, proxy testing, fears of testing HIV-positive, neglecting the importance of VCT, and inadequate knowledge about the PMTCT/ANC programme were other barriers that came to the fore in the FGDs. Conclusion. Identified barriers have to be addressed, and helpful practices, such as using invitation letters to increase the uptake of the service by male partners, have to be instituted.

S Afr Med J 2017;107(10):864-870

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eISSN: 2078-5135
print ISSN: 0256-9574