How do we improve male partner involvement in prevention of mother to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in Nigeria?
Background: Recently, male partner involvement (MPI) has been advocated as a priority intervention in prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programs. This is pertinent if we must attain the World Health Organization (WHO) global goals to achieve “zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths” by 2020.
AIM: This study is aimed at evaluating the outcome of male partner involvement in counseling and testing in a single comprehensive HIV treatment and PMTCT site in southeastern Nigeria.
Method: Pregnant women (n = 2707) participating in PMTCT program at a health facility in Aba, Nigeria were encouraged by way of a written invitation and phone calls to inform and invite their partners for couple HIV counseling and testing (cHCT).
Results: A total of 1164 male partners (43%) presented for cHCT and 8 (0.7%) knew they were living with HIV, whilst 11(0.9%) learned of their HIV-seropositve status for the first time. Seven HIV seropositive men were serodiscordant with their female partners and and 10 HIV seronegative men had female partners who were HIV seropositive. Couple HIV counseling and testing resulted in significant decrease in unprotected sex and increase in partner disclosure (p <0.05).
Conclusion: Within PMTCT programs, counseling should emphasize the advantages of partner involvement to encourage women to inform and convince male partners to come for HCT.
Keywords: male partner, HIV, counseling, testing, PMTCT.
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