South Africa has more HIV/AIDS patients than any other country and is home to the world’s largest antiretroviral program. According to the World Bank, as of 2018 the prevalence of HIV among South Africans ages 15 to 49 was 20.4%. Nearly one in three pregnant women attending antenatal care in South Africa is living with HIV. As South Africans with HIV move around the country, there is a risk they will disengage from the health care system or otherwise become lost to follow-up care.
Research led by Vanderbilt investigators found nearly 40% of HIV-exposed infants in low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMIC) were not in care at 18 months of age or had died. Despite the availability and progress of HIV prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programs which includes postpartum follow-up of HIV-positive mothers and their HIV-exposed infants, many infants do not remain engaged in early infant diagnosis (EID) services that are essential to optimal health outcomes.
In 2017, according to UNAIDS, more than 90% of HIV-positive pregnant women accessed antiretroviral (ART) medicines to prevent mother-to child transmission of HIV in Southern Africa, and recent research suggests access and adherence to ART remains high during pregnancy due in part to the scale up of national antenatal (ANC) and ART care clinics. Engagement in HIV care after delivery, however, can be challenging.
Vanderbilt faculty from across campus will have a strong presence at the 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). In particular, VIGH core faculty Muktar Aliyu M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H and Kate Clouse Ph.D., M.P.H. and VIGH affiliated faculty will be presenting their work on optimizing the PMTCT cascade. See more details about their work and other Vanderbilt researchers below: