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.
Last week in Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS), VIGH core faculty, James Carlucci, M.D., MPH (first author), and Kate Clouse, Ph.D., along with colleagues, published findings from their systematic review and meta‐analysis that determine the magnitude of attrition from EID programs. These results could serve as a benchmark for programmatic successes and weaknesses or provide useful data for HIV program directors in low- and middle-income countries and global policymakers.
This report is the largest and most comprehensive assessment of attrition of HIV‐exposed infants from early infant diagnosis programs to date. The findings underscore the urgent need for implementation research and resources to mitigate attrition and improve retention among this vulnerable population.