Male involvement for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission: A brief review of initiatives in East, West, and Central Africa.


Current trends in HIV/AIDS research in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) highlight socially and culturally sensitive interventions that mobilize community members and resources for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care services. These factors are particularly important when addressing the complex social and cultural nature of implementing services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). Across the globe approximately 34 % fewer children were infected with HIV through the perinatal or breastfeeding route in 2011 (est. 330,000) than in 2001 (est. 500,000), but ongoing mother-to-child HIV transmission is concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, where fully 90 % of 2011 cases are estimated to have occurred. Recent literature suggests that PMTCT in Africa is optimized when interventions engage and empower community members, including male partners, to support program implementation and confront the social, cultural and economic barriers that facilitate continued vertical transmission of HIV. In resource-limited settings the feasibility and sustainability of PMTCT programs require innovative approaches to strengthening male engagement by leveraging lessons learned from successful initiatives in SSA. This review presents an overview of studies assessing barriers and facilitators of male participation in PMTCT and new interventions designed to increase male engagement in East, West, and Central Africa from 2000-2013, and examines the inclusion of men in PMTCT programs through the lens of community and facility activities that promote the engagement and involvement of both men and women in transformative PMTCT initiatives.