Group antenatal care for improving retention of adolescent and young pregnant women living with HIV in Kenya

Teasdale, Chloe A.; Odondi, Judith; Kidiga, Catherine; Choy, Michelle; Fayorsey, Ruby; Ngeno, Bernadette; Ochanda, Boniface; Langat, Agnes; Ngugi, Catherine; Callahan, Tegan; Modi, Surbhi; Hawken, Mark; Odera, Doris; Abrams, Elaine J.

Pregnant and breastfeeding adolescents and young women living with HIV (AYWLH) have lower retention in prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services compared to older women.

We evaluated a differentiated service model for pregnant and postnatal AYWLH at seven health facilities in western Kenya aimed at improving retention in antiretroviral treatment (ART) services. All pregnant AYWLH < 25 years presenting for antenatal care (ANC) were invited to participate in group ANC visits including self-care and peer-led support sessions conducted by health facility nurses per national guidelines. ART register data were used to assess loss to follow-up (LTFU) among newly-enrolled pregnant adolescent (< 20 years) and young women (20–24 years) living with HIV starting ART in the pre-period (January-December 2016) and post-period (during implementation; December 2017-January 2019). Poisson regression models compared LTFU incidence rate ratios (IRR) in the first six months after PMTCT enrollment and risk ratios compared uptake of six week testing for HIV-exposed infants (HEI) between the pre- and post-periods.

In the pre-period, 223 (63.2%) of 353 pregnant AYWLH newly enrolled in ANC had ART data, while 320 (71.1%) of 450 in the post-period had ART data (p = 0.02). A higher proportion of women in the post-period (62.8%) had known HIV-positive status at first ANC visit compared to 49.3% in the pre-period (p < 0.001). Among pregnant AYWLH < 20 years, the incidence rate of LTFU in the first six months after enrollment in ANC services declined from 2.36 per 100 person months (95%CI 1.06–5.25) in the pre-period to 1.41 per 100 person months (95%CI 0.53–3.77) in the post-period. In both univariable and multivariable analysis, AYWLH < 20 years in the post-period were almost 40% less likely to be LTFU compared to the pre-period, although this finding did not meet the threshold for statistical significance (adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.62, 95%CI 0.38–1.01, p = 0.057). Testing for HEI was 10% higher overall in the post-period (adjusted risk ratio 1.10, 95%CI 1.01–1.21, p = 0.04).

Interventions are urgently needed to improve outcomes among pregnant and postnatal AYWLH. We observed a trend towards increased retention among pregnant adolescents during our intervention and a statistically significant increase in uptake of six week HEI testing.


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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

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Published Here
August 10, 2022


Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Group antenatal care, Retention, Antiretroviral therapy, Adolescent pregnancy