A study has revealed factors that can contribute to the success or failure of the prevention of parent to child transmission (PPTCT) of HIV.
That was highlighted yesterday during the scientific meeting of the Paediatric Society of PNG, which is part of the week-long medical symposium.
Dr Ian Kintwa, who spearheaded the study, said they started the study back in 2011 at the Mt Hagen General Hospital involving 251 babies who were exposed to HIV and newborns (0-6 weeks old).
“It (study) was carried out with the aim of identifying the factors associated with the success or failure of the PPTCT programme to children who are exposed to HIV virus.”
He said the study found that vertical transmission was the common mode of transmission of HIV to children apart from before birth (transplacental), during delivery and after birth when the babies are breast feeding.
“In the study, we have analysed factors like socio-demographics (age, residential status, province of origin and marital status), antenatal (pregnancy) status, HIV status and ART, which is given to persons living with HIV/AIDS and compliance of both parents and child to the treatment. We have identified some factors significantly associated with PPTCT outcome, which include unbooked antenatal clinic, PLWHIV on ART, mothers not on ART, mothers not compliant with ART, unsupervised delivery, fathers not on ART, babies not on ART and babies not compliant to ART.”
Kintwa said of the 251 babies who attended the PPTCT clinic, 169 were exposed to the virus and were assisted and supervised during ART treatment and breast feeding periods. He said the results were overwhelming.
“From the 169, 80 per cent were declared HIV negative whilst 20 per cent were positive,” he said.
“The factors associated with the 80 per cent success rate were that booked mothers received early antenatal care, fathers were on ART and both spouses were compliant to their treatment.
“Mothers had supervised deliveries and infants were commenced on ART after birth.”
He said PPTCT of HIV was an important strategy in achieving zero new parent to child HIV transmission.
“The most important variable found was that, being on ART increased the chances of becoming HIV free.”