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Young Women's Knowledge and Utilization of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV Services: Is There Any Relationship?

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PURPOSE: To determine knowledge and practices of young women on utilization of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIVservices.

DESIGN: A cross-section descriptive study that used quantitative and qualitative data analysis methodologies.

FINDINGS: Knowledge of PMTCT of HIV among respondents was universal. All respondents (100%, N = 184) stated that utilization of PMTCT services reduces transmission of HIV from mother to child. Respondents knew that HIV transmission can be reduced with exclusive breastfeeding (93%, n = 172), abrupt weaning at 6 months (44%, n = 81), taking single-dose nevirapine (SD-NVP; 43%, n = 79), and giving NVP to the baby (65%, n = 120). Very few respondents (4%, n = 7) stated that avoiding pregnancy is one way of preventing HIV transmission and that a mother who is HIV positive who has received SD-NVP or antiretroviral (ARV) therapy can still deliver a baby who is HIV positive. Actual practice was very low; only 14% breastfed exclusively and only 3% weaned their babies abruptly. Although all the 184 mothers were given NVP to take at onset of labor, very few respondents (22%) took NVP as recommended. Although it was recommended that all babies take NVP at birth and within 72 hr of birth, only 58% of the babies received NVP as recommended and only 3% of the women avoided pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: There was a big discrepancy between knowledge and practice of PMTCT services. Culture was the major barrier because traditionally, babies are expected to be breastfed and supplements are fed to babies, too. Most mothers did not adhere to the taking of NVP at onset of labor. Therefore, there is a need to mobilize communities on PMTCT of HIV. The HIV education programmes should emphasize behavior-change interventions and should focus on both men and women, their partners, and significant others. There is also need to intensify monitoring and evaluation of health workers' activities to ensure that knowledge is put into practice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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