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Longitudinal adherence to maternal antiretroviral therapy and infant Nevirapine prophylaxis from 6 weeks to 18 months postpartum amongst a cohort of mothers and infants in South Africa
  • Published Date:
    September 16 2019
  • Source:
    BMC Infect Dis. 19(Suppl 1)
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-589.18 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    BMC Infect Dis
  • Description:

    Despite improved policies to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT), adherence to maternal antiretroviral therapy (ART) and infant Nevirapine prophylaxis (NVP) is low in South Africa. We describe ART adherence amongst a cohort of HIV-positive mothers and HIV-exposed but uninfected infants from 6 weeks until 18 months post-delivery and identify risk factors for nonadherence.


    Data were collected in 2012–2014 through a nationally representative survey of PMTCT effectiveness. Mother-infant pairs were enrolled during the infant’s first immunization visit at 6 weeks. Mothers and HIV-exposed infants (2811 pairs) were followed to 18 months at 3-month intervals. Mothers who self-reported being on ART at 6 weeks postpartum (N = 1572 (55.9%)) and infants on NVP at 6 weeks (N = 2370 (84.3%)) were eligible for this analysis and information about their adherence was captured at each interview they attended thereafter. We defined nonadherence within each 3-month interval as self-report of missing > 5% of daily ART/NVP doses, estimated adherence using a Cox survival curve with Andersen & Gill setup for recurring events, and identified risk factors for nonadherence with an extended Cox regression model (separately for mothers and infants) in Stata 13. Results are not nationally representative as this is a subgroup analysis of the follow-up cohort.


    Amongst mothers on ART at 6 weeks postpartum, cumulative adherence to maternal ART until 18 months was 63.4%. Among infants on NPV at 6 weeks postpartum, adherence to NVP was 74.5%.. Risk factors for nonadherence to maternal ART, controlling for other factors, included mother’s age (16–24 years vs. ≥34 years, adjusted Hazard Ratio (aHR): 1.9, 95% CI: 1.4–2.5), nondisclosure of HIV status to anyone (nondisclosure vs. disclosure: aHR: 1.7, 95% CI: 1.3–2.1), and timing of ART initiation (initiated ART after delivery vs. initiated ART before delivery: aHR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.3–2.0). Provincial variation was seen in nonadherence to infant NVP, controlling for other factors.


    Maintaining ART adherence until 18 months postpartum remains a crucial challenge, with maternal ART adherence among the six week maternal ART cohort below 65% and infant NVP adherence among breastfeeding infants in this cohort below 75%.This is gravely concerning, given the global policy shift to lifelong ART amongst pregnant and lactating women, and the need for extended infant prophylaxis amongst mothers who are not virally suppressed. Our findings suggest that young mothers and mothers who do not disclose their status should be targeted with messages to improve adherence, and that late maternal ART initiation (after delivery) increases the risk of maternal nonadherence.

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