The Role of Prenatal Care and Systematic HIV Testing in Preventing Perinatal Transmission in Tanzania, 2011-2012
In 2012, the prevalence of HIV infection among Tanzanian women was 6.3%, and 18% of Tanzanian children were born infected with HIV. The purpose of this study was to determine the importance of prenatal care attendance on comprehensive knowledge of HIV mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), HIV testing and counseling, and awareness of HIV testing coverage services in Tanzania. The study population was Tanzanian women of childbearing. Guided by the health belief model, this cross-sectional survey design used secondary data from the 2011–2012 Tanzania Demographic Health Survey. Factors of interest were comprehensive knowledge of HIV MTCT, HIV testing and counseling, and awareness of HIV testing coverage services; the outcome was prenatal care visit (PNCV) attendance. Findings showed that 69% of women had their first PNCV in the second trimester, meaning fewer than four visits. Multinomial logistic regression modeling assessed the association between factors of interest and outcome. Findings denoted that the factors of interest after controlling for married versus never married, maternal age, and wealth were associated with PNCV. These findings have positive social change implications by informing efforts to identify at-risk pregnant women through systematic HIV testing and counseling for early medical intervention and encourage them to start their PNCVs as scheduled.