Perceptions and experiences of participating in PMTCT option B plus: An explorative study on HIV-positive pregnant women in Eswatini

Nompilo Dlamini, Busisiwe Ntuli*, Sphiwe Madiba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Eswatini has adopted the PMTCT Option B+ approach as a strategy for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Objective: This study aimed to explore how pregnant Swazi women perceived and experienced PMTCT Option B+ and examined challenges they faced in disclosing their HIV status to their male partners. Methods: We interviewed 15 HIV-positive pregnant women selected using purposeful sampling from the PMTCT programme in Manzini Region, Eswatini. The data were analysed thematically. Results: The women had to deal with the pregnancy, the HIV-positive test results, the immediacy of the antiretroviral treatment (ART), and disclosure issues, all in one visit. They perceived the mandatory HIV testing and the same-day ART initiation as coercive. Regardless, they perceived PMTCT in a positive manner and as a gateway to early treatment for them. The drive to enroll in and remain in PMTCT was motivated by the belief in the efficacy of ART and the desire to protect their unborn babies from HIV infection. Their anticipation of rejection and violence from their partners led to their delaying disclosure and initiation of ART. Following disclosure, some of them were stigmatised, blamed for the infection, and abandoned by their partners. Conclusion: As Eswatini continues to roll out Option B+, there is a need to consider providing individualised counselling sessions to meet the individual needs of women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-434
Number of pages10
JournalOpen Public Health Journal
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Disclosure
  • Eswatini
  • Experiences
  • HIV
  • Lifelong ART
  • PMTCT OptionB+
  • Pregnant women

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