Retrospective review of maternal HIV viral load electronic gatekeeping codes in South Africa

Siphesihle K. Mahanjana*, Tladi Ledibane, Gayle G. Sherman, Tanya Y. Murray, Ahmad F.Haeri Mazanderani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Maternal electronic gatekeeping (eGK) codes for HIV viral load (VL) testing of pregnant and breastfeeding women were developed to permit increased frequency of maternal HIV VL testing without automated gatekeeping cancellation, and to enable virological surveillance.

OBJECTIVES: This study describes the national uptake of maternal eGK codes and VL suppression (VLS) rates disaggregated by age during antenatal, delivery and postnatal periods in South Africa during 2022.

METHOD: HIV VL tests associated with C#PMTCT (used for antenatal and postnatal testing) and C#DELIVERY (used at delivery) eGK codes between 01 January and 31 December 2022, were extracted from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases Data Warehouse. Uptake of eGK codes was calculated using indicators from the District Health Information System as denominators while HIV VLS rates (< 1000 copies/mL) were calculated as monthly and annual percentages.

RESULTS: Overall, national maternal eGK code uptake was 41.8%, 24.5% and 0.12% for the antenatal, delivery and postnatal periods, respectively. The monthly antenatal eGK uptake increased from 27.5% to 58.5% while delivery uptake increased from 17.3% to 30.0%. The overall annual maternal HIV VLS rate was 86.7% antenatally and 87.2% during delivery. The monthly average HIV VLS for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) was 76.1% antenatally and 79.6% during delivery.

CONCLUSION: Although overall national uptake of maternal HIV VL eGK codes was low, antenatal and delivery uptake improved over time, thereby facilitating use of eGK codes for programmatic monitoring of maternal VLS rates for the first time. Quality of care among pregnant AGYW requires urgent attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1539
JournalSouthern African Journal of HIV Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • electronic gatekeeping codes
  • maternal HIV
  • surveillance
  • vertical transmission prevention
  • viral load


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