Option A improved HIV-free infant survival and mother to child HIV transmission at 9–18 months in Zimbabwe

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We evaluated the impact of Option A on HIV-free infant survival and mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) in Zimbabwe.


Serial cross-sectional community-based serosurveys.


We analyzed serosurvey data collected in 2012 and 2014 among mother–infant pairs from catchment areas of 132 health facilities from five of 10 provinces in Zimbabwe. Eligible infants (alive or deceased) were born 9–18 months before each survey to mothers at least 16 years old. We randomly selected mother–infant pairs and conducted questionnaires, verbal autopsies, and collected blood samples. We estimated the HIV-free infant survival and MTCT rate within each catchment area and compared the 2012 and 2014 estimates using a paired t test and number of HIV infections averted because of the intervention.


We analyzed 7249 mother–infant pairs with viable maternal specimens collected in 2012 and 8551 in 2014. The mean difference in the catchment area level MTCT between 2014 and 2012 was −5.2 percentage points (95% confidence interval = −8.1, −2.3, P < 0.001). The mean difference in the catchment area level HIV-free survival was 5.5 percentage points (95% confidence interval = 2.6, 8.5, P < 0.001). Between 2012 and 2014, 1779 infant infections were averted compared with the pre-Option A regimen. The association between HIV-free infant survival and duration of Option A implementation was NS at the multivariate level (P = 0.093).


We found a substantial and statistically significant increase in HIV-free survival and decrease in MTCT among infants aged 9–18 months following Option A rollout in Zimbabwe. This is the only evaluation of Option A and shows the effectiveness of Option A and Zimbabwe's remarkable progress toward eMTCT.

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