Attitudes and Practices of Obstetric Care Providers in Kabul, Afghanistan Regarding Antenatal Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infection

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ObjectiveTo determine attitudes toward and utilization of testing for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B among obstetric care providers in Kabul, Afghanistan.DesignCross-sectional survey.SettingThree public maternity hospitals in Kabul, Afghanistan.ParticipantsOne hundred and fourteen (114) doctors and midwives.Main Outcome MeasurePrevalence and correlates of ever having tested patients for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B and agreement with statements concerning attitudes toward testing and care.ResultsLess than half of the patient care providers surveyed had previously tested a patient for HIV, syphilis, or hepatitis B. Presumed rarity of these infections in Afghanistan was the most frequently stated reason for not testing, although many midwives stated that they did not have the authority to order tests. Most providers supported testing to promote neonatal health, but some midwives expressed concern regarding patient and family perceptions.ConclusionsDue to logistical and cultural barriers, obstetric care providers underutilize testing for antenatal patients in Afghanistan. Improved training, empowerment of female providers, and availability of rapid testing are needed.

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