PMTCT Service Uptake Among Adolescents and Adult Women Attending Antenatal Care in Selected Health Facilities in Zimbabwe

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Age-disaggregated analyses of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program data to assess the uptake of HIV services by pregnant adolescent women are limited but are critical to understanding the unique needs of this vulnerable high-risk population.


We conducted a retrospective analysis of patient-level PMTCT data collected from 2011 to 2013 in 36 health facilities in 5 districts of Zimbabwe using an electronic database. We compared uptake proportions for PMTCT services between adolescent (≤19 years) and adult (>19 years) women. Multivariable binomial regression analysis was used to estimate the association of the women's age group with each PMTCT service indicator.


The study analyzed data from 22,215 women aged 12–50 years (22.5% adolescents). Adolescents were more likely to present to antenatal care (ANC) before 14 weeks of gestational age compared with older women [adjusted relative risk (aRR) = 1.34; 95% confidence interval: 1.22 to 1.47] with equally low rates of completion of 4 ANC visits. Adolescents were less likely to present with known HIV status (aRR = 0.34; 95% confidence interval: 0.29 to 0.41) but equally likely to be HIV tested in ANC. HIV prevalence was 5.5% in adolescents vs 20.1% in adults. While >84% of both HIV-positive groups received antiretroviral drugs for PMTCT, 44% of eligible adolescents were initiated on antiretroviral therapy vs 51.3% of eligible adults, though not statistically significant.


Pregnant adolescents must be a priority for primary HIV prevention services and expanded HIV treatment services among pregnant women to achieve an AIDS-free generation in Zimbabwe and similar high HIV burden countries.

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