AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 1824–1832 | Cite as

Vulnerable at Each Step in the PMTCT Care Cascade: High Loss to Follow Up During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period in Tanzania

  • Cody Cichowitz
  • Festo Mazuguni
  • Linda Minja
  • Prosper Njau
  • Gretchen Antelman
  • James Ngocho
  • Brandon A. Knettel
  • Melissa H. Watt
  • Blandina T. MmbagaEmail author
Original Paper


In 2013, Tanzania adopted the World Health Organization’s Option B+ guidelines for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), whereby all HIV-infected pregnant women initiate lifelong antiretroviral therapy. This study examined retention in PMTCT across critical junctures in the care continuum. This was a retrospective study of patient-level data for a cohort of women enrolled in PMTCT during the first year of Option B+ in Tanzania. Retention in care was described across three periods: (1) the first month of antenatal care (ANC), (2) pregnancy, and (3) the postpartum period. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with loss to follow up (LTFU) during the first month of ANC. Survival analyses were used to identify factors associated with LTFU during pregnancy and the postpartum periods. 650 participants were included in the cohort; 262 (40.3%) were newly diagnosed with HIV. Two years after delivery, 383/650 (58.7%) were LTFU. Of the 383 LTFU, 73 (19.1%) were lost during the first month of ANC, 44 (11.5%) during pregnancy, and 266 (69.5%) after delivery. Being newly diagnosed with HIV predicted higher LTFU during the first month of ANC (aOR 1.76; 95% CI 1.06–2.94) and faster time to LTFU during the postpartum period (adjusted relative time, 0.68; 95% CI 0.51–0.89). High LTFU occurred across the PMTCT continuum, including immediately after enrollment into ANC and the postpartum period. Ongoing research is needed to encourage treatment uptake and sustained engagement after delivery.


PMTCT HIV Retention in care LTFU Option B+ Tanzania 



This study was supported by a grant from the NIH National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID): Postpartum HIV care engagement in the context of Option B+ in Tanzania (R21 AI124344, MPI Watt/Mmbaga). Additionally, this work was supported in part by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through a grant supporting the Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellows Program at Duke University; Cody Cichowitz is a Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellow. Finally, we acknowledge support received from the Duke Center for AIDS Research (P30 AI064518). None of the funders had any involvement in the study or the preparation of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.

Supplementary material

10461_2018_2298_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cody Cichowitz
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Festo Mazuguni
    • 3
  • Linda Minja
    • 4
  • Prosper Njau
    • 3
    • 5
  • Gretchen Antelman
    • 6
  • James Ngocho
    • 3
    • 4
  • Brandon A. Knettel
    • 1
  • Melissa H. Watt
    • 1
  • Blandina T. Mmbaga
    • 4
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Duke Global Health InstituteDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University CollegeMoshiTanzania
  4. 4.Kilimanjaro Clinical Research InstituteMoshiTanzania
  5. 5.Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission HIV and National AIDS Control Program, Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and ChildrenDar es SalaamTanzania
  6. 6.Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS FoundationDar es SalaamTanzania
  7. 7.Kilimanjaro Christian Medical CentreMoshiTanzania

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