Global WACh

March 29, 2022

New publication on implementation of HIV retesting guidelines for pregnant and postpartum women in Kenya

The February 2022 edition of Global Health: Science and Practice features a new publication by UW Global WACh students, Monalisa Penumetsa (DGH MPH alumni) and Epidemiology PhD student Jillian Neary, and faculty (Drs. Alison Drake and Grace John-Stewart)– “Implementation of HIV Retesting During Pregnancy and Postpartum in Kenya: A Cross Sectional Study.” The study aimed to measure the prevalence of maternal HIV retesting in Kenya, and HIV incidence among Kenyan mothers.

The World Health Organization, and national Kenyan guidelines, recommend HIV retesting for pregnant and postpartum women to find and treat women living with HIV who have an incident HIV infection. This approach is an effective way to reduce risk of passing HIV to the baby, and link mothers to HIV care and treatment. While prior studies have measured HIV retesting in pregnancy, they have not assessed whether retesting occurs beyond pregnancy.  This study was unique in that retesting was measuring both during pregnancy and throughout the postpartum period, and was able to determine adherence to complete retesting guidelines. This cross-sectional study found that retesting was less common during pregnancy and delivery than during the postpartum period, yet HIV incidence was higher in pregnancy. The gaps in retesting during pregnancy represent missed opportunities to capture incident HIV infection and increase risks of transmission to the baby. Therefore, efforts to improve HIV retesting during pregnancy are warranted.

We congratulate the research team for concluding this study!

Read the full study here.