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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Science in Tropical and Infectious diseases
Title Knowledge, attitude and uptake of antiretroviral therapy for HIV prevention among discordant couples: Pumwani Maternity Hospital cohort
URL http://erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/bitstream/handle/11295/76714/Atambo_Knowledge, attitude and uptake of​antiretroviral therapy for HIV prevention among discordant couples.pdf?sequence=3
Background: The consistent use of a combination of antiretroviral drugs referred to as
Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) has been shown to reduce the viral load in
body fluids especially in blood and genital secretions.This has great implications as the HIV
virus is spread mainly through sexual contacts. In discordant couples where one partner is
HIV seropositive, the HIV negative partner is constantly exposed through sex and hence at a
high risk of HIV acquisition. However, early initiation of HAART on the HIV infected
partner could be beneficial to the HIV negative individual in the discordant relationship. This
could be achieved through the adoption of Treatment as prevention(TaSP), a strategy whose
aim is to initiate use of antiretroviral drugs as early as possible regardless of the CD4+
count. This concept aims at treating the HIV positive partner at the point of diagnosis
regardless of the disease stage.
Objectives:The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices
regarding the uptake of treatment as prevention in a cohort of discordant couples.The study
seeked to examine the participants knowledge in terms of HIV transmission methods and
HIV preventive measures. We also assessed the couples attitudes towards high risk
behaviours, determined their sexual practices and finally the reasons for/ or against the use of
antiretrovirals for HIV prevention.
Methodology: This was a cross sectional study that focussed on the knowledge, attitudes
and practices among the discordant couples enrolled at the Pumwani cohort, Nairobi.
Standardized questionnaires were used to collect data from the Pumwani discordant couples
cohort until the sample size for the study was reached. Focus group discussions were also
utilized to gather qualitative information on use of HAART for treatment as prevention from
randomly selected discordant couples.
Collected data was then enterered into a secured database, cleaned and then exported into
SPSS Version 2.0 for analysis.
Results: A total of 338 participants who were in a discordant relationship were enrolled into
the study. Most of the participants, 320 (95.2%) knew about the availability of antiretroviral
drugs while 16 (4.8%) had not heard of them . However, only 94(27.7%) could correctly
name an antiretroviral drug. Majority of them, about 245(72.27%) could not name any drug.
About 119 (40.9%) of them reported 350 CD4+ cells/ml as the best level to initiate
antiretroviral treatment.. Most of the respondents 291(87.4%) reported antiretroviral drugs as
being safe for use but 136(40.2%) of the participants noted that the drugs had intolerable side
effects. Majority 289 (87%) of them affirmed that they would be able to use the drugs
regularly and consistently. More than half of the respondents, 192(56.8%) had not heard of
the treatment as prevention therapy while 178(54.4%) had not heard of the pre-exposure
prophylaxis. Interestingly175 (53.2%) knew about Post Exposure Prophylaxis therapy.
Majority of the respondents, 289(85.5%) reported that they would use the drugs for
Treatment as Prevention if initiated on treatment.
Conclusion: Majority of discordant couples in this study knew about the existence of
antiretrovirals though only a few of them were able to name the specific drugs. Howeverless
than half knew about t Treatment as Prevention concept and this could explain the poor
uptake of this HIV prevention strategy at the Pumwani and Baba Dogo health facilities.
Besides majority of those in discordant relationship did not perceive themselves at high risk
of HIV acquisition Greater efforts should therefore be put into education on HIV risk
perception in addition to demand creation for treatment as prevention as a novel strategy and
a priority among discordant couples.

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