Original Research

Knowledge and attitudes in the prevention of vertical transmission of HIV in referral hospitals

Patience D. Magugu, Melissa A. Lawler, Kimesh L. Naidoo
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 25, No 1 | a1553 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v25i1.1553 | © 2024 Patience D. Magugu, Melissa A. Lawler, Kimesh L. Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 November 2023 | Published: 11 June 2024

About the author(s)

Patience D. Magugu, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Melissa A. Lawler, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, Prince Mshyeni Memorial Hospital, Durban, South Africa
Kimesh L. Naidoo, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Prevention of HIV vertical transmission programmes (VTPs) in South Africa has decreased paediatric HIV. These programmes require integration in referral hospitals.

Objectives: To determine knowledge of and attitudes to the national VTP guidelines in staff from Obstetric and Paediatric disciplines at two referral hospitals.

Method: Using a cross-sectional design, a questionnaire to assess knowledge of the guidelines and attitudes (awareness, ease-of-use and non-silo practice, measuring integrated practice) was developed and validated locally. Using standard statistical analyses, data from these questionnaires were used to draw comparisons and determine factors associated with knowledge and attitudes.

Results: Of the 249 participants, 138 (55.4%) were in obstetrics, 125 (50.2%) were nurses, and 168 (67.5%) self-identified as junior staff. Knowledge scores were good, median score (Q1–Q3) was 91.7% (79.1–95.8), and higher in those who had discipline-specific training (P = 0.003). Junior staff (P = 0.002) had higher knowledge levels than senior staff. Most (80%) found the guidelines easy to use and had good awareness, which correlated with knowledge and training. Gaps included understanding of antenatal testing of HIV-negative women and timelines for neonatal HIV testing. Staff scored poorly on integrated practice; the median score (Q1–Q3) was 50% (33.3–58.3), which was inversely correlated with knowledge (r= –0.146, n = 249, P = 0.022).

Conclusion: Staff in referral hospitals appear to be practising within silos when implementing VTPs, and this may result in failures to ensure integrated practice. Regularised interdisciplinary and interprofessional training may be important to ensure the integrated implementation of VTPs in referral hospitals.


Keywords

HIV; paediatrics; obstetrics; prevention of HIV vertical transmission programmes; PMTCT

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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