Mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Kenya: results from a nationally representative study

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2014 May 1;66 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S66-74. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000115.


Background: Kenya has an estimated 13,000 new infant HIV infections that occur annually. We measured the burden of HIV infection among women of childbearing age and assessed access to and coverage of key prevention of mother-to-child transmission interventions.

Methods: The second Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey was a nationally representative 2-stage cluster sample of households. We analyzed data from women aged 15-54 years who had delivered a newborn within the preceding 5 years and from whom we obtained samples for HIV testing.

Results: Of 3310 women who had ≥1 live birth in the preceding 5 years, 2862 (86.5%) consented to HIV testing in the survey, and 171 (6.1%) were found to be infected. Ninety-five percent received prenatal care, 93.1% were screened for HIV during prenatal care, and of those screened, 97.8% received their test results. Seventy-six women were known to be infected in their last pregnancy. Of these, 54 (72.3%) received antepartum antiretroviral prophylaxis, and 51 (69.1%) received intrapartum prophylaxis; 56 (75.3%) reported their newborns received postpartum prophylaxis. Of the 76 children born to these mothers, 63 (82.5%) were tested for HIV at the first immunization visit or thereafter, and 8 (15.1%) were HIV infected.

Conclusions: We found a substantial burden of HIV in Kenyan women of childbearing age and a cumulative 5-year mother-to-child transmission rate of 15%. Although screening has improved over the past 5 years, fewer than three-quarters of infected pregnant women are receiving antiretroviral prophylaxis. Universal antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected pregnant women will be essential in achieving Kenyan's target to eliminate mother-to-child transmission to <5% by 2015.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / diagnosis
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / transmission*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Live Birth
  • Middle Aged
  • Perinatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimesters
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents