Integration of HIV infant testing into immunization programmes: a systematic review

Paediatr Int Child Health. 2014 Dec 26:2046905514Y0000000169. doi: 10.1179/2046905514Y.0000000169. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: Integration of HIV infant testing into immunization sessions is one of the strategies designed to increase coverage of early infant diagnosis. Objective: To determine the evidence on the outcomes of such integration. Methods: A systematic review of peer-reviewed and grey literature was undertaken from electronic sources such as MEDLINE, Google Scholar, websites of international agencies, past conferences and ministries of health reports published between year 2002 and 2013. Randomized controlled trials, observational and qualitative studies were searched and those meeting selection criteria were selected and relevant information extracted using structured tool. Statistical pooling was not possible owing to the heterogeneity of the study designs and outcome measures. Results: Of the nine articles which met the selection criteria, none used a randomized controlled design. Of these, five articles measured mother's acceptability of their infants being tested for HIV during its first pentavalent or DPT vaccination visit, and 89·5-100% accepted. Four articles reported the proportion of mothers who returned for HIV test results, ranging from 56·8% to 86·0%. Increased uptake of HIV testing following integration was confirmed by two articles. Only one study in Tanzania determined the uptake of vaccinations following integration, with urban facilities showing stable or slight increase of monthly vaccine uptake while decreases were observed across the rural sites. In two articles, stigma was perceived by service-providers and mothers as the potential risk following integration, particularly in rural settings. Discussion: Despite the limited number of articles, the findings in this systematic review suggest that HIV testing during immunization clinic visits is acceptable and feasible as a possible model for service delivery. However, the impact on vaccination uptake needs further study.

Keywords: HIV infant testing,; Immunization,; Integration.