High mobile phone ownership, but low Internet and email usage among pregnant, HIV-infected women attending antenatal care in Johannesburg

J Telemed Telecare. 2015 Mar;21(2):104-7. doi: 10.1177/1357633X14566569. Epub 2015 Jan 13.


We investigated mobile phone usage amongst HIV-positive pregnant women attending antenatal services in a primary care clinic in Johannesburg (n = 50). We conducted a semi-structured interview and asked them about their mobile phone, Internet and email use. The median age of the women was 28 years, 36% had moved one or more times in the past year, and most were employed or recently employed, albeit earning low wages. Nearly all women (94%) reported that they did not share their phone and 76% of the SIM cards were registered to the woman herself. The median time with the current phone was one year (range 1 month-6 years) and the median time with the current phone number was three years (range 1 month-13 years). Even though 42% of the participants were from outside South Africa, they all had mobile phone numbers local to South Africa. About one-third of respondents reported Internet use (30%) and about one-fifth reported using email (18%). Overall, 20% accessed the Internet and 10% accessed email on their mobile phone. Mobile phone interventions are feasible amongst HIV-positive pregnant women and may be useful in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). Email and Internet-based interventions may not yet be appropriate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronic Mail / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Maternal Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult