Prevention of vertical transmission of HIV in India through service integration: lessons from Mysore District, Karnataka

WHO South East Asia J Public Health. Apr-Jun 2013;2(2):121-127. doi: 10.4103/2224-3151.122949.


Meeting the needs of HIV-positive pregnant women and their offspring is critical to India's political and financial commitment to achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This review of the strategy to prevent vertical transmission of HIV in Mysore district, Karnataka, highlights the need to integrate prevention of parent-to-child transmission (PPTCT) and reproductive and child health (RCH) services. All key officials who were involved in the integration of services at the state and district levels were interviewed by use of semistructured protocols. Policy documents and guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare and Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society were reviewed, as were records and official orders issued by the office of District Health and Family Welfare Officer and District HIV/AIDS Programme Office, Mysore. Routine data were also collected from all health facilities. This review found that 4.5 years of PPTCT-RCH integration resulted not only in a rise in antenatal registrations but also in almost all pregnant women counselled during antenatal care undergoing HIV tests. Based on the findings, we propose recommendations for successful replication of this strategy. Integration of PPTCT services with RCH should take place at all levels - policy, administration, facility and community. The increased demand for HIV counselling and testing resulting from service integration must be met by skilled human resources, sufficient facilities and adequate funds at the facility level.