Objectives We investigated whether a woman's role in household decision-making was associated with receipt of services to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT). Methods We conducted a secondary analysis of the PEARL study, an evaluation of PMTCT effectiveness in Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa, and Zambia. Our exposure of interest was the women's role (active vs. not active) in decision-making about her healthcare, large household purchases, children's schooling, and children's healthcare (i.e., four domains). Our primary outcomes were self-reported engagement at three steps in PMTCT: maternal antiretroviral use, infant antiretroviral prophylaxis, and infant HIV testing. Associations found to be significant in univariable logistic regression were included in separate multivariable models. Results From 2008 to 2009, 613 HIV-infected women were surveyed and provided information about their decision-making roles. Of these, 272 (44.4%) women reported antiretroviral use; 281 (45.9%) reported infant antiretroviral prophylaxis; and 194 (31.7%) reported infant HIV testing. Women who reported an active role were more likely to utilize infant HIV testing services, across all four measured domains of decision-making (adjusted odds ratios [AORs] 2.00-2.89 all p < .05). However, associations between decision-making and antiretroviral use-for both mother and infant-were generally not significant. An exception was active decision-making in a woman's own healthcare and reported maternal antiretroviral use (AOR 1.69, p < 0.05). Conclusions for Practice Associations between decision-making and PMTCT engagement were inconsistent and may be related to specific characteristics of individual health-seeking behaviors. Interventions seeking to improve PMTCT uptake should consider the type of health-seeking behavior to better optimize health services.
Keywords: Children; Decision-making; Infant HIV testing; PMTCT cascade; Prevention; Women.