Objective: To identify factors associated with failure to return for HIV post-test counselling in pregnant women in Kigali (Rwanda).
Subjects and methods: In the context of a study on the impact of HIV infection on pregnancy, HIV-1-antibody testing was offered to all pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic of the Centre Hospitalier de Kigali from July 1992 to August 1993. Pre-test counselling was performed after verbal informed consent was obtained. Two weeks later, we formally enrolled all HIV-positive women and a corresponding number of HIV-negative women in a cohort. At this visit, post-test counselling was given to those wishing to be informed of their HIV serostatus. Level of knowledge about modes of HIV transmission and condom use were recorded. Four months after delivery, another interview was conducted to determine the proportion of women who used condoms regularly.
Results: A total of 1233 pregnant women were screened. The HIV seroprevalence was 34.4% [95% confidence interval (CI), 31.7-37.1]; 271 (63.9%) out of 424 HIV-positive and 577 (71.3%) out of 809 HIV-negative women asked for their HIV serostatus (P = 0.008). In multivariate analysis, the only variable significantly associated with failure to return for post-test counselling was a positive HIV test result (odds ratio, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.5-0.9; P = 0.009), independently of obstetrical history and socioeconomic characteristics. Among the 848 women who had post-test counselling, 50.9% of the HIV-positive women and 94.6% of the HIV-negative women stated that they planned to inform their partner of their serostatus (P = 0.0001). More than 95% of the women interviewed knew about sexual and parenteral transmission of HIV, but half were unaware of mother-to-child transmission. More than 80% of the women had seen a condom before, but 14% only had used it at least once. Among women who were sexually active 4 months after delivery, 8.8% of the HIV-positive and 3.9% of the HIV-negative women reported using a condom (P = 0.04).
Conclusion: Innovative approaches for HIV testing and counselling programs are needed and the importance of psychosocial and cultural factors associated with HIV testing should be emphasized in African populations.