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Involving partners of pregnant women in Africa to improve AIDS prevention
Date:4/28/2008

be followed-up over the same period.

This long-term monitoring and counselling showed that counselling and prenatal testing for HIV improved the impact of prevention campaigns, even where women had refused to be tested. Furthermore, in order better to help HIV-infected women make the difficult step of disclosing their HIV status to their spouse, the IRD team identified the moments these women chose as the best time to tell him. For two-thirds of them disclosure was made just before delivery, during early weaning for those who breast-feed their child, or several months after delivery on resumption of sexual activity. These results showed that psychosocial support provided for HIV-positive women during these three key moments helped them to handle their infection better in the context of their conjugal life while making prenatal testing more acceptable.

The study showed that AIDS screening provision is beneficial, whatever decision the women take. Among those who refused the test, 8 out of 10 discussed the matter with their partner and suggested that he underwent the test. When the male partner did so, his decision strongly influenced the fact that the woman in her turn agreed to testing. Indeed 20% of the women who had initially refused changed their mind at the end of the monitoring period.

In the light of the results, which illustrate a change in attitudes in African societies, future prevention programmes will certainly have to target more strongly the involvement of male partners. Whereas 20 years ago, most marriages celebrated in Africa still set the seal to the joining together of the lands of two families, with no possibilities for opposition by the two spouses, the continent is seeing an increasing number of couples whose union is chosen by mutual consent, hence marked by strong matrimonial bonds which allow the couple to face up to the discovery that one of them is HIV-positive. However, such couples are coexisting with others who a
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Contact: Gregory Flechet
fichesactu@paris.ird.fr
33-014-803-7607
Institut de Recherche Pour le Dveloppement
Source:Eurekalert

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