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Trends in the uptake of Antenatal Voluntary Counselling and Testing for HIV and HIV Prevalence among Childbearing Women in Barbados, 1993–2004: Evidence to Gauge the Effectiveness of HIV Prevention Measures

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Objectives: To describe the long term trends on the uptake of antenatal voluntary counselling and
testing (VCT) for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and on the HIV prevalence among pregnant
women. These data were used to gauge the impact of the National Acquired Immunodeficiency
Syndrome (AIDS) Intervention Programme on preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in

Methods: This was a population based study. Data for this report were drawn from the HIV
Surveillance Programme for the mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The study population comprised
all pregnant women who attended the various antenatal care clinics throughout Barbados during the
period between 1993 and 2004.

Result: The uptake of the VCT for HIV among the pregnant women in Barbados has increased from
39.9% in 1993 to over 89.7% in 2004 (p < 0.0001). Mean annual HIV prevalence decreased from 10.53
per thousand women screened in 1993–1996 to 8.23 during 2001–2004 (p = 0.121). Mean annual
incidence rate of newly diagnosed HIV infection among the pregnant women declined from 8.83 per
thousand women screened during 1993–1996 to 4.53 per thousand pregnant women screened during
2001–2004 (p = 0.004). Mean annual incidence rate of newly diagnosed HIV infection among the
pregnant women aged less than 25 years during the corresponding period declined from 10.17 per
thousand women aged less than 25 years screened to 4.75 per thousand women screened (p = 0.003).

Conclusion: There has been a significant decline in the prevalence and incidence of HIV since the late-
1990s. Although new infections are still occurring, the numbers are small. The decline may partly be
explained by the impact of PMTCT and the general preventive measures on the spread of HIV among
this population.

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e-Published: 01 Jul, 2013
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