Challenges encountered by human immunodeficiency virus positive pregnant women on taking antiretrovirals in a public health unit of the Manzini region, Swaziland

Trusty L. Mbatha, Debbie SK. Habedi


In Swaziland, the Ministry of Health adopted the prevention of mother-to-transmission (PMTCT) Option A as a feasible and less costly way to expand the PMTCT services nationwide. Despite major success since the programme started, some barriers, such as the challenge of follow-up care for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive pregnant mothers still exist. The present study aimed to describe the challenges that HIV-positive pregnant mothers encountered on taking antiretrovirals (ARVs) in a health unit of the Manzini region, Swaziland. A qualitative, exploratory and descriptive research design was used, and data were collected through semi-structured individual interviews and field notes. Purposive sampling was used to select the study site and the population. Permission was requested from the participants to record the interviews. The study population were HIV-positive pregnant mothers, aged between 18 and 40 years, which were enrolled in the PMTCT B+ programme. The PMTCT B+ programme was perceived as preventing the transfer of HIV transmission from mother to child. It boosts the mother’s immune system, prevents opportunistic infections and prolongs life. Challenges of taking ARVs emerged as a theme. The participants displayed knowledge and understanding of the programme, yet discrimination and no support from families and partners were mentioned. (Afr J Reprod Health 2022; 26[5]: 41-49).

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