Prevention and care of paediatric HIV infection in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: knowledge, attitudes and practices of the caregivers.
- HIV Clinical and Translational Research
BACKGROUND: The paediatric Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic still progresses because of operational challenges in implementing prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMCT) programs. We assessed the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of children's caregivers regarding mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, paediatric HIV infection, early infant diagnosis (EID), and paediatric antiretroviral treatment in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. METHODS: We undertook a qualitative survey in the four public hospitals managing HIV exposed or infected children, in Ouagadougou in 2011. A sociologist used a semi-structured questionnaire to interview caregivers of children less than 5 years old attending the paediatrics wards on their KAP. Study participants were divided into four groups as follows: those who did not yet know their children's HIV infection status, those who were waiting for their children's HIV test results, those who were waiting for antiretroviral treatment, and those who were already on antiretroviral treatment. RESULTS: A total of 37 caregivers were interviewed. The mean age was 32.5 years, and 29 (78 %) were mothers. Twenty seven (73 %) caregivers had primary or higher level of education, and 15 (40 %) described their occupation as "housewife". Overall, 36 (97 %) of caregivers knew that the main route of HIV transmission for infants was through MTCT and 14 (38 %) specified that it occurred during pregnancy or delivery. Five percent thought that MTCT of HIV occurred during conception. PMTCT interventions could help prevent infant HIV infection according to 32 (87 %) caregivers. Thirty five percent of caregivers stated EID as a prevention strategy. Fifty-four percent of the participants believed that replacement feeding option would prevent MTCT of HIV; 24 (65 %) stated that they would prefer medical practitioners seek caregivers' consent before carrying out any HIV-test for their child, and that caregivers' consent was not compulsory before antiretroviral treatment. All caregivers thought that it was necessary to treat HIV-infected children, although they did not know what interventions could be done. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlighted the low level of caregivers' knowledge on paediatric HIV prevention and care in Ouagadougou. Awareness programs targeting caregivers need to be strengthened in order to improve the uptake of HIV early infant diagnosis and care.