Acceptability and feasibility of mHealth and community-based directly observed antiretroviral therapy to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in South African pregnant women under Option B+ : an exploratory study

Nachega, Jean B. ; Skinner, Donald ; Jennings, Larissa ; Magidson, Jessica F. ; Altice, Frederick L. ; Burke, Jessica G. ; Lester, Richard T. ; Uthman, Olalekan A. ; Knowlton, Amy R. ; Cotton, Mark F. ; Anderson, Jean R. ; Theron, Gerhard B. (2016)

CITATION: Nachega, J. B., et al. 2017. Acceptability and feasibility of mHealth and community-based directly observed antiretroviral therapy to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in South African pregnant women under Option B+ : an exploratory study. Patient Preference and Adherence, 10:683—690, doi:10.2147/PPA.S100002.

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Article

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Objective: To examine the acceptability and feasibility of mobile health (mHealth)/short message service (SMS) and community-based directly observed antiretroviral therapy (cDOT) as interventions to improve antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence for preventing mother-to-child human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission (PMTCT). Design and methods: A mixed-method approach was used. Two qualitative focus group discussions with HIV-infected pregnant women (n=20) examined the acceptability and feasibility of two ART adherence interventions for PMTCT: 1) SMS text messaging and 2) patient-nominated cDOT supporters. Additionally, 109 HIV-infected, pregnant South African women (18–30 years old) receiving PMTCT services under single-tablet antiretroviral therapy regimen during pregnancy and breastfeeding and continuing for life (“Option B+”) were interviewed about mobile phone access, SMS use, and potential treatment supporters. Setting: A community primary care clinic in Cape Town, South Africa. Participants: HIV-infected pregnant women. Main outcomes: Acceptability and feasibility of mHealth and cDOT interventions. Results: Among the 109 women interviewed, individual mobile phone access and SMS use were high (>90%), and 88.1% of women were interested in receiving SMS ART adherence support messages such as reminders, motivation, and medication updates. Nearly all women (95%) identified at least one person close to them to whom they had disclosed their HIV status and would nominate as a cDOT supporter. Focus group discussions revealed that cDOT supporters and adherence text messages were valued, but some concerns regarding supporter time availability and risk of unintended HIV status disclosure were expressed. Conclusion: mHealth and/or cDOT supporter as interventions to improve ART adherence are feasible in this setting. However, safe HIV status disclosure to treatment supporters and confidentiality of text messaging content about HIV and ART were deemed crucial.

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