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A randomized control trial assessed HIV knowledge, treatment, beliefs and attitude of women who had previously received PMTCT (prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission) [PMTCT] and were about to commence ART. Of the 320 women studied, mean age was 33, 106 had previously received PMTCT, while 214, had never received ART. Using multivariate linear regression analysis, higher HIV insights was associated with prior PMTCT participation. ART naïve-women expressed stronger beliefs that ART would pose a problem, when compared to those who had previously received PMTCT. Both groups, showed poor understanding of the basic biological concepts of viral load, the relationship between viral load and CD4+ T cell count, and ART resistance. Compared to PMTCT women, ART-naïve women were more confident of taking ART in the face of obstacles, and had better knowledge of ART resistance. Findings overlapped with women believing that prayer might be an effective method of treating HIV and that breaks from medication was recommended. This study highlighted the need to address knowledge gaps and treatment needs during counseling.
Summary by Stephen Karpiak PhD, ACRIA, NYU College of Nursing