Brief Report: Improving Early Infant Diagnosis Observations: Estimates of Timely HIV Testing and Mortality Among HIV-Exposed Infants

Karen Webb, Vivian Chitiyo, Nyikadzino Mahachi, Solomon Huruva Mukungunugwa, Angela Mushavi, Simukai Zizhou, Barbara Engelsmann, Rashida Abbas Ferrand, Melissa Neuman, Wendy Hartogensis, Elvin Geng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background:Improving efforts toward elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV requires timely early infant diagnosis (EID) among all HIV-exposed infants, but the occurrence of timely EID and infant survival may be underascertained in routine, facility-bound program data.Methods:From March 2015 to May 2015, we traced a random sample of HIV-positive mother and HIV-exposed infant pairs lost to follow-up for EID in facility registers in Zimbabwe. We incorporated updated information into weighted survival analyses to estimate incidence of EID and death. Reasons for no EID were surveyed from caregivers.Results:Among 2651 HIV-positive women attending antenatal care, 1823 (68.8%) infants had no documented EID by 3 months of age. Among a random sample of 643 (35.3%) HIV-exposed infants lost to follow-up for EID, vital status was ascertained among 371 (57.7%) and updated care status obtained from 256 (39.8%) mothers traced. Among all HIV-infected mother-HIV-exposed infant pairs, weighted estimates found cumulative incidence of infant death by 90 days of 3.9% (95% confidence interval: 3.4% to 4.4%). Cumulative incidence of timely EID with death as a competing risk was 60%. The most frequently cited reasons for failure to uptake EID were "my child died" and "I didn't know I should have my child tested."Conclusions:Our findings indicate uptake of timely EID among HIV-exposed infants is underestimated in routine health information systems. High, early mortality among HIV-exposed infants underscores the need to more effectively identify HIV-positive mother-HIV exposed infant pairs at high risk of adverse outcomes and loss to follow-up for enhanced interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-239
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • HIV-exposed infants
  • early infant diagnosis
  • loss to follow-up
  • prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission
  • retention


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