Triple R project support for HIV Exposed Infants adherence to HIV interval testing until end of exposure


BACKGROUND: The Eswatini Ready, Resourceful, Risk Aware (Triple R) project, for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC), Adolescent Girls, and Young Women (AGYW), aims to prevent new HIV infections and to reduce vulnerability among this target group in Eswatini. HIV Exposed Infants (HEIs) are part of the OVCs receiving follow-up and interval HIV testing per ministry of health guidelines at birth,6 weeks, 9,12,18 months until end of exposure.
DESCRIPTION: Caregivers provide consent for OVC enrollment and follow-up of these children. An electronic appointment tracker for HEIs due for interval testing, is maintained. Home Visitors (HVs) support caregivers by reviewing HEIs' health cards for appointment dates and adherence to interval testing. HEIs who missed clinic appointments are issued with referrals within 3 days, and new appointment dates are given. HVs continues to call caregivers until appointments are honored and calls are documented on the follow-up log and tracker. HVs liaise with health facility Linkages Assistant (LAs) to confirm clinical appointments' adherence and further verify from child's card. The Department of Social Welfare is engaged to intervene where HEIs caregivers' miss appointments after five calls, as this is considered as an infringement of the right of the child to health care.
LESSONS LEARNED: Results: 100% of enrolled HEIs were reached between October 2020 ' September 2021, 99% tested HIV negative and are on track with interval HIV testing and the 1% HIV+ are on ART. Active tracking of the HEIs ensured their scheduled clinic visit dates are honored by caregivers.

CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of this integrated patient centered community model was effective in ensuring that HEIs adhered to interval HIV testing, throughout their exposure period. This effective model will be employed also for FY22.

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