Global PMTCT efforts have emphasized women’s access and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as a key element of effective PMTCT programs to reduce the risk of HIV transmission and achieve optimal maternal and child health outcomes. Since the long-term benefits of ART use require sustained viral suppression, viral load (VL) monitoring in pregnant and breastfeeding women is crucial to ensuring effective ART use. However, there has been little attention to VL monitoring in pregnancy and the postpartum period.
On Wednesday, June 13th, AIDSFree hosted a webinar on viral load monitoring in pregnancy and the postpartum period. Presentations included an introduction that highlights key considerations for VL monitoring in pregnant and breastfeeding women on ART as a priority population, an overview of the Kabeho Study in Rwanda including trends in maternal viral suppression and adherence over the two-year postpartum period, and a review of maternal VL monitoring and retention in urban and peri-urban antenatal clinics in Johannesburg, South Africa.