Piloting very early infant diagnosis of HIV in Lesotho: Acceptability and feasibility among mothers, health workers and laboratory personnel
Mortality associated with in-utero HIV infection rises rapidly within weeks after birth. Very early infant diagnosis of HIV (VEID)–testing within 2 weeks of birth–followed by immediate initiation of antiretroviral therapy has potential to avert mortality associated with in-utero transmission. However, our understanding of acceptability and feasibility of VEID is limited.
This study found that women, health workers, and laboratory staff found VEID acceptable and were supportive of national implementation of birth testing. However, they identified challenges within the EID system that could be exacerbated by adding a test to the diagnostic algorithm, such as delays in receiving test results, suggesting VEID may not be feasible in certain settings. Policymakers will need to consider whether adding birth testing or strengthening the current clinic and laboratory system is the most appropriate course of action.