, Volume 13, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 92-102
Date: 24 Mar 2009

Male Involvement in PMTCT Services in Mbeya Region, Tanzania

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Throughout all stages of programmes for the prevention of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV (PMTCT), high dropout rates are common. Increased male involvement and couples’ joint HIV counselling/testing during antenatal care (ANC) seem crucial for improving PMTCT outcomes. Our study assessed male attitudes regarding partner involvement into ANC/PMTCT services in Mbeya Region, Tanzania, conducting 124 individual interviews and six focus group discussions. Almost all respondents generally supported PMTCT interventions. Mentioned barriers to ANC/PMTCT attendance included lacking information/knowledge, no time, neglected importance, the services representing a female responsibility, or fear of HIV-test results. Only few perceived couple HIV counselling/testing as disadvantageous. Among fathers who had refused previous ANC/PMTCT attendance, most had done so even though they were not perceiving a disadvantage about couple counselling/testing. The contradiction between men’s beneficial attitudes towards their involvement and low participation rates suggests that external barriers play a large role in this decision-making process and that partner’s needs should be more specifically addressed in ANC/PMTCT services.