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Delivery of index-linked HIV testing for children: learnings from a qualitative process evaluation of the B-GAP study in Zimbabwe

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Title: Delivery of index-linked HIV testing for children: learnings from a qualitative process evaluation of the B-GAP study in Zimbabwe
Authors: Dringus, S
Davis, K
Simms, V
Bernays, S
Redzo, N
Bandason, T
Chikodzore, R
Sibanda, E
Webb, K
Ncube, G
Kranzer, K
Ferrand, R
Chido, DC
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background Index-linked HIV testing for children, whereby HIV testing is offered to children of individuals living with HIV, has the potential to identify children living with undiagnosed HIV. The “Bridging the Gap in HIV Testing and Care for Children in Zimbabwe” (B-GAP) study implemented and evaluated the provision of index-linked HIV testing for children aged 2–18 years in Zimbabwe. We conducted a process evaluation to understand the considerations for programmatic delivery and scale-up of this strategy. Methods We used implementation documentation to explore experiences of the field teams and project manager who delivered the index-linked testing program, and to describe barriers and facilitators to index-linked testing from their perspectives. Qualitative data were drawn from weekly logs maintained by the field teams, monthly project meeting minutes, the project coordinator’s incident reports and WhatsApp group chats between the study team and the coordinator. Data from each of the sources was analysed thematically and synthesised to inform the scale-up of this intervention. Results Five main themes were identified related to the implementation of the intervention: (1) there was reduced clinic attendance of potentially eligible indexes due to community-based differentiated HIV care delivery and collection of HIV treatment by proxy individuals; (2) some indexes reported that they did not live in the same household as their children, reflecting the high levels of community mobility; (3) there were also thought to be some instances of ‘soft refusal’; (4) further, delivery of HIV testing was limited by difficulties faced by indexes in attending health facilities with their children for clinic-based testing, stigma around community-based testing, and the lack of familiarity of indexes with caregiver provided oral HIV testing; (5) and finally, test kit stockouts and inadequate staffing also constrained delivery of index-linked HIV testing. Conclusions There was attrition along the index-linked HIV testing cascade of children. While challenges remain at all levels of implementation, programmatic adaptations of index-linked HIV testing approaches to suit patterns of clinic attendance and household structures may strengthen implementation of this strategy. Our findings highlight the need to tailor index-linked HIV testing to subpopulations and contexts to maximise its effectiveness.
Issue Date: 26-Apr-2023
Date of Acceptance: 16-Feb-2023
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/103009
DOI: 10.1186/s12879-023-08088-0
ISSN: 1471-2334
Publisher: BioMed Central
Start Page: 1
End Page: 10
Journal / Book Title: BMC Infectious Diseases
Volume: 23
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2023. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativeco mmons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: 262
Online Publication Date: 2023-04-26
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