S samples are sent to Kisumu for PCR-DNA analysis since the facility lacks the equipment. The DBS specimen takes approximately 2 weeks to 2 months for results to be implemented. The HIV exposed infant is then followed up in the clinic until 18 months after which it is discharged to patient support care for further management.

2.2. Study Population

A total of 96 HIV exposed infants were recruited during the study period. The study population included all HIV positive mothers on PMTCT programme with infants between 6 weeks and 18 months old who have been tested for HIV. The inclusion criteria were all HIV exposed infants registered in the PMTCT clinic after labour and delivery. The HIV exposed infants were brought to the PMTCT clinic and immunization services by their mothers. The exclusion criteria were all mothers with their infants below 18 months old who were not in the PMTCT program coming for postnatal clinics and immunization schedule. The HIV positive mothers who had not consented during the study period were also excluded.

The HIV exposed infants were recruited conveniently until the required sample size was attained. This was suitable because the required sample size was attained within the time frame of the study. HIV status of the infants was retrieved from HIV Exposed Infant records.

2.3. Sample Size Determination

The sample size determination used Fischer’s et al., (1998) formula to determine the sample size as follows:

n = Z 2 P ( 1 P ) d 2


n is the desired sample size (if the study population is greater than 10,000);

Z is the normal standard deviation at the desired confidence level taken to be 1.96 which corresponds to 95% confidence level;

P is the proportion in the target population estimated to have characteristics being measured;

1 − q is the proportion in the target population estimated not to have the characteristics being measured;

d = Standard Error at 95% confidence limit (0.05).

Since p was not known, it was estimated to be 50% (Mugenda & Mugenda, 2003).


n = 1.96 2 × 0.5 × 0.5 0.052

n = 384 HIV mothers with infants below 18 months.

If the target population is less than 10,000, Fischer’s et al. (1998) the following alternative formula is applied.

n f = n 1 + ( n 1 N )


nf = desired sample size(when the population is less than 10,000);

n = sample size of population more than 10,000 (calculated as 384);

N = was the estimated population within the study period which was approximately 128 (average in 3 months from the PMTCT records).

Therefore, the desired sample size was,

n f = 384 1 + ( 384 1 128 )

= 96 HIV positive mothers with infants below 18 months old.

2.4. Data Collection

A physical visit was made to the study area, for the purpose of data collection. The data collection was done one on one interviewer administered questionnaire by 2 research assistants and the researcher. The research assistants were purposely used to avoid information bias by the researcher. The interviews were done privately and convenient place within the MCH clinic especially on the private and comfortable room or on the waiting bay. Each interview lasted for 10 - 25 minutes and the participants were thanked for their participation. This was done in either Kiswahili or English language.

HIV status on infants (6 weeks to 18 months) was obtained on PMTCT HIV Exposed Infant records. The participants were approached after their appointments with the health care worker and those who consented to volunteer were recruited.

2.5. Data Quality Control Measures

The data study tools were pre tested at Oresi health Centre which is 100 meters away from KTRH. Ten HIV mothers who met the inclusion criteria were sampled to validate the reliability of the tool before its use in the research study. Note that, the pre-tested questionnaires were not part of the sampled population.

Two research assistants were recruited and trained to avoid information bias from the researcher when interviewing the study participants during the study period. The research assistants who had background information on research methods were recruited for this purpose.

The quantitative data instruments used for data collection were handed over to the researcher at the end of each day for storage and data entry. Anonymity of the study participants and status of the infants was done through coding of research instruments. Data validation was done to correct data entry problems such as missed, double entered data values or data entered in the wrong variables.

2.6. Data Analysis

Quantitative data was entered and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences Version 20. Descriptive statistics was used to summarize data on infant status. Frequencies and percentages were computed and presented in frequency tables, and bar charts to emphasize on general findings and bar graphs on categorical variables such as gender, level of education, marital status, access to the health facility and occupation status and HIV status of the infant. Pearson Chi square (χ2) was used to address potential differences between the status of the infants in terms of the informants’ characteristics that is the socio demographic characteristics, factors associated in contributing to new HIV infection which included the ANC clinics, infant feeding options, rate of disclosure, to which the disclosure was made and place of delivery. The dependent variable, the status of the infant either HIV positive or HIV negative was used. The p-value was set at 0.05 (p-value < 0.05).

2.7. Ethical Consideration

Permission to carry out the study was obtained from the Ethics Research Committee at Kenyatta National Hospital/University of Nairobi. Permission to proceed on was also sought from KTRH hospital research office management and a verbal consent was obtained from the Nursing officer in charge of MCH clinic.

Informed consent was obtained from the study participants who met the inclusion criteria and consent form signed before interviews commenced. The participants were interviewed in a confided room within the clinic and all the information obtained was treated with confidentiality and coding was used to protect the respondents’ identity.

The data collected was kept in a locked cabinet by the researcher during the entire study period. The electronic data was secured with a password known to the researcher. There was no risk involved during the study. The benefits from the study, is that the participants who were not sure of their infants’ status were informed and were also counselled on the importance of the PMTCT program. If the participants had any other issues, they were referred appropriately during the study period. The findings were communicated to the referral facility to improve the quality of care on the HIV exposed infants in the setting.

2.8. Study Limitations

The study was facility-based using HIV positive mothers with exposed infants below 18 months old presenting at the PMTCT follow up clinic from 6 weeks. Only those who met the inclusion criteria and consented to participate were recruited during the study period. This could be attributed to be either a possible under estimation or over estimation on infant HIV infection prevalence rate.

Only those who were willing to participate were included. This could have introduced selection bias since it is difficult to know whether or not the responses given are representative of the whole eligible population. This means that the extent to which the results can be generalized is limited.

Data collected was based on interviews and relied on the memory of informant (mothers). This showed recall bias on reason for admission and disclosure issues.

3. Results and Discussion

A total of 96 infants below 18 months of age with HIV mothers on PMTCT programs at Kisii Teaching and referral hospital MCH clinic were recruited during the study period. The sampled population of infants gave a response rate of 100% and this was because their mothers were positive of their health well being on the PMTCT program.

3.1. Socio-Demographic Characteristics

The highest proportion of mothers (40.6%) was in age group 28 - 32 years. The mean and median maternal age was 29.69 and 30 years. The study revealed that most (68.8%) of the respondents were married followed by singles at 15.6%. More than half (54.2%) attained secondary school education. On their monthly income status, most (35.43%) were earning between Kshs. 3001 - 5000 with more than half (54.2%) being self-employed. On being asked how they access the facility, half (50%) of the respondents stated on the use of public service vehicle (Table 1).

3.2. Prevalence of New HIV Infection among HIV Exposed Infants

A total of 96 HIV positive mothers of reproductive age (18 - 45 years) with infants aged 3 - 18 months participated in the study. Out of the sampled population, 13.5% (95% CI = 10.1% to 16.9%) of the infants below 18 months were found to be HIV positive despite their mothers being on the PMTCT program shown in Figure 1.

From this study, it was found that the prevalence of infants born of HIV positive mothers was 13.5% compared to national current prevalence of mother to child transmission at 14% [11] . Comparable to study done by NASCOP (2012) on Kenya Aids Indicator Survey, on the 90% of the mothers or infants who utilized PMTCT intervention 16% were HIV positive at six weeks [1] . In the study, the new HIV infections among infants were found after delivery and most were found infected by 9 months as compared at 6 weeks. Whilst those who indicated they have been tested thrice were all found to be negative.

Table 1. Socio demographic characteristics of the Respondents.

Figure 1. Prevalence of HIV Infection.

These findings show that the HIV infections may be due to maternal antibodies of the mother in health law of testing infants that HIV transmission in infants is approximately 9% at day 3 of life and rises to approximately 18% later in life. The testing of infants early in life show that they are exposed to maternal antibodies until they produce their own antibodies at around 18 months of age [12] .

Findings from the study showed that, out of those infants who were tested and found out to be infected by their mothers, majority (8.3%) became HIV positive after a repeat test was done giving a difference of 4.1%. This indicates that HIV infection doubled during breast feeding of infants. While those who were tested 3 times turned negative and this could be attributed to effectiveness of the PMTCT program in follow up of mothers with infants until completion of the program. This was found to be consistent with other studies and reviews on the PMTCT program [13] [14] [15] .

3.3. Factors Associated with New HIV Infections among HIV Exposed Infants

From Table 2, all contributing factors were cross tabulated and Pearson chi square used with the HIV status of the Infant. Those that were found to be statistically significantly (p-value = 0.001) were place of delivery (χ2 = 29.289, df = 2, p-value = 0.001), infant prophylaxis at birth 25.586, df = 1, p-value = 0.001), follow up medication of the infant (χ2 = 20.496, df = 2, p-value = 0.001)and infant feeding methods (χ2 = 48.149, df = 3, p-value = 0.001). The infant feeding options was a risk factor in MTCT of HIV whereas place of delivery, ARV prophylaxis and follow up medication were found to be protective in MTCT of HIV.

Table 2. Bivariate Analysis of Factors Associated to HIV Status of Infants.

Generally, from the study, the factors that were associated with reduction of new HIV infections had an association which were statistically significant (p < 0.001). These were place of delivery, infant prophylaxis at birth, and follow up medication of the infant.

The findings in this setting indicated that those who delivered at the hospital reduced the risk of HIV infection among infants born of HIV positive mothers although caesarian mode of delivery did not achieve statistical significance because of the small sample size. This study is consistent with the findings [3] that those who delivered in hospital reduced MTCT of HIV. In cross tabulation with level of education and delivery place it was statistically significant that those with high education chose health facility delivery. This was consistent with study findings in Kitale that those who did not deliver in a health facility were less educated [9] .

Anti-retroviral treatment in Kisii Teaching and Referral hospital is partnered with NASCOP and CARE Kenya who support PMTCT program in training staff, providing drugs and testing kits for free on PMTCT program. This has enabled the delivery of the PMTCT services in the facility. Use of antiretroviral drugs from other studies and systematic reviews has shown to reduce the risk of mother to child transmission by lowering plasma viral load in pregnant women or when given as post-exposure prophylaxis in the newborns [1] [2] [3] [16] . It was evident from the study that use of ARV prophylaxis at birth, single dose Nevirapine and follow up treatment to infants reduced the risk of transmission.

A systemic study review done [9] [14] indicates that some participants who missed treatment gave the reasons which were consistent with findings in this study where a proportion of mothers and infants indicated that they missed treatment due to travelling out of town, drugs being out of stock, forgotten and work related issues. Missed treatment was attributed to travelling out of town whilst lack of transport was attributed to socio economic status of the participants in accessing the facility due to poverty issues.

Infant feeding is a major influence in the child survival in the context of HIV. Findings indicated that those who were HIV infected were mostly due to mixed feeding and this was significantly associated with HIV status of the infant (χ2 = 48.149, p < 0.001) whilst breastfeeding for 6 months was found to be protective, the findings were similar to Ngwede et al. [3] . The use of exclusive formula milk was also found to be very effective with the PMTCT goal to zero elimination of new infections by 2015.

The rate of disclosure was high in a relationship especially partners, this findings were similar to a study done by Ngigi et al. [17] .

4. Conclusion and Recommendation

The study has confirmed that there is still new HIV infections among infants especially in low resource limited setting and the main reason for these new HIV infections is through mixed feeding.

In general the PMTCT service utilization was found to be effective in high level of early infant diagnosis and a high level of awareness of MTCT/PMTCT in the part of the women.

This study shows that there are factors which are significantly associated with new HIV infections among HIV exposed infants on PMTCT program at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital. Mixed feeding was found to be the risk factor in the transmission of HIV infections.

On the other hand, factors that were significantly associated with reduction of HIV infections from mother to child transmission were use of antiretroviral treatment in children and this included use of Nevirapine at birth, anti-retroviral treatment of the infant and hospital delivery. Support from donors was found to be beneficial on the PMTCT program in training staff and availability of resources.

With an observation made in the study there was virtual elimination of HIV infections on all the respondents who used exclusive formula feeding and use of highly anti-retroviral therapy though this being a low resource setting.

The findings of this study provide valuable information for improving the quality of programs to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV in the study setting and other areas.


Based on the findings, following recommendations were made;

・ Health care workers as the main source of information should be exposed for regular training programme by the hospital to update their skills and knowledge on PMTCT update to provide quality care to their clients/patients.

・ Being a low resource setting, health care workers must encourage exclusive breast feeding period for 6 months and stop breast feeding if acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe since early cessation of breastfeeding leads to transmission of new HIV infection in infants.

・ HIV exposed mothers should be invited during peer support group to encourage mothers fellow mothers to embrace exclusive breast milk for 6 months since is was found to be protective.

・ Self-stigmatization and discrimination is a challenge on disclosure issues, choice of infant feeding methods and adherence to treatment therefore health care workers should sensitize couple counseling of the HIV positive mothers, on infant feeding methods and treatment adherence.

・ Health care workers at the maternal and child health to empower mothers on use of exclusive formula feeding and provide anti-retroviral therapy to all infants in the virtual elimination of the new HIV infections.

The findings of this study provide valuable information for improving the quality of programs to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV in the study setting, while further studies need to follow up the challenges within the program.


We thank the administration of Kisii Teaching and referral hospital for the permission to carry out the study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital for allowing me to do my studies in Community health nursing.

Author’s Contribution

M.N.A. conceptualize on the study, designing the study, data collection, analysis and report writing and drafting the manuscript G.M.O and T.M.O. participated in the revision of the intellectual content of the research article P. O. A. participated in the conceptualization and intellectual content of the study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Financial Disclosure

No financial disclosures were reported by the authors of this paper.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no competing interest.

Cite this paper

Abere, M.N., Omoni, G.M., Odero, T.M. and Atai, P.O. (2018) Status of New HIV Infections among Infants Born of HIV Positive Mothers on Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kenya. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 8, 347-365. https://doi.org/10.4236/ojped.2018.84035


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  3. 3. Ngwede, S., Gombel, N. and Midzi, S. (2008) Factors Associated with HIV Infection among Children Born to Mothers on the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Programme at Chitungwiza Hospital, Zimbabwe. BMC Public Health, in press.

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  10. 10. Ciaranello, A.L., Perez, F. and Keatinge, J. (2012) What Will It Take to Eliminate Pediatric HIV? Reaching WHO Target Rates of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in Zimbabwe: A Model-Based Analysis. PLoS Medicine, 9, e1001156. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001156

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List of Abbreviations

ANC―Antenatal Clinic

ARV―Anti Retroviral Drug

DNA―Deoxyribonucleic Acid

DBS―Dried Blood Spot

EID―Early Infant Diagnosis

Kshs.―Kenya Shillings

KTRH―Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital

MTCT―Mother to Child Transmission

MCH―Maternal and Child Health

PMTCT―Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission

PCR―Polymerase Chain Reaction

WHO―World Health Organization

Appendix I: Questionnaire for Mothers with Infants


Serial No: ……………. Date of interview: ……………


The purpose of this study is get information about you and your infant to assess the status of new HIV infection despite being in the PMTCT programme. All questions will be asked to provide information. The status of your infant will be assessed using the mother booklet or PMTCT health registers. The information is confidential and will be used for data analysis purposes.

SECTION I: Background Information

1) How old are you in years? ………………………………….

2) Marital status.

Single Widow Married

Divorced/separate Cohabiting Others’ specify ………

3) Level of education.

None Primary Secondary

Tertiary Others’ specify ………

4) Occupation.

House wife Self-employed Formal employment

Informal/casual employment Others’ specify …………..

5) How much is your estimated income per month? ….. Kenya shillings

6) How do you come to this facility?

Walking Bodaboda/Bicycle

Public Service Vehicle Private

7) Who do you live with.

Your partner Family/Relatives/Friend None

SECTION II: Factors Contributing to New Infections

8) When did you start your antenatal visits with your current infant?

0 - 3 months 4 - 6 months 7 - 9 months

Did not attend any clinics

9) When did you learn of your current HIV status?

During pregnancy (ANC visits) During labour

After delivery Voluntary counseling and testing

Other(s) specify ………

10) What maternal PMTCT intervention are you using?

Already on ART Single dose Nevirapine

Single dose Nevirapine + AZT Single dose + AZT

Single dose + 3TC + AZT Cotrimoxazole + Multivitamin

11) Have you ever missed treatment?

Yes No

a) If yes to the above, how many times?

b) What are the reasons for missing the treatment?

12) Where was your delivery with the infant?

At home/At health facility On the way to hospital

a) If at the health facility, which mode of delivery?

Caesarean section No Caesarian section

13) Did your infant receive ARV prophylaxis at birth? Yes No

14) On follow up, what treatment did your infant use?

None Single dose Nevirapine Single dose Nevirapine + AZT

Single dose Nevirapine + AZT Other(s) specify …………

15) Has your infant ever missed treatment? Yes No

a) If yes to the above, how many times?

b) What are the reasons for missing of the treatment?

16) a) Has your infant ever been admitted before? Yes No

b) What was/were the reason for admission ……………………

17) a) What feeding options did you use for your infant?

Mixed breast feeding Replacement feeding

Exclusive breast feeding for 6 months Exclusive formula feeding

b) What made you choose these feeding options (above)?

Stigma (to avoid) Affordable

Effectiveness Others specify …………….

18) Have you ever missed your clinic appointments? Yes No

a) If yes, why………………………………………………………………………

19) Did you disclose your positive HIV status?

Yes No No to avoid stigma issues

No because of fear No because l live alone

Other(s) specify ……………………

a) If Yes above, to whom did you disclose your positive HIV status?

Your partner Family member (brother, sister, parent)

Friend/Relative None

Section III: HIV Status of the Infant

20) Age (in months) of your infant ……………………..

21) Gender of your infant Male Female

22) Has your infant been tested for HIV? Yes No

23) What was the HIV status of your baby? Negative Positive

24) When was the baby tested for HIV

At 6 weeks At 9 months

At 6 and 9 months At 18 months

Thank you for your participation

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