Prenatal care coverage and correlates of HIV testing in sub-Saharan Africa: Insight from demographic and health surveys of 16 countries.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
PloS one, 2020, 15, (11), pp. e0242001
Issue Date:
Full metadata record


Prenatal screening of pregnant women for HIV is central to eliminating mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) of HIV. While some countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have scaled up their prevention of MTCT programmes, ensuring a near-universal prenatal care HIV testing, and recording a significant reduction in new infection among children, several others have poor outcomes due to inadequate testing. We conducted a multi-country analysis of demographic and health surveys (DHS) to assess the coverage of HIV testing during pregnancy and also examine the factors associated with uptake.


We analysed data of 64,933 women from 16 SSA countries with recent DHS datasets (2015-2018) using Stata version 16. Adjusted and unadjusted logistic regression models were used to examine correlates of prenatal care uptake of HIV testing. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.


Progress in scaling up of prenatal care HIV testing was uneven across SSA, with only 6.1% of pregnant women tested in Chad compared to 98.1% in Rwanda. While inequality in access to HIV testing among pregnant women is pervasive in most SSA countries and particularly in West and Central Africa sub-regions, a few countries, including Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia have managed to eliminate wealth and rural-urban inequalities in access to prenatal care HIV testing.


Our findings highlight the between countries and sub-regional disparities in prenatal care uptake of HIV testing in SSA. Even though no country has universal coverage of prenatal care HIV testing, East and Southern African regions have made remarkable progress towards ensuring no pregnant woman is left untested. However, the West and Central Africa regions had low coverage of prenatal care testing, with the rich and well educated having better access to testing, while the poor rarely tested. Addressing the inequitable access and coverage of HIV testing among pregnant women is vital in these sub-regions.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: