Assistant Professor
Division of Infectious Diseases

Project title: Understanding Retention in Malawi's Option B+ Program

Project Description:
Option B+ emphasizes rapid initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in all pregnant and breastfeeding women and continuation for life, with the goal of reducing mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) and improving health of women. According to the Malawi Ministry of Health, 23% of women started on ART as part of Option B+ are lost from the program by 12 months. Despite this data, there have been no large studies characterizing challenges that women have staying in care and reasons why they may stop taking medications. Taking advantage of UCLA’s long-term relationship with a PEPFAR/USAID collaborator in Malawi, we will perform a mixed-methods study that will begin with interviews with women who have been lost to follow-up from Option B+ (Aim1) to inform a survey that will be used to examine characteristics that distinguish women who stay in care from those who are lost from care (Aim 2).