Pregnancy is a time of heightened human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk, but also a phase when a couple can prioritize family health. This paper conducted a secondary analysis of a home-based intervention in rural Kenya to explore couple-level adherence to HIV prevention behaviors. The intervention included health education, relationship-building skills, and Couples HIV Testing and Counseling. Strengthening couple communication and efficacy may help prevent the spread of HIV to infants or partners around the time of pregnancy.
A team of researchers collaborated on this study, including Dr. Janet M. Turan, Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, and Ms. Anna Helova, Sparkman Center for Global Health, from the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
This study was conducted in the Nyanza region of Kenya, an area with the highest HIV prevalence nationally (approximately 16 percent). Using data from pregnant women and their male partners, this study sought to assess whether this home-based intervention influenced HIV prevention behaviors. It further aimed to explore pathways through which the intervention may improve HIV prevention behaviors using structural equation modeling.
In conclusion, a home-based couples intervention had significant effects on use of HIV prevention behaviors by HIV-positive and HIV-negative couples. New ways to assess couples health, regardless of their HIV status, are essential for HIV prevention and may add value for the maternal and child health fields. If we are to halt the spread of HIV within heterosexual couples in sub-Saharan Africa, couples-based approaches are essential. Home-based couples strategies around the time of pregnancy may offer important benefits for the health of infants and their parents.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on January 17