Best Life: Improving HIV care

Best Life: App to help pregnant women in Africa find HIV treatment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- December 1 is World Aids Day. There are currently 38 million people around the world who have HIV. The African continent remains the region that is most severely impacted by the disease. There, nearly one in every 25 adults is living with HIV. Ivanhoe has the details on a team looking to improve HIV care in that region.

Pregnancy can be a joyous time for soon-to-be moms. But when living in a country with a health epidemic, care can be tricky. In South Africa, about one in three pregnant women is living with HIV.

“In some parts of the country, it’s actually even closer to one in two. So, it’s a huge problem,” explained Kate Clouse, Ph.D., MPH, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

Along with that comes problems accessing treatment.

“People are still struggling with adhering to their treatment for various reasons, such as stigma, poor access to treatment, fears around discourse,” stated Sandisiwe Noholoza, MPH, a study coordinator at CareConekta, University of Cape Town.

Leaving many people lost in care, especially young pregnant women.

“Once they delivered, they often travel back to their rural homes or other areas for family support,” said Tammy Phillips, Ph.D., MPH, a research officer at the University of Cape Town.

With little knowledge of the facilities, they can receive HIV treatment. That’s why Professor Clouse is partnering with colleagues at the University of Cape Town in South Africa to develop an app to help. The app, called CareConekta, links pregnant HIV positive women to care when they are traveling.

“The patient will receive a notification on her phone saying ‘Hey, it looks like you may be traveling now, could we be of assistance in linking you to care?’” continued Professor Clouse.

Increasing engagement with HIV care, which can have positive outcomes for both mom and baby.

Professor Clouse said the app may be effective in tracking care for many diseases such as tuberculosis.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Bruce Maniscalco, Videographer.

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