High post-exposure prophylaxis uptake but low completion rates and HIV testing follow-up in health workers, Harare, Zimbabwe
Introduction: Health care workers (HCWs), especially from sub-Saharan Africa, are at risk of occupational exposure to HIV. Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can reduce this risk. There is no published information from Zimbabwe, a high HIV burden country, about how PEP works. We therefore assessed how the PEP programme performed at the Parirenyatwa Hospital, Harare, Zimbabwe, from 2017-2018.
Methodology: This was a cohort study using secondary data from the staff clinic paper-based register. The chi square test and relative risks were used to assess associations.
Results: There were 154 HCWs who experienced occupational injuries. The commonest group was medical doctors (36%) and needle sticks were the most frequent type of occupational injury (74%). The exposure source was identified in 114 (74%) occupational injuries: 91% of source patients were HIV-tested and 77% were HIV-positive. All but two HCWs were HIV-tested, 148 were eligible for PEP and 142 (96%) started triple therapy, all within 48 hours of exposure. Of those starting PEP, 15 (11%) completed 28 days, 13 (9%) completed < 28 days and in the remainder PEP duration was not recorded. There were no HCW characteristics associated with not completing PEP. Of those starting PEP, 9 (6%) were HIV-tested at 6-weeks, 3 (2%) were HIV-tested at 3-months and 1 (< 1%) was HIV-tested at 6-months: all HIV-tests were negative.
Conclusions: While uptake of PEP was timely and high, the majority of HCWs failed to complete the 28-day treatment course and even fewer attended for follow-up HIV-tests. Various changes are recommended to promote awareness of PEP and improve adherence to guidelines.
Copyright (c) 2021 Fadzai Mushambi, Collins Timire, Hannock Tweya, Anthony D. Harries, Tafadzwa Priscilla Goverwa-Sibanda, Stanley Mungofa, Tsitsi Apollo
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